Each morning just before 5am it gets just cold enough to almost wake me from my deep slumber. This morning was especially cool. I do sleep inside a good tent with the rain fly on to keep in the heat. However, in place of a full sleeping bag, I brought only a fleece sleepsack. From my experience with fleece jackets, pants, and socks, I expected the bag to hold heat really well, yet be completely helpless against wind. This is not the case, though. It is not very warm at all, and is almost not enough on these cool mornings. The strange weather continues.
Not far down the road was a tourist town perched atop a hill in the prairie. Neatly dressed tourists from all over were walking the main street of Vezelay, toward the ancient church at the top. I road my bike up and back and purchased some bread and cookies from a couple shops. The atmosphere was quite nice, but I think I have already reached my limit on churches for a while.
After a nice lunch break in nearby Avallon, I had many kilometers left to ride that evening. The road was still relatively flat, but the effects of the few uphills were multiplied by the return of the problem in my rear hub. It is something that has been on-and-off for about a week maybe. At first, I thought my legs were just too week for the hills in southern France. Now I am sure that there is something wrong with the bearings in my rear hub. I have applied oil where I can, but I don't think I can fix it with my tools or time. I don't think it is a result of the weight, rather, it may have occurred when the bike was lying in the back of the car in Spain for two weeks. At any rate, it isn't helping my morale much in the far-off hills of France. It always seems to strike when I am really worn out, slowing me to almost a standstill.
Partly because of this problem, I have had to rethink my itinerary. I never did really plan out this trip too fully. One idea was to ride as far as Hamburg and leave the bike with the friend of a friend so that I could use it again in a few years (Plan A). Then I met Jens, who studies in Hannover. I thought that he could put the bike to some use for two years, and then maybe we could tour together when I come back. Besides, Hannover is a little closer than Hamburg (Plan B). Then I realized that I don't have time to reach Hannover either. I need to meet a friend in Rome in about a week, so I only have about five days of riding left. Perhaps I can leave the bike with another friend who lives in Frankfurt (Plan C). So I have been trying to call Martin, but nobody is home... Plan D?
Fourth of July
Keeping with tradition, I am spending another Independence Day far from the States. And while nobody here cares, I have managed to think about the day a bit. One great comparison that I often think about is the American Revolution versus the French Revolution. The births of our modern nations are not so different, which is why our great friends, the French, gave us the Statue of Liberty. However, while the three calls of the French Revolution were liberty, equality, and fraternity, in America we have something more like liberty, equality, and the pursuit of happiness. Usually the latter leads to the pursuit of money which is likely to spark anything but fraternity. Perhaps we could learn something from the French.
At the End of a Long Day...
I didn't take the most direct route in the evening, but I finally got somewhere near my destination. Found a cool campground a bit off the
road at Lake Marcenay. The campsite with warm shower was only about US4, and I was able to get a can off spaghetti and a hot cafe au lait from the shop there. A very nice little lobby area in this campground. Some old familiar video games, tourism brochures, a little garden, and a TV room showing Germany-Croatia at the World Cup.