Day 21, Sep 26. Dieppe to London – England ho!

My tent was sweating profusely. Gazing up from where I was lying, comfortably ensconced in my sleeping bag, I could see the inside wall of the fly-sheet awash with droplets of dew. It must have been due to the humid air that blew in from the sea.

Camp Vitamin was a quiet place. I had only seen one other tent last night and they had left early this morning. I remembered the couple — American cycle tourers. I remembered because I had asked them if they had a wine-opener, but no luck.

On the way to the campsite, I had stopped by a supermarket to stock up on some groceries and, since it was my last day of cycling on the European continent, I thought I might have a bit of a hurrah, and celebrate the occasion with a 5 Euro bottle of 2007 Malesan Bordeaux, the very same one that I toasted with the Rovens at their home in Marines.

Well, the wine got to age an extra day, and I toasted the night with water instead. Everything in town was also closed by then, so I might as well tuck in early.

The tent may have been damp but the weather certainly looked very promising, even though the early morning wind chilled me to the bone the moment I stepped out of the tent.

My little corner in the sun ... might as well make it laundry day today.

Breakfast was a grand affair -- yogurt to start off the meal, baguette with a choice of camembert, jam, butter and pate, and hot freshly brewed coffee -- a veritable feast, even by a cycle-tourer's camping standards.

The ferry from Dieppe to Newhaven on the Sussex coast only sailed twice a day — 5am and 6pm. Both weren’t the best of options. One was too early, and the other was too late and, if I went with the 6pm option, the 4-hr crossing would mean arriving at night. I had no intention of cycling around looking for the campsite and then setting up tent in the cold and in the dark.

I opted for the 5am ferry, which meant I would have to stay another night in Dieppe … well, almost. The ferry required passengers to check in at least an hour before it sailed, and I wasn’t eager to wake up in the freezing cold of the night, pack up the tent, then ride down to the terminal.

I decided to stay in camp until 10pm, pack up at leisure and then sleep in the terminal until boarding time. But I hadn’t bargained for the evening dew that descended upon my tent like a shower the moment the sun went down over the horizon.

By the time I was ready to start packing, the tent’s flysheet was once again drenched to the seams. Oh well, damp or otherwise, and as much as I hated it packing a wet tent, I packed up and headed for the ferry terminal.

At the first bridge that spanned the bay, I was jarred out of the reverie of my casual ride. Where the heck was the bridge? I could only see a barrier and a ‘route barree’ sign. The bridge, which turned out to be a movable one,was on the other side, and was probably undergoing maintenance of some kind. No choice then but to take a long detour.

At the ferry terminal, I checked in early and headed for the waiting area. Among the pool tables and empty chairs, I unpacked my Thermarest, laid it on the floor and tried to get a few hours sleep.

At 4.50 am, the friendly officer who checked me in told me to get ready to board the ferry. It was still dark and there was a freezing wind blowing outside. The kind man had waited until the last minute ‘so that you won’t freeze to death in the cold wind’.

He was right. Even with a jacket on, I shivered as I made my way across the 200 metres or so to the yawning belly of the ship’s vehicle hold. I was the only cyclist so I was told to ‘park anywhere you like’.

Where'd the bridge go??? On the other side of course.

The waiting area of the ferry terminal. I slept on the floor where I parked my bike.

The ferry looked more like a hotel to me...lots of wood panelling and comfortable chairs to lounge around

The ship's reception.

Passengers can choose to sit anywhere

Another seating area ..this one had a big LCD but only French programmes

There were even distractions of the lucky kind, but it seemed the authorities had sealed the machines.

The cafe, where very expensive breakfasts were sold.

Out on the deck, the wind was refreshingy cold.

One of the most spectacular sun rises I had ever seen -- a clear horizon, and a golden orb that slowly made its way up the sky.

Au revoir, France. You can just barely see France in the distance

Nearing England, with the white cliffs off the Sussex coast coming into view.

At Newhaven, I was the first vehicle off the ferry.

It felt great to be finally in England...and switching to the 'right' side of the road.

Oh, the joy of finally reading signs in English.

Just out of Newhaven, I was passed by one fast cyclist after another. It turned out to be some kind of race going on. But there weren't too many 'hellos' as they passed by. It was so different from the other countries in Europe.

Brer Rabbit was once faster than the cyclists who passed me ... now just a sad roadkill.

