I had finished all the work I wanted to and it was time to travel on so I left the refuge in Lembeye.
Then downhill I went !
For the first time I had an easy start.
Lembeye is at a high(est) point in this area so the problem I had getting here helped me to get away from here.
I "fell" down with 57 kmh but lost my cap twice due to the wind and therefore had to practice the emergency braking procedure twice. That procedure is still oké then old mountainbikers never die. But it is obvious that I could use a second 20cm discbrake in the front at this 50kg bicycle ...
For your information : not the speed itself is dangerous but getting tears in your eyes because of the wind. Then you don't fall because of the speed but because you missed a stone or hole ... In this area there are less sunflowers on the fields but more grains. And with grain you need these silos as storagefacilities. Harvesting is done by a huge machine like this one (although this is not a cornfield, I filmed this in Cazilhac). The product is stored in the big container at the back of it. When that container is full the machine returns "to base" were a truck is waiting to take the load and transport it to the silo. There it's weight is determined and samples are taken to determine the humidity and quality, and so the price. I enjoyed the easy riding although I was on a wide road with little bon views. Cars passed me at 80 to 90 kmh but they Always gave me at least 2 meters of clearence. In Holland they say that the French drive badly.
I can assure you that under the same circumstances the Dutch would drive far more unsafe. The reason for that is that in Holland bicyclists always have their separate lanes along high(er) speed roads. If that would Not be the case I am sure the Dutch drivers would pass me with far less clearance. As they do in towns ...
Let alone that they would stay behind me to wait for a clear view. As the French Always Do (merci beaucoup) ! However there is 1 exception : Montpellier ... There they drive like in Holland and I had several narrow escapes with cars turning right just in front of me as if I were not there. Anyway, after some time I decided to change to first gear again haha. And because of that I had the correct low speed to see my first animal of the day : a lizard living at and in a warm wall. Warmth that flies also like so much ... It was ready to run, but despite me also looking rather wild it kept looking which gave me the oppertunity to take pictures.
Then I reached the first small road of the day and it was priceless again. Just after some 100 meters I didn't hear the cars anymore. Instead I heard the birds whistling. I stopped to make some recordings but as usual the whistling stopped haha.
At the first farm I was "inspected" again by three big dogs. But despite them not being chained they stopped after some 100 meters. Then I halted at a small bridge were a stream was flowing along a nice garden. When I was grabbing my camera I made a bad move and the camera fell out of my hands. It tumbled down about 2 meters and almost into the stream but then kept hanging in the bushes about 1 meter above the water .... It seemed to be my lucky day again ! The owner of the farm came along and he was in for a chat ... He wanted to show me his garden and started to explain all about the place. From the decease in a certain plant up to the old watermill in the farmhouse. I refused the coffee then I had only just travelled a mere 11 kms being it "already" 11h00, but thank you anyway. After a guided tour of some 30 minutes I "hurried" haha. But disaster striked as I had to stop again. A beautiful French rooster walked up the road just in front of me ! "I am Mr. Rooster, and who are you ?" he said. Oké, oké, I will take pictures of you also. Ofcourse I will ! Then I started pedalling again. To halt again after some 200 meters were this beautiful house was waiting for me to be photographed. How many times did I stop in the first houre ? I don't know, maybe 5 times or so haha.
But it's very simple : almost all I see is worth looking at. And a bit complicated then I notice all ... And that "costs" some time, and brings me far more Time. Quality Time that is ! Then I seemed to be going to leave those hills ?! Flatland was appearing ! In the middle of nowhere a decheterie (garbage centre) showed up and it had a huge field of solarpanels near it. But also many diesel powered garbage trucks waiting to ride out again. "All" those solarpanels however will only serve a very few people, and then only at daytime, and when the sun shines (more or less). Which again made me think how
renewable energy mankind will manage to save our planet ?
Being an (very realistic) electrician, technician and cyclist all my life I don't believe that that idea will succeed.
In the area in the NL where I used to life there is a garbage processing plant "Twence" that brings over garbage all the way from Great Britain. By ships, boats and trucks, the garbage is transported over the North Sea and then some 250 kms across the NL. It's there only way to be profitable ...
And they must be profitable because they are owned by the local governement who just demands profit, money they use to fill there budgets. Since that same local governement determines the prices of the processing of the garbage for the citizens it is obvious that all is oké. In my younger days I have even helped to create that plant, being an engineer in IA technics ...
In the Netherlands they have created climate taskforces (regarding industries, housing, garbage, transport, energy, etc, etc) to come up with good ideas for the energy transition. The only thing they really achieved was to state that they are not willing to pay for any cost related to the subject ...
