Good Morning to everyone at home, good afternoon to everyone we’ve gotten to know in Europe.
Time slipped by since the last time I posted on here. It did not feel like nearly two weeks, but I realized yesterday that it had been that long.
I woke up in my hammock at the campground in Avignon. As usual, Henry was still snoozing and William was up working on editing some photos or videos in his tent.
I took a shower and got all refreshed, then I got on my bike and set out to get some gas. I can home two hours later with a baguette, some yogurt and a camp chair. I didn’t find a gas can compatible to my stove even after checking two outdoors stores and a big grocery store that I was told would have gas.
I got back to camp without gas but I was still pleased with myself for finding a good camp chair that I could use in the evenings to cook with instead of sitting on the ground.
We left camp as a group around 1 to explore inside the castle walls of Avignon. We walked up a stair case and we were able to reach the top of the castle walls and look over the whole city.
Avignon was laid out Paris, with a bunch of little narrow streets with housing and streetside shops in the walls off the sidewalk. We spent a few hours there exploring the city. William took a lot of photos and then we ate some food and made our way back to camp. Henry and I went back into the town to hang out around 8 that night but we couldn’t convince William to stretch his bedtime.
We got out of camp at 10 am and biked towards the threatening form of a single big mountain in the distance.
Fast forward 2 hours later we’re biking up a horribly hard hill. Henry and I in our granny gears and William behind us walking up the hill. We had mountains all around us. Just on the edge of the alps
We got to camp at 4 we set up all our sleeping gear and showered off our sweat after our mountain teasers and then got dinner going. I made us tacos per Williams request.
When we started eating we were immediately swarmed by these three chickens who ate everything we dropped. It was kinda weird that the chickens were eating beef, but I guess we just flipped the food cycle.
After dinner Henry cleaned up the dishes and William and I snuggled up in my hammock and watched the newest episode of a TV series we had started at his cabin in Northern MN about a year and a half ago.
We were weary of our maps after spending a long time on a highway yesterday, so Henry downloaded an app called BikeMap and we set a course for Crest FR.
Henry’s map program turned out to be really useful. We spent the morning on a bike trail along a canal and then we moved onto small quiet roads through farmland for the rest of the day.
The camp spot we chose was 3 miles outside of the fairly small town of Crest at the base of a mountain range. There were two big mountain rivers that joined just at the end of the campground.
We stayed here for two nights due to a huge storm that came through.
The next day, still at the campground outside of Crest, it didn’t rain after noon ish so we walked around the area we were in. I found a small waterfall just up the river from where we were at and then I spent the day on the beach of the big river.
A very chill day. Sleeping in, walking up and down the river, not too much to report.
Here’s where the week got fun.
We started mountains today. I woke up feeling pretty sick, the bug that Henry and William got had finally spread to me. But I woke everyone up and told them that I thought we should climb a mountain. Our route at the time had us bypassing the mountains, but I wanted to go up one just to say I did it.
I asked their opinions and got the classic response from both of them
Henry: “Yeah I don’t care we can do whatever”
William: “Um I’m going to need some time to think about it”
So over the next hour I asked William what he thought until I just ended up saying we were doing it.
So we started towards Die FR. The plan was to camp somewhere in the city of Die and then continue onto our route the next day, but 20 miles or so into the day we summited our first, very small, mountain. Henry and I made it to the peak called Col De La Croix and sat down to wait for William.
William is usually last up mountains. He starts fast, then we pass him, then he takes breaks, but he’s always up there a couple minutes after us. This time was different though. William made it to the top a good hour after us and when we asked him what took so long he told us he had spend 30 minutes in the woods after his drone crashed into a tree and plummeted into the thick woods on the side of the mountain.
So when he got up there we waited for him to fix the drone and then we regrouped. William said we should wild camp at the top of a mountain tonight. And you know me, I always want to wild camp so I was up for it for sure. Henry didn’t care. So that was the new plan.
We got to Die with no real plan of what we’d do. We went to the grocery store and got some dinner stuff and then I pointed at peak and said let’s go there.
Immediately I regretted choosing that peak. The only roads up there were long steep loose gravel roads. I got to the top thirty minutes or so before Henry and I was so sweaty from pushing myself as hard as I could in the heat to summit that mountain. I smelled so bad but we had no shower, only the water in out water bottles.
I found a nice grassy camp area for us and then I made myself a sponge bath with a nalgene of warm water, some dish soap and my bandana.
