July 23 – Sunday

Went for a really nice ride around the area after having breakfast and taking down the tent. Had to spread out the tent and fly to dry a bit, but really not that bad considering the soaking they got on Friday night.

The ride was awesome – went away from the village thru walnut orchards on the small winding road. Eventually met a slightly larger road where I turned right, knowing that as long as I kept turning right I would sooner or later come to either the village or the campsite.
Met the ‘highway’ and turned right again, crossed the river then arrived in the village.

Road around a bit, then took the ‘alternate’ road back to the campsite.
Stopped at the office where the wi-fi is, emailed Dom to let him know I likely won’t have internet tonight but will be in touch Monday if possible.
Packed up the rest of my stuff and got on the way by 11. Headed west thru more lovely countryside, crossed the Rhone river (very large and beautiful) and up into the Ardeche (not in the Alps anymore).

Stopped at the lovely village of Le Champe-Raphaelon on top of a mountain at a ‘rough’ campsite – just a place where campervans can park but no facilities. Setup my tent on the grassy edge – discovered the stinging nettles after I walked thru a bunch and got my shin stung. Colin had a ‘pen’ of some kind that took the sting away – I think it’s more for insect bites/stings but it worked pretty well.
We walked the dogs into the village and went for a drink at a bar – everyone loves the doggies. The pic below is not the bar – it’s the church next door.
The Tour had a late start – not until 4, and they had a special bit on Thomas Voekler, who is retiring after this race.

The race will be on for at least a couple of hours, and unless someone has the guts to go for it nothing much will happen until the last half hour or so, so I took a walk. The road past where we’re parked curves around after about 100 meters and just goes back down to the village, so I went back the other way to the main road. Followed it into the village then took a road to the left that had signs for other villages.
Turned back after about 1 km as the road started going down fairly sharply and I didn’t want to have to climb back up that much. Took a quick side trip to a cemetery that had tons of flowers on the graves – some of the ‘plots’ had name plates for several different family members, and most of the flowers were plastic.
Got back to the campervan, had dinner and went to sleep early – wind was picking up and storm was coming.

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