France? What? When did this all come about? - France on a roll -- depending on charm - CycleBlaze

March 26, 2011

France? What? When did this all come about?

"Whoa, I wasn't expecting THAT." Which is what my friend Marylou said when I told her I had decided to ride in France this summer.

To be honest, I wasn't expecting it either. In fact a month or two ago France hadn't even entered my mind.

After last year's cross-country adventure I had planned something a little less, well, adventurous. This summer's ride was to be closer to home, through a portion of the Sierra Cascades route south from Crater Lake, with the plan of not having much of a plan at all. I even bought the ACA maps and was making reservations at the starting point. After that I would ride until I felt like stopping, and then drift on home. So.....France?

THAT whole thing started with a conversation with my brother... "You know," I said, "I have a free flight on Southwest Airlines that I need to use by August when it expires. I guess I could go someplace with my bike and ride around for a couple of weeks, but where?"

We batted around some ideas, places where Southwest flies, until Tom suggested, "How about Boston." It wasn't a bad idea. I could ride north to New England. But then I added, "You know, I have always wanted to see Normandy. I wonder if it's possible to get a cheap, last minute flight from Boston to France, it would be cheaper than from San Francisco. I could sort of play that by ear. If there is a cheap flight I'll go to France for a couple of weeks and if not I'll ride in New England."

Except that once my brain took hold of the idea it wouldn't let go. I mean, there are the back county roads I've seen on the Tour de France; the interesting cultural differences; but most important of all, there is the fresh baked French bread and other delicious things to eat! A week later I booked my flights. Why take a chance that there is no such thing as a cheap last minute summer fare? So much for staying close to home and being less adventurous.

I guess there's nothing wrong with a little spontaneity to spice up one's life. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go practice my French.

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