Day 72: Bordeaux to Carcans-Plage - Grampies Go in Circles - CycleBlaze

September 28, 2013

Day 72: Bordeaux to Carcans-Plage

The day started with rain, so we implemented some of our rain strategies. The first is to take down the tent from the inside out, in order to protect the inner tent from wetness. No problem. The second strategy is to move most of our stuff to the shelter of the sanitary building, where we can cook and pack in the dry. Problem. 7:00 a.m. is when the cleaning ladies showed up with a pressure washer and proceeded to blast the entire building, top to bottom, with water. Grrrr. We waited for the ladies to finish and for the building to drip dry for a while, and carried on.

After eating our oatmeal and packing up, we set off in the rain back to the last sign we had passed pointing to Lacanau-Ocean, our nominal target out on the coast and place to begin the Velodyssey path north. We found the sign and followed it until a further one, which claimed the bike route would be closed until February 2014. However there was a Lacanau-Ocean detour sign, somwe followed that. That was the first and lasf such sign we saw. After about 2 km, we went back to the camping to start again. We went to the route closed sign and decided to see how serious they were about that. We went around the sign and on for 2 km, before arriving at a really totally seriously impassable mess. We sent a scout through, and satisfied ourselves that there was no way. So we returned to the camping to start again.

Can you really believe them. In this case, yes!
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Now that we had seen where and what the obstruction was, we plotted a way around it. This detour was at least 5 km. By the time we actually got on the path to the coast, we had rung up 20 km on our bike computers. Time wasted - 2 1/2 hours. Thanks for the non-signage bike path people! (and campground people).

It took 20 km to find this sign.
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Thanks for the big welcome back.
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Once we actually got on the trail, it turned out to be the same dreamy rail trail that had lead us to Bordeaux. This time though, it was even straighter and flatter. One other difference was that rather than run through interesting vineyards, the thing ran through managed pine forest. So that was 50 km of straight nothing but forest.

That is not quite accurate. The trail did pass a few towns and one could easily turn off to look for services. We did that, at St Medard en Jalles, and found a man BBQing chickens by the roadside. He cut one up for us, and it was really great. Together with some pastry from down the road, it was as good as at our expensive Bordeaux restaurant, and 1/5 the price. At the BBQ we also met Catherine, who though born here had parents from Togo and Guyana, and spoke English. She is a teacher and might find some teaching opportunities in our blogs. We hope so.

50 straight km of this
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The rotisserie
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Catherine. (we have some other shots, contact us in the guestbook if you would like to see them)
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An other exception to the "nothing but forest" claim was a hunter, set up by the path, with red outfit and rifle. I stopped to talk to him and found that he was after wild boar. The horn is to call in the dogs. One complement I got from the fellow was inadvertent. After listening to my dumb questions about the prey and the horn, he fixed me with a quizzical look and said "You're not French, are you?"

Trailside heather
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The hunters horn
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The hunter
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The final exception to the "nothing but forest" claim was the fact that the actual trailside was lined with various colours of heather. At first we kind of ignored this, so overwhelming was the general boredom of the trail. But once we got closer to the coast, we left the flats and began to climb among hills and gullies. Here the forest somehow took on a magical aspect. It was the same multicoloured heather, and pine trees, but something in the spacing or the plant mix was different. We began to really, really enjoy being there.

So far we have only seen one of these.
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Heather in the magic forest
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We bypassed Lacanau Ocean and headed up the coast, a bit inland. At Maubuisson, a surprisingly large town in this forest wilderness, we found a small open grocery. Hurray! Among other things, Bonne Maman Raspberry Tartes!

Five more km over hill and dale and we swooped down into Carcans Plage. We know we are at the Atlantic, but have not really seen it yet. Because of the hour, we just went into the campground and set up the tent. Good timing too. A sudden shower hit just after the fly went on. So we are warm and dry for yet another night!

Today's ride: 90 km (56 miles)
Total: 4,837 km (3,004 miles)

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