Jour quatorze: SEEEEE ya, Normandy - France on a roll -- depending on charm - CycleBlaze

June 25, 2011

Jour quatorze: SEEEEE ya, Normandy

So, remember when you were a teenager and thought it would be really cool to drive your Chevy to the levy, or jump into a rock quarry filled with water...? That kind of happened last night, around midnight, when the local French kids decided it would be fun to climb up to the castle from the slope that faces the campground. Since I don't speak French I have no idea what they were yelling to each other but if I had to guess, based on my own experiences doing stupid things as a teenager, it was probably something like...

"...HEEEEEEEEEEEEEY! HELLLOOOOO! DAMN, LOOK AT THE VIEW! HEY, JOE, LOOK AT THIS. YEAAAAAAAAH. HEY, WHO BROUGHT THE BEEEEEER! YEAAAAAAAAH BABY! TEXT ANDY AND TELL HIM TO GET HIS ASS UP HERE AND TO BRING BEER. WOOOOOO-YAAAAAAAH."

You, know, things like that. Naturally this has to be done at the top or your lungs, in order to wake up anyone and everyone in earshot... I poked my head out once and saw little flashlights near the base of the castle. Kids.

Anyway, aside from an hour less sleep that I would have liked, today turned out to be AWEsome! YEAAAAAAH!

I rode about 25km to the train station and hopped on a train to Tours, which is about 150km south of where I was, give or take. Man, I got off the train and it was a TOTALLY different feel. I can't totally explain it, except it was as if I spent 2 weeks in the hollers of Kentucky and then zapped myself into Los Angeles.

At first it was cool. I stopped in the Tourist office by "La Gare" and bought a map of the Loire Valley Velo Route and then proceeded to not know where the hell I was. So, after fumbling around for a while I just got on any old road west. In fact it kind of sucked. Normandy was a lot better than this road and I thought I should have stayed put.

It was late though so time to find a campground. I zeroed in on one with my Garmin and followed the little roads, and it was THEN I found it, the correct route and an AWESOME little town right on the branch of the river I was supposed to be on, which was not, in fact the main river in that stretch of the route.

SO COOL! Then I met a German couple also looking for the campground and when we rolled in there were other bike tourers camped. Fun.

Later, after a dinner of bread, cheese, fruit and salad, oh, and cookies and pineapple juice, I went for a walk to take pictures and ran into some kids jumping their BMX bikes into the river off of a jump. COOL! Check out the pics I got. They had inter-tubes tied to the handlebars to keep the bikes from sinking.

Anyway, this ride is going to be great, now that I'm on the correct route! Can't wait to start riding tomorrow!

Oh, by the way, on the train there was a little girl and her dad. She is learning English in school and knows about as much English as I know French so we taught each other some words. I learned how to say cow, or "lavash", though I doubt that is how the French spell it. I gave the little girl a flag lapel pin and let here pick a quarter. The pins and U.S. coins are a HUGE hit and I'm glad I brought them. Her dad and I tried to talk a little but between his English and my French we didn't get very far.

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The little girl on the train with here U.S./France flag lapel pin
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In Tours there seemed to be a joist going on, funny.
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And this was the joust master
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Bridge on the Loire River
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A bridge at Tours. It's only for cyclists and pedestrians. Just how it should be!
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Town where I am camping
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Some kids were jumping their bikes into the river. COOL! I decided not to try it on the Girl Friday.
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This one HAD to hurt!?
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