I set off from Verdun and redid the Ossuary so that I could take some decent photos now that the camera battery was charged. The other "site to see" according to the Tourist info, was the American cemetery and American monument. According to the scale of the tourist map, it was only about 30km along the road that I was taking north anyway. I followed the signs - and more signs and yet more and more signs. Every single intersection from Verdun had a direction sign to the American Cemetery but not one of them had the distance. According to Henry's speedo, we had done nearly 80kms in a very circuitous country lane route but still were only about 30kms from Verdun as the crow flies.
And when we finally got there, it was rather an anti-climax. No different from every other WWI cemetery I had seen. I'm not exactly sure what I expected but I was a little cranky with myself for the detour - and then the chronic lack of petrol situation it created.
I pulled into the next big town and thankfully saw a petrol station. Closed for lunch. Of course it was!! It was 12.05 so I would need to wait for two hours.
I decided to risk going on and try to find a station with the automatic credit card pumps - and then pray that my credit card would actually work.
I found one whilst running on fumes with the petrol light flashing at me and Henry spluttering and coughing. It accepted my card AND it even had a real toilet - with a real toilet seat and toilet paper and soap and a hand towel. I felt like I had won the lottery.
After that I really needed to make up some time as I had a fair distance to go and the afternoon was marching on. I was going cross country and had written down all the road numbers I needed. I was doing fine until I got to an intersection that didn't make sense. It was some time before I realised that the D977 on the map was mistakenly marked as the D877 and that I was now about 50km away from where I should be. The quickest way to get back on track was the freeway so once again I did the tango with French drivers for an hour before finally getting back to where I started.
I had woken up with a slightly sore throat and as the day progressed it got worse and worse and worse. I stopped in at a chemist and tried and tried to make him understand that I needed lozenges but for all I know he could have sold me suppositories. They were about as effective as a suppository too.
By late afternoon I was a mess, very fatigued and once again lost. I was simply not concentrating and missed a turn, leading me a further 20kms astray. Both of these detours left me once again short of petrol so I had to head to Perrone where I knew there was a 24hr petrol pump.
It was about this time that I noticed Henry was also not well. He sounded like a truck and I knew a seal had blown on his exhaust (it had happened to Mrs Mac a few months ago). I also knew I could happily ride on and wouldn't be doing him any damage.
I finally pulled into Kate's at 6.30pm, with my throat feeling like I was swallowing razor blades and Henry screaming like a banshee.
SO VERY GRATEFUL to Kate who gave me tea and food and sympathy before bundling me into bed in the Hayloft - the same bed as day one in France. It's so good to be home!