Despite my best intentions, I ended up on the dreaded N12 (‘N’ for National and the equivalent of our ‘A’ road) a couple times, but managed to escape its clutches whenever it turned into a dual carriageway. I’d miss the smooth tarmac though, whenever I did leave it.
The weather was perfect for cycling – cumulus, cotton-wool ball clouds, surrounded by blue, blue, blue. Today, I was enjoying cycling.
While I was pedalling along a ‘D’ road (for Departement and like a ‘B’ road) which ran parallel to the ‘N’ road, with just a small grassy bank and two metal safety barriers between, I clocked two feet, then a body lying in this space. Cycling along, it’s easy to see something in the periphery and not process it until you’ve gone past. Questions arose: Was it a dead body? Should I have stopped to check? What would I have done if I had? Way down the road, I came to the conclusion that it had been a drinker (bottle lying alongside) and that it had been alive (hands crossing the top of the purple blanket which covered the body’s face, holding it in place). Salved my conscience anyway.
Just after Saint Maurice de something, I again managed to escape the ‘N’ road and I now believe I am finally on the blue line google maps drew out for me, headed for Boissy-le-Perche. There is even a wee ‘velo’ sign too, to reassure me. I am sat in Rohaire Village Centre by the church and another World War 1914-1918 memorial, eating Pains au chocolat as I’d not been able to buy a baguette and filling that morning. The tent is drying out again.
The generosity of the Faye family has washed me over with a wonderful sense of well being- I may well come down to earth with a bump soon, but I’m making the most of it.
The cycling was great – gently undulating roads sweeping across great swathes of flat farm land – some sort of cereal crop (wheat?) interspersed with streaks of bile acid yellow rape and small patches of trees hiding farm houses.
Later, in Bezarolles, I stopped for more refreshments in what appeared to be a British ‘Spar’ shop – buying grapes, sliced bread, cheese, apple, juice and mmm, nutella – for a more substantial lunch (and tomorrow’s breakfast). I ate it sat at a picnic bench with an enormous, disused concrete building with smashed windows as a backdrop. The building would have fit perfectly into any Russian noir sci-fi film.
I arrived in Dreux – a large town with (once again) no cheap hostels or campsites apparent. So I started to ride out of town as it was getting late, and – wait for it!- decided to camp by a roundabout/junction. It was quite a large junction with various grass and tree lined banks – one of which was perfect for hiding a tent in. It wasn’t the quietest of places, nor the darkest – as banks of orange street lights came on at sunset. But it was timely, for as soon as I had set up camp and tucked myself up, a humdinger of a thunderstorm took place overhead. (Lightening – count to three- thunder). The rain bucketed down and my little tent stayed dry. Unfortunately, the little exped mat failed to stay inflated so it wasn’t such a comfortable night’s sleep.