|2001: Along the Stevenson trail|
obert Louis Stevenson's second book was a travel book published in 1879, describing a walking trip he'd made the previous year. That book was Travels With a Donkey in the Cevennes, and it still remains one of my favorite travel books ever. Proof of its enduring power is the fact that memories of reading it are what motivated me to follow in RLS's footsteps on my bicycle: more than 100 years after his book was first published.
In 2001 I set out once more upon my bicycle in France: more than 14 years since the last time I'd cycled with any kind of load. I was fueled by memories, I think, as much as anything. I took a tent, for example - not because my budget was as tight as it had been in 1980 and 1987. But because I had so much loved the "wild camping" experience on those earlier trips.
This trip was much shorter than the earlier two. I had a limited amount of time: three weeks of "excess" vacation time that I wanted to use up. I tried to interest a couple of good friends to come along, but the timing wasn't right for either of them. I didn't mind too much: I enjoy my own company, and you always seem to connect better with the locals and the land itself when you're on your own.
The Stevenson route is a walking trail: the GR70, and it is fairly well marked along its entire length. Most of it is manageable by mountain bike and this is what I had: a 2001 Kona Cinder Cone, my first mountain bike. I was quite attached to it. It had a gorgeous glossy black finish, and I was heartbroken when it was stolen from Granville Island later that fall (frame serial number F112K2915: so if anyone finds it please let know: there will be a small reward, and you will earn my undying gratitude...)
I'll write more about this trip too someday. Time: there is never quite enough of it. For doing, or for writing about the doings afterwards...