April 20th Pressac to Mazeres
The plan for today is to trundle carefree in a generally southwards fashion and end up somewhere in the foothills of the Pyrenees.
I enjoy a leisurely breakfast and chat with my hosts the Bardwells, and then saddle up and go. The first part of the day is fantastic, lovely open roads, beautiful villages and great riding. I work my way down to Brantome, scene of previous happy holidays and stop there for a bite to eat.
In the afternoon I continue ever south , passing by Perigeux, Bergerac and Agen. As time goes by I realise that now Iím not using the Peage anymore the miles are coming more slowly, in fact much more slowly. Intermittent raindrops are turning to drizzle, so having learnt from past mistakes I stop and deploy the one piece rain suit..Before I'm soaked, not after.
I realise that Iím not going to make the mountainous areas and finally in Auch I pull over and get out my Bed and Breakfast guide. Things turn out a bit more difficult as people are not answering phones, or are not open, or have no free rooms. I finally reach a lady who has a vacancy, but I canít locate the place on my map, and speaking only French there is no way I can fully follow her directions. At this point my phone does itís occasional trick of going from nearly full charge to flat. So Iím stuck.
After a spot of cursing, or actually a shower of cursing, I pull out my trusty ring-bound Michelin 1:200,000 map. Voila it shows the hamlet of Mazeres and so after an hour of more of trundling down muddy soaking lanes and stopping at farmhouses to ask directions I finally find the place just as it gets fully dark for the night.
Mme Bertheau is 84 years old, sprightly and lives in a beautiful old Moulin that she bought with her husband in 1962 as a wreck and restored.
Posted by Rob Hodder at April 20, 2009 09:02 PM GMT
She speaks no English, but over a hastily put together meal I murder the French language but we have a great conversation! Iím grateful to her for putting me up at zero notice on a cold, wet night.