Gannat to some village: rescued from the snow by hash dealers

Statistics for today
Distance 40.00 kms 24.85 miles
Statistics for trip to date
Distance 2,529.86 kms 1,572.07 miles
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Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Just looking out the hotel window in the morning I know it's going to be a long day. Downstairs at the bar the local workmen are already hitting the rosé and the Ricard at 7am. They keep trying to buy me a glass of wine while I'm eating breakfast but there's no way I'm going there. I tell them: "ça coupe les pattes" (it will take the wind right out of my sails).

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Frickin cold.
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Cold + rain = misery.

The rain is relentless, it gets colder and colder until I start seeing snowflakes. I make a pit stop at a bicycle shop to have the cables tightened, more to kill some time out of the rain than to fix any pressing problem. I spend some time in the shop drinking coffee with the owners/employees, but eventually I have to get back out there.

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Getting a tune-up.
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...not good.

Late in the day it starts snowing for real, with accumulation, wind, the works. The stars must be aligned because to top it all off, I get a flat tire. First flat of the trip at the worst possible time. I try to change it only to discover my spare tube got torn at some point sitting in the bottom of the panier. I'm not carrying a patch kit so I'm pretty much screwed. I'm in the middle of nowhere, nothing but fields and hills, in the driving snow. I start walking with the bike. After about two kilometers I come upon a tiny village. I'm soaking wet and freezing, so I start looking around the houses to see if there is somewhere I can leave the bike. I'm thinking I'll leave it here then hitchhike to the nearest town to find a spare tube or patch kit. Just when I'm really feeling desperate someone leans their head out the window and asks if I want a coffee. Not turning that down.

They are a bunch of guys hanging out in a converted barn smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. Every half hour or so someone pulls up in a car, comes in for a minute, then goes outside with one of the guys. It takes me a couple of hours to figure out that they are selling hash. The cars come and go all night, they make dinner and offer me a place to sleep. In the morning they drive me to the nearest city to buy a spare tube for the bicycle and I'm on my way, the nicest drug dealers I've ever met.