Day 33: Dreadlock touring cyclists and smoke - Heidi Ho - CycleBlaze

July 13, 2012

Day 33: Dreadlock touring cyclists and smoke

It’s a funny thing about fences, especially chain link type fences. They hold out a lot of things, like dogs, up-to-no-gooders, and low line drive baseballs, depending on the fence height. But two things they DON’T keep out are noise and cigarette smoke. I know, because there was plenty of it last night on the river, with nothing separating me from the kids who spend their summer nights sitting by the river, drinking, talking, and smoking, but a chain link type fence.

The lack of sleep didn’t help my cold; the cigarettes didn’t help my asthma, which is mild and mainly a non-issue, unless I get a cold, which causes me to cough a lot. It’s a time I’m more sensitive to smoke than normal.

I can’t take another night of it, so I packed up all my stuff and found a quieter campground a couple of kilometers down the road, away from the river. I also decided that I need a hotel to recover from whatever it is that ails me. But there are no rooms in Avignon because of the holiday weekend, so I’m heading to Toulouse tomorrow, a day ahead of schedule.

I forced myself to get out and sightsee. Yeah, I feel like crap, but when will I be in Avignon again? I’ll get better someday, hopefully, and when I do, I’ll be sorry if my only memory of the place is the inside of a tent.

It was a good day to wander around too. There is a movie festival this weekend. I wasn't going to see a movie, unless they let The Trucker in the theater where I can keep an eye on her, but the city was a happ’in’ing place as a result.

“We follow the festivals,” the street musicians told me. “We are working our way down to Africa.”

The group was one of many performing on the streets, but this one was my favorite, they had a great sound. But they weren’t your ordinary street performers. This family of 5, with 3 kids, were also bike tourers. They started in Manchester, England and travel with all their stuff, including instruments and amplifiers. That’s a lotta stuff.

They were good, and call themselves "Universal Dread." One of the kids was a great little dancer. They had great hair! I was hoping they would play more.

“We can’t,” said the woman. “We want to give others a chance to play. But also, if we stay more than 30 minutes or so in one spot, the police come around and chase us off.” They seem to know all the tricks of a nomadic life. Though they were not totally street wise…

“One of our bikes got stolen the other day,” said the woman.

“What!?” I said, immediately sympathizing. I know the feeling from when my bike was stolen. I gripped The Trucker a little tighter. “Where was it stolen?” I asked.

“Over there.” She pointed to a location across the square. “We weren’t paying attention for a few minutes and that’s all it took. When they see a bike, they see a few dollars, maybe a meal. Be careful with your bike,” she told me.

They have three kids and they all ride, traveling from town to town, playing for the money they make on the streets. I wondered what kind of life it would be? Interesting for sure, but hard as well, I would think? I wondered if the kids went to school? Maybe they have another income? It’s hard to believe they can support themselves on what people toss in a bucket. But maybe? I have no idea how much money a street performer can make. Regardless, it was a fascinating encounter.

After that I wondered around some more, There were other musicians at the festival, such as...

I didn’t see anything from the inside. That would have required leaving The Trucker alone, something I’m not willing to do even before hearing about the musicians and their stolen bike, but doubly so now.

To tell you the truth, I don’t really like cities, not when I’m touring, especially when I’m touring alone. The only solution is a hotel room to lock the bike in. I would leave the bike locked in some campgrounds, but not the ones here, too many people milling about.

Still, it was a fun day, wandering around, watching things, and people, and of course, the free performances on the street. I spent half a day there, but by afternoon I was too tired, not feeling well, and returned to the campground for a nap, which I only attempted because it is too hot and humid.

I’ve got my ticket for the morning train. I am SO looking forward to my hotel room in Toulouse tomorrow night!

Here is another song by "Universal Dread". They played this song in Avignon, too, but I didn't record it. I found it on youtube though, recorded by someone else at a different time and place. It's a cool song...

It seemed there was a poster for every movie being shown at the festival. There were a LOT of posters.
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I kind of wanted to see the movie on the right but they wouldn't let my bike in the theater. I was going to tell them to F#ck Off, for treating The Trucker like a second class citizen, but realized they would have thought I was talking about the movie, so I left quietly.
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This woman wasn't happy about me taking pictures, of her pictures, and chased me away.
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Sushi delivery? Cool!
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This guy didn't care if I took pictures, of his pictures. Maybe he just didn't see me?
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A river view of Avignon
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Today's ride: 32 km (20 miles)
Total: 3,089 km (1,918 miles)

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