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Published: June 29th 2017
This entry by Tom.
The last day on our bikes looked like pretty much all the others--it was going to be another warm day. But this time I think it was mostly because we were so far south.
There was a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast for Nice, plus the van had to be returned this afternoon, so the plan was for Donna and Luce to drive directly from Draguignan to the hotel in Nice, unload everything including the bike bags, then generally be available for pick-ups if we hit nasty weather. Everyone left early and rode the shorter direct route. Caroline also went in the van the whole way to help out at the finish and then the plan was for her to ride back along the route and meet me, probably in Cannes.
After breakfast I headed out, after all the others but not by much, and I chose the longer alternate route from Draguignan through Bagnole-en-Forêt to Fréjus. It was definitely worth the extra time in the saddle. Scenic, with lots of exotic vegetation through arid country plus quiet winding roads with some modest climbs to beautiful views. Saw a bunch of other cyclists, too, even though it was just another weekday morning.
I reached the Mediterranean coast at Agay and followed it to Cannes. Spectacular as always, plus it was good riding--wide lanes and not a lot of traffic.
I stopped in Miramar to reload my bottles, and that’s when I first heard thunder off in the distance. The skies were beginning to darken too but it was a ways off plus it looked like just a patch. I’d been in touch with Caroline and she was seeing this too but we continued with our plan to meet up.
By the time I reached Cannes, Caroline was still in Antibes, trying to find her way out. I popped down to the Croisette with a plan to follow the coast. I think this was the better route than the planned one along busy departmental road through the city. It was busy but traffic was moving along at about the same speed as typical cycling plus it’s the Croisette.
Caroline found her way finally and reached Golfe-Juan at the same time I did, and meeting up there was not a problem. It was nearly 2 pm so we stopped at a little café by the water for lunch. She had seafood spaghetti and I had a pizza, which totally filled the hole after about 110 km on the bike. I think this worked out better than if we had met in Cannes; it was a lot quieter and low-key.
Turns out part of the problem Caroline had with back-tracking the route was that the prescribed stretch in Antibes along D6107 is prohibited to bicycles. Not good. We found our way back through Antibes on surface streets and will be noting this route for future reference.
From Antibes we just followed the signs to “Nice - par Bord de Mer” and it was nice riding along good bike lanes and paths next to the water all the way except for a few spots that looked like paths were still under construction.
Pulled in to the hotel 30 seconds before the rain started--nice timing! Locked our bikes in the garage for disassembly and packing tomorrow and checked in with one of the nicest and most helpful hotel people we’ve ever experienced in France. Rested, then cleaned up which was a bit of a challenge. The shower in our room wasn’t draining well and I had some issues with my razor. Made a wet mess.
Out the front door we saw most of the gang seated for dinner at the very pleasant hotel restaurant patio. After a quick look at the menu, we joined in. Really good vibes around the table tonight after arriving at our final destination. Not actually all that hungry after a pizza late this afternoon, I just had a slab of lasagna and Caroline hit the spaghetti bolognaise one more time.
And that was it for our day.
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