The first day's ride went pretty well, with a couple of wrong turns and some headwinds.

Bastille Day

Toulouse had some genuinely impressive fireworks! There was a long line of maybe 10 launching areas, so they kind of had a big flat part of the sky to work with, which made for some impressive effects. They had different moods, too - for example, toward the beginning they played “singin' in the rain,” and had a show that evoked rain. Another plus: They weren't too long! Maybe 35 minutes, and very intense and interesting.

Here are a couple of random fireworks pictures. You can maybe get an idea of the line of launchers here. Also, they were pretty close!

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First day's ride

I got a bit of a late start, due to final repacking. I think I rode about 75 km - it was 65 as the crow flies, and I made a couple of wrong turns. It was actually pretty complicated to get out of Toulouse - the signage wasn't all that good. I'm wondering how the EuroVelo network will be when I get to it in a couple of days. One frustrating one was when I missed the fork in the canal, because there was a detour for road constructions that sent me around where the sign probably was. I thought a branching canal would be pretty obvious, but when I got back to the branch, I saw how it wasn't!

I did of course start out with Kraftwerk's Tour De France playing. Autobahn is pretty good for pedaling long stretches, too.

I don't try to leave my GPS navigation screen on all the time. It's pretty hard to see in sunlight anyway, and if I leave the phone in the sun, it get pretty hot. One funny thing is that my solar cell doesn't work all that well, because there are shade trees along much of the canal. I'm certainly not going to complain about shade in this heat, but it does mean I need to watch the power consumption. I'm kind of glad I have a cellphone and a tablet - navigation uses a lot of power, but with two devices, I have battery to spare for the day.

I had a fair headwind in the afternoon along stretches, too. That, and the somewhat longer distance made yesterday a bit hard, and I was exhausted by the time I got to the place I'm staying. I left Toulouse at about 9:30, and got to my stop at 5:30, with a short break for a small lunch (of leftover bread), and a snack (of the rest of my leftover bread).

The ride along the canal is great, but you don't go by any shops or anything. You have to turn off into town for that. Because I was a bit behind schedule, I didn't.

When I arrived, my host Hervé offered to drive me to a market, because the one in this village closed at noon. It turns out that a lot of small markets in France close at noon on Mondays. I never really noticed that before!

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All in all, pretty successful, though I'm glad I have a much shorter journey lined up today.