Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Friend of the Devil (a PBP story)

So Eric and me lit out from Loudeac trailed by twenty hounds. Didn't get to sleep that night til the morning came around. Well, not exactly, but we did stay at an authentic, low-budget, French hotel named Routiers.

Early in the morning on day three at 07:00 we got back on our bikes and pointed them down the road heading toward Paris. It was chilly, wet and grey so we put our rain jackets on over our bike jerseys. Usually with a rain jacket, it is good to wear just a wool tee shirt underneath and store the bike jersey so it stays dry. Under a rain jacket, the jersey will quickly become saturated with sweat. So if you are over dressed, you get really warm or over heated when cycling. And when you stop, since your soaked, you freeze.

Eric was watching the time closely since this would be a 450km day and we had exhausted our contingency time overnight in Loudeac. It soon occurred to us that we would be more comfortable if we stopped and took off our extra gear enabling a reasonable temperature equilibrium. So when a good spot to stop and lean our bikes up on presented itself, we pulled over and redressed to better adapt to the riding conditions.

We parked our bikes up against a dull pale yellow wall surrounding a quaint, yet modern home. Soon an older gentleman leaned out of an upstairs window and called out in French. The intonation sounded like a question but I smiled and waived thinking we would be gone in a minute or two. I was hoping he would not come out with a broom and shoo us off or worse. But the guy must have gone to his refrigerator and found a couple of beers and before we knew it, he was outside offering us our choice of beers.

He had either alcohol or non-alcohol beer which he offered us in English. I am so clueless about French and French-English I couldn't understand what was going on. But once again, Eric saved the day with his ability to comprehend what was being communicated. I looked at Eric and he looked at me and it was pretty obvious we needed to accept this gracious hospitality and drink at least one of the beers.

I had to think a little bit. I was about to drink my first beer since December of 1990. Since there was an alcohol free beer, I hypothesized there would be a minimal risk of me dancing on a tavern table with a spittoon on my head a couple of miles down the road. So Eric and I split the alcohol free beer. It was cold too! Cold drinks in France are pretty rare. The beer tasted great. But now, I must admit that I've had half a beer since 1990 and if anyone asks, it was all for the cause of good international relations. Or maybe the devil made me do it. I'll have to ponder that.

Late Night Music Club with Garcia and Grisman