After arriving in St Malo on Monday evening I headed up the coast to Parame and found a great camping spot on a grassy headland above cliffs. Well hidden and facing east, it was a huge relief to find somewhere secluded to pitch my tent and get my tea on as the sun went down. I finally figured out how to use my new petrol stove and cooked a good supper, toasting the new beginning with a bottle of Belgian beer before retiring to my snug tent to read and listen to the waves crashing below and the occasional seagull. I couldn’t have planned it better.
20 minutes later a light pitter patter of rain on the tent quickly amplified to a hail storm as the wind whipped up and flapped the tent like a spinnaker, scouring the headland with rain and hail for most of the night! A light sleeper at the best of times, I didn’t get much kip that first night, but by the morning things had brightened up again and I spent a few hours enjoying the scene, sorting out all my gear properly, making a few adjustments to the bike set up (including switching the wing mirror over to the right handlebar) and having a lazy breakfast. As a result, I didn’t actually get movingh until 1.30pm. A few hours micro-navigating the tiny back roads to avoid revisiting St.Malo was enough to convince me that it would take an age to cross France if I have to stop to check the map on my phone at every junction. So I dropped onto the D4 and pointed the bike toward Fougeres.
Despite such a late start and still feeling a bit rough and undernourished, I managed a respectable 38 miles yesterday afternoon before ducking off the road at sunset to pitch up in the corner of a field near woodland, complete with fallow deer scampering about. Rather than a mini-snowdrift of hailstones piled up against the side of the tent, this morning the flysheet was encrusted with a thick layer of hoar-frost and the bike computer showed -3C as I packed up. After a quick breakfast of coffee, pain au chocolat & granola (scooped up at Carrefour during my late afternoon water stop the night before), I got on the road a bit quicker today, and hit Fougeres at lunchtime.
A stranger to McDonalds these last 25 years, I now find myself a convert to the golden arches and their their Early Grey and free wifi!
(hmm maybe not, I’ve been here for an hour and a half now and the wifi upload of even highly compressed images is excruciatingly slow, especially when surrounded by hyperactive sqealing French schoolkids who seem to on half term holiday right now. So the rest of thephotos will have to wait until another time. Sorry).
So far so good then. I need to put the hammer down now to make up for yesterday’s low mileage, so next time I post I’ll hopefully be in striking distance of the Med.
11 February 2015 @ 22:34
I’m glad to hear all is going well, i’ll keep my fingers crossed for good weather for you. Your ipod thingy arrived in the post yesterday so I put it with all your other stuff.
Well done to to people who put you up on warmshowers, very kind! One thing a long distance cycle tour is good for – restoring your faith in humanity.
May the god of tailwinds be with you…
9 February 2015 @ 23:53
Loving the updates
9 February 2015 @ 18:49
Hi there Dan!
Just want to say good luck Mate, and thank you for a great evening and a short ride together down to Le Dorat.
I hope the winds will be supportive for you!
Have a great ride and truly enjoy it. I am so Jealous
Hugs from the mad pole 😉
6 February 2015 @ 14:37
Hey, great to hear that you’ve had a good start to the trip Dan, your first camp in France looks idyllic!
5 February 2015 @ 16:15
Appreciate the updates. Watch out for the fast moving traffic on the D4. Good journeying. How are you coping with the language? Franglais,oui?
Mark & Clare
4 February 2015 @ 21:08
Our email address seems appropriate- hope it is a small world in the sense that you won’t feel too lonely. Great to hear about the first week or so . Look forward to some vicarious adventures before we have some more of our own. Thoughts , best wishes and congratulations are with you Dan.
4 February 2015 @ 20:54
Great to hear the start to your journey and to see some pics, especially the one of your camp set up. Thanks for the update. Fond memories of Brittany returning as I read. Keep up the good work.
4 February 2015 @ 20:00
Well done Dan! It will take you a while to get into the routines but you’ll find you’re packing up quicker and quicker as time goes by. Remember you’ll be burning those calories so can eat what you want!
4 February 2015 @ 18:45
Enjoying the blog so far! Looking forward to reading more:0)
(Bought your car battery charger)