The way back
Day 18 : The travelers
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 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 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, therefore, also over the 100 cols tour. Ultimately, we chose to climb it again because it would save time.
While cycling towards the Ballon d'Alsace, we weren't looking forward to climbing yet another large mountain. Luckily it turned out to be a lot easier than we remembered and 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 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 town we found 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 were even sections of grass between the parking spaces, wide enough for our bivy bags.
We decided to sleep there, it was ironic to stay in a car 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.