I introduced myself to Sam this morning, a cyclist who rolled into camp late last night. Sam cycles the same route that Max followed, which meant that the two of us would follow the same path, at least for a few days, So I asked if he minded some company, and we sallied forth.
Sam studies computer science and math in England, and for the summer of his next to last year decided to spend part of the summer cycling. Not knowing whether he would like cycling, he purchased an inexpensive bike, and using the gear he had on hand began his cycle tour. He started out his tour plagued with bike problems (including six punctures!), but everything has stabilized after some cycle shop maintenance. He travels light, and while I can keep up, cycles faster than I.
I had three châteaus in my sights for the day. Sam, being from the UK, the land of castles (and Wales to boot), doesn’t have the same fascination, but humors me by waiting at the bottom of the hill. The first châteaux would have been awesome, from the bits and pieces I could see from behind the wall. Castles being what they are, once you lock one up, further access proves difficult. The second one appeared on the top of a hill. I started hiking up the trail leading to it when the family on the other side of the hill noticed me, and reminded me of yet another reason why I didn’t visit a particular castle – irate French people. I retreated down the path, met back up with Sam at the bottom of the hill, and continued onwards.
Give the success rate so far, the third looked more promising, as the GPS listed the chateaux in Tournon as a museum as well. Sam, distracted by our early conversation, missed breakfast at his usual stomping grounds, McDonalds, so he headed to one nearby while I headed to the chateaux.
The castle extruded from the local rocks. An excellent castle, restored to the 15th century, with the ability to wander freely about, including roof access. Some rooms presented historical information in some detail, the others just a good example of construction. The remaining rooms presented displays of strange modern art. Paint splattered on the canvas. Somewhere visitors could scrawl on the wall, where a local artist would have one of those scrawls tattooed on himself on Oct. 3.
I lagged all day, between headwinds and Sam’s slightly more aggressive pace, and we didn’t pull in until after 7 pm. I also figured out this evening I had done a lousy job today maintaining my overall calorie count. Sam and I had discussed which campground we might stop at for the night. Forecasts for tomorrow evening call for rain lasting 24 hours. We ended up at the one about 105 km from where we started, with a 20+ km jump to the next one, but this puts me in striking range of Avignon, a larger town to hopefully weather out the storm.
Sam gave me his spare spoon.