About 5 kms out of Newhaven, my stomach alerted me to this promising sign by the roadside

It was just after 9, and they had just opened for business.

but I was very warmly welcomed. We even had a conversation we could both understand, including ordering my breakfast.

Naturally, I went for the biggie ... a full English breakfast -- fried potato wedges, fried bangers, fried bacon, grilled tomato, fried egg, fried mushrooms, plus toast and butter .. all complemented by a pot of English tea served in blue china. It was nothing short of a cheerful cholesterol catastrophe in the making, but who cares? Life should be so good....

Good thing I didn't bring out my own food as well.

Some mornings are just meant to be lazy, what more with the sun shining brightly through a clear blue sky, and the air crisp, cool and laced with unmistakeably English farm fragrances. All I wanted to do was sit in the sun and drink more English tea and eat more oily English food but … London beckoned …

And so, with the contents of a full English breakfast making its way down the digestive system, I headed out of the farm, passing a pig and a goat incarcerated in a pen going at each other head to head. It was fascinating to watch.

The meadows that I had read about as a kid, and seen so much of on tv, were stretched out on both sides of the road before me. There didn’t seem to be any really flat elevation anywhere, and the roads followed the same. All around, the scenery was as rustic as English countrysides could be. Now I knew how and where the author and illustrator of ‘The wind in the willows’ drew their inspiration from.

Maps I had none, but I had downloaded GPS tracks that would lead me all the way from Newhaven to The Thames river in London. As I rode along, I realised the author of these tracks chose to follow quiet country lanes as much as possible, avoiding the busy secondary roads, which was fine by me. In fact, at one point, I was actually riding on a dirt path through a chicken farm!

Rolling meadows ... and so were the road elevations

Autumn was beginning to make its presence felt

Rustic English cottages...very Enid Blyton too.

Somewhere, underneath all that ivy is a home...I think.

Some cottages had perfectly manicured hedges and lawns ...

while others, like this free-range chicken farm, had electrified ones.

Every lane, cottage and farm that I passed seem to have a name, every single one of them …

Some were more 'cheerful' than others. This one boasted of a rare windmill in the vicinity

Some of the lanes I rode through were really narrow...

...so narrow that only 1 car could pass through at a time.

These 3 little girls were farmkids, selling some produce outside their farm by the roadside.

At a small village called Ardingly, I decided to stop for lunch at this pub. Unfortunately, the owner had a slight racist streak to her demeanor. I didn't pay it no mind and still gave her my custom in spite of it. Must be a supporter of the British National Party 🙂

Meal #2 of the day -- English fish and chips, and that isn't a piece of Vietnamese catfish usually passed off as Dory.

The pub owner's compatriots, nice friendly customers that they were, hailed from the other extreme. They were fascinated with my travels and invited me to sit with them and chat over lunch. English pride redeemed.

I came across many other pubs today. Well, this is pub country after all.

I'd never seen such a sign before, so I slowed down to avoid reducing the local frog population crossing the road. But there were none to be seen.

After climbing a particularly long and strenuous hill, on a road aptly named Hilltop Lane, I came upon Farthing Downs. Now, I knew what downs looked like. Actually, this one was nothing more than an ridge on top of a hill, running straight for some 200 metres with thick grass growing on both sides of the road that ran through the ridge. It was quite unique in its own way, though.

The top of Farthing Downs

After Farthing Downs, I came into the outskirts of greater London, and frankly, I wasn't prepared to see how scrappy it was.

As I made my way through the suburbs, this little boy came up alongside me and asked inquisitive questions like any normal inquisitive kid, at one point even riding hands-free.

As I neared the Thames, cycle path signages came into view but unlike in Europe, these weren't very helpful. I got lost ...

and had to ask for help from passing cyclists, who never turn you away...

A little later, I had to stop this couple who even went to the extent of consulting Googlemaps on their iPhone to help me find my destination in London.

Finally, with the Thames on my right, I rode the final kms to London.

It was fast becoming dusk, and I still couldn’t find the hostel. When I finally found it, I was still out of luck. It was full. I headed back the way I came into the busiest part of the city and tried another hostel. It was also full. I even tried the Indian YMCA, looking thoroughly out of place walking into the reception (think busy Mumbai).

Apparently, it was a busy Saturday night and all the hostels were full. I was advised to try hotels instead.

