Thursday, June 1, 2006

Montova, Italy

Friends: One can count on picnic tables or a rest area with regularity along the roads of France, but so far, 300 miles into Italy, the only such oasis I've come across here for the weary cyclist has been an occasional chapel about the size of a phone booth crammed into a tight space with no surrounding vegetation or inviting amenities.

I had beaches to retreat to my first 180 miles along the Mediterranean to Genoa and beyond before I turned inland and climbed over the 3,000' ridge of mountains that hugged the coastline. The road clung to the coast line winding in and out and up and over one bay after another, each with a town or city of sun-bleached pinkish and yellowish stone buildings. It was a little early in the season for many sun-bathers, but still the beaches were all lined with battalions of lounge chairs in neat formation as if they were awaiting a drill sergeant for morning calisthenics.

It was a popular route with non-stop traffic, not all of whom were content to glory in the vistas. Many were in a hurry, including one trucker who passed me on a blind curve and clipped a car coming in the opposite direction sending him spinning over into my lane, stopping less than a bike's length in front of me with a shattered windshield. The driver of the car climbed out and plopped down at the side of the road, more shaken up than injured. The truck driver was clearly at fault, though he might have harangued me for being in his way, making him swing out into the middle of the road. I continued on my way, letting them sort it out.

Later, George

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