Day 12. Friday June 12, 2015 … Coutances … 55 miles/605 … What the heck ever happened to Jean Claude Van Damme?

12 Day

Today’s goal was to ride to Granville, an old and fortified city on the coast.

Only made it as far as Coutances

Seemed like a nice day when I left Bayeux at about 9:30AM. Sun was shining, was warm.

Rode to Perriers and then Coutances. The whole way seemed uphill and into a really stiff headwind, a wind from the west and the sea. Was really tough and slow going, like climbing a never-ending hill. Damn sea winds! My legs felt heavy, numb and tired. Got to Coutances at about 2:00PM, stopped for a quick snack and to take a look inside the town’s old church. It was completed in 1274 and is really ornate. Was inside about 10 or 15 minutes, walked out and …

Total, absolute darkness.

The sky was filled with black, angry clouds and seconds later a giant and really loud bolt of lightning lit up the sky – and it started pouring. Buckets. Waited under cover, hoping the sky would clear up as magically as it had turned black. No such luck. The sky was even darker. It was night during day.

At about 4:00PM, gave up and got a room at a room at the Hotel Normandie, where there’s also a café/restaurant. Showered and read a big chunk of Lonesome Dove. Damn, this is a really good book. Dare I say great? OK, I will. It’s great.

It’s almost midnight now, and it’s still raining. Really, really hope it clears up tomorrow.

BTW: Deets (he’s one of Gus and Woodrow’s Indian fighters and cowhands) had an interesting take on suicide. He says he’s known several men who went and blew their brains out and he’d pondered it from time to time: “It seemed to him it was probably because they could not take enough happiness just from the sky and the moon to carry them over the low feelings that came to all men.”


Wow, Deets is deep. And, yeah, I’m trying to take some happiness from the simple things on this bike trip: the views down to the sea from the top of a cliff, making it to the top of a big hill/mountain and then flying down the other side, sitting by the edge of a river, eating a sandwich and drinking an Orangina. The only thing is, all these little things would be so much better with Maddie. And that’s a big thing.


Oh wait, one more thing. There’s a TV in my room and couldn’t resist the temptation to watch a little French TV. Was the first time I’ve turned one on since I’ve been here, and learned the answer to the all-important question: What the heck ever happened to Jean Claude Van Damme?

Not only learned the answer to this vital question, but also discovered the equally exciting news that Homer and Marge are huge over here. And, even in French, The Simpsons are funny. The actors voicing Homer and Marge are incredible; they sound exactly like Homer and Marge, but in French, which makes it seem as though Homer and Marge are a lot smarter and classier than they are in English.

“Doh!” by the way, is still “Doh!” in French.

And, an episode of Castle was on, which answered the question: Do they call it Castle or Chateau over here. The answer: Castle. It was the episode where his father, the super-secret spy, gets all shot up and is bleeding, but nevertheless saves Castle. And then disappears.

There was also some sort of Big Bang mini-marathon, or maybe it’s always on over here, just like it’s always on over there (in the U.S.). Sheldon was equally annoying in French, and the voice of the actress playing Bernadette was so high-pitched that the glasses in my bathroom broke. OK, this is an exaggeration, but not by much … and her voice really hurt my brain.

Unfortunately, couldn’t find Seinfeld. Need to hear Kramer in French. Wonder if it’s on over here? Gotta be, right?

OK, I know you’re dying to know: What the heck ever happened to Jean Claude, the Muscles from Brussels? Don’t worry, I didn’t forget. Was just trying to build up the suspense.

Jean Claude is OK – and making commercials. In the one I saw like three times in an hour, he’s is at home, wearing what he typically wears when he’s lounging around at home: flowing white-linen pants – and no shirt.

Jean Claude is talking on his cell phone, surrounded by three lovely ladies who just happen to have pineapples on top of their heads. Pineapples? Perhaps it’s some sort of European thing – or maybe Jean Claude loves tropical fruit.


So, Jean Claude is talking away on the phone when suddenly – BAM! – he pirouettes gracefully and gives one of the pineapples on top of a lovely lady’s head a smack with his foot. It splits in half and falls to the ground without harming a hair on the beautiful woman’s head. He keeps talking and – KABOOM! – another karate kick, another halved pineapple falls to the floor. He continues talking and – POW! – a power kick aimed at the third pineapple. Nothing happens for an instant … and then the pineapple splits into a complicated and artistic pattern, and falls to the ground.

Couldn’t decipher who Jean Claude was talking to on the phone, but think it was his agent. Perhaps he was begging him for a part, any part, in any movie, that didn’t involve beating up tropical fruit.

OK, enough TV, time for bed. Hope the damn rain stops.

Chapter 13: Marc ponders life’s big questions …


One thought on “Day 12. Friday June 12, 2015 … Coutances … 55 miles/605 … What the heck ever happened to Jean Claude Van Damme?

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