From Pouylebon to Lembeye (2018-08-10)

How to find the key(s) of life ?!

It is always the best to solve a problem immediately since you then can focus at the next problem haha. Like how to push the bike that 2 x 500 meters uphill from the camping near Pouylebon to get to the first crossing. Another YesTrip was to begin and you will read all about it here. Cows are funny animals. I passed this meadow and heard them talking :

Francoise : Hee Mathilda, any idea where we are going to ?
Mathilda : No Francoise, I'm just following Valerie ! Hee Valerie, were are you going to ?
Valerie    : I walk this track every day because my mother told me to. And just some kilometers later I saw this herd lying in the meadow. Except for Clarice who was standing far apart from the rest. What was the matter ? Their conversation was as follows :

Herd    : Hee Clarice, come back, it was just a joke !
Clarice : I am angry on you all, that wasn't a joke, it was not fair !
Herd    : Oke, we are sorry, but please come back now.
Clarice : No, maybe tomorrow, I don't know. When I passed them I had to admit they were not looking very friendly ! So maybe Clarice was right ?! Especially Sophie was looking as if she would happily digest me too ...

It was another beautiful day in France. But suddenly I was blocked by Amice. He was controlling the his road and the question was ofcourse whether he really was my amice ???

My tactic with dogs is to cycle at the left side of the road if possible. That way my bicycle is between me and the dog(s) if I (have to) step off. This hopefully brings me some extra seconds to save myself if things get worse.

But Amice was not hungry at that very moment ... He slowly stood up, looked another second or two and disappeared to a house. Then these donkeys were there ! I hadn't seen donkeys for over a month so I stopped to have a closer look at them. Ofcourse I stopped haha.

Somewhat later the gps told me to take a small track which however was offroad and fully covered with trees and bushes. Sometimes, although very seldom, there is a mistake in a gps map. It actually isn't a map but a database (which is then presented to humans as a map).

So if a road is wrongly classified by someone (ie tarmac, offroad, highway, tunnel, etc) it will or will not be used to calculate your route or track according your instructions. So that was the case here. An offroad track that was classified as being onroad, so tarmac.

However, the ongoing tarmac road was so extremely steep downhill that I really would not be able to return uphill ... That is, not with the packed OnTheRoad 4.0. And this road wasn't even at the gps-map at all. So I wasn't sure whether I should take this road or not.

I judged the situation and saw houses along that road. And actually had no choice anyway but to take the risc. Then the road behind me I just rode was just a little less steep ... I went downhill at 20kmh with both discbrakes fully engaged !!! It was not possible to ride slower then that, let alone to halt. When I was down the terrain turned out te be flat, that is, almost. Was I happy with that ... Then I immediately had speeds of 15 kmh to 20kmh without much effort. And that brings me a bit more of the feeling that I am on a bicycle journey. I passed an old roman bridge (maybe it is somewhat less old haha) at Labatut - Riviere and had a rest there at the aire (a parkingplace which always has nice extra facilities to relax like tables and chairs, gymequipment, bbq equipment, a watertap, etc). For some unknown reason suddenly the thought came up to me that all is going so well ! That is, with me, the bicycle and all the equipment, and I am really enjoying all days on and off the OnTheRoad 4.0.

However, I had made a mistake in thinking to have flatland like this today. I had not thought about the aspect that this was flatland only because it is a valley with that river flowing through it. And I was crossing it, not following it ... Just some 2 kilometers behind the river the road started rising again ... I had to push the bike up to and through this Porche de la Madeleine from the 14-hundreds or so.

And it were swetty times again ... I passed another "project". You can contact me if you want me to be your estate agent haha. Then I checked the "whole" town of Lascazeres to find something to drink. I succeeded, thanks to the signs haha, but the staff was not very friendly.

The first lemonade was not really cold and the second one was rather warm. The best thing was the wallpainting at the building next to it. They are quite rare but are always so beautiful !

While pushing the bicycle up another hill two young guys in a car stopped next to me. Ca va ? they asked me, is all oké ? Yes it is, this is just my way to do my daily exercise haha. They asked me all about my trip and the bicycle, and then rode off. To halt me 300 meters further on were they were living. The boys, a girlfriend, the mother and there very friendly dog were awaiting me with cold beer and lovely cold water. I was directed to their house and was asked another thousand questions.

It is nice to experience people being interested in my trip, and in the decisions I've made. Unfortunately I forgot to ask for their names and family name. But I thank you all for being so nice to me and offering me that nice cold water ! And I could have become friends with the dog, would he be able to cycle with me ... This is a dog of only 1 out of 1000 or so ...

When I left the mother warned me to watch carefully for the dogs in this area. And indeed, within some 4 kms I was "followed" by at least some 12 very big hip-heigh dogs that were not leashed and came running to and on the road to follow me.

There were also dogs behind fences that were so very agressive that they jumped up almost 2 meters high to the housewall or fence. If such a dog breaks loose I will end up in a hospital ... Every one of them was barking extremely and behaved extreme hostile. I made a longer stop to visit this beautiful little church. And filled up my bidons again at the graveyard. Is water the Key of Life ?

