Well that was a hard day.
We walked a full 20mi today, most of it without shade on a day that ironically we had our first cloud-free day since arriving in France. We were blessed however with only moderately hot temps 84F.
Still, the sun exposure and the weight of the backpacks made the day tough for both of us.
The scenery was unchanging, great expanses of wheat, sugar beet, onions, and one sunflower patch stretched from horizon to horizon. The lack of trees allowed a slight breeze during the day but our water soon got warm. There’s nothing quite like drinking warm water when you are thirsty.
This should have been a 19mi day, but head down and steadily moving forward I missed a turn, one of only three that we had to make during the day. The rest of the day was on ancient Roman roads which are straight as an arrow and relentless.
Maybe I’m building it up too much. It wasn’t nearly as exciting as I’ve described so far.
By the end of the day we were weaving from one side of the road to the other like drunken sailors as we instinctively sought even the tiniest piece of shade.
The last few miles were on a heavily trafficked asphalt road. By heavily trafficked, I’m talking about farm tractors towing huge flatbed trailers loaded with hay. These tractors were driven by teenage boys traveling at warp speeds along the 1-1/2 lane roads. We counted two sets of boys that passed us over 6 times with alternating empty and full loads.
We’d been advised in advance by our hosts that they would not be available until 7 pm. However to beat the heat, we did start out our regular time. Once we arrived at our hosts house about 4pm, we propped ourselves up against a fence in the shade across from their house to wait out the clock. To our relief and surprise the husband and grandson arrived at 4:15pm. However I don’t think they were expecting us. Graciously they let us in and we started the shower and laundry routine.
It feels so good to be clean after the tough day. I think we will sleep well. After showering a minor event took place that cemented in my mind that we’ve been on the road a while. This family graciously allowed us the use of their washing machine. So as we were gathering our clothes to be washed I started to put on my clean shirt … it reeked. After a while hand washing clothes in a sink with a bar of soap just doesn’t cut it. Luckily my last shirt stunk less.