We awoke safe and sound this morning, myself fitfully rested and Tara, bleary eyed and exhausted. Despite my best efforts to console her overactive imagination, she spent last night half-awake, drifting in an out of vivid nightmares of our stealth camp being invaded by angry farmers out to kill us.
A few weeks ago we biked through Marseilles and agreed for probably the tenth time that we will route ourselves around large cities in the future. As we approached Lyon today we both handily ignored our agreement yet again. Though we navigated our way through the city itself without incident, getting out of the spaghetti-like highway on the other side was a much more trying task.
I don't mind weaving in and out of lanes through city traffic at all. In fact, I think it is a lot of fun and so does Tara! Splitting traffic on the highway however, no thank you. As we were riding out of town on a relatively safe, smallish highway, we were suddenly vulnerable as it turned into a much larger highway. Huge on-ramps appeared to our right. Suddenly the shoulder we were riding along became the middle of two lanes of speeding traffic, one of which ended a few hundred meters in front of us. Trying to dart back to the "new" shoulder before being merged into was pretty unnerving.
We wound up hauling our bikes over a guardrail and bailing out into a suburb, agreeing that a more direct, faster route to our destination was definitely not worth the danger we were putting ourselves in. After our highway riding debacle, the day's roads were much quieter but equally convoluted.
As we approached the campsite where we'd intended on stopping for the night, the route on our GPS appeared to cut directly across a body of water. Right around this time the road we were on ended in a barred horse-riding path. It appeared to go in the same direction as the 'road' on our GPS we decided to push forward, heaving our bikes over some boulders to gain access. Our nicely graded cycle route quickly turned the wrong way and became a gravel path, then a dirt trail, then a bumpy grass clearing and finally nothing more than a small rut cutting through the wilderness.
Our GPS still said the campsite was a few hundred meters away and it was early in the day so we decided to do some scouting, curious to see if we could continue forward to a real, marked, road. We had to push our bicycles together over a few huge hills but we eventually emerged near two large man-made ponds with barges in them that were excavating soil, presumably for the road which was under construction just a few hundred meters from us!
Happy to have arrived on something resembling a road and thankful we didn't have to turn back, we cycled through the construction zone as workers stared at us wide eyed, presumably wondering where we came from or why on earth we decided to take the route we did to get there. Once we made it back to a marked road we found our nice municipal campsite easily and settled in for the night.
With camp set up, I spent an hour or so on the phone with my Dad and then got to work. While I was doing this, somehow, Tara was making chicken fingers a few feet away from me without my knowing. I love chicken fingers so much it probably borders on obsession. I had completely forgotten about their existence in the world until she slid a steaming, delicious plate of them towards me. They were incredible!
One of these days we're going to write a journal entry about all the things we miss from home and diner food will definitely be on mine.
Lastly, if you're reading this Ian and Rachel (a couple from Scotland we met riding a tandem through France), we're sorry we missed you at the bar! We must have gone too late, because when we we went to get the drinks we promised to have with you, you weren't there :(