With 26 kms to ride, neither of us decided to apply any butt butter.

The nearly empty tube made a thud sound as it hit the bathroom rubbish bin wall, officially redundant. The crunched up plastic bag that contained it was also tossed and fell quiet to join it’s mate.

It was up to our Brook saddles to bring us home. That and our lycra padded bike shorts that separated under carriages on leather.

Panniers were packed as strict as they have always been. For the last time. All three plugs still accounted for. Bags carried out to the bikes and loaded. For the last time. Speedo positioned and reset back to 0.00 km and phone placed in the handle bar holder. For the last time. A wobble to point the bikes in the direction to be ridden and a leg lifted over the bar and foot placed on the favoured pedal in readiness for the half forward momentum rotation. For the last time. “Ready?” “Yep.” Our call sign to push off. For the last time. A glance backwards to see if there was enough gap to own the road infront. For the last time. And then we owned it.

And it was fitting that we chaperoned a canal for most of it. What a way to go out as a threesome – BClaire, me and a canal.

It was dormant of boat craft and empty. Only the sound of our bikes making tracks in the gravel broke the silence. When we weren’t jabbering in conversation. Or life was jumping and making ripplies in the Hookers green/Cadmium yellow hue canal water itself.

We rolled into La Rochelle that was brimming with Saturday life. People everywhere.

The railway station was absolutely stunning. We paused. Okay, I stopped to take another picture. BClaire stopped too. A default reaction nowadays. Anytime off the bike seat to allow gravity to do it’s touchpoint thing always welcomed.

“Ready?” “Yep.” Was that the last last time? We pulled up again down town and got busy visiting the tourist information centre to get a map, a paper map too. For the last time (I’m laughing as I type that). And plug in our accommodation address and let the host know that the Ruru’s had arrived. For the last time.

There was one second to last dismount of the bikes before the very last. At a place we could print off all our travel tickets – the bus, the train, the train again, and the earlier flights home. And, our electoral voting papers. Yep, we have a general election this year in New Zealand and this’ll be a first time to voice our choices from afar. Bugger, the place was shut.

We made our way to our apartment that will be home for the next four nights to reverse this mornings routine. Lift the leg up and over to dismount, unclip the panniers and empty out (they now will be scrubbed and take a much deserved holiday themselves), de-attach the phone and unclip the speedometre.

For the last time.

The big number reads 3,263 kms ridden from Budapest to here.

And although La Rochelle was a goal post-Atlantic reaching, it’s not about the destination (yes it is as we have seen a Fish’n’chips shop), it will always be about the journey from A to B and then C. And what we have experienced from the bike saddle in-between. And more. There is always a way way more.

For the last time, many thanks for following, liking, the comments, the banter, supporting and inspiring us. For the last time.

Or, until the next time. Becasue this will not be our last!

Homeward bound …