So everyone has heard all about Howard’s events on the bike, but I hear you cry, what about the support crew?
We all know how Howard loves to share his historical and geographical snippets, but sorry I’m not going to try and emulate his style. I’m taking on the chat and gossip column and I’ve tried to put it together under a few titles, which I hope will give some idea for how life has been over the last fortnight for myself and Alfie so here goes with the first posting.
On the Road
With 13 nights in 12 different places we now have packing up down to a fairly fine art so that as Howard cycles off each morning Alf and I have followed soon after.
We have spent each evening planning, not only Howards cycle route, but my route and the evenings meeting place. We decided that for this part of our trip it is easier to use campsites as I feel less vulnerable turning up there alone and I have a better chance of finding a campsite than small camping car park or Aire. There are plenty of these around but some are quite tucked away and certainly the in the first few days we were aiming for small villages away from the normal tourist tracks.
I have had some very interesting roads to navigate along which seem to vary considerably. I am still trying to get to grips with the French system of classification as there isn’t always much consistency.
Almost all of my routes so far have been on D (Department) roads with the very occasional dual carriageway. This has meant that I have passed through numerous small towns and you suddenly realise what a vast country this is. (In the past most of our time in France has been racing down autoroutes at high speeds with a car full of hot children wanting to arrive at our destination in the shortest possible time.)
I have met tractors almost hourly and few other cars between Monday to Friday. Now I know how France produces so much of its own food. I am not an expert on cows but I didn’t realise what a range of breeds and colours there are to be seen in the fields I pass.
Occasionally I have ended up on a single-track road and given a “pathetic useless female driver” look when faced with an on coming vehicle. It has managed to work so far.
My routes in the van have usually been around an hour to an hour and a half whilst Howard’s have been three to four. This has also meant that I’ve had chance to stop at supermarkets when necessary and still arrive well before Howard. Many of you will be very surprised to know that these are not happening daily! (I have bought some tomatoes but no melons yet.)
More to say later on the subject of Sat Navs and maps!
As today is my first day off from driving I am about to have a chance for a bit of a cycle (Don’t panic its only a kilometre in to the town of Notre Dame de Monts from our campsite)
Part 2 to follow shortly…