Direction

Yesterday, I scanned around Arles – I read they have a little tour of the places Van Gogh painted – there’s a reprint of the painting, right next to where he might have stood.

This was sort of fun, but there really were only two places that actually still exist that you can see – the rest of the spots are seriously, in front of a tree, which hides an intersection, on the other side of a big store full of dumb stuff no one wants – or, there’s one of the river and the painting is a bridge, but the bridge is long gone (same with his house)

Arles has sort of an identity crisis – it tries to be the van Gogh thing, it tries to be medieval, it tries to be Roman, AND it tries to be contemporary. I had a headache, but found a quiet enough campsite and got a much deserved and needed rest. Felt a lot better in the morning.

For whatever reason, I’m not uploading pictures today. Tomorrow, though, I will.

I made a decision to curtail the Rivera for some pretty good reasons:

It’s getting hot and humid and that cute sounding, “Minstral” wind is quite hard to cycle in. To give you an idea on how hot it is, yesterday was overcast and I still managed to get sunburnt.

It’s also high tourist season and EVERYONE wants to go to the Riviera. It’s going to be packed. A headache. If Arles is any indication, it’s not going to be fun to cycle in. These towns weren’t really designed for the amount of people that are in them – imagine Disneyland in the middle of your downtown, AS WELL AS the parking lot to Disneyland in the same area, and you get a good idea on what’s going on. It’s sort of hilarious, unless you’re tired and then you just want to lay down and wait till morning. Cycling out of Arles, north I saw about 20km of straight traffic trying to get into Arles.

And, I’m sort of running out of time. So! Another trip, one outside of the high season, where it’s not as warm and not as crowded. I think doing Italy on the same trip (all of Italy) would be fun as well. The only thing I regret is not seeing the Marc Chagall museum in Nice and getting into Italy – Lucca, the town my Grandfather is from is WAY off the charts for me. Like I said, it’s a whole ‘nother trip.

So, what instead?

North! Into the mountains, to a little town called, “Le Bourg d’Oisans”, which sits on the foot of the famous, Alp d’Huez.

So, a few days of traveling to get there and a few days to hang out and ride some pretty rides, for the love of riding a bicycle.

After that?

Well, I got a tap on the shoulder from a friend of a friend who lives in, of all places, Basel, Switzerland (or is it, Germany? – France, Germany and Switzerland sort of collide, right there) and he’s offered a warm bed and a roof. Basel is close to Strasbourg, which is on my radar (that crazy alterpiece that lives in a museum – must see), so I may just take him on that offer. After Strasbourg, it’s onto again, Paris! but let’s not get ahead of oneself.

Sadly again, I may have to nick out Ireland as a place to play, as I’d like to take a little bit of time in Paris. Again, my eyes are bigger than my mouth. If you see me in person, you’ll see, I do have big old eyes 😉

Anyways, my back wheel is on it’s last… legs. I just been to the third bike shop about it. The first said, “Ah, you need this part, but I don’t have it”, the second, in Avignon I don’t think… repairs? bicycles – or he didn’t want to repair mine and pointed me to Orange, where I am now. The guy at Orange said, “It’s internally destroyed” and was happy to sell me a new pair at some incredible price. The bike wheel of the pair he wanted to sell me had 20 spokes. I need something with 36, so that’s a no go.

So… there’s about 1 or 2 big towns before I’m lost in the Alps. I’ve done teh Googles and there’s a Decathlon and a bikeshop about the same address away and if one of them can’t get me a new back wheel, the other will. I am sending the old wheel to the bike shop back home with a, “ne marche pas” note – I do believe the manufacturer has a guarantee, so at the very least, I get a new wheel I can Craigslist (’cause, I don’t want it)

Anyways, wish me luck! My legs are a lot better after that short, 80k day of no hills yesterday and I feel fine. One of the problems here IS eating enough. Restaurants are expensive and not open all the time, supermarches are crowded and hectic AND close at 19:00, nothing’s open on Sunday and I’ve found my usual, “in emergency” foods aren’t available here. For example, Peanut Butter. Peanut Butter – the cheap fuel of choice for millions of cyclists the world over is a rarity in France and about 3 euro for a very small jar of. I haven’t actually bought any.

I HAVE bought about a jar of Nuetella about every day. It’s nutritional content pales to Peanut Butter, but goodness gracious if it ain’t frickin’ lip smacking good.

Anyways (again), wish me luck!