Day 13. Laperche to Mont-de-Marsan. 68 miles
After breakfast said goodbye to David and Janie and set off down the road about 8.20. It was still quite cool, and I was keen to get as much distance covered as possible before the afternoon. I crossed the River Garonne at Le Mas d'Agenais. From here the road climbs over a low range of hills. Having raised the bike saddle a fraction, I found that me knee coped fine with the gradients, though I confess to choosing a back road to avoid the highest part of the main road. It was quieter too.
Brendan met me at Casteljaloux and gave me a tarte aux pommes as a snack. He went off to have a coffee while I set off for the next place - Houelles - where I had a chicken sandwich and an apple. The road hereabouts is dead straight for miles and virtually flat, and with very little traffic so I was managing a kilometre in 2 minutes. i.e. 30kph.
For a couple of hours I was passing through the western extremity of Les Landes, a vast area of woodland stretching to the horizon. Mostly pine and oak. Very few houses and no villages for the next 25 miles. But partly shaded and it seemed that a cooling breeze was blowing from the trees. Or maybe I was creating the breeze by cycling fast. We had a proper lunch break at Estigarde ( barely a hamlet) and I then turned off the main road to cycle through the villages of La Bastide d'Armagnac and Villeneuve-de-Marsan. The map showed a voie verte along and old railway track. It Was very green - not tarred, and simply a pair of gravel tracks through grass. But it was refreshingly cool. After some slow progress, I decided ordinary roads would be best. And that's how I arrived in Mont de Marsan. B had found an inexpensive hotel - the Siesta. a bit basic but clean. In fact, I did have a short siesta before going out for our meal.
David had warned us that today was a public holiday, so supermarkets would only be open in the morning. When we got to Mont-de-Marsan, pretty much everything was closed. The only restaurant, apart from pizza places, was one called La Casa. An excellent meal, menu at €23.50.