Chapter Four Crossing France
Down But Not Out in Saint-Raphael
There’s no point in dancing around right now as this isn't a situation for creating suspense for an amusing story. Haximoto hit the ground again only this time I was riding her at the time. There are abrasions but no deep cuts and the most painful thing is that I couldn't get my ankle out from under her and it's a bit twisted. I can walk but with some difficulty.
Please don't jump on the thinking that this is because the expedition is suicidal. Here's what really happened. I started out this morning probably about 6:00 or 6:30. The accident happened about 19:00 and I had been riding for most of that time.
Everything went all to hell as soon as I got into France as the directions are even harder to follow than in Italy and it was one enormous traffic jam almost constantly ... except for when I wound up on the Autoroute inadvertently. The result was that I drove around in circles one hell of a lot and was enormously frustrated with it all. After over twelve hours of searching for someplace to stay even if it were only someplace by the side of the road, I will yield that my reactions and thinking were probably not the best. However it wasn't the road that was a problem but rather the ridiculous frustration in trying to find somewhere to stay or, for that matter, trying to find just about anything.
So, I clipped something with the load on the back and even now I don't know what it was. This threw the Haximoto sideways and down she went, unfortunately with me underneath. The back storage box was torn off and could not be re-fastened because the metal fasteners snapped. It was holding most of my clothes so now they’re gone. I don't believe the guitar was injured and, yes, I have inspected her. I have no idea what became of the tent.
When Haximoto landed, my foot was stuck underneath. I couldn’t tell how much damage there was and I couldn’t move it to find out. I just knew it hurt like hell, there were cars buzzing about all around, and things were looking pretty grim. Fortunately some men came to help and got the scooter off me not long after I went down.
And that was when the cop showed up. I couldn’t be charged with anything except clumsy driving and I didn’t want to go to hospital so he lost interest pretty quickly. As soon as Haximoto was moved off the roadway he was gone.
After I got the remaining stuff attached to the scooter I rode around for at least another hour trying to find anywhere with Internet that wouldn't cost too much but I ended up driving around in circles again. Somewhere in this time the sleeping bag flew off and now it’s gone too. I decided I would crash again if I kept riding so I went to the Kyriad Hotel and asked about rates. The girl said €97 and I told her this was too much. Did she know of somewhere else. She didn't and made it quite clear she wasn’t interested in helping so I went outside to drive off.
I sat on the steps outside the hotel for a few minutes and it came down on me at that point: dude, you're screwed and you don't have a choice. Very reluctantly, I went back inside and told her I would take the room. I paid her one hundred euros and then this Princess gave me the change of three euros in ten- and twenty-cent coins. I didn't give her the satisfaction of a reaction but I wasn’t thinking too highly of the French at that moment.
There was no place for fuming about the The Princess’ silly attitude as I still had to unload Haximoto. There was no chance I was going to risk losing anything else. The Princess, apparently determined to prove her comprehensive uselessness, was deliberately unhelpful on how to get Haximoto behind their security gate so there was no choice but to bring everything inside.
Picture this pitiful situation if you will: it took three trips to bring it all to my room. I could barely walk and had to stumble past The Princess each time, making every effort to ignore her. Who knows what reaction she thought she had elicited but the only thought about her from me was damn, I’m sure glad I’m not her boyfriend. I imagined he would have to endure the re-telling of her cleverness when she got home and this would have less of an aphrodisiac effect on him than doing a recitation from a dictionary.
Sadly, I can’t give you a prank I pulled on her that would have been suitably withering. It’s the right thing to stick to the high ground but sometimes it’s good to get some payback. I didn’t give it much thought as all I really wanted to accomplish was to let Cat know I was ok. It was way past time to check in with her and didn’t want to leave that situation standing for any longer than I could help.
So that's where things stand. There is no way I can go back and going forward will continue to be expensive. I assume I can get a flight out of Nice to Edinburgh and, yes, I have considered abandoning Haximoto. However, I am not good at admitting defeat.
It's more than just the lyrics to a song as I really am broke and busted but my spirits are better than you might think. I hurt but not as badly as I've been hurt by previous drops. It took well over a year to fix me up after the drop before this one and the last surgery from that one was only a couple of years ago. It’s disheartening stuff but really I was lucky and that’s where it sits at this late hour in San Rafael.
If there's any chance you can support the tour via the Support the Search for Ithaka Paypal button, it would be more than appreciated. Right now I really don't have a plan and, yes, I laugh. I suppose I should be crying but I'm not. That would dim the focus, don'tcha know.
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