Journal, December 2003, France:

The following is transcribed from Isabel's "JOURNEY JOURNAL", the diary she kept
as she pedaled her bike "Richey" from Amsterdam to Barcelona:

12-24 So no peanut butter sold in France but I saw "nut" and "spread" and wondered how I could go wrong — woops — pure sugar chestnut spread. It is important that one must always be well rested so a dry sleeping spot seems to have soared high in my priorities— and when the sun begins to set — it sinks. I fore-see heavy rains this evening — so I am in an old bus/RV in a junk shed — the shed itself is rather moist. It also seems wise not to enter town at the end of the day which may result in a dumpster bed — as I have already said: after entering it is fifteen circles before escaping [ note: Isabel tended to get lost in French towns ]. It also works because I took time to look on the map and see that entering Bordeaux is not necessary — which is where I would have directed my route. It is very pleasant to take all the time I please — the only push being the weather — but to stop in the mountains to admire the scenery. All the time in the world — no hurry.

12-25 I was riding and it appeared to be getting dinner — first assumption: the sun is setting. I stopped and made camp but I suppose it was just the clouds because I have been sitting here for some time now. Asking direction from a gentleman today I was reminded that this planet celebrates a holiday so for the fun of it I had yet another banquet day. Not long now before I cross the border—then what?—we shall see—maybe Barcelona—then Portugal to try and work my way on a sail many possibilities....I have come to realize people's obsession with time~ "I am riding my bike across France!" "Do you know how long that will take?"~ and so on. I stop and watch people-eat-drink coffee (not in a few days)- walk my way through towns—all to try and absorb to the best of my extent. Hitch-hiking may have been a better French lesson though opposed to riding alone gaping at the countryside then nestling in the woods for sleep. But still the beauty—a geography lesson.

France, December 2003