The hotel in Les Vignes was a wonderful find. The owner, Robert, really took care of me and all his guests. Dinner and breakfast was included in the 43e price. The dinner was terrific and started with an aperitif. Robert made so much food I could only finish half of what was served. There was beef stew, salad, quiche, potato au gratin and a spinach dish finishing with a choice of cheese or dessert. I chose the citrus in chocolate tort.
Breakfast was a typically simple croissant, yogurt and coffee. I got started a bit later than I wanted but had to wait for the sun to burn off some of the thick fog in the gorge. It was still foggy when I pedaled away but I could just make out the rocks at the top of the gorge. Again, the riding was terrific. Robert had suggested I cross to the other side of the Tarn river at Le Rosier and take an even quieter road. The first few miles of this route into La Cresse were very hilly but then leveled out for a very enjoyable ride. Robert was right - there was hardly any traffic. I may have seen a car every 20 minutes. The road was higher than the one I took yesterday and the views were fabulous.
It didn't take long and I was riding into Millau. I stopped at the visitor's center but since I got there at 12:15 it was closed. I looked at the map and found my way under the Millau aquaduct bridge. There were lots of cyclists out on day rides. It was cool to be under the bridge looking up. The bridge looked completely different here than it had when I drove across with Corinne and Sebastien. Turning back into town I, again, went to the visitor's center for recommendations on a hotel. They called and booked a room close by but it turned out reception was on the fourth floor with no way to get Myrtle up. It was still fairly early in the afternoon. I rode along a river until I came to a campground. Hhhhmm... why not camp? I found a site along the river that looked lovely and set up my tent. 13e for a tent site which is a lot cheaper than the 45e I've been paying for a hotel room. There were lots of people who spoke English here. After a shower I walked into town to get food for dinner and tomorrow.
I met lots of people and spent the early evening chatting with my neighbors who were mostly Dutch and German. I also met a nice couple from Scotland who are building a house in La Cresse. Once it got dark the temperature dropped and I crawled into my tent. I don't know what it is about camping but I always have trouble sleeping. The lovely river was so loud I had to use earplugs. Then there was the permeating smell of dog urine. Like a summer's worth of dog urine that I could now clearly smell since I was laying on the ground. I love the idea of camping and the cost savings but wow - this is hard. I took a sleeping pill and probably managed a few hours of fitful rest.
It seems that campgrounds don't offer as many picnic tables as they used to either. In the morning I took my stove, coffee and oatmeal to the front where there was a cafe and a few tables. No one seemed to mind. After breakfast I answered so many questions campers had about my trip that I didn't get going until 10. I enjoyed it knowing I didn't have far to go today so it didn't really matter. Today, my route took me along another gorge - the Gorge de la Dourbie. It wasn't as dramatic as the Gorges du Tarn but I passed a few towns that were built high up on small mountain tops into the rocks. Cantobre had been recommended as a must-see by many people. It looked so high up from the road I wasn't sure I could cycle it. But the road was only 1.5 km and not nearly as difficult as I expected. The town is amazingly quaint and very small. There were a few hotels but since I arrived between 12 and 2 everything was shut. I found a couple of picnic tables in the town square and made my lunch. Just as I finished a guy cycled up to me. Turned out to be one of the Dutch guys I camped next to Millau. What a pleasant surprise to see him here.
It was only another 7 km to Nant where I got checked into a comfortable hotel for 43e. After last nights camping disaster I am exhausted and will probably stay here for 2 nights. The weather forecast calls for rain and wind tomorrow so I think my timing for a rest day is pretty good.