Port-la-Nouvelle - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

November 27, 2018

Port-la-Nouvelle

Before we leave town this morning, let’s clear up a bit of confusion.  Keith noted yesterday that I don’t know my chateaus from my cathedrals, and that there are no plans to give away the unfinished cathedral as a Christmas stocking stuffer.  He’s right, of course.  They’re so close to each other though, and practically connected, that it’s easy to think of them as a package.  A simple error, that anyone might make.

This is the Narbonne Cathedral. Note the absence of gift wrapping. It’s not being given away this year, apparently.
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This is the Narbonne Chateau, with the cathedral behind and to the right of it. Actually, it would be great if they gave it away. Think how great the view of the cathedral would be then!
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The plan for today is to bike to Lagrasse, a village in the hills northwest of here.  We plan to stay two nights there and take a day ride further into the hills before heading back down to the coast.

This looks like a pretty terrible plan though, as it turns out.  Yesterday was quite windy, but today is very windy - 20-30 mph with gusts to 40, and blowing in from the NNW.  Lagrasse is straight upwind.  And it’s sunny but still pretty cool - a high of 55, before considering the wind chill.

Hmm.  What to do, what to do.  Should we bike 35 miles uphill and into the face of a strong, cold wind; or 20 miles downwind to the coast, with an afternoon walking on the beach?  A very difficult decision, but Rachael makes an excellent point by observing how disappointed she was yesterday to miss taking a video of her ride across the waters.  Her camera battery died midway through the ride, and she’s been moaning ever since about the lost footage.

So, the coast it is.  First though, let’s head back to our new favorite cafe for another slice of its excellent quiche!

No song and dance accompaniment this morning, but still worth the walk over here.
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We find a better way out of Narbonne this morning than we found in.  We avoid the busiest roads for all but a few hundred yards by taking a very small parallel road I’d missed before.  It works well for us, other than for an unfortunate quarter mile gap when it disappears for some reason and forces us to carefully portage through the mud at a low point.  I’ve no idea why I didn’t take a photo of this, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.  The mud gunks up our tires pretty good, but a few miles later we come to the flooded road and they get a good bath.  And Rachael gets her video, which you should be sure to watch today.

We passed through the used clothing market on our way of town. You’d think that somewhere in here there’d be a pile of belts, wouldn’t you?
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Bages, which we passed by yesterday going the other direction
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Looking across Etang de Bages to the outskirts of Narbonne
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I know he’s not centered well, but I was thrilled to get the whole bird.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesWow, all but the left toes.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesWell, yes; but they’re at least in the frame. Usually I get a head and a bit of neck, or a wing.
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2 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonActually my comment was intended as high praise. You really did get most of the flamingo, not at all an easy feat.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesIf I’d said that, Rachael would accuse me of making a dumb joke again; so I’ll just point out that I did get the easy foot, but not the hard one. And thanks!
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2 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyOne of the best flamingo action shots I've seen!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyI know. I still can’t believe this worked. I barely had time to focus. Great job, camera!
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2 weeks ago
Disapproving parents?
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The water is down a bit this morning, which surprised me. I thought it was breaching the road because of the high winds, which are stiffer today. Maybe the water level has dropped a bit since then.
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The last fifteen miles are more or less flat as we skirt lagoons along the coast.  For much of the way we’re going straight downwind, and an occasional gust feels strong enough that we might go airborne.  We congratulate ourselves on chasing the right plan for the day for a nice change.  If we were biking the other direction, we wouldn’t - we’d probably still be moving toward the coast, blowing in reverse.

We arrive at the outskirts of Port-la-Nouvelle at about one and find a cafe for a light lunch (actually, not as light as it should have been - I have the plat de jour, a massive serving of lasagna; and Rachael has an even huger salad) before biking on to our hotel.

Our hotel is right on the beach.  It’s a beautiful day, but still very windy.  You’ve all been to the beach on beautiful windy days, so you know what that’s like.  You don’t need me to describe it, so I’ll just add some pictures and leave you until tomorrow.

North of Sigean, we collect our long aisle of defoliate plane trees for the day.
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Looking through the fence for a free peek at the Sigean African Safari. We’ve been discussing whether to bike South Africa, but this is much more convenient.
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Can this be good for the vines? Don’t they get root rot?
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On the beach, Port-la-Neuvelle. Actually, Rachael are either twenty feet apart, or a half mile. We’ve wandered separately and find ourselves on opposite sides of a channel. Rather than have one of us stand around in the cold until we can reunite, we keep going our own way and won’t see each other again for two hours when we return to the hotel.
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Here’s the channel that separates us. I could just roll up my pants , take off my shoes, and wade across to join her, of course. But not today.
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You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows, a wise man once said.
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Not much competition for the best spots on the beach today. We’ve got our pick.
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I must say, this does look like a lot of fun.
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Jen GrumbyI think the Bike Fridays (Bikes Friday) would look handsome with sails attached.

I can just see Rachael's video of you catching your first wind lift assist. You'll put Mary Poppins to shame!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyOoh, what a concept! We’ll keep that in mind when the next gale runs through.
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2 weeks ago
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There’s a huge view of Canigou from the beach here. You can’t see much detail with the sun behind it, but it does look like there’s a bit of snow. We’ll look again in the morning.
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Surprisingly, for all the time we’ve spent near the sea this fall, we haven’t seen that many sunsets.
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Ride stats today: 23 miles, 1,200’

Today's ride: 23 miles (37 km)
Total: 2,864 miles (4,609 km)

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