Day Fifty Eight: Gastes to La Teste de Buch - Grampies Go On Their Knees - CycleBlaze

May 24, 2017

Day Fifty Eight: Gastes to La Teste de Buch

Pierre put togeher a very creditable breakfast, with fruit salad, homemade yogurt, croissants, orange juice, and so forth. The only thing lacking to make it the equivalent of a German one was cheese, and egg - i.e. the main protein bits. But there was one German like touch, square seeded buns of reasonably dense bread. I commented on this to Pierre, saying that bread like that seems hard to find in France. He proudly revealed that his source is the Intermarche in nearby Parentis en Born, and that the breads come frozen and pre-cooked. They were amazingly good.

Pierre displays his Intermarche sourced excellent breakfast buns.
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With a stronger than usual breakfast we set off in good shape. The route passed first by that very same Intermarche, with a Super U close by as well. Faced with the opportunity of taking on board unlimited foods and treats we decided that we actually could not think of anything we really needed.

It is interesting that Parentis mentions its status as a stage on the Camino
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The Intermarche in Parentis. Normally we would be thrilled to have one of these fall across our track, but for some reason (probably Pierre's big breakfast) we did not feel like stocking up. It kind of cost us later.
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Another unique church steeple, in Parentis en Born
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So we sailed on north, weaving in between two large (for France) lakes - Biscarrosse and Cazaux-Sanguinet. (Some combination of all these names, in various orders are found on various maps of the two lakes). Between the two lakes is the town of Biscarrose and over to the west, between the lakes and the sea is Biscarrosse -Plage. But we really did not see much that looked like a town. I think the Velodysee carefully keeps us away from such things. We did see the Cazaux lake, and lovely it was.

This man stopped and chatted for quite a while. He is from Paris - near Versailles, and actually has a season's pass to the chateau. He took the TGV to La Rochelle and is just cycling to Bayonne. He has cycled La Loire a Velo three times, and had lots of advice about how best to return from the Loire to Paris. We enjoyed talking, specially becasue the Paris accent is the easiest one for us to understand.
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A good representation of our path this morning
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At a roundabout near Biscarosse, a monument that recalls its aviation past.
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Biscarosse was a centre of seaplane development, starting in 1910.
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The lake is beautiful, but then all lakes are beautiful
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One view of the north lake
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We went from Gastes to Parentis and then cut between the two "geat lakes" over to the sandy coast.
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Tomorrow we will leave La Teste and continue up the coast until in due course we reach the Garonne. Note the major city of Bordeaux over to the east.
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The route then headed up the sea coast, past beach and dune land. We had left early to avoid the predicted heat of the day. But by about 1 it was pretty darn hot, and we were getting tired. I had a headache, and carefully drank a lot of water, since I recognize this as a symptom of dehydration.

The route marking is not always perfect, but there is generally someone graciously prepared to share their knowledge.
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More advertising about how the pine forest is managed. Whatever they are doing, it seems to be working out because both tourism and forest production are being supported here.
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A sign advertised a creperie 200 metres to our left, over at the beach called La Salie Sud. We decided to go for it, and did arrive at an isolated restaurant that seemed like it could do the trick for us. We asked to sit inside, in the deep shade, and that was ok. Except the staff, comprising one boy and one man proceeded to basically ignore us. We did get a cafe of water after a while, but I needed to get up, find the man, and tell him we were ready to order. Even that did not produce any service. So we just got up and cycled away.

The next beach area with a chance of offering some food was called Le Petit Nice. By now our previously flat veloroute had thrown us some medium long and quite sharp hills. The turn for Le Petit Nice was at the end of a long hill, and from there we would have needed to descend to the beach area. We decided that crawling back up was not on, so we dug into our food bag and retrieved a package of cookies. We ate half of those with coffee and hot chocolate still in our thermos's from morning.

Next up along the coast line was something called Dune du Pilat. This is a giant - long and high sand dune, the biggest in Europe. It seems to extend for at least 4 km. Along its length, various camping operations have the area fenced off. But I did manage one snapshot through the trees. At the north end there is public access, and for all we knew, food! But with the sun, continued hills, and now head wind we were getting too run down to look at sand, or even to search for food. Instead we stayed on our track and veered inland. The track needs to do that, to go around a huge bay called the Bassin d'Arcachon.

The Pyla dune seen through trees
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A telephoto shot of people way up on the dune
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A fairly clear view of the Pyla dune. It is 100 metres high. It advances inland several metres per year, eating forest and any buildings in its way. I is said that almost one million visitors come to see it annually.
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Earlier in the day, when we were still cool and fresh, we had scoped out possible end points and place to stay. The first was an Ibis, at La Teste de Buch. Dodie had pooh poohed this, both because it was Ibis and because we clearly could go farther.

But before we even reached the Ibis, I could see Dodie had had it. Too much heat, too many hills, too much wind, no lunch. I pulled us into Ibis, but when Dodie saw the 95 euro price, some of here old spark returned and she was ready to bolt. I negotiated the price to an also excessive 80 euros, and we called it a day.

Dodie was of course right about Ibis. Our room has nothing at all special, and the bathroom, for example, looks like it was prefabbed in the same factory that makes these things for airplanes. If we are going to have to stay in hotels, we much prefer old and/or Ma and Pa places. Better luck next time.

The next couple of days will offer more beach side cycling. When in shady pine forest, that will be great, but out in the sun - not so much. Soon enough we will cross the estuary of the Garonne River - the river that runs by the nearby big city of Bordeaux. Beyond that are the very interesting towns of Rochfort and La Rochelle. But that is jumping ahead. Right now we need to do some serious resting, all the way until morning.

This photo is deceptive because it was meant to show a steep sand bank with tall pines growing at the top. I took the shot to show that we were cycling beside tall dunes (and not in forest shade)
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Today's ride: 61 km (38 miles)
Total: 2,548 km (1,582 miles)

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