Then I finally reached the last corner on my way to the camping, and happy I was. To find out that there was no camping ... The place used to be a camping and is still presented online as being that. But it is closed a long time ago, and all is dirty and abandonded.

Just the tenniscourt was oké, and 4 young guys were playing there. I had a chat with them and they offered me the only half a liter of water they had available. My only option they told me was to travel along to the next bigger town were I could camp at an aire (parkinglot with facilities).

I was in strong doubt then I did have something to eat but only just 1 bidon with water left. Wildcamping is something that is on my todo list then it will be necessary anyway in the future, it will make for more easy planning and it will save money.

However, I had to little water and those guys confinced me to travel to the next town were I would find a decent way to stay. To be more exact : there obviously was an aire just behind the maison de retraite (eldery home).

That brought me to the idea to disguise myself and ask there for a eldery room for the night, with or without breakfast. But I realised that I am looking way to young to make that believable haha. My real problem however was that I was exhausted More or less, although that is often "just" a mental state. Less mental was that the last downhill to this no-camping was again very steep. So what about getting out of this valley ?

One guy explained me that the road to Lembeye was only a little bit uphill in the beginning and then would be rather flat. I should have known (remembered) that everywhere inhabitants live in areas with mountains and hills they never ride bicycles. Guess why ?

They know how demanding that is (from the age of 10 years or so) and are therefore cardriver all there lifes. They have very little sense for "the facts" of using your own energy to get anywhere (let alone uphill). But I realised I actually had no real option and therefore decided to continue to Lembeye to register myself at the eldery home haha.

It was another nice trip bonus and Lembeye turned out to be the highest point today ... I had managed 63 kms with 724 vertical meters today, a new record. That is, during the YesTrip, then as a mountainbiker I once (only once haha) managed some 1600 vms, which is not really special for this type of activity (but with 40 kgs less luggage ...).

I reached Lembeye at around 1900 hours and did not see the signs of the eldery home. So I first asked a woman for a supermarket to be sure to have some more supplies. And I asked for some place to camp, or for a chambre (room). Despite the situation it then turned out to be my lucky day !

She told me I had one hour left to visit the supermarket nearby. And she told me about a refuge were I could probably stay for the night. I first bought a sandwiche and a 1 liter bottle of cold milk and devoured them within 5 minutes at the parkinglot. This day I only had eaten two croissants au chocolat as a late breakfast ... That is only 1 croisant per 350 vms.

I will make sure to have my own breakfast and/or lunch with me from now on. That is, if there is any supermarche anyway somewhere. And as all the way today, there isn't ...

Although I was supposed to be very close to that refuge I couldn't find it, so I asked again. That lady immediately decided to guide me over there. She started her car, turned on the flashing lights and started riding. Only the sirene was missing haha. Thankfully she drove slowly then again it went somewhat uphill. We saw the sign of the refuge and she searched for and found the pastor. I was very lucky that he was in then he later explained me he handles 41 (!!!) churches all around this region ! He handed me over the keys of the refuge "la Bourdette", a very simple 3 persons shared room. No other pilgrims arrived so I had the whole refuge to my own.

Note: one can always enter this refuge then the keys are available hanging at a screw somewhere in the garden. Use your gps to find them haha ! The pastor was Abbé Jean Plasteig from the church Notre Dame du Vic-Bilh , a very friendly and calm man. And the price ? "You pay as your hart tells you !".

Note : when I left later on he returned me some money while he found it a bit to much ... The key of the church and the ones from the refuge.

The room was fully oké to me. Although simple it offered all I needed : a bed (first time offground since mid of mai), a table and chair and a 2-plate electrical cooker plus microwave. The sanitairy was outside and also oké. I almost immediately decided to stay here about one week since I had everything onhand here and could do a lot of work.

For instance cleaning and re-sorting the luggage, creating lists which will tell me what stuff should go in what bag (...) and process (lots of) pictures. I also had to investigate and research the route I have planned to take. The part to the Atlantic Ocean I have already determined. Within the time it costed me to eat a very nice mussel meal I found a nice route to visit the Atlantic Ocean to try to catch a mussel meal myself overthere.

Big question is if I can avoid the Pyrenees to cross the Spanish border riding ?! And what route to take in Spain and how long will that route then cost me ? When will the campings in Spain close, and do they close ? Will I be able to stay ahead of the winter that will come down from the north ? Then I promised myself not to have any cold wheater anymore in my life. I promised the pastor to make a photo documentary of the Notre Dame du Vic-Bilh here in Lembeye, so I did. The exterior and the interior are very nice and impressive. You can have a look at that series by clicking here. And as usual in France "ils n'oublient jamais", they never forget. Next to that beautiful church there is the local WW1 and WW2 memorial monument. To honour all who were and are fighting for the best we (can) have : Freedom. You find the series about that monument by clicking here : N'oubliez jamais ! And with this apparently simple picture I finish this blog. It has to my opinion exactly those aspects it should have. Those aspects that make you Wonder : What's Next ??? And also : what will I have for diner haha ...

Tring Tring, Tring, Time will tell ...


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