When looking at the Lavelodyssee route map, there was a huge semi-circle away from the coast inland that it wanted us to follow, and end up back in the place where we were at for dinner last evening with Dorian. Bugger that, let’s take a more direct route and ride up the road (albeit a major) and shave off some kms.
However, just off the coast from Beauvoir-sur-Mer is Le Passage du Gois.
It’s a submersible 4.125 km long causeway located in the Bay of Bourgneuf where it connects the island of Noirmoutier to the mainland at Beauvoir-sur Mer. It’s only passable by car, bicycle or on foot at low tide because it is covered at high tide and varies between 1.3 metres to 4 metres when below the surface. Since 1971, the Norimoutier bridge has connected the island to the continent (Wikipedia).
It wasn’t on route.
Checking google maps did look positive whereby we could then skirt along the coast and again shave off kms, if we did. After deciding to take a look, we came across some fellow cyclists (French) who enthused us with turn left, then turn left and it’ll get you where you want to go. We turned left and then left again to navigate some wetlands into a strong on-shore wind. It’d changed it’s direction over night as well. The wind turmbines in the distance pointing our way.
Excitement rose as we arrived at the point where you leave the mainland. The road just dropped and entered the sea to dissappear. The water was lumpy from the wind and marker points above the water gave you some indication of how the road snaked out to the island. Low tide was another four-five hours away, just as well as we could have been tempted to do a loop out and back over the bridge, which was way off to our left. And certainly worth the gander. You have to do stuff like that, it’s what makes the exploring have some greater awe substance.
Now, lets find the short cut to ride. We did and off we set following the sea wall embankment down on the land side. Gravel road became two lanes that dimenished to one lane to then beam me up Scotty, totally dissappear. Except for a fence across the pathway and nothing on the other side. A “bleep” dead end. I got off the bike and climbed the embankment to see if there was an alternative option. Wow, the bridge to the island was just about right there! But no way through.
Guess what we had to do? Retrace back to the Le Passage du Gois point and ride the same road ridden out. Looking for other arterial roads this time to our right was also met with dead ends. Eventually we found a road that would take us to where we wanted to go in the first place. Which was the same road driven last evening just about in Bearvoir itself. That had all types of traffic blatting in both directions and a blustery head wind.
The other option was to ride the semi-circle out and around and that was’t an option.
We jesus-christ crossed our torso’s and turned right. Now that was a character building experience with precision focus, preferring to become road kill over drowning in an infested gross water wetland canal. We stopped outside a church in La Barre-de-Monts to count our blessings, toilet and eat lunch. Thank you up there if you are looking down on us!
There was a cemetery beside the church. On it’s wall was a plaque inscribed with the words Commonwealth War Graves. Underneath the words Tombes de Guerre du Commonweath. We entered to pay our respects. Standing infront of seven white coloured headstones, we read each one – rank; name; division; all died on the same day 17th June 1940; and ages, 20, 21, 42, 21, 40, 36, and 44 respectfully. The 36 year old was a beloved father of five children. War sucks.
We managed to shave off another couple of kms finding the route map out of La Barre-de-Monts by taking a straight line towards the ocean. And were graced with some awesome riding though forest trails for a long time, sheltered from the blustery gale. We rounded a bend on the coast and came out at a definite holiday destination, to the right a sprawling beach as far as the eyes could squint with open sea, to the left were high rised buildings with balcanies and some with shops below. The summer season over with loads of shutters closed up where windows and doors are. And so too shop. Carrying on, all the camping grounds too shut up shop, we must have passed just on a dozen or so.
What a shame because the day was a beautiful autumn day with the odd dot of people up and down the beach, and even odders ones out in the surf. Which was choppy still. Land yachts were making the most of the barren stretch, hmmmmmm, now that looked fun and looking for a hobby when arriving home!
Saint -Gilles-Croix-de-Vie is another sea side township that hosts an enclosed harbour. After all the checking in and tidying ourselves up, we wandered backdown to the harbour for a look. The water was gushing in on the incoming tide. The sun wasn’t quite low enough for it to be setting and we agreed, we need to see a sun rise and sun set before this riding is over.
And that is only two or three days away.