Thursday

Astaffort to Massuebe, 62.1 miles 26th 27th/06/04

Up at 05.30 packed, done, ready to go 07.30.
Finally met "Le Patron", the old guy that runs the site. Looks like a librarian, very smart, very clean, very out of place here.
The music I heard last night was the gypsies again, they are friendly enough, no problems at all, but to look at....... I have worked on the land with some rough ones, but these people take some beating!
I think "Le Patron" has nerves of steel to be dealing with these people regularly! Up a short, very sharp hill to get out of the site, no problem in the middle of the day, but first thing ? Legs not warmed up yet! I just told this crowd I was going over the Pyrennees to Spain, they are watching me leave and I daren't stop to push.
Hell, that one hurt the legs!
N21 south to Lectoure, I was aiming for this town yesterday but stopped because of the heat, now I'm glad I stopped early. Hills and more hills. Got to the top of one and could see 30/40 miles for 180 degrees. Small rolling hills, churches, villages, patchwork of fields, landscape smooth like big waves in water, definately worth the climb. Leaving Lectoure is another horrendous downhill drop, halfway down I saw a sign telling me I'm on the D520!
OH NO!
I want the N21!
Too late, have already lost too much height. Quick decision, follow it to the bottom, check the map, work back around to my road.
When I get to the bottom? Am on the N21!
French road signposting is not an exact science, I think they expect you to know the area, to know where you are going, had me worried more than a few times.
Just keep going, aim for the centre of the town.
If unsure, take the direction that has the most houses, and eventually you will see (most likely) the back of a roadsign, stop after the junction and look back, yes, its yours, turn around and start all over again. Ha!
The one thing I really do like about their signs, there is nearly always one telling you how many pedestrian crossings are in the town you are about to pass through. Looks like the people take priority over the traffic here, I like that.
N21 to Auch, N21 straight through the middle, don't worry when all the traffic seems to vanish, and you're on a small quiet road. Turn right to Tarbes, cross the river and you're back on the 4 lanes again.
Missed the turn for D929.
Getting tired, too hot again, 5km later check the map - LASSERAN - shit - wrong road. Map says there's a campsite at Auterive, there's a sign at a turn off in Auterive pointing to a campsite, but all I can find is a Gite and Chambre D'hotes. Too tired for this now. Just south of Auterive is a church on the main raod, with a large Annexe/lean-to on one side, SHADE!!
I spent an hour in there eating fruit and cooling down, is the main entrance to the church (locked), and is also the bus shelter and a giant phone booth. Sat watching lizards run up and down the walls and texting home. Somebody watching me through the gap in the shutters from the house over the road.
Back into the oven and south again. Sign in Seissan directs me to another site, 2km of all uphill and I'm into a dead end road, heading for a wood. A derelict sign 20' high, a road off blocked with boulders, and a bloody awful road surface make me turn around again, easy downhill and on to Masseube

Masseube

Finally a campsite!! 62 miles is far too long in this weather. The girl in the office thinks I am ill, she is not far wrong! Paid my fees, stuck my head in a sinkfull of cold water and went to sit in the shade of a tree. Day off tomorrow! 62.10 miles in 4 hours 59 mins riding time.

27.06.2004
Day off, eat, sleep, look after my foot. Huge Mosquito bite and bad (3" x 3") sunburn blister, can't stand on just the one foot. Thank God for Savlon.

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Good luck with your own journey.
Thanks for visiting,
Rob.