I don't want to complain about the cool weather, but shouldn't it be getting warmer now that it is July? I left my tights on all day today to keep my knees a little warmer. Actually got up shortly after my alarm this morning. On the road after nine or so. Put in a lot of kilometers before my siesta today.
Jens would say that a good cyclist needs good maps. I am only carrying the standard Michelin road map for all of France, but I have still managed to navigate all right. Often there are very detailed tourist maps alongside the road where one can check the details. Like today, I had an idea for a shortcut that wasn't on my map. Checked the map at Chateauvillain (whose house was this?) and found road D107. This road made my day.
D107 in Haute Marne
Perhaps it was the wind at my back. Perhaps is was the Sunday traffic. No trucks, few cars (not many cyclists either though-isn't it a weekend?). Perhaps it was the green hills and cows that reminded me of
home. Anyway, this road was just great. Not only did it go exactly where I wanted to go, but it also made it there with very few uphills. I really recommend this 50km stretch of winding road. There is a nice shaded pasture off to the right just before you hit Montigny le Roi, that is where I took my siesta. Beautiful stuff.
I had a nice cool ride through the afternoon, so I had time to think. I have realized many interesting things about language during this trip. I can't speak much French, but can read it by combining my Spanish and English vocabularies. One thing I found cool is that furniture is called "moveables" in French while real estate is "immovable." In Japanese, they use the word immovable too, but furniture is just "house goods" or something like that. Somehow all of this is interesting to me.
French Lesson Part II
Although I don't like a lot of traffic, it is fun to watch the cars go by here in France. Both Renault and Peugeot quit selling cars in the States about ten years ago, but these are the majority here. I guess if anyone is going to buy French cars, it is going to be French people. The auto market seems something like Japan: mostly domestic cars, plus some Benz and BMWs for the rich. My favorite is the third French car company, Citroen. These people have two classic wacky models that prove their engineers are either on the cutting edge or the edge of insanity. The new Xantia model is a little more mainstream, but I give them points for the name.
I rolled into the town of mineral water before eight. Checked into the campground and headed downtown. I found a cute little restaurant named after its Petit Chef. I had some pasta and a bottle of Vittel water. There were a couple players from the Croatian national soccer team there. Evidently the team has been practicing here between World Cup matches. I got the feeling that the townspeople enjoyed having the team around, but it just happens that the next big game is France versus Croatia. Not long till the championship.