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Long Lunch

by Tara

Getting up early has not been our strong suit lately, and we slept through our alarm again this morning. We're pretty fast to pack up now, though, so it wasn't really a big deal. Slightly more bothersome was that Tyler's tire, which he thought he fixed last night, was flat again this morning. As he tore apart his bicycle for the fourth time, I packed our things and got breakfast ready, which was a simple affair of bread, spreads, yogurt, and fresh fruit. Finally satisfied that he'd fixed the problem for good, we we ate our morning meal and took cleansing showers to start the day.

Dries & Jone

Before we left our simple, relaxing municipal campsite, Dries and Jone came to give us goodbye hugs. We thanked them for their kindness and coffee, and they waved and wished us many happy and safe adventures as we cycled off. The morning air was fresh and we were surrounded by lush green mountains as we whizzed quickly along, happy to be on a valley road with a slight downgrade. We rode downhill for kilometer after kilometer, slowed down only by a fierce headwind that provided some welcome relief from the heat of the sun.

Mountain View

Biking with mountains to our right and the Rhone on our left, we peered down to watch kayakers and canoers in cumbersome neon life vests navigating the fairly low river. The less sporty folk looked much more at ease simply floating along, slouched with their feet sticking up on the side of their inner-tubes. I was a little jealous of their effortless meandering in the water, but got over it quickly as today was some of the easiest riding we've had thus far. Several times I passed Tyler when I thought he was biking too slowly—it felt so good to go fast! Other bikers had the same feeling, apparently; we crossed paths with many club cyclists, a couple other tourers, and a family out for a Sunday bike ride. Either direction bikes were headed, they couldn't go wrong today—heading west, the road descended, and going east, the slight uphill would be made easy by a strong tailwind.

Mountains & Fields

Before we knew it, we had cycled 32 kilometers and it was time for lunch. Tyler found a nice shady roadside "aire" with picnic benches and I unveiled our feast: a massive sandwich I made yesterday, stuffed with salami, cheese, and onion, and then our usual "snacky" foods—dried fruit, peanuts, fresh fruit, and chocolate.

Aire de Pont d'Espenel Massive Sandwich

Our spot was so nice that we ended up staying for a couple of hours. Tyler laid on the ground with a walkstool under his head for support, and started in on our newest book—Stephen King's The Gunslinger, while I worked on our journal entries. Journaling every day can be a lot of work at times, but we both enjoy the writing process a lot. "They" say that the key to becoming a better writer is to write every day, so we're certainly getting some good practice!

Tyler Journaling

After an hour or two of lunching, reading, and writing, we hit the road again. The second half of the day was a little tougher for me and I worked hard, huffing and puffing to keep up with Tyler. No matter, we had soon covered our 55 kilometer goal and began looking for a campsite. Instead, we found a McDonalds where stopped to upload photos, and of course, purchase our favorite tasty treat—a sundae. When we looked online for nearby campsites, we didn't find anything too terribly close. There was an unverified listing 10km north or a nice looking "sure thing" 10km south (the opposite direction of our current destination). After investigating some other options and asking locals to no avail, we set off, a bit dismayed, to the campsite south of us.

Nuclear Power Plant

Leaving the mainly flat, nicely paved main roads we went winding around the countryside, passing apricot trees and signs advertising pottery studios. Neither fruit nor crafts could tempt us now, so strong was our desire to be "home." Tyler counted down the kilometers for me, and slowly the number dwindled, until finally it was merely a fraction of a kilometer. At the entrance we met two large vans with Netherlands license plates towing their respective caravans, trying to make the sharp turn into the gravel driveway. We wheeled in quickly and efficiently on our bicycles.

The main reason we headed south instead of north was for the internet access listed as an amenity at the campsite. We thought would could take a rest day and Tyler could get some work done. Unfortunately "internet access" wound up being an old computer in the corner of reception that cost 6 euro an hour. Slightly annoyed but happy to home anyhow, we settled in, squished between hundreds of Dutch campers, and made plans to ride north tomorrow.

Now we are camped under some cherry trees by a nice little stream watching Lost, talking to my parents and grazing through our food supply.