I was lucking out big time. I had wandered into Argyll street, near St Pancras and King’s Cross, and which was mostly occupied by budget hotels and yet I was being turned away one after another.

It was already dark and I was at wits end. I was tired, hungry and frustrated to be in such a situation at tour’s end. I decided to knock on one more door which had a ‘vacancy’ sign, failing which, I was going to head out of the city and look for a campsite I knew existed some 16km away. Not the best option but …

I guess my faith was being tested 🙂

At Julian’s House Hotel, I rang the doorbell and a surly-looking middle-eastern fellow opened the door …

‘Hi, do you have a room?’

‘Sorry, no room’

‘But your sign says vacancy’ I reminded him.

‘It’s a family room, I can’t give that to you’ (Actually, what he meant was that he couldn’t let me have the room at single-occupancy rate)

I decided that I was going to be firm and stand my ground….so I put on my most pathetic look and implored him with ‘Please, I only need it for tonight’.

He blinked first. I went for the kill.

‘The family room is £45’ (single was 29)

‘Errr… what about £35?’

He was wavering. I decided to look even more pathetic.

‘Ok’ he finally agreed. ‘But only for tonight’, he added as a last word.

His name was Yamar, and he turned out to be a splendid fellow instead. I ended up staying not 1 but 4 nights…the second 2 nights at the nicer Globe Hotel (also owned by them) just a little down the street.

What a day it had been. Tomorow, I explore London.

Distance today: 131km
Distance to date: 1300km (also the trip total)

Playback today’s ride on Garmin Connnect

Check out the 360 view of Argyll St, courtesy of Google Maps Street View:


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Day 20, 24 Sep, Marines to Dieppe on the French coast.

After getting used to nights in campsites, I was a little surprised that the temperature in the room was more than bearable, and made for a very good night’s sleep. Perhaps it was the fact that the windows all sported double-layered glass, which made a difference in keeping out the cold. The stone floor was another matter altogether, but nothing that woolen socks can’t handle.

Sebastien and Alex were up early at about 7 – one to the lecture hall and the other to Paris for an audition. I would have dearly loved another 2 hours of blissful sleep in a quiet French village … but it would have been more polite to wake up and bid goodbye to my host before he left for the day.

After they left, I started packing. This was one of the few times I didn’t have to spend an hour or so packing in the tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag … which usually took up the most time.

Grandpa Pierre was already waiting for me in the day-dining room, one that had translucent ceiling to let in the light while keeping the cold wind out. I sat down to enjoy the 2 croissants that Grandpa had promised, accompanied by a mug of hot chocolate. The croissants were delicious even when eaten plain. At the rate my system was burning fuel, the 2 croissants barely filled my stomach but … it was enough to start off the day.

It was a cold, cloudy morning and a light mist was in the air. I was a bit reluctant to hit the road today. It would have been fun to spend the whole day with Grandpa Pierre but, a grand tour had to be completed, and today, I had to cover at least 120km to reach Dieppe.

Leaving the town of Marines

It was cold enough that I had to put on my Sealskinz gloves to prevent my fingers from freezing. When you’re moving, you’re not only exposed to the wind, the cold feels colder, and cold really gets you down. I knew the sun would soon chase away the clouds and break through once again with its glorious, cheery warmth but for now I was making slow progress. As well, there were still remnants of  stubborn lactic acid in my legs.

Once out of Marines, the scenery was mostly bald, sun-parched harvested fields interspersed with one charming village after another, with names that were a challenge to pronounce – names like ...

... Gournay en Bray, Jouy la Grange, Chamboucy, Les Chesnay. Some took just 1 minute to pass through while others begged to be explored, and others like the town of Meru could easily confuse a Malaysian into thinking he was somewhere near Klang, which boasted its namesake, same spelling and all.

Rustic villages continued to appear and, just as quickly, disappear from view ...

X marks the spot where I took a quick break; name of village unknown

I made a few pit-stops too, taking on necessary fuel – a few croissants here, an espresso there and, at one slightly biggish village called St Germer en Bray, I stopped to replenish my larder at a marche – Camembert cheese, some pate, a 4-pack yogurt — all for only 6 Euros.

Down the street from the marche, I saw a boulangerie, and as usual, I was never one to pass it by without a cursory look at least, but this one I ended up with a demi baguette (that’s half a baguette, simply because a whole baguette couldn’t fit into my pannier) and  some little sugar-coated puff balls that never made it more than 5 feet past the door … it was that good.

