Report # 17, June 12 to 18
MOTOR ADAPTATAION FOUNDATION
WORLD TOUR 2003-2012
EUROPEAN TOUR 2007, May 3rd to July 11th
The following is a brief summary of the teams activities from June 12 to June 18
We are back in Biarritz at the same hotel** as a few days ago. We relaxed, made phone calls, sent E-mails and walked on the lakeshore talking about our nomadic conditions.
Of course we had to get the luggage in the hotel. Lets talk a moment about our relations with the luggage. The difficult part is not to load and unload our Mercedes bus although it contains the equivalent of a 40ft container (it seems). The challenge is to search through to find our things without walking on someones bag with a delicate souvenir stuffed inside. The five of us are to blame for the too voluminous load we are carrying. Aside from our bikes and the tandem each of us has at least four bags excluding those mounted on the front and back of the bikes. At one time in Paris we decided that for safety sake nothing should be left in the car. We loaded ourselves like camels crossing the Sahara and entered the hotel.
Welcome gentlemen your rooms are on the 5th floor. Oh by the way the elevator is out of service, sorry!
You may not know but elevators are not serviced on a weekend, in Paris. We were just coming in from a 100 km ride in the rain and mud. Even Michel, the strongest and bravest of all was slowing down atop the stairs. It would be fair to say that Michel had two bags on his shoulders, his lap top on his stomach and two suitcases in each hand!!
** We found out that our reservations made three days ago had not been registered. No rooms were available. After 1 and ½ hours of calls and cancellations and re-calls the Inn keeper finally located some accommodations (free of charge on the outskirt of Biarritz in Anglet on the wine road).
We leave at 7h10 on our way to Bordeaux 130 km away where we arrived at 13h30.We were hosted by a delegation of the Handisport Federation led by their president Dominique Nadalie. We accompanied them on a short bike ride to their Centers. Other people joined in and we delivered a brief press conference followed by a glass of champagne, wine and a local dish called cannèles bordelais (the recipe is on our French site). We then went to the Chateau Maine-Renaud owned by Chantal Sequillon master winemaker. Didier treated us like ambassadors from a friendly land. With a glass of champagne, Jean can talk peoples hears off. We went to bed quite late.
We visited around and were give the Wine making 101 lectures by Chantal who often sits on wine contest jury. Every one in St-Emillion village speaks very highly of Chantals knowledge despite the fact that shes from another part of France...... St-Emillion is a fabulous town which appears like being suspended from the sky. From there we went to Oléron Island where Ginette and Christian Leymonie (and their German Sheppard New Look) were expecting us.
From Oléron we crossed over toward LaRochelle. Some bicycle friends; Christophe, Bruno, Martine, Michel and a few others led by Christian Rouvreau received us like kings. A huge tent had been set up for the occasion and let the party with seeing beyond continue!! La Rochelle is a charming city showing its long history all over. The Nicholas tower, the tour de la Chaîne, the Harbour etc.
We stayed at Christians and his friends. One of these days well have to tell you about New Look!
Today we are proceeding to Angoulême along with seasoned bikers. We rode 120 km with a good favourable wind. We got to our Inn early afternoon. It is located in a marvellous surrounding but a bit far from any services. We met a fellow from Québec who is spending a couple of months cycling through France to celebrate his 50th anniversary. We had a good chat together all evening.
We also had a surprise visit from Michel and his son. They are French and descendents from a Simard source. They took Clermont to his ancestors place.
Angoulême is the birth place of Françcois 1er. We also saw an old fort dating back to the 100 years war called le chateau du diable (The devils castle).
We spent the day on the road to Limoges going through Montbrun, St-Mathieu and Aixe-S-Vienne...... Due to weather conditions the car had to go back 30 km to pick up the bikers after their 85 km of rather hilly itinerary. The driver felt asleep in a rest area 5 km away from the rendezvous. The bikers had to put on that extra 5 km before getting to the car dripping wet and frozen to the bones. Guess who was the diver? (He wears a pony tail.).... The chain Formula 1 Hotel are good accommodations at a fair price. (90 euros for 5 including breakfast). Theyre not fancy but safe.
Limoges is the home of many handcraft see www.tourisme-hautevienne.com for more details.
With breakfast at 6h30 we were on the road early toward Clermont-Ferrand, 190 km under a variable sky, no wind and no road shoulder eider as usual. At the rest area were our car was waiting Michel, further to a fast morning take off, put on 175 km in 8hours and 29 minutes. His bump is OK but his feet are burning.
At Clermont-Ferrand we were expected by our good friend François Brunet and wife Marie-Claude who keep providing helpful assistance. We stayed again at the Home-Dôme.
Tomorrow we should be accompanied by other tandems with blind people on our way to St-Etienne.
Seeing beyond team.