On that day, September 12, 2014, I leave Tain L’Hermitage (Drôme department) towards Hauterives, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. On both sides of the road D109 vine crops widen to the borders of the left bank of the Rhône. The other side of the bridge, the city of Tournon-sur-Rhône, which belongs to the Ardèche department. There I spent the night in the outskirt of the urban area, on a embankment builded to prevents floodplains of one of the largest rivers in Europe. It is a gravel pathway shared by cyclists and pedestrians, as those four youngster around my tent that are seeking to kill boredom.
“How do you do?” asked the female who seemed to be a natural leader. When sitting on the floor a huge tribal tattoo on her right leg was revealed by her pleated skirt. We shared ideas for about half an hour and by the end of the conversation I felt relaxed. There is a widespread illusion among the young that they will make a long journey when they become independent from the nest. The positive fatigue led me to sleep smoothly until the early morning when I heard the footsteps of some retirees already out to meet the first glimpse of the sun.
Before leaving for my daily adventure, the couple, who had kept my bike in their garage, invited me to their table to have a substantial breakfast. She worked for the government in Valence, he at the local Bank. Son, Martin, prepared to go to school. They signed my journal, made ham and cheese sandwiches to go, expressed, once again, amazement at my lifestyle, and recommended visiting the winery of Tain.
At 9, in front of the Champion Supermarket, I work laboriously to change the wheel of my second trailer. After this operation, I turned back toward the same street I took it to get into the city center. Now I was about to cross that bridge visualized from the beginning.
The Shiraz vineyards, a few kilometers later, are abruptly replaced by cornfields and bushes that leaning sideways by the action of the noon wind. Suddenly it’s very rare to see a vehicle in this inhospitable road. To the confluence with the D53, everything is very monotone: Some plots are already plowed, waiting for the load of manure that will water its surface; the sound of a iron hanging on a zinc roof that balances upon bales of fodder; neat grown plants fences protecting some rural residences; metal and plastic greenhouses covering vegetables; community rural mailboxes installed in the middle of nowhere as if they were guardians of a territory where abounds silence and solitude. Some dog barking in the distance.
Suddenly I see a great place to spend the night and decided to stop right there. It is a neat grass yard outside the perimeter of a mansion that houses the life of a retired couple. I introduce myself in the way as I have been doing for years: I telling them who I am showing them at the same time the newspaper clippings and a couple of IB (Institutional Books), the main element which builds trust and confidence. I am a foreigner and they the owners of the house. When I ask for something, I try to do always considering the maximum respect for these people and do the minimum to bother them.
“Can I set up my tent in the vacant court which is outside the fence of your house? Just for tonight, tomorrow very early morning I will leave without any disturbances”. The lady asked a couple of minutes before deciding disappearing into the house. A big dog is lying in a corner of what would be a dining room. I can heard, in the next room, when the lady is on the phone talking with her daughter. For my part, I ask permission to wait outside. Three minutes past when the lady comes out again: “Do you want some tea?”.
The next morning I enter the village of Hauterives. I see a bakery half a block by turning the side of the Church. I decide to go there. Again, all the protocol showing up my newspaper clippings and institutional books. Hélene and Alain, this time, are the great benefactors in help me out. A new day of adventure has just begun.
Clarifying the concepts
On “...felt relaxed.” [why?]
Because the rule is that almost every day, when I decided to spend the night in a place, are the kids, the kids who come and asks and such, which to me is a real nuisance.It doesn’t leave me relaxed when I fall asleep. Sleep is what I need to rest from the fatigue of the day. Sometimes I think that will come back and commit an atrocity just for the sake of fun. My perception of the youngsters (brats in Spain) in general is very negative.
On “There is a widespread illusion among the young that they will make a long journey when they become independent from the nest.” [why do you say that? was it something these kids talked about? are you saying that lots of young kids think they’ll travel but rarely do?]
This is something to do when I say “I felt relaxed”. Kids hear my words carefully and they give the impression that approve what I am saying. Means they would not come to commit atrocities at night, when I’m already asleep. They see me telling them what they want to hear, things related to freedom and independence. A kind of fellowship is established.
On “The positive fatigue” [what is negative fatigue? – being tired from staying up late on the internet rather than from good physical labour?]
You said it.
On “They signed my journal, made ham and cheese sandwiches to go” [for you?]