Wednesday June 27 1984
Orange. 86 km. Total 1618km. Calm hot valley work.
In spite of it being a planned rest day we had to go to Nimes, to get new tyres to replace all our worn out ones, and this is in the wrong direction.
The road to Nimes is high, descending through ripened crops and château wine fields to the skyscrapered town. The main streets are shady and cool when we arrive. After breakfast we visit the cycle shops – they have the British size tyres we need. I grin all over. We buy four tyres and eight pieces of string to tether them all with.
Heading out of town, having bought a new map which shows the Alps and Italy, we cycle towards Orange. The countryside is beautiful, truly Provencal, blue mountains enclosing a bowl of ripe grain, hilltop villages, narrow butterflied lanes, wings of pale green, lemon yellow, orange and sky blue.
In Domozan, a beautiful quiet old wobbly village, a man with a basket of cherries and a dog told us that the campsite was up on the N road. It was shut. Snack bar sandwich lunch looking at posters of rare butterflies and birds before turning onto a green marked scenic route, cresting a rise to survey the whole bluey Provencal country that seems laid out in front, cypress trees, deep blue sky.
The camp site at Orange is citadel-like, high above the town on a steep hill. I, carrying lentils and lettuce up this was nearly finished off. A view of the town and, far to the East, the first high mountains. We save the exploring till tomorrow.