This little wayside bar was warm and cosy inside. A quick espresso helped as well.

Baguettes of every kind and size. Check out the whopper on the counter.

These little sugar coated puff balls were just the thing I needed to spike my blood sugar....they were delectable.

..

Pretty soon, the sun burst through the depressing clouds and its golden rays lifted up my spirits, as did the sight of Jesus on the cross simply appearing out of nowhere.

I was almost at the end of the first part of today’s ride and I was looking forward to riding the final 40kms through Avenue Verte, a disused railway line that was now paved over and open only to cyclists and pedestrians. It ran all the way to today’s final destination, the port town of Dieppe on the French coast. Wonderful. But first …

More food.


At the town of Forges Les Eaux, I stepped into a boulangerie and the nice lady inside explained to me what the 3 kinds of crudités (sandwiches) that I was interested in, had for fillings. ‘No parlay fon say’, I pointed out to her about my lack of verbal French skills, but either she didn’t understand, or couldn’t care less; she just went on and on in French and in the end, acting like I knew what she was saying, I confidently pointed to ‘Jambon Crudite’, hoping that it was edible.

French bakeries are always warma and homely,

... including the owners. Must be the yeast in the air.

Actually, it was more than edible, it was a delicious jumbo sandwich – a 2-foot long monster of a whole baguette filled with egg, tomato, ham, lettuce and some other things and, best of all, it was only 3 Euros! I could hardly believe it. That’s what I loved about small towns – the prices were sometimes surprising small as well.

I'd also bought myself a piece of dessert, a Flan Mature. With my lunch in hand, I headed for the town square (which was just opposite the shop), sat down on a bench and proceeded to attack the sandwich with gusto. Halfway through, I had to give my stomach a rest. There was no way I could finish this super sandwich in one sitting, so I simply wrapped it up for later. It was beginning to get cold, too, sitting still in one place, so I hurried up and moved on.

At the next town of Sergueux, I had to circle around a bit to look for the opening to Avenue Verte. Finally after asking some boys on their way home from school, I found it. It looked promising but more importantly, it looked like the elevation was zero for as far as I could see. Just what my tired legs were begging for.

The start of Avenue Verte, 40 km of blissfully traffic free cycle-path. Not even motorcycles can ride on it.

Avenue Verte runs almost all the way to the coastal town of Dieppe

On the Avenue Verte, the going was much faster than I had hoped for, averaging around 20 kph. Along the way, I had to slow down at numerous (formerly railway) crossings, like the one here.

Typically scenery along the Avenue Verte

All the old stations were now converted into homes

At one of these crossings, I noticed a familiar fruit growing on the brush fringing the path -- framboise -- or raspberries. Of course, I stopped to have some. It's not everyday that one gets to eat fresh raspberries off the branch.

In the old days, all railway crossings were manually controlled and the person in charge usually lived next to it. Today, they're all converted into lovely homes. It was here that I met Christophe ...

Christophe, a teacher at a vocational school housed in a 400-yr old castle nearby (see pic below). He was on his way home from work and as we cycled along, he enlightened me with Avenue Verte trivia.

Castle Mesnieres en Bray

The old railway line was decommissioned 12 years ago, and the cycle track came into being not too long after that. The original plan was to run it all the way from London to Paris but so they seemed to have stopped at only 40 km of the almost 300 or so kms needed to connect both cities.

Christophe very kindly invited me to his home for a drink (which was located just 50m from a crossing nearby) but I had to decline the tempting offer of visiting yet another French home, as I still had some 20km or so to go … and the sun was already beginning its downward arc. I wondered if he would have asked me to stay the night if I had gone with him ….

Dieppe

Finally I reached the end of Avenue Verte, and after another 10 km or so, I reached the picturesque seaside town of Dieppe. But it was the seagulls that really got my attention. Their cawing reminded me of countless movies and TV shows that featured the seaside and although it was always in the background, here they were everywhere, in their unmistakable white and grey colours and webbed feet. I stopped to absorbed it all in, with white cliffs nearby completing the scenery (click to enlarge pic)

I went straight to the port to sort out the ferry ticket immediately rather than wait until the morning. Then I went looking for Camping Vitamin, which was located about 5 km out of the town centre. That’s not too bad, I thought, not knowing that a massive hill awaited me as I turned the last corner out of the busiest part of Dieppe.

