The aftermath of the rain lingers on. Last night raging winds blustered through the campground most of the night. I worried about rain, even with clear skies, but the morning brought cold weather, not rain. Took longer than usual to break camp, as the temptation to snuggle in my sleeping bag won out. In leaving camp I made the classic mistake of not refilling my water, but realized within 20′ of the campground.
Still with no paper map of France, I puzzled out the course of the Rhone and the cycle path, with the cycle path being 140 km to Lyon, and the GPS clocking in at 70 km. I like a cycle path almost as much as the next guy, but have more traffic tolerance than EV 17, and less tolerance for 2x the distance. I cut across the mountains, holding mostly to smaller roads. I tolerate mountain climbing better in mornings as well; downhill at the end of the day suits me just fine. Hills and detailed mapping across multiple small roads and intersections made early progress slow.
Today I found only one castle/chateaux/ruin today – inaccessible.
The first time this trip I’ve forced my way into a major city without a cycle path, the last 10 km outside of town provided more traffic than I wanted until the outskirts of Lyon, where cycle path lead me into the city. With no nearby camping, and the first hostel full, they redirected me to a second hostel, “up the hill”. Ouch.
They required me to renew my IYH membership, but I’ve been meaning to do that anyway.
Back in June I’d messaged Adrien, a kayaker from Lyon I met several years ago at a kayaking event. I heard back from him on Monday, and with some back and forth messaging over the past few days, managed to meet up with him this evening. He gave me a tour off the town, and we went out for dinner at a salmon restaurant downtown. It was great to catch up with Adrien again. He’s going to find himself a regular tour guide at this rate; only a few weeks ago he hosted another local NC kayaker.
Every so often I hear snide comments about the French, and my experience does not bear those comments out. My secret perhaps? First, the magic of being a cycle tourist. But also not asking people if they speak English and acting like an American. Instead, asking if they speak a little English, and starting with, “I’m sorry, I only speak English”. Makes the world of difference.