Nother Cold Morning
A woman in a bread van came around bright and early honking her horn throughout the campground. I bought some chocolate bread for breakfast and a loaf of another for later. Packed up my stuff and headed out into the chilly morning without my tights on this time. I thought perhaps it would warm up, but the sun never did come out all day.
I stopped at an Intermarche in Epinal and stocked up on plenty of food for the day. I have to budget my money a little, so that I will run
out of francs just as I cross the border tomorrow. Anyway, I bought plenty of food, so I could just cruise through the cool afternoon. I stopped for a couple short breaks to eat cookies or drink some water. Generally the bike was rolling great, so I wanted to take advantage of the weather. I decided to ride about 160km.
Tom and Ward
I pulled into Sarre-Union at about 6pm. 160km. There were a couple other guys on loaded bikes studying their maps. It turned out that they were Americans. Tom from Texas and Ward from New Jersey. They are trekking from Vienna to London over a couple months. They were headed north, and I was looking for some company, so I decided to extend my day.
Although I was well into record territory (I had never ridden much more than 100miles-160km in one day before), I could move right along in the three-man draft line. We traded some stories and life-plans. It was nice to talk and ride with someone again. However, they were carrying only German marks and telephone cards, while I had some French francs and a card to use up. We decided to split at the border and I would camp alone at Sarrguemines.
As I have said, almost every decent sized town in France has had a municipal campground. Not Sarreguemines. Nor any of the next few
towns. I asked a couple that were out working in their yard. I couldn't understand the woman at first, but she was telling me to go to Bitche, a town about 20km up. I was low on water and energy, but I went on.
Camp de Bitche
Perhaps there was some misunderstanding, but there is no camping around Bitche that I could find. There was a sign pointing out of town to
Camp de Bitche, so I headed that way. Still in the right direction at least. Well, it turns out that Camp de Bitche is a military base. The next ten kilometers of wooded winding road was lined with signs in French, German and English: "Danger: Shooting" and "Military Land: Keep Out." I decided not to camp there. Eventually the war zone ended and I could ride up into the national forest. 235km! I ate the rest of my food and crawled into my tent in the middle of the forest.