France - Day 13 : Start of the return journey

We had been in Cassis for two days. That meant we had 10 days left to get back to the Netherlands. It had taken seven to get here, but the return route would be a bit longer and more mountainous. It would pass through the mountains we had seen during a large part of the way south. We planned to cycle nine days and take one day off.

On the way back we didn't want to take the same route back to the Ventoux, instead we wanted to arrive at the other side, so we could climb it from a town called Sault. If at all possible we also didn't want to cycle through Marseille. Directly after Cassis we took a wrong turn as I hadn't planned this part of the route in detail. We already climbed a lot to get there and the road would probably keep going uphill for the rest of the day. Because I had walked on flip flops for two days my muscles hurt and my calves were tired. The weather was still good though, except for the strong headwind.


First we had to pass several two lane roundabouts with six exits, before we could take easier roads again. After forty kilometers we decided to visit a construction market to again search for fuel for the stove. By now this had turned into an excuse to take a break. The store was called Bricomarche, there were also supermarkets, called Intermarche, and ecological supermarkets, called Ecomarche. We visited a lot of Intermaches during the vacation.


The Intermarche.

We again didn't have a lot of water left. We drank and ate so much that it was nearly impossible to carry enough for long periods of time. Before we reached the same roads as we had taken to go south, we noticed a few mountains we would rather not climb.


Large mountains in the distance

We passed the shed where we bought drinks and apples before, with the grumpy lady. It was probably good not to enter again. Then we went through forests with evergreens and got water from the same pump. There were more cyclists drinking there, so it probably was safe. Cycling was hard today, but we kept struggling on. 

In a small village we wanted to drain the last bits of fuel from the hoses at a gas station, because we probably wouldn't be allowed to fill our stove by actual pumping gas. Just when we started someone emerged from a nearby building, so we quickly left. After the village came another long climb. It wasn't steep in the beginning, but got worse later on. We had descended this mountain a few days before, so we knew what was in store for us.

Col du Pointu
Col du Pointu

We climbed the Col du Pointu again

The road to Saul seemed to go up endlessly. My bike started making noise, which I thought it was coming from somewhere near my pedals. We took a break along the side of the road, it was already getting late. I couldn't find what was wrong with my bike. The next day the noise was gone. Probably I was so tired that I was leaning on my shifters.

Finally Saul came in sight. It was one long descent to the campsite. We also saw the Ventoux again, the summit was covered in clouds.


It probably won't be nice on the Ventoux right now


In Saul we found a sign pointing towards a campsite a bit outside of town. On the way there we came across a closed fuel station. There were four hoses with euro 95 or 98 fuel. We had engineered a funnel from an empty water bottle. By lifting the hoses we could drip out the last bits of fuel. It was about a bottle cap per hose. When cars arrived we left again. By the time we reached the campsite it was completely dark. The desk was also closed. We showered and then went to bed.


Near Gardanne were large roundabouts, afterwards we took the same route as a few days ago, until reaching Apt.

Daily distance 157,16 km