Saturday, 7 March 2009

Bordeaux to San Malo

Getting going again after a bit of comfort is as hard as ever. more so when the weather is not so good. but I eventually got going and headed out towards Saintes. I was really hoping to get to La Rochelle but the weather was atrocious at times with squqlls and heavy downpours. I at last arrived in Saintes at 9 pm and could have kept going if I had found a gas station.
A quick reconnoitre of the area gave me a bar and the law cours opposite wih a large covered area behind the sone pillars to sleep.
The following morning I was up and at it and after the rain eased off it gave way to a bright spell of weather.
Unfortunately passing La Rochelle, the bike cut out on a flyover where here was no hard shoulder, and made worse that it was on a bend. Wagons were flying past me with inches to spare so dived over the barrier and left the bike to the mercy of the jplly truckers. I eventually plucked up the courage to wheel the bike along the road to the slip road while pushing it from behind the barrier.
I was hoping it was just the plug and was lucky to be right by a Carrafour supermarket and spent 5 euros on 4 plugs but to no success. Cleaned out the carb and still no joy. I had been there 2 hours pratting about when a biker stopped and offered to tow me to a repair shop 2K away.
If any one is wondering how you tow with a bike, you grab the bicep of the towing rider with one hand and off he goes with you hanging on with all your strength trying to keep your own bike going straight with the other hand.
I knew it had to be the points but could not access them with my swiss army knife so called in the expertsfrom Chiasson scooters.
My french is far less than my Nminimal Spanish and was getting nowhere and think they were telling me they had no time. fortunately one of the mechanics rang his mum who spoke some English and I explained the story of the ride. I got the impression they were still not too keen but I turned my back on them for a second and they had the bike on the stand and were stripping it down. Reckon Mum told her lad to just get it done.
Inspection revealed a damaged oil seal at the back of the points and oil was leaking onto them. Five hours later and 60Euro less I was on my way again.
Cant believe my luck at times.
Due to being late again was trying to make Nantes to give me an easy day to San Malo. I confused two villages with Montagu in the name and arrived in a little village with no idea where I was heading. There was one bar there and I was freezing so in I went. Bit like an old western when a stranger comes into town, but within a couple of minutes we were bon ami with Eric(que?) Christine the manageress and a couple of others whose names elude me. MG a senegalese Vietnam descendant invited me to stop at his house and eat. Winsley another local and MG and myself finished up knocking back a couple of bottles of bubbly with Jessica MGs wife before crashing out. So lucky as there was an inch of frost on the seat in the morning.
I wanted to stay and thank them but Jessica had taken her daughter to school and MG was unconcious so I sloped off.
There was a lovely days ride up to San Malo where Yves and Marie from the French Branch were waiting for my arrival. Their hospitality was amazing and after a full laundry and descale Yves took me to San malo to book on tonights crossing to Portsmouth.
It was intended to go to Cherbourg but Im not sure I would have got there in time to catch the evening boat. I was also getting a bit twitchy as to the old Sods Law that 10 mile from the boat everything would go wrong.
I considered it was more important to be back on British soil to cover any untoward eventuality and with a kind donation to cover the ferry costs I am now heading for an 8am arrival in England on Sunday.

I would like to thank all reds from this side of the water for all the help and assistance in getting this far and will see you all again in the course of time.
See you all in England

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