Last night I slept in a field inside a big highway intersection where the field meets a sparse grove of trees. You could totally see me from the road, but the cars are driving so fast no one would look over in my direction. The next day, yesterday, I rode into Paris. When I got 25 km away I had a feeling it was illegal for bikes to be on the highway, so I got off only to discover that no roads but the highway went into Paris. I asked some girls and then later a group of kids and they all said I should use the metro, but said it was legal at to ride my bike on the highway so I got back on. About 15 minutes later a cop pulled me over and said something, So I said I was American and he said “oh, American”, and told me to get off the highway at the next road. I started riding and then noticed he was following me. I worried he might give me a ticket, but when I got off he waved at me and took off on the highway. I tried to find a road in the direction of Paris and asked a guy where Paris was and realized it was futile to try to ride, so I paid 3 bucks for a ticket on the metro for the “Champs Ulysses”.
When I got to the center I went to the top of the Champs Ulysses and took some pictures. I had to pay ten bucks to weight in line for a couple of hours to go to the top of the Eiffel tower and take some pictures. Then I had dinner at a McDonalds that seats like 500 people and paid six bucks to take the metro about a half hour to the southernmost station, which was way out of the city. I only had to ride for about 10 minutes before I found a forested area to camp. It was on the side of a hill that looked like it just went up, so I camped about 20 feet from the road, too close because people could see me if they looked. That night I took my socks off because they were feeling itchy and I thought to myself, “am I going to be cold tonight?" because of this my feet could feel the wetness of the bottom of the bag and sure enough I was drifting in and out of consciousness all night because I was so cold. The next day I went to buy some shoe laces so I could tighten up the top of my sleeping bag. I kind of wish I kept my Therma rest because I could feel the roughness and coldness of the earth. I heard a dog barking harrowingly last night in the distance and thought it might be because of me, so I opened up my knife and thought to myself "maybe I don’t want to go to Africa after all".
Now I am thinking it isn’t a good idea, but I want to go to the rock of Gibraltar and ride down the coast of Portugal. I could go to Rome via Morocco and Tunisia and take a ferry to Sicily, or ride through Andorra and France.
I had market food this morning and then stopped in a restaurant which was the first thing I saw open for like 5 villages. I asked the garcon if I could have some water and he said I would have to buy something just like it was all over France. I can piss people off here just by asking for water. I was really thirsty so I asked for a sandwich and he said, "What kind?'' and I said turkey and he said "you are in France'' So I said ''well balony'', and he said "do you want a drink?" and I said no, and he said ''you usually get a drink”, so I said orange juice. When I got the bill it said 15, so I thought three bucks not bad an paid and went to my bike and unlocked it and he said you misread the receipt, it is 48, so I said sorry and paid it and rode off, and then I thought to myself "I paid nine bucks for a sandwich and a drink". I got ripped off. That was when I finally decided I didn't like France. Next time I will just buy a drink and then ask for water. They would have to be ridiculous to refuse that deal. Actually from now on if I am just thirsty and I can find a public toilet which there are very few of in this county, I will fill my water in their sinks. The waiter said mostly the water is good, but not always. I will take my chances. But from now on in order to avoid these French people from closing off their bathrooms and water and giving me weird looks and snapping at me I will try to only eat at Mcdonalds and pretend I'm in good ol America for a few minutes each day.
I am now in a McDonalds in Tours. I rode 145 miles so far today, the farthest by 35 miles on this trip. I definitely feel a little feverish from it. I am on the north side of this big town and will have to probably ride all the way through it and out the south side. A considerable distance if I am to find a super bomber camp sight, which I want to because I will probably want to sleep in tomorrow.
I will be at the Spanish boarder by the end of day after tomorrow. I will have to ride through the Pyrenees, which are going to be big. I don’t like this country because they are always trying to get money out of me, and stuff is more expensive here than in America. I think its kind of pathetic that they can't speak English here when most of the songs on the radio are in English. I can tell how they are in a little self righteous cocoon, feeling left out is probably why they don't like Americans and have all these archaic cultural selfish mores. The cars yield to me more here and give me more room than in American though.
I rode on the rural D roads today for the first time and loved it. I can really get into a rhythm when there are no cars to constantly distract me. I am looking forward to my time on them tomorrow. If I liked the people in this country more I would take my time and ride on the rural roads the whole way. The old rural people here are seriously homely looking and don’t smile at me at all. I think one of them yelled at me to slow down today.
This morning I saw about a hundred bikers, all older, and only one female, riding sporadically within a 20 mile area. I also saw about 5 carriages of what I thought might be Amish people and took a picture of one. I also took pictures of Napoleons get away castle in Douron (I think that is what it is called) where all the Amish people are. The castle, the Moab, was huge and it looked like it suffered a battle.
The younger people in the McDonalds are real nice about getting me water and don’t make me feel like a spectacle, so I like to go here, my American Oasis, as much as possible.
I had a dream last night that I was I think in France hanging out near a restaurant in a rural area with green grass and Vanessa Meyers was on a bridge and we were crossing and she said “I think I will jump off this", and jumped off and fell about 30 or 40 feet to the grassy bottom.
While she was falling, which was a long time, I thought "oh no", she is going to be hurt", but after her hard impact landing she got up unhurt and came back to us. We were all, "Wow, you are amazing, that was at least 35 feet", and she said "oh no big deal" and went into the restaurant with the other girls we were with who I don’t know. That is all I remember.
I woke up in the morning to two men talking across the street on the other side of the fern-strewn fence that I couldn't’t see through, but cars were driving by and could totally see me if they looked over, so I go up and left even though I wanted to sleep in. I looked up and saw that there were terraces just up the way that I could have slept on no problem, so I will scout more from now on. Another lesson I learned today from that water episode from the snooty waiter was to ask how much something costs before I buy it so they don't rip me off. I could have had another Big Mac meal and a half for sure. I am not cold and will get a good nights sleep tonight.
I have such an opposite feeling about McDonalds as I did a couple years ago when I thought it was just another multinational corporation. But it is so convenient and ensures that you don’t get ripped off and is priced well and the food is actually not bad at all, and they are always easy to be in. Now I think efficient multinational corporations like this are good, they just have to use their power for good instead or raping the earth. I dished for that sandwich and orange juice, oh well, a lesson I needed to learn. I will sleep inside the survival blanket tonight in the rain suit.