Journey so far from Uk to start point.
So, I was ready in good time. Kyle left me to pack the car on my own so he didn’t get cross with me. I was glad actually and it all went in easily In a way that was good for me to get stuff out. I resisted the temptation to put more in, but am now regretting it. After condensing and taking things out, I find I don’t have all the things he wants in the quantities he needs e.g. Banana chips. I sacrificed the cadbury chocolate rolls for more mini malt loaves but apparently I should have sacrificed the 12 weetabix instead. He wanted more muesli and seeds. And what was I doing bringing one bag of dried Fusili pasta to italy. I thought it would do to get us started as the all day driving to get to the start point leaves no time for popping in supermarkets. Yeah, it might be like taking coals to Newcastle but its no good needing to buy pasta if we’re in the middle of nowhere or it’s a Sunday is it. Not everywhere has forsaken religious beliefs and rest days to get 7day opening have they.
Anyway, the pasta, chicken and quiche I cooked has seen us right for the first 3 days. And despite the questioning looks and comments about things going off, the seeded loaf has also gone down well. It may seen that there is a big focus on food and you would be right. But not because I am hungry but because I have to try to ensure that kyle is fuelled up and that I have the things that he likes to eat. This is not easy as I found last year as he said malt loaves and baked beans were good foods so I took 14 malt loaves and 8 jars of beans only to find that he went off malt loaf after the first week and didn’t want beans at all. In fact he went from wanting Pasta to cous cous too. God send foods to have are boiled eggs, yoghurts and nuts. Whatever the case I will need to get to a shop soon.
Anyway, less of the food and more of the journey. We got Dover over an hour before departure after a steady drive within speed limits. It got more cloudy the further south we got. The were some cyclists and a car with cyclists waiting to get on too. So being Inquisitive I spoke to one of them on the way back from the bathroom. He said they were doing London to Paris and there were about another 150 to arrive. He was all proud but said his group hadn’t trained any where near enough. They had done the 80miles from London and were in a shocking state. He was taken aback when I said what we were doing. When I got to the car and relayed the story Kyle said “we’ll they are obviously not cyclists!” How do you know that I asked, wondering if it was the baggy sweat pants and lack of lycra that gave it away? He replied “look at their bikes. No cyclist would do that to their cycle it is sacrelidge!” Ah the beautiful coveted machine. They were thrown on the floor, resting on the handlebars and saddle on the Tarmac. I should have known. The care Kyle takes of his cycles should have alerted me. Well good luck to them in their adventure.
In the peace and quiet away from the noise
The ferry was full of hyperactive French and German kids returning from school trips no doubt. There was no where to sit or get away from the noise and screaming. Good job I had booked club class and was able to sit kyle in the lounge with free drinks, snacks and newspapers. My obligatory trip to the on board shop was interesting as all I heard was the till assistants asking each teenager if they were 18 as they tried to buy booze, fags and lighters. Our motel in Calais was basic but it’s one night, not a holiday.
French rush hour traffic
We were out on the road by 8am on Thursday morning. I had had a couple of hours nap as I could not get to sleep no matter how tired I was. I don’t know why I can’t sleep away from home, I just don’t. I love France, it’s countryside, the language. I do. But I don’t enjoy their motorway service bathrooms. A hole in the ground is SO unladylike. If you’re lucky you get a toilet but it won’t have a seat. Yuk. We had our lunch stop which added another 40 mins to our journey. The road into the alps was lovely but it was cloudy. All the passes kyle cycled were still closed and snowed in. One of them he has to cycle in 2 weekstime as the Giro goes in and out of France on stage 15. We stayed at a hotel we used last July and I was surprised when we ended up in the same room. De ja vue!
Another night of not much sleep in the tiniest double bed invented. I kept saying get over and he replied I am on the edge. I’m sure he wasn’t. And when I was asleep I was woken to hear the tales of the vivid dream he had been having. Girls dressed as nurses with faces covered but trying to give him and his friend Cat lethal injections. Cat was in a cult but had an injection that turned out to be a fake but was unpleasant. And then he was in the film The Fog etc etc. This was just what I needed about 2am to help me get some much needed sleep. Then again I’m used to it. I often get to hear finite details of dreams replayed to me in the night.
Kyle decided he was going to get a spurt of urgency on him this morning, so he suddenly got dressed and siad right lets go. We left before 8am which isn’t bad as I had ignored the alarm and didn’t get up to do the tea until 6.45am. At this point i would like to remind you we are an hour in front. Kyle gives me some jip when I mention this as he never gets how the clocks changing knocks my body clock around for a few weeks. So going forward by an hour not 6weeks ago only to do it again Thursday morning makes my mornings a lot harder. I am a morning person. I can get up at 4.30am to get a train to London occasionally, but put the clocks forward and it’s difficult.
The Italian motorways in the north are full of tunnels. Where they can possibly go through something they do. They even build false tunnels by putting roofs over. They are a nightmare web of tangled junctions so you have to be sat nav savvy. Kyle has been in trauma about the motorway down the coast from Genoa. I have to say it is probably the most bumpy potholed road I’ve been on. It was a non toll one though so has probably been left to rot.
The Italian motorway bathrooms are worse than the French and it costs 50cents for the privilege. And as Kyle warned the diesel is more expensive. It was ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ¬1.30ltr in France but varies From ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ¬1.65-80 in italy. Going in and out of the tunnels, appearing to harbour communities nesting in the valley where the mountains reach the sea is rather lovely. Especially as the motorway is high and you look down on them. Ugly tall barriers prevent photos being taken which is a pity. They do like their apartment blocks. Residencies are painted an orange colour or creamy variations of orange.
Boy the roads are bad. Yes much worse than ours.
So, lets ponder the next 3weeks. Tension. Disagreements. Stress. Nice views. Lots of sign language Getting lost-probably. Feeling shattered everyday but glad it’s not me on the push bike. Pride. Shouts of encouragement. Tears (inevitable and mine obviously). Worrying where he is trying to catch him up. Wonderment at why on earth anyone could think this was anything like a holiday. Call this a holiday. It’s harder than you think believe me. Supporting kyle is not just cooking and cleaning. It’s dealing with the ups and downs, celebrations and tempers.
So at 22degrees just north of Rome with 150km to go, day three is mostly done. Kyle is moaning about how far it is to drive and how few cyclists he has seen. Well as its mostly been motorway its not surprising. But I know what he means and I tried not to fuel his concern by not joining.
Tonight the real hard work starts. Cooking on a camping stove. Preparing bottles etc. Getting up at 5.30am. Making up fresh bottles by the road. Washing plates, sterilising drinks and protein shake bottles, taking photographs, washing kit and drying it in the car. Darting in and out of fuel stations.
Bring it on as there is no going back now.