By the time William made it to the top I was naked in the woods, but smelling nice. Needless to say he was pretty confused.
I encouraged Henry and William to do the same but they did not. I set my hammock up in the woods then started cooking (with my new camp chair)
We had some very tasty camp meals up at the top of the mountain as we watched the sun go behind the mountains right in front of us.
Warning: nights on the mountain are very cold. They were bearable for me Because I’m a heavy sleeper, but Henry told me he was up most of the night.
That morning William asked if we could stay another night there because his legs were sore from mountain climbing. it was fine by me because the mountains were so pretty.
I ended up being the only one who took a rest. William spent nearly all day biking up and down the mountain looking for water for us and Henry walked down the mountain so he could go to the store.
I spend most of the day in my hammock and working on my bike a bit. By the evening the sky was clear and the weather was a little brisk, so I got some warm gear on and finally started my book as I sat in my chair and looked over the city of Die.
I made pasta for William and I. Henry was still at the store and didn’t end up eating what I made him. That night was so beautiful with the sunset and the stars and William took amazing photos of the scenery.
We started biking again towards Grenoble. We biked down the gravel mountain into Die and then up an even bigger mountain. This one was paved but it was 20 miles and easily Tour De France level. The peak was called Col de Rousset.
I got to the top and made myself and Henry some tea while we waited for William to join us.
The other side of the mountain was another 10 miles down hill, but by now we were at almost 4000 feet so it was so cold going down. We ended up in a mountain valley at 2100 feet and spent the night at a campground there. Since we were surrounded by mountains we lost sunlight around 6PM so we had to cook dinner in a barn for heat. William made some delicious fried rice.
Henry and I had to sleep in our tent because of the cold and I told William to put his rain fly on to help with cold. He did not do that.
Henry and I talked over dinner about whether or not we should go to Geneva. I argued that it would be too cold and expensive and Henry said it would be really cool and we could eat spaghetti and go to ikea and go to the night scene.
That night was so cold, I woke up at 3 am and could sleep so I decided that I couldn’t join Henry and William to Geneva if they went because I didn’t have warm enough gear.
I woke up to a text in the group chat from William saying the same thing I decided to myself at 3 am, that he would have to bike alone and he didn’t have warm enough gear for Geneva.
I got out of the tent to go lay in my sleeping bag in the barn for extra heat at 8 am. It was till dark because of the surrounding mountains.p and I saw Williams rain fly poorly set up and I assumed he set it up late at night to try to get warm as I warned him.
After laying in the barn for half an hour or so William came in all bundled up and we made breakfast.
We woke Henry up for breakfast and told him that we weren’t going to Geneva but he could if he still wanted to. He decided it wasn’t worth leaving the group, so we decided we’d go to Grenoble from there which was 40 miles away.
We also decided we’d need to take a train into Italy from there because the alternative is going over the alps in the rain.
I bought us train tickets at lunch for Oct 2 to Turin, Italy
The bike ride to Grenoble was beautiful. We started by going down then up a mountain, then we rode on a trail through a valley and stopped for lunch in a little mountain town. The last 10 miles were down a mountain into Grenoble.
We had a hotel in Grenoble for the couple days until the train. I showed up first and got us checked in. It was a nice room. We each got our own beds. The shower was in the middle of the room, at first it was weird to me but then it was just funny.
We all kind of did our own thing today. William spent the day in the room editing, I walked around the area of our hotel and went to some stores, Henry did the same.
I realized it was our last night in France. We had been in France since August 21st. So we went out for one last night in France at 8 or so. We got dinner at a Kebab place and then we found a cool dance joint.
Me and Henry danced together in the big room and William stood there. He said he was trying not to have a sensory overload and black out. It made for a very funny video though.
I woke up and got hotel breakfast then we fugitives our bikes packed up to go to the train station.
We got there early enough for us to take out bikes apart and also watch interstellar.
Then we said goodbye to France and watched the Mountains fade away.
We got to Turin at 4. It was weird to not see French everywhere. Italian sounds so different. I don’t know what to look for at stores anymore, but I’m excited to learn.
2 thoughts on “Sept 23 – Oct 2”
Thank you for sharing.
Great stuff here! We are all really enjoying following along with you all. Another good routing site is cycle.travel I think it’s pretty good at avoiding major roads, and unpaved roads as well.