Narbonne and thereabouts: Seeing the sights, doing some chores.

Statistics for today
Distance 345 kms 214 miles
Statistics for trip to date
Distance 3,290 kms 2,044 miles
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Sunday, July 3rd, 2005

A trip out to the marina for a nice dinner. It stays light here quite late. I always forget that we are actually farther north than Boston, it seems like southern France should be at a lower latitude. (Today's distance sums up all the riding around I did this week while based in Narbonne).

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Dinner at the marina
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July 4th

America's Independence day in France. I spend most of it trying to buy insurance but they don't want anything to do with me. American driver's license, American title, American insurance. It doesn't compute for them. I should have known, I had intended to buy more insurance in Germany but didn't get around to it. Now I've got a problem. The insurance I originally bought as a condition of the motorcycle passing German customs runs out on the 13th; if I can't get it in France I'll have to go straight back to Germany instead of going east through Austria.

At night we drive out to Ste. Valiere for an expatriate July 4th barbecue. It's at an awesome house that looks out over vineyards and cypress trees with the Corbiere in the background. They tell me on clear days you can see the Pyrenees. Good conversation, good food, most conversation is in English. The Quebec accent goes over big, the French lady next to me is cracking up. Talk with a French guy who used to live in the states, worked in logistics. Stories of the bakery chain I worked at in Louisiana. One of my co-workers stopped to smoke some crack on his way back from Dallas with 50k worth of pastries in the back of a freezer truck. He forgot about the truck until the next morning, by then the pastries had melted.

July 5th

In the afternoon I drive to Olonzac to an AXA insurance agent. We have a long talk and I'm now convinced insurance in France will be impossible unless I switch over the title and register it here, which I don't want to do. I'm going to have to try and track down the number of the current policy and see if I can get it extended over the phone. The BMW dealer is closed completely until July 10th. Lots of businesses here shut down for weeks at a time during the summer, living the good life I guess. The 35-hour work week must be too tiring.

Check out the house Brad wants to buy in the afternoon. Basement plus three stories. Needs to be completely redone, walls are falling in and almost nothing can be saved. C'est du boulot.

At night I drive out to Le Barcares. Beautiful coastline. Rue Surcouf, I get lucky when I ask someone for directions, they give me a map of the city and I get there with 15 minutes to spare. Hugues, Patricia, etc... Long chat with one of the guys who used to have a Goldwing and toured Spain with his wife. Coming back at night the road is practically empty.

July 7th

On a mission to buy oil. Very hard to find 20/50, wind up at Carrefour and have to buy 5 litres. Bombings in London.

Drinks on the canal with Osh, Sean and Brad. Dinner at Au Coq Hardi. Foie gras maison (very good), confit de canard, creme brulee, deca. English jokes. Tour de France t-shirt. Max, sa copine, Emile who is completely shitfaced and wants to bomb everyone as revenge for London. Trotinette. Max and his buddies play American football. English versus French swearing. Southern French accent, tougher to follow when they are hammered. Got back late, 2am.

July 8th

Out to Moyau for lunch with the crew but I miss them. St-Pierre-sur-Mer, winding road through the marsh. Laundry (fucking expensive). Internet for free. Message from the Lufthansa insurance lady, I have to get her an estimate to submit the claim for repairing the fairing. Library is closed. Schweppes, deca Place Quatres Fontaines.

Changed the oil at 119,433 miles. Neighbor stops buy, he has a vicious southern French accent. We talk about the bike, his business, the mentalité francaise. Drinks with Simon and Andy.