So there it was, a long steep climb of about 1 km. It can really demoralise you when you think you’re done for the day, and your legs have more or less switched off its spinning mode and you’re just riding on at less than casual speed. Well, there was nothing else to do except climb it.

It was just after dark when I got to camp. The office was already closed, but I rang the bell anyway. A little later, a woman came downstairs and proceeded to show me to the campsite. This time, however, I was asked to camp in the space meant for mobile homes, fenced in by hedges. A whole pitch to myself…nice.

Why the campsite was called Camping Vitamin, I will never know. It never even crossed my mind to ask the owner how the name came about.

Distance today:: 135 km
Distance todate:: 1175 km

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Day 19, 23 Sep, Paris to Marines.

Since it would take me at least 4 days to reach London, I decided to cut short my Paris stay by 1 day and leave for Dieppe today instead. (Dieppe is on the French coast and one of the ports from where one can take a ferry to England)

It would take me 2 days of riding to reach Dieppe, stay in Dieppe for a day because of the ferry schedule, and another 1 day to ride to London.

I always dread getting out of an unfamiliar city and Paris was no different. But this time I was prepared. I had found, and downloaded ready GPS tracks for Paris to Dieppe, and from Newhaven on the English coast to London from bikely.com and mapmyride.com, and it was now ready for use with my Garmin.

The campsite was already on the outskirts of the city so that was less one problem. 10 minutes later, I encountered the first discrepancy – the original 2-yr old tracks were actually from Dieppe to Paris, and I was simply following it in reverse. The first waypoint was for a pedestrian/cyclist bridge to cross the Seine to get to St. Cloud on the other side.

Problem was, they’d closed the gangway for cyclists to ride, or push up, and across the bridge. Now, you could only walk up the stairs. A fully loaded tourer was definitely out of the question so I had to ride further down the road until I finally found a proper bridge.

As I entered the district of St. Cloud (say Saint Clood), I ascended the first uphill of the day. Little did I know that from here on it would wind up and down all the way to Dieppe; not severe (except for 1 little nasty hill at Triel sur Seine) – just gently rolling inclines … but it was bad enough, considering my load. France, it would seem, is not as flat as the other countries I’ve visited; it’s a country of rolling-meadows terrain.

Looking for another way to St Cloud on the other side of the Seine.

The first hill of the day, in St Cloud. You can just make out Eiffel Tower in the foggy distance.

The first detour of the day was a pleasant surprise – the St.Cloud park – the leaves of the magnificent trees were all turning a warm amber colour.

It was a serene piece of painting that made you slow down just to enjoy nature’s handiwork.

Coming out at the other end of the park.

...and through these doors into the town of ...

...Marnes la Coquette

From here, I would ride through some secluded woods

I stopped for a break among a stack of cut timber and took a shot of the Surly against this unique background.

As the day wore on, I passed through countless villages, but those with charming old houses were the best, like this ivy-covered house. They were exactly what I’d imagined it would be when I was following the live coverage of Tour de France, seeing them from the helicopter’s point of view. And now I was here cycling through them, on my very own Tour de France. It felt great.

I would even ride under quaint little tunnels that barely allowed a car to pass through without scraping the roof off.

Nope, I hadn't taken a wrong turn and ended up in Sumatra, it's still France.

Country roads meant that traffic was light.

Crossing the Seine towards the town of Triel Sur Seine (Triel on the Seine)

I didn't know it then but this quaint turn off from the town of Triel sur Seine that began through a short tunnel under a building would turn out to be a monster of a climb -- 2 km of very steep uphill.

A few km out of Trier Sur Seine, the road flattened out, to my relief. From here on, farmland would feature very prominently in the landscape.

You could easily be forgiven for reading the sign as 'US Marines'. It's not. It actually indicating the town of 'Us' and 'Marines'

I’d begun to notice that there weren’t many bicycles on the road. France is unlike Germany, Netherlands and Belgium where people cycle just about anywhere. I guess the terrain has something to do with that. As well, you don’t find too many dedicated cycle paths that connected villages, towns and cities in these countries.

I was making painfully slow progress … I needed to cover at least 90 km of the total 189 km to Dieppe today. Having got lost a few times (in spite of the GPS tracks), and slowed down by the never-ending gentle up-and-down roads, I knew I would be in deficit by the end of the day.

