$title = "Thursday"; ?> $date = "15 February 2005"; ?> include '../header.php'; ?> include '../thumbnail.php'; ?>
thumble('E_besancon','right','P','en'); ?>Hey, we're all up early! Really early. But. More snow. Lots more snow. There is no way I can get my bike down the steep track to the road. Not that there is any point as Pascal's bike is simply not working and anyway, Besançon is snowed up solid. It's sortta nice to know that it is not only the UK that cannot cope with snow. Altho' admittedly, there is a lot of snow here.
thumble('E_hill_bikes','left','P','en'); ?>At 12:45, Pascal has finished working on his bike, identified the emulsion that has choked his carburettors and sorted it out. In the meantime, the town has got its act together and got the roads clear(-ish). I've also lowered my tyre pressures a lot. I can't think of anything else I can do to make my going easier. I have spent two hours digging a trench thru' the track down to the road.
thumble('E_willitwork','right','P','en'); ?>As far as I'm concerned, as soon as I'm down there, I'm off home. But Pascal, bless him, sees no problem and once we're on the road and fuelled up, we're off to Germany. Pascal's cousin once again pulls out all the stops and helps us down into town with our luggage in his car. We stop at a garage for fuel and to load up and to say goodbye. Even if we don't get to the Elefant, meeting Gérard and Andi was well worth the trip.
Somehow, we agree to do the full 800 kms we were planning to take all day to do. Jeez. And it is horribly cold and snowy. And the lorries are quite frightening. No they're not, they're VERY frightening. Still, we're OK travelling on the autobahns at a goodly speed until I get lost crossing over Nuremberg and tiredness is evidently setting in. Not a good sign. We're stopping more and more frequently as we're both pretty tired. It's possibly not a clever decision to try and go all the way to Deggendorf but I've booked the hotel and I'm damned if I'll lose my deposit.
Many countless autobahn kilometres later, on the A3 at Straubing, I lose sight of Pascal in my mirrors. After waiting at the Deggendorf exit for 45 minutes I'm too cold to wait any longer so I head for the hotel. At least he knows where we are heading so can contact me there. Deggendorf is seriously snowed up and it feels very dangerous on my bike. The hotel is quite easy to find (I love my GPS!) and they're expecting me (well, us, but for now, there's only me) - where the hell is he?
Around 11:30 pm the 'phone rings - it's Pascal! What actually happened was that 8 kms from the exit, the snow and ice really got going and while I punched thru' it, Pascal crashed and went for an impromptu glissade for 200 metres or so. How the hell he missed going under a lorry I'll never know. Eventually, he stopped sliding and even more eventually, the Polizei turned up and arranged a truck to bring him to the hotel. He miraculously has no injuries at all and his bike only lost its windshield and had a few severe scrapes (he'll need a new rocker cover - it must be down to the last millimetre of metal) Fortunately the hotel has an underground car park so the totally dead, seized and f*cked bike was shoved down there.
Pascal is completely uninjured, unfazed unshocked and despite it being 1 am, he wants food (as I keep saying, he's French) So tired as I am we go off looking for an all night café. And lo, he finds one! How do the French do it?
It looks like our best plan is that Pascal dumps the bike at a garage and trains home and I make my own way back as soon as I can. Thank gawd, this has been more than enough of an adventure for me. But for now, it's a comfortable hotel bed for me with the thought of a decent hot breakfast tomorrow followed by, well, followed by making my way home I s'pose.