With 3 days of hitchhiking done and 3 more to go we were exactly half way this morning. The atmosphere at breakfast was really good. I think the amount of food really contributed to that and the fact that most people got a decent night of sleep. And also the camping was really nice right on the river and with a pool as well.
This time there was no party until 4am… Though we’re not quite sure until when the party did last.. See Charlotte has the same gift as me, we can sleep anywhere we want and sound rarely bugs us!
Over breakfast we also learned that some people had not made it out of Nancy that day and had decided to book a hostel. Even though this is a competition, we felt horrible hearing that. I mean don’t get me wrong, we don’t want them to arrive before us.. But we wish everyone a successful journey. Charlotte and me were already somewhat frustrated yesterday being stuck in Nancy for like 3 hours… Imagine how it would have been just not getting out at all. In hindsight this means we didn’t even do so bad (56th out of the 129 teams). We’ve no idea how they now plan to rejoin the race at this point.
The start today was at the camping right at the breakfast place. Quite convenient as we could wait the count down ritual whilst drinking a coffee.
Ride 1 Fleur de Ville – Macon
Again we found ourselves in a remote location with a lot of local traffic… Because the real traffic was happening on the ‘Route du Soleil’ the road parallel to our slow road… Charlotte and me had already decided we weren’t going to stand around anymore. We decided to get control of the situation and walk back to the station where we were dropped of yesterday. Sure it was another 5 km hike, but better than standing in the burning sun and hey… we both like hiking :p
Just to be sure we did make a sign saying Salle… Thinking you never know right… Well guess what!! Just past the bridge from the camping a truck stopped with 2 French guys in it. In our best French we explained we wanted to go to Salle… And they were like yeah sure we pass Salle. Boom! Result.
Whilst in the truck we learned they were actuality going to Macon so we decided to drop our hike plan and get to a gas station just above Macon that we thought was convenient for thenext ride.
Ride 2: Macon – Avignon
Yes, you read that title right!! We actually managed to get a ride to Avignon from the place the truck had dropped us off. And we didn’t just get a ride…. We got a ride in less than 3 minutes AND the ride was a nice shiny Jaguar. Our luck totally had returned! Or maybe it was skills…. 😉 nah, it was sheer dumb luck as Professor McGonagall would say….
During the ride we started to read the competition rules of that day and realized there was no mention that we had to use 3 cars to get there this time… Having a feeling our driver could be persuaded to drop us off at the camping I texted the organization to confirm how many cars were required and quickly learned there was no more car amount requirement! Man, at this point we really started to get our hopes up because even with our daily delay we were in a car making really good time on the high way.
Our gut feeling that the driver might be able to bring us all the way was right. He agreed and we changed the GPS from Nimes (his final destination) to Camping Bagatelle in Avignon.
From the other side of the river we could see the green tent of Route du Soleil already… All we had to do was cross the bridge… Upon getting to the tent we saw people wearing angel costumes, thinking we lost to another team. So disappointed…we took our picture, uploaded it and walked towards the tent.. Then everyone, including the angels started screaming… We had made it first!! Turned out the angels were from Route Du Soleil organisation. We are stunned and happy… I mean we “just” beat all the other teams.
Mind you, we did not “win” anything yet. This competition is spread out over 5 days and the 6 teams that made the best time in general will compete against each other (top 3 of French competition and top 3 of Dutch competition). The “only” thing we managed to do is arrive the quickest at the campsite and right now that earned us nothing except a really low time to add to our overall time.
We might not even be today’s winning team as today you could do assignments to decrease your time and we did none.. as we were kinda in a hurry… And also tonight there’s another trivia quiz in town that can influence today’s final score..
Also, we seem to have a thing going with guys called Olivier being our angels and going above and beyond to help us with out competition. First there was Olivier who drove an extra 160km just for us all the way to Luxembourg…. And then today the driver of the Jaguar was also called Olivier. Its already become a saying between Charlotte and me when ever we’re trying to catch a ride “we need an Olivier”. Yep.