Day 24 Sunday 24 June
Nimes 120 km. Total 1428km. Terrain: mountainous, weather: windy
1 tyre blowout 1 puncture.
A wild wind flaps the tent vigorously all night. But it stays put. Looking out, I see a grey wind driving white rain. Inside the tent we get as ready as possible, pack away the beds and mats. Total waterproof gear on. Taking the tent down is awkward. Cycle back up the narrow lane leading to les Rives, crops and hay waving in the wind. Onto our road the wind behind us again. No big view, reminds me of Nevada or Colorado deserts, rising hills dotted about with trees. No cafes to be had.
We go off our route to a village advertising a restaurant and even here we find nothing. So we sit beside the road to eat a croissant bought yesterday. A long road follows, crossing high plateaux of pastureland (a vivid meadow) surrounded by higher mountains. The most exciting part of the journey was the extremely steep hairpinned descent, if you look down you can see three separate tiers of our road, one below the other.
Descend from cruel cold high land of rock and sparse green to fir forest gently sloping down along the river. Stop in the shade to eat chocolate where the river blues over a small weir. Breakfast in Ganges sitting on busy, roadside seats. We are grimy but there’s nowhere to wash. The air has become much warmer. After our repast, pick up the D999 which goes all the way to Nimes where we intend to spend our 2 rest days. Lunch consists of bread and roadside cherries, (bought not scavenged) after which we found another blown out tyre bulge similar to the one we had a few days ago. So now we have a problem – two unusable tyres.
Getting tired, we finally make it. After a glass of pastis I discover a flat front tyre and decide to walk to the municipal campsite. This turns out to be several miles further down the road. And when we arrive proves to be very expensive for a stony, crowded and dirty pitch. We are cross. I have a good shower before lying awake during the night disturbed by the sounds of stray dogs baying, babies wailing, the roar of traffic. We are moving on, rest day or no rest day.