Millau-> the sea, in 3 days
The suspense is at its peak, you must be wondering where we are, if we are still whole. But let's start at the beginning!
Dimanche matin, le grand départ ! Après une dernière bonne douche chaude, nous nous préparons, nous et nos fidèles destriers. Verdic : 40,7kg pour mon vélo et 45,0kg pour son vélo (on s’attendais à pire 🙂 ). Départ de la maison rue Montplaisir vers 9h45 comme prévu. L’équipe du départ est là : Christian et Nicole (les parents de Thomas), Émilie (la soeur), Pascal (le beau frère), Inès (la nièce de 7mois), Sylvain (le frère) ; du côté d’Estelle : Matthieu (le frère), Bénédicte (la belle-soeur), Éloïse et Adrien (nièce et neveu) ; les copains : Géraldine et Erwan. C’est vraiment top d’être tous ensemble, on apprécie vraiment le déplacement des uns et des autres pour notre départ ! Après quelques photos devant la maison, on roule vers la place du Mandarou, centre ville de Millau.
Everyone pedals at the tail end, even Adrien, soon to be 4 years old, on his balance bike! On the Place du Mandarous, we find Thierry, a friend of a friend and himself a cyclo-tourist, and… big surprise, Régis, childhood friend of Thomas, who made the trip from Grenoble for us! It is very moving to see all these people for us! In addition, they have a few surprises in store for us! Personalized French flag, canned goods to be dragged by Thomas' bike in “just married” mode, firecracker of confetti and a beautiful starting line! It's really perfect! We go out of town honking everything we can.
We will follow the Dourbie valley for a good part of the day. We stop at noon by the river for a happy picnic. We even tested our stove and the new coffee maker to serve coffee to everyone (it works so well, thank you colleagues from the hospital!). This is also where you will find crayfish in the water: back to childhood for me to catch them in the water.
Yesterday, in the Dourbie gorges: Estelle, the animal friend pic.twitter.com/1JEQRIz86c
— Estelle et Thomas (@intothewheel) September 15, 2014
We advance a little further in the afternoon and then little by little, the numbers decrease to only end up at 5: the two of us, Géraldine and Erwan, Christian. We then attack a long climb on the Larzac plateau. Our first night will be there, in the middle of this plateau steeped in history...
Monday we resume the bikes: not even too bad in the buttocks! After another good stretch on the Larzac, more or less in the mist, we continue on a magnificent descent towards the Hérault, where we find the sun again! The landscapes are really beautiful in the area, it's really a pleasure to pedal all five here! Many descents through the vineyards for this day. In addition, we are in the middle of the harvest period: in the villages, it smells of wine for miles around, the roads are sticky with crushed grapes, and we pass trailers pulled by old small tractors filled with freshly picked grapes . Christian leaves us in the afternoon to find Nicole and their motorhome; so we are still 4 to pedal. In the evening, we look for a place to sleep. The idea of standing next to a stream is quickly dismissed: they are all dry! In a small village, we strike up a conversation with a lady in her garden, and she shows us a place to sleep: a little further down the dirt road. After some hesitation, we arrive at the place indicated: at the top of a hill, a hunter's house (closed) with barbecue and wood, awning, table, chairs, magnificent view over the whole valley, and the must for Erwan, lots of almond trees! We just have time to pitch the tent and settle under the awning before the rain! Sooo good! We can eat a good meal, dry! Thanks for letting us know the location!
We leave on the small roads of the Hérault all day. We still cross superb stone villages, the road goes up and down through vineyards and olive trees. It really does look like a vacation! In the afternoon, the iodized wind that blows confirms that we are getting closer to the sea: too good! We arrive at Marseillan-plage; we follow the sea by a small super nice bike path to the outskirts of Sète where we put the tent on the beach. There are even beach showers to wash off! It's a pleasure to be able to wash your hair! (Besides, I didn't tell you, my hair had a good cut during the week of preparations: I don't regret it, it's much more practical when you're out and about! ) On the beach, we settle down sheltered from the wind to cook a good meal: eggplant omelettes and a mix of bulgur and vegetables. Too good to have 2 stoves, it's easier to cook! A windy and rainy night is coming...