September 18 – Monday

I don’t think it quit raining all night long, but I slept pretty well. Had a nice hot shower – there was no temperature control, just a push-button that turned off every 20 seconds or so. It took a bit to get hot, but once it did it was good.
Ate breakfast, and we were on the road just after 10:30. Went generally northwest, passing through or by Nerac, and Langon, before arriving at Bordeaux. We circled around the south, then west of the city on the ring-road to get to the Ikea store on the north side.

Had lunch of – guess what? – Swedish meatballs! They were pretty good, along with veggies and some red wine – not exactly cheap but it was Colin’s treat once again. Then walked miles and miles thru a maze of rooms – following the arrows in the proper direction, of course. Colin got what he’d come for from the open warehouse before the check-out, and we finally made it out alive.
Exited the city on the highway heading north-east – got about 1/2 hour out and ended up parked on the road along with hundreds of freight trucks and hundreds more cars – hardly moving an inch. Eventually reached a flashing arrow forcing the traffic into one lane, then got onto an off-ramp and followed a bunch of cars and semi-trucks onto lesser highways.

We crossed over the motor-way and saw what looked like roadworks happening – spent a deal of time criticizing the organization of doing roadwork without any notices or detour advices for all of the vehicles, especially the hundreds and hundreds of semis.
Wound our way around northwest, then northeast, and eventually back onto the motorway much closer to Angouleme.
Finally made it to Mansle about 1 1/2 hours later than we’d expected – a fairly long day of travel, but being back is nice, and it’s certainly a bit warmer here than it was for the last few days in the mountains.

We watched a couple of stages of the Vuelta that had taped while we were gone – I actually saw myself crouched at the side of the road taking photos on the Sept. 7 stage we’d been at on Collada de la Hoz – I’ve been on tv!!

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