As I listened to the rain last night, I couldn’t help but feel the usual anxiety I do with rain as we travel. I don’t want to be wet, I don’t want to be cold. I don’t want the wind to blow. Of course, for the first time in basically our entire trip, we were safely tucked indoors in the Oudet’s home and could barely hear the rain outside at all, but I was anxious none the less.
When I woke up, I ran to the window for first sign that the nasty weather had somehow disappeared overnight despite the forecast for more rain, but no such luck. The clouds hung low and the roads were still damp from recent rain. We got up and packed up, hoping that somehow it would rain itself out before we were ready to leave, but by the time we’d shared breakfast with the Oudets, it had instead started to rain. We decided to wait a bit and see if it would possibly let up even a bit before departing.
With some time to kill in the morning, and a bed that actually hadn’t been packed into my panniers, I went right back to sleep. My exhaustion from yesterday was really getting to me and it felt good just to get some additional rest, even after a full night of sleep. I heard the rain continue outside my window for another couple of hours, keeping me from feeling even the least bit of guilt about sleeping my morning away.
By the time I got up, the rain had been still for a while, and we decided if we had any hope of making it to Annecy today, we had better get on the road. Aude kindly invited us to stay put another night, but we thought it was best that we get moving again, so we suited up in our rain gear and carefully packed our stuff to prevent it from getting wet.
We were sad to bid our new friends farewell- we have had such a nice time. Thank you so much for your kind hospitality! Happy Birthday to Simon tomorrow!
We rolled away into the dark gray day, all the while I was trying to be brave about the misery that surely awaited me. It was cold as we descended and I was glad for my rain jacket. Still, only a drop or two of rain fell. We were almost immediately on the hunt for a grocery store to restock our supplies before setting out, and we quickly located signs to a store, hoping I could run in and just grab a few thing to get us by. Of course, the only day we were ever in a hurry with our shopping, we found a department store that put Walmart to shame for size, and my “quick trip” turned into kind of a long wander through aisles and aisles of high end bikes and seafood trying to find some bread.
After finally locating all my food, I hoped to quickly negotiate checkout, but instead the lady wanted to see ID with my credit card. Unfortunately, I only had Ben’s drivers license and since Ben was out with the bikes, I had no real proof I was related to him at all. I didn’t think she was going to let me out with my groceries, but gratefully she just copied down a lot of numbers and after a long time, sent me on my way.
Finally on the road, it didn’t take long before we were too warm to warrant wearing our jackets any more and we were extremely relieved to notice a bit of a break in the clouds. My legs, very fatigued from our long climb yesterday, were not feeling strong at all, and my back was causing me a fair bit of pain. I’ve never known exhaustion like this until this week and tired doesn’t even begin to describe my physical state. We knew the ride would be a gentle uphill, but even still, it felt very difficult to gain any ground. I was very anxious to get to Annecy.
Much to our amazement, as we pedaled there were rain clouds on our left and rain clouds on our right, but the sky right above the road we were on showed blue skies almost everywhere we went. I felt a bit as though the Red Sea had been parted on our behalf- I was so relieved not to be battling rain on top of my intense fatigue.
We stopped almost not at all, and made pretty good time on the dedicated bike trails that carried us through the first half of our ride. Sadly, soon the paths turned to a narrow shoulder on a busy highway and we fought traffic for quite a few more miles as we got toward Annecy.
Annecy’s traffic was no better and the looming rain cloud over our head had us urgently looking for our campground. We quickly located where the GPS said it was supposed to be, but nothing was there. Begrudgingly, we climbed up a steep hill a bit further, hoping we would soon see it, and sure enough, another kilometer away, we’d located it as quick bouts of rain fell. We got checked in, potatoes with cheese made, and camp all set up before the real rain fell and I gratefully took another quick nap in the tent while Ben caught up on our GPS data and blogging.
Finally, we decided to go see Annecy and track down a few more groceries before the day was up, so we rolled back down the hill into town using my last bit of energy. The town was busy but nice although it was strange to once again be in a city with lots of tourists. We took some pictures and found a round of pastries to enjoy along the canal. Finally though, Ben kindly took me back to camp so that I could get some more rest. The French alps have been beautiful, but I am exhausted to my very core, every morning being a battle just to get out of bed, much less pedal over yet another mountain pass. Tomorrow we head toward Switzerland where hopefully we will find some welcome flat days.