"yovo - yovo bon soir ca vas bien - merciiee"

It was pouring all night. The wind was very gusty and it was cold. The next morning the rain had stopped, but the ground had become very soggy. I decided that I had to keep going, headed for the youth hostel in Dole. During the 40 Minutes it took me to pack the bike the rain started again, mixed with sleet. When I took to the road again, a stiff wind was driving the sleet and rain into my face like tiny razor blades. The road was pretty easy, a nice route nationale, with shoulders, following the Doubs river through rolling hills of the northern Jura. But I did not see any of this. I was staring at the ten feet of asphalt in front of me, laboring against the wind. It was so strong that even going downhill I had to push hard in a low gear to keep moving.

After another 4 or 5 hours of this I was nowhere near Dole. I pulled into a small truck stop, called the Panoramic, and leaned the bike against the wall in a sheltered spot. Inside, I asked the woman at the bar for a bowl of hot soup. Noticing that I was completely soaked she also offered me a spot next to an open fire, to dry and warm up. She was the owner of the place and I explained that I was on the way to the youth hostel in Dole. Pointing to the TV in the corner where the weather report was on, she said that a nasty cold front was moving in, with storms and snow expected. She said that she'd offer me one of the rooms, but they were all full, because a lot of truckers were waiting out the weather, too.

After I had dried up a bit, I decided to pitch my tent in the back yard, sheltered from the brunt of the wind. I stayed at the Panoramic for two days, while winter storm Wiebke battered southern Germany and France, killing 15 people and causing more than $2 billion in damages. Two nights were quite restless. The wind was howling and violently battering my tent, hour after hour. From time to time I got out and checked the 18 anchors that help my tent to the ground. The tent held up just fine.

My host were extremely generous. I spent the two days mostly at the bar of the Panoramic. We had lots of wine, they fed me well and they refused to take any money. The owner and her companion, the truckers, and I had a great time chatting about life and discussing politics.

When the storm was over, I packed my bike, bid farewell to my hosts and continued my journey. In Chalon, I entered the Saone valley, and with a gentle wind from the back, I sailed down the Saone and Rhone valley, past Lyon to Avignion - 550 KM (340 Miles) in 5 days. In Lyon I stayed with friends. In Sete, after about two weeks and 1000 KM on the road, I reached the shore of the Mediterrenean Sea.