The way back
Day 18 : The travellers
This part is again written by Bram
The next morning we left for the last part of the vacation. Finally we had gotten rid of all the mountains in the 100 cols tour and we could cycle over normal and reasonably flat roads. At least that is what we thought.
We looked at the quickest way to reach the next village and discovered we had two choices. Either we could cycle 45 km over reasonably flat roads, or we could take the shortest route which was only 21 kilometers long. The only disadvantage of this option was that it ran over the Ballon d'Alsace and with that also over the 100 cols tour. In the end we chose to climb it again because it would save time.
When we were cycling towards the Ballon d'Alsace we weren't really looking forward to climbing yet another large mountain. Luckily it turned out to be a lot easier than we remembered, we reached the top within 45 minutes. Then followed a descent towards the next town and from thereon the road remained nearly perfectly flat. It was also an N-road. Most people would hate to cycle over these big roads with many cars, but they do have some advantages. They are flat, straight, and the shortest way to get from A to B, as a result you can travel fast. We averaged around 26-27 km/h.
We again made it to the top of the Ballon d'Alsace
The N-road turned into a highway over which Bart didn't want to cycle. I wanted to continue because it would only last for 2 kilometers and the alternative was to cycle against traffic to reach the nearest exit. Eventually that is what we did, while cycling over the emergency lane. After a while we reached a big city where we had a good lunch.
We cycled for another two hours before we passed a campsite. Because we had planned to sleep in Toul, which was only 10 km farther, we continued. We figured there must be a campsite in such a big city. Once there we couldn't find any, but after cycling three loops through the city we did find a map. However, it didn't show any campsite. After asking around it became clear there wasn't a campsite in Toul. The people did tell us there was one 10 km to the south, but we already knew that.
Because we didn't want to cycle back we started looking for a nice park to sleep in. There were none and we gradually reached poorer and poorer neighborhoods. Eventually we passed a 'parking lot for travelers' so we decided to stay there. There even were sections of grass between the parking spaces, exactly wide enough for our bivy bags.
We decided to sleep there, it was pretty fun to stay at a parking lot with our bikes. I don't know if it was because of the inflatable pool or the three washing machines in front of certain mobile homes, but we started to realize the people there weren't really traveling anywhere.
Our sleeping area on a piece of grass
Bart took a shower in one of the dedicated stalls, but I decided I'd rather not freeze to death so went to sleep right away.
Distance cycled : 181 km