Bought a couple rolls for breakfast and got back on good old D940 for the last time. Very smooth riding this morning. It looked like it was ready to rain at any moment but I really didn't get that wet all day. I rolled off about 75km without even stopping. I wanted to get into Bourges because I knew that I had lots of errands to run. Had no trouble getting into the city. Then the fun began.
Hit or Miss
It was definitely a day of hits and misses. First I wandered into the department (instead of the city) tourism office, and they didn't know much about an internet cafe. After wandering around for a bit, I ran into the city tourism spot where they provided me with a map and two options. I walked down the street to the Croc Rapid for some lunch and email.
This place was actually a fancy restaurant that just happened to have two computer stations that required some card from Cyberis Co. I don't think they were expecting dirty Americans to walk in in search of a hookup, but they tried to accommodate me. There was one guy there who could speak English well, and he explained to me that the email function was not working. I thought I would buy a 50F card anyway and see if I could get into my mail through Netscape. No luck. I guess it really does pay to have a web-based mail deal like hotmail. This is the second time that I couldn't telnet or pop into my account. Anyway, I read the news on CNN and ate a sandwich, desert, and some cafe au lait.
The other internet place was not going to open till 4pm, so I decided to run out to this sports superstore in search of a birthday gift for my dad. Decathlon is a chain of over two hundred megastores that stock all things for all sports. I was very impressed with their selection of bike stuff, and I even managed to find the Tour de France t-shirt that I wanted.
However, like any big superstore in the States, the service was very poor. There were lots of people waiting around in cycling, wanting to ask questions. There were not enough people staffing this department. I finally snagged a guy from Tennis, Etienne, who spoke English great (just got lucky, huh). He spent the next hour trying to find out how much this t-shirt and cap cost and where the stock was. The one I had found was just the display model. Eventually they just gave up and sold me the floor model, but not before I got to know Etienne pretty well. He is studying business and has traveled in the States a couple times. He told me a bit about the Tour and how there would be a stage starting in La Chatre this year too (that's where I stayed last night). I gave him my web address and invited him to Chicago some time.
From there, I proceeded to a bigger store in this suburban sprawl: Continent. This has to be the biggest store I have ever been in. They did have cheap Kodak film, so I was happy. On my way out, I also took advantage of their "print club" machine and made a silly picture to send to my friends. Then I used the self-serve name card machine to make new cards to give people while I travel. What can I say, I am an impulse shopper. Besides, I was already way over budget for the day.
I have had more than my share of flats on this trip. Some people might say that I have too much weight on the back, but I don't know. I mean, there are guys who weigh more than me and my stuff combined, and they ride bikes. Anyway, this time it was the rubber tube separating from the metal stem of the rear tube. Second time for this. Perhaps my Schwinn tubes are just bad. Anyway, I ran back into Continent to buy two new tubes. Fixed that up all right, but I was a little behind schedule now.
Internet and Away
The Maison de la Culture has a cafeteria with a couple computers hooked to the web. I got there one hour before close. Had time to check all my mail and send a couple quick updates. I felt much better now, armed with a couple important addresses and phone numbers. By now, though, it was 8pm and I wanted to get out of town.
I made it as far as the edge of town before I realized how late it was. There was a sign there that pointed toward camping, so I decided it was
better to take this before it got dark. What I didn't know was that the camping was half-way across town. Before I reached the place, I had completed nearly a full circle of the town, making my 75km into 95km. Tried to get a carry-out pizza next door, but the guy pulled the plug on the sign just as I walked up. Another miss for the day. I hadn't made it to the post office either-closed at 7pm. To top it off, my campsite was in earshot of some rowdy kiddie campers and the carnival going on downtown. I would try to get some sleep and regroup in the morning.