And apparently in 2017 some 4.1 billion people toke a plane to fly from somewhere to another somewhere. With tax-free kerosine that is.
Save the planet ? Yes you can !
I passed the A65 highway and realised I hadn't seen a highway since I started the YesTrip. I did cross them sometimes but that was always via tunnels, so underneath them. Then I asked myself whether I will ever ride a car again ?
For the time being I am more then satisfied with the roads I cycle and all that I see, discover and meet there.
And I am sure I will be for a long time to come.
And if I have a rest once in a while
maybe that satisfaction will last forever ?
Suddenly I witnessed an exercising of cows, and that was for the first time in my life.
It seemed they were practising a choreography to turn right and left simultaniously ?
I have read before that they are (can be) quite intelligent ...
As usual there were a few cows that refused to cooperate, so this will probably take some more months. I suppose they will perform at some "Got Talent" show in the near future but
unfortunately I don't have a tv anymore.
In Morlanne I made a longer stop.
I saw a beautiful church and a small chateau and I had a beautiful apple waiting to be eaten.
As usual there were no cafes and shops along the route so I had prepared myself by having something to eat with me.
Yes indeed , I am learning, although it was only just one apple ... There even was a public toilet, including one for disabled persons. Since it was a building with very thick walls the water there was very cool. Today I again saw several annoucements about fêtes (feasts) in the villages I passed. August is the month of the national french holidays so there are many of these feasts during those weekends. In a newspaper at a terrass in Lembeye I had read about a feast in Arthez de Bearn were I was heading to.
Risk of that is ofcourse the noise, depending on the location of the campsite. But I have earplugs and they have saved me before haha. Such a feast can be a pleasure to join once in a while, depending on the music they have. And at your (mental) age haha.
Close before Arthez there was a supermarket were I bought a cooled water and a sandwich that I ate there (in the burning sun). When I then continued that happened what I was fearing for. I had already seen a hillside close in front of me. And the gps told me the camping was just 2 kilometers away, so behind that hill. I had to climb a steep and steeper road to get into Arthez. That is, I had to push.
The feast had already begun and I saw 3 man awaiting me at the hill. They had decided to help me to push. I liked the idea of being helpfull but the problem was they all had a glass of beer in there hand, which might not have been the first of the day at 17h00 ...
So I asked them to not help me and did reach the top all by myself. Ofcourse I did haha. Then I had to downhill at high speed out of Arthez to reach the camping at the other side of it. So this would be the standard trip to get anything to eat and drink ... That last road to the camping was some 300 meters long and reaching a 17% down. Problem was that it was also going up a 17%, although that was only at the other side of the road ... So again I was wondering how I ever would be able to leave here again with the packed bicycle. I will check the situation in the gps software in the laptop to see if i can find some detour.
I installed myself at a nice emplacement which had some tables and chairs next to it, plus wifi. There also was a kind of canteen with tv, fridge, a cold soda drinks machine (€ 1,-) and a coffee machine (€ 0,40). I did not visit the feast that evening (and not the following evening either) since I was rather tired, and that uphill of 17% was "hindering" me.
The camping was next to the sporthall and piscine (swimmingpool) and a lot of youngsters were camping wild there. That way they could join the party without having to drive home afterwards. In regions like these youth has not much to do so trick is to visit all feasts in the region, every weekend another one.
However, they did use the camping facilities, and the next day I found out somebody had stolen my sandwich and fruit from the fridge. To bad, also since visiting the supermarket was not a feast with those 150 vertical meters ...
I had a haircut for as little as € 10,- and there I spoke to the maier too. And I had a not so well "plat entrecote" with frites that were looking rather "special" plus legumes (vegetables) that were rather "virtual" while not being there at all. However I was not in the mood for a discussion. Another beautiful wallpainting. Is she running To or From school ??? Maybe she wants to be outdoors and cycle through the hills to enjoy nature and take pictures. I guess she later will be a randonneur too !
From monday morning on I had a very tranquille (relaxed) time here. I had a course at my e-reader "How to do Nothing" part 1. It was time to practice ...
The best thing was that I discovered the
living at the pond next to the camping.
But the next day disaster striked ... For me, but especially for them. A greenteam arrived and destroyed there whole habitat. They mowed everything down to about 1 centimeter "high". You can read all about that by clicking on the above picture or text.
Concerning the dragonflies I wrote an email to the townhall in which I asked them to reconsider there policy concerning greenery activities. I did not get any reaction.
The panorama photo's are here, click them to open them as a poster :
Then it was time again to move further to the west. I will have only one more camping "onshore" before reaching the Atlantic Ocean and am getting a bit enthousiastic to get there. It will be a new milestone for me after some 650 kms riding.
Enjoy your day, your bicycle and Nature !