Well, we made it!
And on schedule too. The route was more or less made up as we went along: the general idea was to follow the sun south, turning left before hitting the Pyrenees and then following the canals (for the record - the Lateral Canal, the Canal du Midi and the Canal de la Robine) all the way to the Med. I think that overly planning the route would have been a mistake. There were advantages with just going with the flow. If the road to the right looked more interesting than the one to the left then, more often than not, we turned right (which, i realise, doesn't quite explain how we ended up on a motorway). But that was generally how it worked.
The last five days were particularly good. Hot and sunny. And seeing the Pyrenees off to our right as we cycled out of Castelnaudary, and past the home of a regiment of the Foreign Legion, was fantastic.
We spoke to plenty of strangers along the way and were free of both radio and TV. We will probably miss the former for a while as much as we didn't miss the latter.
My troublesome left knee held up well. I think it's actually improved a little. I'm not limping at all now (and we never even went through Lourdes).
Jackies 'innate fitness' carried her through. Just as Penguin assured me it would.
It took 15 days @ ~100km, or 60 miles per day to do around 1,000 meandering miles. That's about 4 'BIC on a BIKE'.
At a cadence of around 70, I calculate that we've done around 388,000 (French) revolutions. Each.
The weather was unseasonably bad for much of the trip, but there were, actually, a few good days early on and, as indicated above, picked up at the end.
We'll not forget Oradour.
Thanks again to the Whites for their hospitality.
We both have Cyclist's Tans, which start about 6" down from each shoulder and, again, across the mid thigh.
But what you do on a cycling holiday is in no way weather dependent: if the weather's good you ride: if the weather's bad...you ride!
But we're not riding home. We're having a rest. Us and the bikes are going home by air.
We were pleased that we took the monkey too. And pleased that he wasn't on the bike when it was stolen in Toulouse (we left him, along with our bags, in left luggage). He was an intro to many conversations. For example we'd stop for lunch and someone on the next table would say something like "we noticed the monkey when we overtook you earlier today. Where are you going?..." His name changed too along the way. Initially he was Huntzilla. That became shortened to Hunts. But latterly we've just referred to him as The Singe (pronounced songe, which is French for monkey).
Jenny arrived today. With her son Chris.
There'll be a few days of relaxing, on the beach and around Chez Two in Babeau before jc flies back on Sunday and I return with Jenny in the middle of next week.
We hope that mum and dad, who have both been 'in the wars' lately have had a good break away. We look forward to seeing you both soon!
And lastly a special thanks to our spouses, Jenny and Simon, for letting us go!
Steve and Jackie