Originally, I was thinking of camping for my first night on tour. The weather was warm, I'm carrying eveything I need and I passed many campground signs. As I approached Remoulins the skies started clouding up and I chickened-out. I found an inexpensive hotel (40e) with wifi 2 km from town. They were having a Tai Chi and martial arts exhibition in the garden which began just as the rain started falling. The exhibition was interrupted many times with the rain and then they took some time to wipe down the mats. No one spoke English so I'm not exactly sure what the occasion was but I think it was a gathering of local martial arts clubs. There were performances of many types of martial arts including shadow boxing behind some white sheets.
Luckily, I had enough food with me because the restaurant was totally booked. I spent a few hours in the evening with the wifi uploading photos and updating my journal. The rains continued and in the early morning a powerful storm developed with very loud thunder. It was impossible to sleep. The storm finally passed at about 7:30 am but the skies still looked menacing enough for me to forego riding for the day. At about 10 the rains stopped and I decided to take a walk into Remoulins to have a look around and get some euros. Remoulins is very cute. I picked up some fruit, veggies, tapanade and bread at a sweet little grocers. Now, I was very low on euros and attempted to use my debit card in 3 different atms with no luck. Uh oh! I had just enough money for 2 nights in an inexpensive hotel.
On the walk back to my hotel I was trying to decide what to do. The trouble was I didn't know how difficult it would be to get my debit card working. I called Visa and they said everything was fine on their end and suggested I call my credit union. Since it was Sunday I wouldn't be able to call my branch in Oregon until late Monday afternoon. My friends in Lacoste could bring me euros. That would be great but didn't really solve the problem. Getting the card working could be complicated or there could be an easy fix. A couple I met on fb who ride trikes had invited me to stay but it is another 2 days ride to get there. In fact, this has been my destination. The woman works at a bank and offered to help make euros available at a local branch in Remoulins. This was a very generous offer but since I didn't know how long it would take to get the problem fixed I didn't feel comfortable taking her up on it. And then my phone ran out of minutes while I was talking with her. How could this be? I had purchased a sim card with a months worth of minutes 2 days ago. As my problems were mounting I decided to head back to Lacoste to stay with friends who have French language skills and a comfortable home. The weather was forecast to be lovely and they live only a day's ride away. I would arrive just as my credit union opened.
I started out in the morning with heavy fog along side a constant stream of commuter traffic. As I crossed the Rhone River the fog lifted and the traffic thinned. I stopped in Terascon for coffee and picked up some fruit, veggies and a baguette for lunch. I attached the baguette to the top of my rack bag and felt very French. People passing asked where my bottle of wine was. I made my way in glorious sunshine into St. Remy. I wanted to see the Glanum architectural site and pulled into the tourist office for info. I took advantage of the free wifi while asking questions about the area. I met lots of American tourists here and even a couple from Hillsboro, Oregon. Unfortunately, Glanum is closed on Monday and seeing this site will be postponed again. I continued on into the Luberon where the grape harvest is in full swing. Lacoste is at the top of a big hill and I had wondered how difficult it would be for me carrying all my gear. It was slow going but nothing exceptional. Eventually, I made it to Tuxedo Junction where Harry met me with a glass of wine.
By the time I got unpacked and showered I could try calling my credit union in Oregon. Well, the reason for my debit card problems was somewhat embarrassing. Turns out my daily cash limit is only $300 and I was trying to extract $500 worth of euros. Before I left on this trip I filled out a form authorizing use of the debit card out of the country. There was a place to request a daily limit. I didn't fill it out and the default is $300. Why couldn't the local machine tell me I had exceeded my daily limit? The customer service rep in Oregon was very nice and upped the limit for me. Often there is a $5 fee at the local atm and another $5 fee for using an out-of-network atm from my bank. If I'm going to be charged $10 every time I use an atm I want to get more than $220. So, after all my fretting, it turns out I could have stayed put and everything would have been fine. Of course, I won't really know everything is ok until I try the card tomorrow. While we are out Mitzi can help get my phone working too. In the meantime, there is wine to drink and a fabulous rabbit stew with chanterelle mushrooms for dinner to enjoy.