11 July 2008

End of the Road

On Monday, July 7 left Nevers for Brest, at the Western tip of the Brest peninsula, which is where I had planned to end the trip. I rode through Bourges, Tours, Rennes, and got to Brest in the evening; this was one of the longest rides of the trip, at 769k. In the morning, I came as close to running out of gas as I did the whole trip, because none of the moronic French gas stations have attendants or accept normal credit cards, so I had to ride all around Never and Bourges, having several stations not accept my credit card, before I found a station with an attendant and filled up and bought a map--didn't want to be riding blind again like yesterday.

Anyway, when I got to the outskirts of Brest, I didn't like the look of it--too big, kinda grimy, so I decided to go all the way to the end of the Brest Peninsula, to a town called le Conquet. This was more like it, very small quaint fishing village/tourist trap. Found an expensive hotel (weren't any cheap ones) and walked around town for some pix:

Stuart had texted to say that he would not be able to make as far as Brest, so I suggested that he go up to St. Malo, at the northern base of the Brest peninsula, so he diverted there...hopefully meet up with him tomorrow! Anyway, le Conquet is a cool little town and a good place to end the RTW part of the trip (ie, I hit the Atlantic, so connected back to Ocean City, Maryland where I started in March).

I had hoped to linger on the beaches of France for a few days at the tail end of the trip, but the weather was terrible--cloudy, rainy, and cold, so there wasn't much attraction to that. So on the morning of July 7 I set off along the coast of the Brest peninsula toward St. Malo to meet up with Stuart. Rode 333 very slow kilometers through Ploudalmezou, Morlaix, Lannion, Terquier, and St. Brieuc before getting to St Malo in mid-afternoon. Found Stuart's hotel near the train station, got a room, and set out with Stuart to explore the town---it is actually a very cool place, but oddly deserted. I didn't take any pix of it, but there is also a cool town within the city walls. Here are some shots of the area:
After a night in St Malo, Stuart and I were ready to push on, I had to go back toward Heidelberg to leave my bike, Stuart was heading up toward Scandanavia somewhere. So we decided to go check out Mont St Michel, which is very close to St Malo, and would play it by ear after that. Here are some shots of Mont St Michel:

We didn't spend a whole lot of time in Mont St Michel, just took some pix and left. We didn't really have a destination, decided we would head sort of northeast and see where we ended up. Stuart put his GPS to good effect again, and we had a great day of riding on little tiny country roads in Normany, through Vire, Falaise, and Rouen. Finally, it was getting kind of late and we pulled over in Poix de Picardy, a pretty blah town in the middle of nowhere. Found a hotel (with difficulty), had dinner, and went to bed...

OK, so July 10 was the last day of the trip. We weren't far from Waterloo, so we decided to go check that out, and then I would head to Heidelberg, and Stuart up north. So we went to Waterloo, checked it out, kind of a sad, derelict monument to Napoleon, and the giant mound which they built by digging up half the battlefield. Oh well...after our quick look at Waterloo, had a nice lunch, said goodbye to Stuart, and then headed off to Heidelberg via Bastogne and Kaiserslautern.

Here's a few shots of Heidelberg, its a very nice city. By the time I got there, I'd done 10,509 miles since picking up the bike in China, less than what I had done by myself around the US last fall (about 15k miles). Anyway, here are a few last shots from the trip, including from a classic car rally in Heidelberg while I was there:

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