Onesse-et-Laharie to Riviere-Saas-et-Gourby
Sunday 26 October
I awoke easily at 6.30 am, unusual. I had set my alarm for 7.30, and it was still cold, so snuggled back down into my sleeping bag, and checked my emails. By 8.30 I decided it was probably time to get up, as in reality (a place I don’t visit often) I had planned to be on the road by this time, but the overnight frost meant the tent was still damp… I showered, ate breakfast, packed up, and moved the tent into the sun… Then checked the time – 11am! What happened? I looked at my phone – 10am? I checked my iPad – 10am. I checked my bike computer – 11am, and again looked at my watch 11am. Was I in the Twilight Zone? What time was it? Then it dawned on me – Summer time had ended. My phone and iPad had updated automatically. Living in the tropics, where the length of days is more or less constant, it’s not something I consider anymore. As I had a long ride today, I was now worried I wouldn’t make it before dark. I stowed the tent, and quickly left.
The ride was easy, no need for Google, the maps were easy to follow as there was only one main road for most of the day. I tried to make up some limericks as I road, but couldn’t come up with anything decent that rhymed with Camino or Compostella… and ‘Sally’ and ‘Bali’ only rhyme if your say it in an American accent, and that wouldn’t do, so I gave up. I wondered what Adventure would happen to me today, and thought ‘I hope it’s good’.
I was CouchSurfing tonight, and as I stopped for lunch, my host called to say she would be home around d 4.30. I replied that would probably be the time I would arrive, as I wanted to visit a couple of churches in nearby Dax on the way.
From Dax to Riviere-Saas-et-Gourby, I used Google to navigate as the map was not clear, but Google decided to send me on a steep muddy forest path, which was actually quite lovely, but I had to push the bike for most of it. The bike started to make a funny noise – I checked, but couldn’t see any problem. I got onto a proper road again, and it seemed fine. Then when I was one and a half kilometers from my destination, the bike didn’t feel right – I looked down, and the back wheel was wobbling strangely. I dismounted, and looked – I had a flat tyre! A FLAT TYRE? I’ve never had a flat. Ever. And was just having smug thoughts that I was going to make it through France without one. I did however have a lesson how to fix a flat before I left home, but decided as I was so close to my hosts, I would just push the bike, and fix it there. I sent a message to my host, and she came to take my bags so I could unload, and not cause further damage (her car was too small for the bike). She said not to worry, as there was a man at home to fix the tyre. They can be useful sometimes.
I arrived, and her lovely husband quickly mended the puncture. We put the wheel back on, then I went for a spin to check it. Something was wrong. The wheel wobbled badly, and would not spin smoothly. He then checked, and I had broken several spokes. Bugger. I don’t have any spares, so will have to visit a bike shop tomorrow – they said there is one nearby. Hopefully it’s just a few spokes, and I haven’t bent the wheel. With only two to three days to go of my bike ride before I reach Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port where hopefully, I will sell my bike, and start my walk to Spain, it’s most inconvenient. But nothing to be done until tomorrow, so best just enjoy the evening.
And enjoy I did. What lovely hosts! Wonderful warm and generous company and conversation, good food and wine made for a relaxing and entertaining evening, but as Summertime has ended, so must my day. Bonne Nuit.