This morning I woke to find it hammering down with rain. Great! Then I checked my GPS thinking I had 320 miles to Dieppe but it told me that I had 410 miles. My tough guy attitude told me to get back into my sleeping bag and sleep some more, so I did. When I decided to get up it was 9:30 and still raining. I’ve had many times in my life where I’ve not wanted to do something but nothing compares to being in a nice warm sleeping bag knowing you have to go out in the cold and wet, pack everything up, get into sodden leathers and ride 420 miles in the rain on a bike. To be completely honest the thing that was stopping me was knowing that I could not get there in time to catch the ferry back to England, if I thought there was a chance I would have been up at the crack of dawn and on the bike by 7.
Anyway, I left the camp site in the pouring rain at around 10:30. It was an incredibly miserable ride and bloody dangerous too. The weather was producing sun and blue skies followed by torrential rain combined with a strong wind. I found myself riding through heavy rain into the bright sun. The combination of fogged up glasses, a visor that I just couldn’t see through because it was fogged up on the inside and being rained on hard on the outside, and riding into the bright sun simply meant I could not see. I had to guess where the road was many a time. Still, I’m still alive, if not a bit pruny, so it couldn’t have been that bad!
Whilst I was riding through the rain today trying to see the where the road was going I thought back to my time being cooked in the desert, at that time I couldn’t think of anything better than cold weather and rain. The grass is always greener on the other side!
I stopped at a petrol station to fill up and a chap came over and started looking at the bike. It turned out that he was from England, John was here with his wife and son and daughter, I think they were travelling around France. He said he had a bike and that he couldn’t believe I had been all the way to the Sahara on it. It made me think that actually neither could I! As I was getting on the bike a French lady leaned out of her window and told me that I was going the wrong way and that the Sahara was that way, it made me smile.
At my next fill up I realised that I would not have to fill up again before getting home which was a wonderful feeling, I was nearly home. Originally my plan for today was to get 100 miles from Dieppe but I ended up going pretty much all the way. Tomorrow morning I’ll get myself and my bike to Dieppe, get a ticket, jump on the ferry and chill until I get to England. I’ve missed England very much and am looking forward to being home with my wife, son, dog and 3 cats.
I’m now at a camp site just outside of Dieppe, I was assigned pitch number 87 which is next door to a lovely couple who have cycled to Paris on their bycicles. I mentioned Buxted and to my surprise the chap knew it, he went to school in Nutley!
All I’ve had to eat today is a slice of apply pie, which was lovely by the way, and I’m starving but can’t be bothered to go to the shop. It’s an early night for me then home.
Sunday morning update
Last night the people in the tent next to mine came over and gave me some sausage, bread, cheese and a tomato. I thanked them and ate like a king! We talked for some time and it turned out they were students going through medical school. As tempting it was to show them how sore my arse was I decided against it, knowing doctors they would probably wanted to stick their finger up it which I’m not too partial to. I went to bed content listening to the rain on the tent.
I woke up this morning at 5:45 with my mobile phone alarm going off. It was a sound from home that I didn’t much like. I usually leave the phone switched off but must have left it on when I went to sleep last night.
Last night when chatting to my tent next door neighbours I found that there was a ferry sailing from Dieppe to Newhaven leaving at 6pm, however I remember that when booking the ticket in the opposite direction there were usually two sailings per day. I had a choice to make, get up early and catch the early ferry if there was one or take it easy and catch the one at six o’clock. I could hear no rain on the tent and was hoping that I would unzip the door and be confronted by a glorious blue sky however, I unzipped the door to find dark grey skies all over. It was going to rain, hard.
The rain held off whilst I packed everything onto the bike and got ready for my 9 mile trip to Dieppe. I got on my bike and rode off, within about 1 minute of being on the road the heavens opened and I got soaked right through. Luckily being Sunday morning the roads were quiet so all I had to miss were buildings and trees. I made it to Dieppe and rode into the port. Unluckily, being Sunday, everything was closed. As the rain came down harder than ever I decided to take shelter under the overhang of a building. As I did the automatic door slid open and let me in. It was the ticket office, great! The next ferry home was at 6pm and the ticket was 100 Euros, not great!
I could go for a trip around Dieppe on the bike and find a nice cafe and have some breakfast but the weather outside can only be described by the word deluge. I’ve decided to stay in the ticket office with the coffee machine and snack machine to keep me company. I’ll have an espresso and a packet of M&M’s for breakfast please machine.