Navarrenx to Saint-Jean Pied de Port
Our last day of riding. Looking forward to the end. Remembering the last time we did this in 2002 as being the toughest day. The heat today in the sun was over the top! In the shade it seemed about 10 degrees cooler. There isn't much shade in his part of France, so when we found it, we used it.
We started out with the usual breakfast of coffee, yogurt and croissants. The plan was to work on the bike before the ride. The front brake pads were now down to metel. Loud scraping noise from the front brake only. I had spares.
After the bike was ready, we walked out of town to find the route. We wanted to start out on the road this morning to pass all the early walkers and then get on the trail. This worked well. By the time we hit the trail, most of the walkers were in back of us. The Chemin is very popular now so there are huge groups walking. Getting through with the tandem can be difficult. Ringing the bell and thanking them as we pass. One women saw us yesterday and said the bike was for invalids. French. I wanted to switch the direction of the marker ahead, but Barb said no.
The ride today was all up or down. The surprising was that we remained between 350 feet and 700 feet above sea level all day long. Up 500 feet and then down 200.
The views were spectacular most of the day. A far cry from the corn fields over the past 3 days.
Lunch on the side of the path of Pizza and Water Barbara picked up in town before we headed out. It was good and a nice break in a shady spot.
We were worrying about finding water. None of the small villages we passed had a store of any sort to buy or even fill our bottles. Running out of water would not be a good thing in the 87 degree heat.
At the end of a long hill and into a little town, we found a "Snack Truck" A women in a van selling sandwich's and drinks for passing Pilgrims. A great service and money maker in an area that had nothing.
She also pointed out a water fountain across the parking lot to fill our big bottles. Happy, we headed on our way.
It came to a point that we realized the best thing to do was to hop on the highway to our finish. We would need to do it at some point and doing it then would be the best time. Getting on later would have us in heavier traffic. The past 3 evenings had been late finishing and heavy traffic. Not fun. There are at times no room for bicycles, at all.
We got on the highway with 29km to go, That's about 18 miles. Up and down in full afternoon 87 degree sunlight.
We had also about a 10 mile per hour head wind. cooling, but making it harder to move forward.
We started on the highway at 325' above seal level and were soon at 700'. Not flat.
Stopping at times for a drink, and a shade break.
Arriving in Saint Jean Pied de Port came sooner then was expected. So Nice. We crossed over the town line sigh at 4:15.
We got to the hotel and our room as soon as we could. We have stayed here before and knew we would find a bottle of Champagne in the fridge for the great finish of another spectacular adventure.
Tomorrow is a whole day off. We will pack the bike and shop around town. We also need to go to the Pilgrim Office to get our final stamp.
Each trip, I at some point collect rocks to taks home. Over the past 15 days of riding and walking, I had not found anything unusual enough to want to have to carry. Today, for the first time I found these Quartz gems as if they were waiting. Tha biggest are a bit smaller then a pair of dice.