At best, I reckoned I should be able to make the town (actually a village) of Marines and hunker down for the night somewhere. I had no idea if it actually offered any kind of lodging at all.

As the sun began to dip into the horizon (as did the temperature), I felt a little apprehensive. This was really off the beaten track and there were very little cars, let alone bicycles. As was my usual practice, I did the next best thing —  pray. I felt no worry at all. At worst, I would just stealth-camp somewhere behind a copse of trees, and there were plenty dotting the landscape.

30 seconds later, a young man on an antiquated racer rode up from behind and wished me a pleasant ‘Bon Jour’. I bon joured back and he asked me where I was going. I asked if Marines was near and he replied yes, only about 4 km. Great, I thought. ‘Are there any campsites or B&Bs there?’ I asked hopefully.

His reply took me completely by surprise. ‘You can stay with me if you like’ he said cheerfully. ‘If I like?’ Are you kidding me? Of course, I mucho like, and all I could say was ‘Hallelujah, thank you Lord!’

On the way to Marines where he lived with his Grandpa, Sebastien told me a little about himself. He had cycled across US, Mexico and a few countries in South America and he was constantly a recipient of many a stranger’s hospitality.

He said he knew exactly how I felt and when he offered me a place to stay for the night, he was simply paying it back. How magnificent, I thought and, a prayer answered. It never ceases to amaze me how people would just stop to help you when you need it most.

Sebastien, my wayside saviour.

Outside Sebastien's home in Marines.

As we reached his home (actually it was 2 houses on the same piece of land, fenced in by a 7 foot high concrete wall), I was  quite pleased that I would finally see the inside of a French home.

His friend Alex, was visiting him and was staying the night, and he would be going to Paris on Friday to audition for a part in a Moliere play. (I didn’t miss the fact that this was my 2nd encounter with an aspiring artiste, the other being the Spanish girl I met in a Bonn hostel)

I was to learn later that Grandpa too, ‘traveled the world’ — on Google Earth; he would mark each and every single place that Sebastien visits. (Later, he would make me show him where I lived and he proceeded to mark it as well…how charming)

It was only the 2 of them living in these 2 houses. Grandma had passed away a year ago and Sebastien had decided to come back from his travels and keep him company, staying in the smaller house that belonged to his father. He’d also just started studying law at the local university about 15km away.

Grandpa Pierre's house, and his beautifully tended garden.

Sebastien was usually the chef but today, Alex would be the assistant chef and today, his claim to culinary fame a dish of baked béchamel sauce and bacon. Sebastien also slapped on 2 pieces of steaks on the grill and told me ‘You’re gonna eat a lot tonight’. Well, frankly, I could eat a whole cow tonight.

Grandpa Pierre was a splendid fellow. He made me feel so welcome. By now he was quite used to Sebastien bringing home stray cycle tourers he met on the road. I was no different and he treated me with such warmth.

While his dish was in the oven, Alex would take the opportunity to practice his lines, even allowing me to video him... check it out below:

The warm and homely living/dining room of the Rovens residence.

Appetizers -- sweet melon

'Dinner is served' ... steaks, rice-like grain, and bacon in bechamel sauce ... a tad salty but who cares, I loved it. Anyway, my body was craving for salt.

Sebastien was ever the clown, making me feel at ease and at home.

After dinner, grandpa brought out a whole array of cheese and even opened another bottle of red. I was beginning to feel like a VIP.

I went from nearly camping in the rough to cheering the night with some seriously jolly good fellows. This was the life …this was one of the little priceless perks that came with cycle touring.

Grandpa Pierre insisted that I keep my bike in the shed and personally wheeled it in for me. I was so touched. It was obvious that we shared that special bond only bikers had with each other ...

His old bikes were testament to his love for cycling, and empathy for another biker, especially one who was 10,000km away from home.

Before we tucked in for the night, Sebastien said he had to leave early for classes but that I should take my time so Grandpa then said that I should have breakfast with him before I went off the next day. Brilliant. What more could I ask for?

As laid my tired body down on the futon bed in Sebastien’s father’s big master bedroom, I was still feeling warm and fuzzy. What a great day this had been As I dozed off, I thought how nice if everyday on the road was like this, but that would be asking a bit too much. Still, one can hope, can’t one?

Distance to day:80
Distance to date: 982

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