We awoke just as the church bells in town struck 7AM. We got up and dressed for a day of riding then reviewed the maps selecting a route for the day. At 8AM there was a knock on the door, the proprietor delivering a breakfast tray with coffee, orange juice, yogurt, rolls, croissants, bread and jam. We eat heartily watching the overcast skies. The weather forecast for the region when we left the states was for rain much of the week, but this overcast looks more like a fog than rain.
With breakfast out of the way I did some minor maintenance on the bikes; my rear derailleur had been skipping gears so I tightened the tension a bit at the barrel adjuster then tightened Sarah's computer mount which apparently got knocked loose in transit. As I finished the proprietor came and requested payment as she was leaving to run errands. I paid the bill after which we loaded the bags and rolled out to start southward towards the Pyrenees.
First stop for the day was in the village of Martillac, at a tobacco shop across the street from Restaurant Le Pistou. Sarah had called home from the airport and drained all the credit on our Orange SIM for the GSM phone. I bought a 20€ recharge card at the tobacco shop then used the PIN code on the card to get some credit on the SIM for our trip south.
The ride for the day was fairly relaxed on quiet roads. The first few kilometers wound through vineyards but the remainder of the day was spent in pine forests for the most part, the legacy of Napolean III who had the forests planted to replace the natural swamps. The skies cleared and temperatures soared into the mid-90's Fahrenheit. We stopped in St. Symphorien for sandwiches at a Brasserie then picked up some fruit in then market being held in the town square. The fountain in the square was marked 'Eau non potable', a bad sign as we were drinking a lot due to the warm weather.
The roads we had traveled had been relatively quiet, but traffic on D651 south of Luxey was picking up, presumably due to the fact that we were getting closer to Mont de Marsan. To avoid traffic as much as possible we turned eastward on D392 towards Le Sen, a road that was barely a lane wide and very quiet. As we entered Le Sen we saw our third snake of the day, one about 2 feet long sunning on the concrete over a culvert above what looked like an old laundry. I stopped to try to get a photo but it moved down into the grass and disappeared as soon as my foot hit the ground.
After we turned onto D626 towards Rocquefort it became obvious that Sarah was slowing down. She attributed it to heat, dehydration, and fatigue. She picked up in spirits and pace when she saw a sign advertising a supermarket; I did not have the heart to tell her that it was in Sarbazan, off our route, hoping that there would be a market in Rocquefort.
Sarah spotted a hotel to the north of the main road as we pulled into Rocquefort, but we continued on one more block to the main square. Just off the main square we saw another hotel and a 'Petit Casino' market. Sarah went into the market and soon emerged with two Cola's and a 1.5L bottle of water. We escaped into the shade of the Credit Agricole bank across the street to consume the fluids during which I rewrapped the tape on the right side of my handlebars. I withdrew some more Euros from the ATM at the bank then we checked out the second hotel we had spotted. No sign of life at that establishment so we backtracked to the hotel Sarah spotted first. In my minimal French I quickly arranged for a room and for bike storage in their locked garage across the street.
The rest of the day was allotted to laundry, naps, and a brief walk across the bridge over the Douze river. Dinner was at the restaurant in our hotel, since we found no other tempting options in town. The food (soup, salad, fried quail, pork chops with prunes, vegetables and ice cream) was fine and relatively inexpensive (11€ for each of us).