October 19, 2010

22| Millau

But, before I knew it, I had completed the circuit from Le Rozier, up one gorge (The Tarn)  and down another (the Jonte), and was back in Le Rozier, full of energy … (oh yes, well fed and rested)  so  I headed on to Millau. But I didn’t stay there either; the city might be intriguing another day, but I was happy riding and not wanting to stop, so I continued on, keeping my eyes open for a campground.
Beyond Millau, I rode under the famous, very modern Aqueduct. While it is highly esteemed and loved by many, to me it looked like just what it is: a very modern bridge. The Tarn River and its valley have become a bucolic and beautiful, but no longer dramatic, landscape.  The terraces up the slopes are wider and probably more productive, still reaching near the top. This is still sheep country and I see my first big flock somewhere east of Millau. Their milk is mainly used for Roquefort cheese, another of my favorite foods.  I didn’t find a campground until I reach St. Rome-de-Tarn; and by then I was certainly tired! There was a very short, but very steep ride up the hill to the south side of the river to get to the town. Whatever energy I had left, that hill ate up.
The town was very quiet.  I stopped in a very large, 4-star campground, but it was virtually  empty, the restaurant closed, no sign of a pool, though the staff was very helpful, gave me the number in the office to call if I needed them,the showers very hot and very welcome. I walked into town, hoping for a good, large meal in a bistro or restaurant, but I was disappointed, nothing was open, even the large and inviting-looking hotel . At least there was a boulangerie open, where I bought  a piece of quiche and apple croissant, to go with the radishes that I had left. I ate this with an Orangina for dinner, at my tent. I was very hungry, and they tasted delicious. But later that night I realized that the nasty queasy  feeling I had was food poisoning, so I tried to lie still as a stone, hoping that if I didn’t move and barely breathed it would pass. But no, I proceeded to lose my meager  dinner out the door of the tent, and spent a miserable night of back and forth to the facilities. This reinforced my long-held belief that no one over the age of 12 should ever puke. I was up and left at first light, there was no way I wanted to stay there, weak as I was. I had planned to decide that morning whether to ride south to Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, where I have wanted to visit the cheese caves, but circumstances  decided that for me. Still somewhat ill, and definitely exhausted, neither extra riding nor excellent cheese (as I said, Roquefort is normally one of my favorites) was appealing after that night! I decided to continue without detours. 

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