Bike Time: Beach Camp To Camp By Stream. - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

April 2, 2014

Bike Time: Beach Camp To Camp By Stream.

I wake up at seven o'clock just as the sun's rays begin breaking over the hills. Seems late for me to be starting the day. Seven means with breakfast and packing everything on the bike or other, I'm not on the road until after eight. Its because of the hour going on. I don't fully understand, nor like the time changing at the end of March and wish they'd leave the time the same all year round. Its just I like to be cycling by seven, but with the time changing, its too cold at seven and the tent is still dripping with condensation. Perhaps I should have left my watch un-changed and keep a kind of bike time.

The morning is mainly climbing until a steep descent to a village called Liano, where I grocery shop and lunch on a grassy rest-place with a vista over a bay. Riding onwards in early afternoon, the road follows a ledge carved into the mountainside, cornicing round flanks and cut through archways in soft brown rock. Then as the road winds down to the next village, I meet the first cycle-tourer in a long time coming up round a bend. A woman from Paris, speaks good English and tells me about her cycle-tour in Ireland when I say where I'm from.

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Early afternoon.
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The road bottoms out in the village of Porto, little more than a hotel and holiday homes at the head of a bay between two mountains. Lots of overseas visitors sit outside a café, some wave as I begin climbing again. Then with my eyes on the road not far ahead of my front-wheel as the road becomes steeper, I follow the curb round a bend to the right thinking this is the way the road goes. If I had of been looking up, I would've seen that the main highway goes straight on. I think straightaway there's something not right here. The road on the map follows near the coast, while this road is going inland, into the valley beyond the head of the bay.

I pass through a village. The only inhabitants I see are two old men sitting outside a house chatting who glance up at me as I pass. Further the road narrows considerably, then there's a "Route Barre 700m" sign. A little way on I see why the road is closed. A landslide. Big chunks of the tarmac are broken off and have fallen down the slope into the valley.

I drawn out the map and see that this road I'm on and now know isn't the main highway I intented taking, is a white road on the map. It crosses the valley ahead where it becomes two parallel lines and squiggles up to the road to Corto. I decide to continue pass the broken up road. A kilometre on I descend and cross a narrow stone bridge. The road onwards then is reduced to a rough stony track on which I'm soon off pushing.

In Porto.
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Crossing the old stone bridge before the road reverts to a rough stony track.
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I double back, back pass the collapsed road and through the village where the two old men are still in the same place chatting. Back on the right road again there's climbing for most of what remains of the afternoon until I sweep down into a gravel wash river valley and cross over a long narrow bridge. At the other side of the river is a turn off left. A smaller road following nearer the coast, which is my goal for the day, as I think it'll be easy to find a place to camp near the shore. But the road remains well up a slope from the shore with the ground either side steep and rocky affording no level clear place for a tent.

The sun has set and it'll soon be dark as I ride quite a few kilometres anxiously looking to the side. But then the road turns into a little valley and descends to an apex bend where there's a stream babbling down. On the bank is an old ruin of a house with enough space within the stone walls for my tent. There is just some dumped rubbish and stones to clear to the side. With the tent up, the stone walls provide a degree of character to my campsite as I prepared and eat supper. That and the tinkling sound of the stream.

Back on the right road.
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They don't make cars like this any more.
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Goats on there way home for the day.
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View from a long bridge.
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Today's ride: 102 km (63 miles)
Total: 13,130 km (8,154 miles)

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