Day Fifty Nine: La Teste to Lacanau Ocean - Grampies Go On Their Knees - CycleBlaze

May 25, 2017

Day Fifty Nine: La Teste to Lacanau Ocean

I fried my tablet in the heat, but stay tuned, some kind of blog coming.

It is always interesting to research things after the fact, like checking to see if you really got the best price on that computer or car, after it has been delivered. So this morning we were watching to see just how far away a decent and cheap hotel would be from the Ibis we settled for.

The answer was 20 km, way more than would have been needed to turn Dodie into a little puddle on the pavement. Of course, this measurement is the distance until a hotel appeared on our track. Had we industriously searched up a hotel on the tablet and headed off route, it would have been closer. But when you can barely even see the screen in the sun, and your brain is also fried, industriousness can be scarce.

For the record, the next hotel was 10 km after that, and for the next 50 km - nothing - at least not on route.

The route itself, sorry to say, started out extremely boring. The designers carefully steered us away from any services or almost anything to look at.

Yes, it was smooth and car free, but it travelled though endless suburban style development.

This changed abruptly as we began to approach Andernos Les bains. Suddenly the veloroute filled up with people of all types. There were a few distance cyclists mixed in, but otherwise it ranged from kids to grannies. The frenzy increased as we approached central Andernosm, where we saw all sorts of parked bikes. The reason for the excitement was the Andernos covered market.

We had already stocked up fully for lunch, courtesy of the Ibis self serve buffet! But we still went into the market for a look. It was your full on French market, with the cheese, meats, fish, etc. but also with more than usual of prepared dishes in woks. In this it was something like Arles.

We realized that at this stage the veloroute was running just parallel to the main street of town, so we nipped in for a look. We found a pedestrian area that was swarming with people, and we found the sea front.

Sea front is a bit of an exaggeration, since her it is the Arcachon basin, and at this hour it was empty. That is, the tide was out and the boats were stranded. Interesting.

We returned to the veloroute, but a new patteren had been established. The crowds of people at Andernos were just a fraction of the hoards that were descending on the peninsula that encloses the Arcachon basin and that ends at Cap Ferrat in the southern portion. People, presumably from Bordeaux, were just flooding towards the beaches along this stretch. The reason (problem) was that today is a holiday in France (Ascension Day?), creating an extra long weekend.

We watched the traffic jams on the road a little smugly, though there was noticeable traffic on our veloroute as well. Finally a turn came for us as we swung north, and the car traffic turned south.

We entered the quiet pine and dune forest and were relieved to be left in silence.

Hah! The cars had secretly snuck up beside our forest, and at every opportunity were parked up solid. That is, the rows of parked cars extended for kilometres. The people from these cars were swarming like ants up boardwalks and onto the beaches and dunes.

Looking at this, we fairly desperately pulled out the tablet to see about a place to stay, such as Lacanau Ocean. Mobile data coverage in this area was thready, but we got the idea - forget it!

We continued on toward Lacanau Ocean, the only real place of consequence in our way.

When we had gone about 70 km, the temperatures of up to 40 began to predictably wilt Dodie. Still we carried on, and finally made a radical course adjustment to keep Velodysee from just sweeping us past the town. The town itself was none too welcoming at first, revealing nothing usable to us - just residential housing and wide roads. But we did come to "downtown", which was rich in restaurnats and ice cream, but no hotels that we could see,

Near the edge of town I put the question to the tablet, and it showed a least a couple not too far away. But again, not too far was more than Dodie could do, and besides she (correctly) assumed they would be full.

So I got sent over to a large caming operation to see about a "mobile home". I had to wait in line with some hoards of people, and when my turn came up, the lady at first said no problem. But she assumed I had a tent. We sent that home, remember?

Otherwise, everything was full. But the lady took a look at me, and embarrassing to say, got on the phone and started calling hotels. "I have a couple on bicycles", she would begin, "very old and very hot and tired". No matter, there was not space in this town.

Meanwhile I was getting worried about having left Dodie parked somewhere down in the road. But wait, the lady said, looking at me with increasing concern, let me make one more call.

so that's how the lady's friend Hazel opened a not really cleaned up repaired and cleared for occupancy mobile home to us, The lady got in her car and drove to show us where Hazel's place was. Uphill. That really just about finished Dodie. But Hazel was not only friendly but English, originally from England. It was very pleasant chatting with her, especially out of the blazing sun.

We realized we had better get onto finding a place for tomorrow, given that all France seemed to be here looking for accommodation. That's when I found that I had left the tablet, on standby only, in my handlebar bag and it had run down its battery and/or fried in the heat. It was burning hot when I pulled it out, and gave its charge as 15% - normally safe. But after being turned off it refused to ever restart again.

So we abandoned and started phoning hotels, near Soulac, which is where we need a ferry to cross the Garronne. We called six before we struck one with a vacancy. (We means Dodie, she has a much better ear for "nous sommes complet" when said over a phone line.)

Anyway am typing this on my teeny phone screen, and right now have little idea about how to put up the photos. Stay tuned, I'm thinking...

Suddenly the bike path filled up with all sorts of people
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The Andernos market featured more prepared food than most
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Lots of interest in sea food at Andernos
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Andernos had lots of people at the shops
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The Bassin is completely drained of water!
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A traffic jam of people bound for the beaches
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These are the beaches to the south that we thought people were mainly going to. It turned out they were spreading out over the entire area
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Many kms of parked cars along the bike route
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Here we enter what we thought would be a quiet forest
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An incredible number of people swarmed over the eighty km beach front
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The outskirts of Lacanau were devoid of anything for us
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Lacanau centre also had nothing for us
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The luxury pool at the camping where we finally found a place for the night
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Dodie and Hazell. Hazell saved the day for us this time.
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Today's ride: 80 km (50 miles)
Total: 2,628 km (1,632 miles)

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