Day 22

Thurs 9th May.
Rochefort, Royan and progress on Bordeaux.

I wanted to go into Rochefort, namely because it sounded like a nice place, but probably because it shares its name with a popular super strong Belgian brew. I was using the GPS for this part of the trip and instead of taking me through the town, it took my way past it. This was my fault due to the co-ordinations I put in, but I couldn’t help but blame the machine.
After accidentally skipping the town, I had to keep moving and to get down to Royan. It was in this part of the trip that I lost my Swiss cycling cap. I loved that cap. It was gifted to me from my old boss at Mason & Taylor, Steve. Thanks Steve, sorry I lost it. Damn coat pockets.
I also decided to stop and cook something on the side of the road. Sausages and lentils from a can. It was unsatisfactory and I haven’t cooked for lunch or bought sausages and lentils from a can since.
It felt like it took forever to get to Royan due to headwind again. I’ve said enough about headwinds, but they’re a strange thing. It feels like it’s personal for some reason, perhaps as it’s you, the road and the wind. Like someone or something doesn’t want you to make your goal. Instead you carry on at a snails pace, putting in twice the effort and after a few hours, you’re there.
You usually get a reward of some kind, beyond making your destination.

I didn’t stop at Royan as I didn’t have time. I re-linked with the coast and started pushing south east. This time with the wind on my side, I was able to make good time. I steamed down through this part of France with a good pace.
I was making such progress that I didn’t want to stop. I lost track of time and at 8:30 I had to stop and seriously start looking for a place. There weren’t many good options, so I had to keep moving. Eventually I saw some trees in the distance to my left, as they provide two types of shelter (rain and vision) I opted for them. I had to go through vineyards and then a farmers field of dry mud to get to them. There were no good options, so I just had to rummage through the trees, branches and nettles to make a spot on the floor. There was just about enough space for the tent.
The work was done. I got down, having a good days work in the bag.

I haven’t said anything about my diet yet. I’ve been living off a medley of bread, chocolate, fruit, nuts and snacks in the day and the same thing at night, every night: rice, sweetcorn and canned fish (mackerel preferred, sometime sardines) in tomato sauce. It may not sound appetising, but after a days cycling, putting up a tent and making your bed, it tastes like heaven every night. Wine and beer occasionally join in the fun, but not too often. I’ve had this every time I’ve camped, accept for about four nights. Two when I didn’t have a burner and two when I camped late and ate bread.

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