It began by saying goodbye to my hosts for the night (and if they are reading this thank you very much Fiona, Claire and Luke!) and heading for the local supermarket for food and petrol. The bills came to 11.50 and 14 euros respectively. I was overbudget already and it was still the morning and id only travelled a few miles.. on the bright side i had good food (even treated my self to a bottle of extra virgin oil mmm) and my first proper day to look forward to. No planned end point i could do what i like.
I headed south from Vernon, following some cute little back roads and a river till Anet where Fiona had recommended a church. I didnt stop but it looked lovely from the outside. I did stop not long after for lunch, sweaty paté and baguette while i watched (not watched, happened to see) a couple pull over in the parking place i was at in the woods and have a pee each, loooovely.
Seeing as i am studying mechanical engineering next year and hope to get involved with racing in the future i thought id make my next stop Le Mans, with the famous 24 hour race circuit. I took a bigger road and saw a sign, 170kms, a bit of a slog but i went for it. Now hours sat on my saddle werent the most comfy, and still feeling a bit sore from the day before, by the time i got to Le Mans i was in actual pain. Just as well i couldnt find the proper entrance for the circuit then as i would never have managed a lap in the race car they were going to have ready for me (naaaat…..). So that ended up being a bit of a wasted trip, though i was further south west so not completely.
I picked Saumir at random, it was on a river so i thought it would be interesting and was a fair distance away. It also had some campsites as i wasnt quite ready for the wild stuff just yet. God it was painful getting there. Left buttock, right buttock, both cheeks, i tried every positon i could to alleviate the pain, nothing really worked.
|Linked with the town i would be living in for the next 4 years|
Now being my first proper alone day, coupled with an aching arse and budget worries, my spirits were a bit low. One thing that did help was other bikers though. In England everyone seems to nod, France most hold up their left hand or, if overtaking, their right foot. It was a great lift seeing almost every biker acknowledge me and made me feel much less alone.
I got to the campsite, haggled the price down from 19 to 11 with the stroppy lady behind the reception (its what was written on the board after all!) and started to make camp. I picked a pitch so that i had something to tie my tarp to and got that set up amid all sorts of “what is that crazy english boy doing” looks and got dinner on the go.
Pasta with tomatoe and mushroom sauce, with chorizo and garlic puree, and garlic bread on the side. If you can call stale baguette, olive oil and garlic puree smeared on top garlic bread (which i think you can). I stuffed myself full and was just having a lie down and an after dinner cigarette when a pair of ladies walked over. They were part of the Moto-Club Henry 4 from Burgandy. I quickly did my washing up and went over to meet the rest of the gang, headed by their president, Danny.
What followed was a lovely act of friendlieness, kindness and generosity. I said hello and was instantly offered a drink, a glass of rosé by the girls, and got chatting. Unfortunately only one could speak english and she had the job of being my interpreter for the night. I was soon ushered over to the males end of the table where i was given a proper aperitif, whiskey and coke (avec not much coke). Apparently us english dont drink anything in the right order, though we can do something right as all the men raved about our beers.
So infact day two, which by early evening i wasnt particularly enjoying as riding was agony and no fun at all, ended on a very nice high. I walked back to my pitch, crawled into my bivvy bag and slept soundly, grateful for the lovely company of the MCC Burgandy.