Day 6 : The oven and the lady with nice melons
Today was the day we had to cycle through 'the oven'. That was the name we had given to this valley two years ago. It is entirely flat, and back then it must have been close to 40 degrees. Fortunately, we still had a while to go so we could prepare ourselves. The day started relatively easy, apart from some hills there were no real climbs. Unfortunately, it was scorching hot again, so we stopped at a fruit stand. We bought a melon, peaches, and some water.
Then it started, the road to the oven. Before entering we had to climb over the edge of the valley. At the top it was time for lunch, while we were eating a couple drove by with the lady filming while hanging out of the window. She got out, walked around, and got back in the car. All without stopping filming. What's nice about filming your entire vacation and then only realizing it was nice when you are lying on your couch at home is a mystery to me. Strangely enough, we saw three other people doing exactly the same thing during the rest of our vacation.
The oven valley
After lunch, we descended towards the oven. It was less hot than last time, but we still didn't want to end up without water. We cycled fast so we could leave it as soon as possible. When we crossed the hills on the other side, we saw the Mont Ventoux again. Fortunately, we didn't have to climb it this year.
After climbing out of the oven
We saw the Mont Ventoux again
While cycling towards the Mont Ventoux, we passed the restaurant where we weren't allowed to eat last time because the kitchen was closed, even though we were super hungry. Fortunately, we had then found our rescue: 'The lady with the nice melons'. That was an old lady that sold homegrown melons, and because they were so good we stopped there again. They were only 50 cents a piece (those in the stand before the oven were 2,49), so we bought two. She gave us four small ones for free and allowed us to sit at a table in her backyard. After six days of cycling we would have paid those 50 cents just to sit in the chairs. Chairs are one of the things you appreciate more after a cycling vacation, which is why you shouldn't bring one. While we were eating the melons, I told Bart I thought the lady had the best melons ever; Bart said he knew someone who had even better ones.
Bart eating a melon
Sitting on a chair in the shade
After finishing the melons we continued. We stopped to have a real dinner a while later and saw a beautiful girl hitchhiking. I am not sure what's in the water in that area, but it was flooded with good looking cycling, cycling-vacation-ing, and hitchhiking girls that we never see anywhere else. When we passed her Bart gestured that she could jump on his luggage carrier. Fortunately for her she didn't, but more on that later.
A while later we came across a campsite that wasn't shown on the map, but we decided to continue for a few more kilometers. That turned out to be one of the best decisions in the entire vacation. At our intended campsite a guy helped us find a spot, and the couple next to us let us use their electricity to charge our phones. The lady told the man, 'shouldn't you question them for a bit' but we first wanted to shower. Afterward, the man told us he had also climbed Mt. Ventoux and was trying to convince his future son-in-law to do the same things, but that wasn't really working. Later we had a drink on the campsite's terrace.
We had been suffering for six days and had hardly spoken to anyone. Now we sat down, clean and relatively well-rested with a nice glass of beer. Then something happened that always happens in such moments during cycling vacations. The owner's daughter laughed at us in a way too friendly way (at least it seemed like that in our relaxed bliss). We both liked her a lot, but we were on a cycling vacation, so it wasn't meant to be. After drinking the beer extra slowly we went to sleep.
Just like two years ago, we had reached Mt. Ventoux in about six days, but this time we cycled faster on average and made fewer detours. Because of that we were less tired, which was for the best as now we needed to cross the Alps instead of taking a day off.
Distance cycled : 172 km.