21 Jul 4 months and ….
We’ve spent 4 months on the road.
We ride an average of 40-50 miles almost every day; set up camp at night and tear it back down in the morning.
When we decide to stay for a day in a town, we usually end up walking several miles a day to sight see.
We cycled through rain and sunshine, though snow and sleet, we bundled up for freezing temps and didn’t have enough clothes to take off during the hot days.
We shop daily for food, because we are limited on space and we do not want the goods to spoil in the heat. We usually end up cooking on the ground in front of our tent, where we eat as well—by the way, we eat a lot, but we still had to take in our shorts/pants about 2 inches at the waist, so they would quit falling off of us.
Not only do we eat what we buy, but we also eat the occasional leave, twig, sand grain, dirt, and bug that happens to find its way into our food. (Sorry, didn’t mean to gross some of you out)
We’ve been camping 90% of the time, had warm, hot, and cold showers–some were clean, some not so much, sometimes we had no shower at all. We dry off with a small felt-cloth, which some companies try to sell as a towel (but does not remotely feel as comfortable as one). We encountered self-cleaning/flushing toilets, toilets with lids, toilets without lids, squat toilets, and nature toilets in the woods with the best views of all.
Our clothes have not seen a washing machine in 3 months, which means we do a lot of hand washing (with dish soap or shampoo, non the less) and we probably look a little bit like hobos to some people. However, we have not been able to smell each other yet…so yay, for merino wool clothing!! We have also given up wearing our riding shorts; for one they have become too uncomfortable; and two, they are just a pain to wash by hand.
We have already worn through a couple pairs of socks and our riding shirts are wearing thin and are slowly showing some small holes and tears from riding through the woods and hitting a lot of thorns and prickly things along our way.
Also during the last 4 months, we had to figure out how to buy food and communicate in 4 foreign languages. Just finding water or a store in a small, remote village can prove difficult, because a store does not always look like a store and not every water fountain has potable water. Trying to figure out what kind of food is sold is a whole other challenge.
Finding internet and getting in touch with family and friends is often ‘hit and miss’. Just because some places offer “free internet” does not always mean it works nor does it mean it is actually free for that matter. This makes it difficult to update our blog at times as well.
Also, we learned to work out the logistics of putting a bicycle on public transportation systems in 4 different countries. We took ferries, buses, and inquired about trains, which is not always an easy task when you do not speak the language.
We are a little tired…and we do have our moments when we feel like we need a break.
Are we done yet???
The places we get to see, the food, wine, and beer we get to taste, the situations we get to experience, the great hospitality and generosity as well as the curiosity of people we encounter, and all the wonderful people we get to meet are without a question worth every second of this life-time adventure.
So here we are in Rochefort, taking a short break, while planning the rest of our route through France.