Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Lalinde, France

Friends: Day four of travels with Craig. We've come over 250 miles. This is now Craig's longest tour, exceeding his Detroit to Niagara Falls trip of 30 years ago. Our rhythms are coalescing more and more, as we become a single touring organism, riding wheel-to-wheel taking turns drafting, sharing food, pointing out and observing different sites along the way, needing similar amounts of sleep and food before continuing on our way. We've 500 miles to go to Mont St. Michel up on the English Channel before Craig returns to his summer residence in southern France, our starting point. After Mont St. Michel I will cross the English Channel and continue on to Scotland.

The two bike museums in small towns in the Dordogne region that were our original destinations are no longer in existence. Like many small museums scattered about France they come and go. There is a several year old postal museum just outside of Craig's village that moved there from another small town in France. Few people go out of there way to come to it in its new location, so its days are numbered as well.

Though we were sorry not to have old bikes to gaze upon, the regions that lured us were no disappointment. If we hadn't come the way we had, we wouldn't have stumbled upon a copy of the Rosetta Stone in Figeac, home town of the Jean-Francois Champollion, the man who deciphered it nearly 200 years ago. A replica over 30-feet long, eight times the size of the original, lay embedded in the courtyard beside his childhood home, which is now a museum. The stone dates to 196 BC and was encrypted in three languages--Greek, hieroglyphics and Egyptian demotic. The original was discovered by forces of Napoleon in 1799.

It's been a pleasure to introduce Craig to wild-camping. Our first night we had a palatial forest all to ourselves, up on a hill down a dirt road with a sign warning not to "penetrate," as it was a military firing range. It obviously wasn't in use, nor could it be too dangerous as there was no fence around it. Nor were there any recent tire tracks in the dirt road, nor evidence of any firing having been done in the vicinity. Our campsite had multiple piles of deer droppings. It was a quiet, tranquil night.

Time up on computer, George

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