Friday, October 05, 2007

A wing and a prayer

One of our main philosophies in our life together is that we're called on to take a ride on a wing and a prayer from time to time. This is the principle of lifelong fling: operating on spontaneity and a heavy dose of the grace of God, and letting the potent combination take us where it will.

So, rewind the tape about a week and half.

-Ab, did you see that JF has a few train tickets that he can't use?
-Yeah, I thought about it....we probably have flexible enough schedules.
-I wonder how many tickets there are...
-I think it's just for one person.
-And another set of tickets would be too pricey. I guess...
-I really want to use those tickets.
-You yourself? (understood: without me?!)
-Well, yeah.

But...but...what? How can you argue with a husband who clearly loves adventure, happens upon windfall means for a trip, and all but promises to bring back wine from Bordeaux? After struggling a while with the fact that fate had not sent me an invitation to the same party, I finally waved the white flag of surrender, and Karl was the proud owner of train tickets from Paris-Nice, Nice-Bordeaux, and Bordeaux-Paris.

He initially conceived of this trip as streamlined bike camping on a road bike: stuffing his panniers with bivouac, cheese, and bread, while visions of toe clips danced in his head. As the departure date approached, however, frantic searches for a decent ride turned up little fruit. The good 'ol townie - clunky racks, lights, and heavy pedals & all - would have to do. At least for this time around. One borrowed Thermarest, a cheap tarp and set of tent stakes, some layers of clothing, and a first aid kit rounded out the supplies, and the man was ready for his 5-day escapade.

Excerpts from a wife's text message archive...

Day 1

Woo-hoo! Both the bike and I made it on the train. Pretty smooth. Thanks for the food. Aix-en-Provence looks pretty cool. This energy drink I bought is nasty. Word.

Anyway, pretty wet today. Bike works ok. Bag on rack not super graceful. Nice coffee shop guy gave directions to camping near Antibes. He said the way to Italy wasn't that good. Not sure I believe him on that point. Regardless I'll go up into the hills and a little bit further east. Cool picture I took of the moon rising over a storm behind the city. Word.

Day 2

Yeah, it's sunny in Beaulieu-sur-mer. It wasn't in Nice until about 19h, but really cool there. I camped closer to Monaco between a huge cliff, a sandwich shop, and the water. Now maybe Italy and camp in the same place, or back to Nice and camp on the west side - where the guy said to in the first place. Time for sunscreen either way.

Day 3

Yup...rolling through Nimes and I'm sure it's fun but hard to say why that'd be true by the looks of it. Not as graceful for the bike storage but okay and normally they charge 10 E and just have space for 6. Shower and wash pants would be good soon. No formal tourist activities just biking, grocery store, camp, rinse, and repeat. The Cote d'Azur is road-bikers heaven, I must say. Sometimes the wind is pretty firm but the coast turns and then it's tailwind. Bought an International Herald Tribune and gazpacho. Makes for an interesting mood. Tranquille.

Day 4

Nah...No Italia. I made it to Monaco though. It's like Aruba with more Bentley dealers and fewer hotels and casinos but not that crazy or big. Smaller towns usually seem more fun but unless I had a gig I wouldn't come back. Can't complain about the Cote d'Azur though. Just saw an awesome seagull fight. Will try to find some music in Nice. Word.

Ah are the sleepiest French town I have ever seen. Found an ok-for-this-bike piste (trail) that leaves Bordeaux to the SE and goes pretty much east. Cool old stuff to see or so says the tourist office map. This morning I went to the market and got some food. There was this guy with an idea I thought was great: sell half and full liter quantities of higher quality box wine in bottled water bottles. So I got a demi of merlot and a reserve for 2.40. Yes. More than a full bottle of wine, already in plastic for safe bike transport. Did you have a cool weekend? Saturday in Bordeaux was ok but live music is banned after midnight, so I missed it. Oh well. Sweet dreams. Word.

Day 5

Well, I'm down to 70 centimes, but I've got my bases covered with food and such. Dodged a few rain showers finding bridges and shacks at the right time. We'll have to come back here because there are a lot of good bike paths through wine country and its not hilly. See you tomorrow.

1 comment:

Christa said...

Karl Cracks me up!