When I got to Thibaut’s place the next day, he told me about the bike tour he had done with his brother across the US. His trip took a little more than two months to go from New York to San Francisco. They had done it using their mountain bikes with slick tires and a one-wheeled Bob trailer. This set-up now seems to me the best way to travel by bike. I like my road bike for the speed, but the brakes suck and it is not pleasant to ride on the crappy state of roads inside cities and towns over here. Their choice of trailers was superior to mine as well. The Bob trailer is actually lighter than mine and is impossible to flip over. Something to think about for next time…
I changed my mind about where to go when I was doing some last minute planning in the morning. I had planned to take the train to Marseille, but I had watched a tv tour guide of the Rhone river valley by Rick Steves (thanks, Drew). I thought I would be missing too much to pass on by, so I decided to take the train to Montpellier instead. From there, I would ride up to Nimes. Thibaut offered to ride with me to the train station. It was nice not having to look at the GPS every ten seconds when going through the city
. Better, though, was having him as a translator on the platform. My train apparently had to switch platforms a few minutes before arrival, but as all the announcements are in French, I wouldn’t have known what the heck was going on. When carrying my trailer and the attached luggage up and down a couple flight of stairs for me, Thibaut commented that I was crazy to carry all this weight. This is funny to me considering as I had already thrown some stuff out to lighten my load. His comment motivated me to really go through my things, which I did after arriving at the Montpellier train station. I threw out my sweater, jeans, umbrella, and several other things that are kind of useful but can be done without. Now I think I am at half the weight when I started, but any more cutting will certainly take away from my quality of life.
Toulouse is 110 miles from Aucun, so I decided to make it a two-day journey. In planning my route to Toulouse, Olivier and Thibaut helped me look for an open campground halfway to Toulouse. We could not find any place other than a nudist campground…yes, that's right. I figured it was worth a try. I mean, I prefer a shower at the end of a day on the road, and I can just imagine it will be an oasis of hot, young women, right? Haha, it was decidedly not that. I had just gotten to reception, which was closed, when I saw a fat old man walking around, naked as hell! His gut was so big that it obscured the part I’d rather not see. Interestingly, he was walking with his wife, who was fully clothed. Too much for me though. I turned around and camped in some trees just outside of the campground. Close enough to use the facilities at night, but far enough away that I didn’t have to live amongst that or pay anything. I just wish I had taken a picture of that moment which is now permanently burned into my retina.