Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 412: Sagres to Odeceixe

Time: 4:00
Distance: 62.46 km
Avg Speed: 15.6 kph
Terrain: Hilly
Location: N 37˚ 25’ 56.9” E 08˚ 46’ 11.1”

Our stay at the pousada last night was kind of a random splurge on our giant ocean of nights on the road. The room was nice and tidy, the dinner was worthy of writing home about and this mornings breakfast was a sight for hungry eyes. We both were happy to have voluntarily wanted to stay there and were quite cheery as we got on the road this morning. Leslie started the day off by posing a question (she has become more and more philosophical the closer we get to going home). She asked ‘where do you wish we had gone that had planned to go and didn’t end up going and where do you wish we had gone and didn’t plan on going’. She didn’t want my answer right then, she wanted me to think about it. The first part of the question is easy; Vietnam. I think it has to do with being so close to its border and deciding to head home with a broken wheel in tow. Leaving Vietnam untouched worked out and we were able to have a nice summer in Colorado. The second part of the question was a little tougher and I don’t think I have come up with a definitive answer. Right now I am wavering on South America and the far north of Europe. At least I have it narrowed down to a planet.
With fodder to chew on we rode out of Sagres and north to Odeceixe. The landscape changed from the dessert-scape of the southern coast to eucalyptus forest with agriculture and cork tree groves sprinkled here and there. I finally did some reading about the cork industry here and found out that a cork oak has about a 150 year life span of harvesting. The first harvest of a tree’s bark usually doesn’t occur until the tree is about 20 years old, but after that it is harvested every 9 years or so. The cork taken off of older, more harvested trees is of higher quality and gets better money. The plastic cork revolution has taken its toll on the cork industry in Portugal, but the industry is looking into making cork a fashionable wine stopper once again. Feel free to wow your friends around the water cooler.
Leslie set a new all time record for photos shot on a riding day. Her rest day record is set high at around 150 photos, but today she was able to squeeze in 81 shots even with riding for 4 hours. Nice to see that she hasn’t slowed down.
We were warned that Odeceixe is a pretty sleepy little town in the off season. I think that sleepy is an understatement. The first two guesthouses we went into were wide open, but totally unmanned. Usually there is a sign saying help yourself and catch up with me later, but here there was nothing. Finally we were about to just sit at a café and wait awhile, but when I looked back up the street I saw a little lady waiving to me. I quickly walked up to her and she got us in to her place. I guess a little old man on his walk saw us step into her place and then saw us head down to the café. Not wanting his friend to miss out on business he went and found her and got us all straight. Sometimes it is nice to stand out like sore thumbs.
Standing bigger and better,


Team Wicanders said...

We'd love to have any cork oak photos you may have taken. We blog about cork oak on a daily basis and would very much like to include your journeys through the cork oak forests. We admire your bicycling journey. Wish we could come!
Team Wicanders

ELGEE said...

does this mean you are also "cork soakers".....not sure if you have seen the Saturday Night Live skit...