Day 5 : Toilets
The next day we woke up again. Considering I had been sleeping in a tractor track and was seriously dehydrated, I had slept pretty well. While packing, we discovered that Bart had a punctured tire because a corn stalk had poked through. While he was fixing it, I complained about how he shouldn't have picked his racing bike for this trip.
Last year Bart also went on his racing bike, which meant I had to cycle much harder because of my heavier bike. I had asked him to go on his regular bike so I wouldn't be destroyed after a week. His response was, 'If I go on my normal bike I will never survive this'. So I had to keep up with his racing bike, but us both traveling on our regular bikes would be too tough. Bart suggested I should have gone on my racing bike, but I said it would fall apart before the end, just like Bart's bike had done last time. Before the end of this trip it would become clear who was right, but more about that later. [Bart: my regular bike had been stolen, so I had to pick either my racing bike or one with only one gear].
We went to get food. Because Bart's hands were covered in grease, the owner allowed/forced him to wash his hands. Afterward, we ate in front of the supermarket surrounded by wasps. Fortunately, neither of us got stung. About 10 km later, Bart had to go to the bathroom. See, Bart has some typical habits regarding bathroom breaks during our cycling vacations. On past trips he didn't go at all for the first 4 or 5 days, but this time he was determined to make up for that. I was forced to eat whole-grain bread the entire trip so he could poop. It helped, but now he had to go three times a day.
We came across a very rare public toilet. I went first and after Bart had entered I told him 'Bart there is no toilet paper', then followed a long silence after which Bart spoke the legendary words: 'I will make sure to wash my hands when I am done'. I am not exactly sure what happened there but I am not touching his hands ever again, especially because he repeated the same thing a few days later, with the only difference being that he didn't even use his hands this time.
Next, we came across one of the busiest parts of our way south. In a way that was nice because the big, straight N-roads allowed us to cycle fast. We also had a tail-wind, so we averaged about 28 km/h for 50 km.
Lunch in some village
Eventually we arrived in the city of Romans. After inspecting our maps something extraordinary happened. A woman our age cycled around the corner on a bike with panniers. I think that was the first time that had happened in 5 years. The first thing I thought was that she couldn't be single, and immediately afterward her boyfriend came around the corner. A while later we passed them again and even Bart, who is in a relationship, said it was 'interesting' to see someone like that.
A while later we lost directions again, but with the help of some French women we found the right road. The roads were getting more hilly, so our pace declined a little. We passed a decorated house we had also seen two years ago. Everything on and around the house was painted in bright colors and decorated with weird things. On a big rock was painted, 'everyone who comes as a friend is welcome, but the doors will be closed on enemies'. Just when we were taking a picture the owner shut the door.
The decorated house
It took quite a climb to reach the campsite, while we were already tired. When we asked if there was room for us the owner joked that his campsite was full, but there was another one 30 km away. He also said Bart looked like a famous French cyclist in his youth. After we had pitched our stuff we took a shower and again ate and drank on our bivy bags. After one sip of wine my legs felt like pudding and after finishing the bottle I fell right asleep.
Distance cycled : 162 km.