After the best day to date followed the worst:
I packed up early, left the campsite and sat by the river watching the mist clear and the sun come out over the Pont d’Avignon whilst I ate my breakfast of fruit and yoghurt that I’d bought the night before. So far so good.
According to my map there was a road along the west of the Rhone, but I couldn’t find it – only one going back to Villeneuve, where I had come in, or one gong upwards to Les Angles which I had not found on the map and which just didn’t seem right., so I went over the bridge intending to go back over the next one, which I could see. However when I got there it was for cars only, the next one for trains and the one after that a motorway. I kept following “toutes directions” but never saw the direction I wanted. My GPS didn’t seem to help either and I was going anything from southeast to northeast and just not where I wanred- due south or souhwest, so I eventually decided to go back and take the road to Les Angles – it was probably just a small hill and would come down again soon. I am not usually a swearing person, but after a steep climb of about 1 km. I said “this can’t be right. I want to go along the river, not up the b****y mountain!”. I turned around once more and whenI got to the bottom there was a road going off to the right signposted with where I wanted to go! It was DEFINITELY not signposted in either of the other directions.
By this time I had spent over 2 hours doing 23 unnecessary kilometers (with all the stops for consulting map, GPS etc.) – so much for my early start!
But at last I was on the right road which turned out to be quite busy, so I turned off into a little village for coffee (I’d only had juice wwith my breakfast) and a pastry and worked out a different route along quiet roads. Later in the day I again couldn’t find the road I’d planned and again ended up on a busy one, allbeit with a wide hard shoulder for me to cycle on. After about 13 kilometres it took me to another small village where I sat in the shade by a canal, had my picnic and decided which way to go now.
A man was hosing a restaurant and the pavement in front of it and I went over and asked if I could have a little shower. He looked a bit puzzled and held out the hose. He couldn’t beliee it when I stuck my head under it!
Yes, it is still extremely hot. Thus refreshed I took a nice country lane through the Camargue – so peaceful until at every junction the traffic got more and more and the last run into Le Grau du Roi, which had looked so romantic on the map, was pure horror!
I finally made it to the seaside and high dunes prevented me from seeing the sea! However setting priorities I went to the Touris office asking for a campsite or a room which was not TOO expensive, only to be told that the only one he knew had space – Soleil was 7 kilometres and that not even in the right direction! Also far away from the sea. He tried calling one other, – Eden -, which was ca little closer and had a pool, but no reply. The others wanted € 60 but he would have had to call them too. I said I would go to Eden and if no luck there would go to Soleil, but I was so tired and kept getting lost yet again. I had been practising “je ne peux plus” but when he told me at Eden, that they were full the tears were genuine. He said there was emergency camping just outside, but when I asked if I could come in to use the facilities, he said “no, we are full!”! He then offered me a mobile home for €137 (per night).I finally made it to Soleil at 3 minutes to 7, just before the reception was due to close nd 11 hours after setting off.
After my usual beer, setting up the tent, laundry and shower I found out that the campsite is on a lovely lake but too late for swimming now! I again went for a lovely 3-course meal with some vin rouge and fell asleep at the table!
Tour stats for the day: 124.62 km., 175 m. climb, 8:46 bike time.