Road (to nowhere) Warrior

The posting on the "Penny Pinchers in France" Facebook page said he had pots and pans to give away -- free.  I need cookware, and he was in same region I'm in (which is huge), in the village of La Croisille-sur-Briance, "only" 1+ hour from me.  Ray was available this afternoon for  me to see the goods, so since the rain had stopped, I headed out, first filling up on gas ($60).

Ray had given me the name of the village he was in, but not an address.  Texted, "Just look for Chezkevin" (that's what he wrote).  When I texted him back, "What is that?" he answered, "I own it.  Facebook."  I had no idea what either he or that Russian (perhaps Baltic?) name meant, but figured once my GPS got me to the village, I'd text or call him (IF there were cell service), or just ask around.

My GPS is the map/directions chip for France that I bought for my portable Garmin while still in the U.S.  After  previously having had installed French GPSs here in my rental cars, whose computer voices "know" how to correctly pronounce the names of places, I was thrown by the American accent on this one.  "Thrown" is an understatement.  I don't understand "her" at all!.  Thank goodness she provides route letters/numbers.  The one other wee little issue is the software just loves the long, leisurely scenic routes.  I can be just the next road over from the autoroute, and she'll take me through fields and forests and country lanes, past idyllic picnic sites and lakes and ponds, meandering along rivers and zig-zagging through picturesque villages and competing with traffic in the industrial zones, and...

So -- I headed out and kept going -- on the autoroute, then suburban streets, then country roads, then VERY country roads (see pix) which were lovely, but frankly all looked alike and were very serpentine, and climbing, and narrow.

Truck drivers here have no fear.  Huge, enormous trucks with seriously large loads just barrel along on those same roads and through narrow medieval village streets, and up two-lane hills, and across one-lane bridges...

At one point, as similar as it all looked, I did experience a bit of déjà vu:  hmm...that sign looks familiar...Didn't I just take a picture of that view?...Didn't I already turn right here?  Wait, haven't I seen that tree before?!  Sure enough, I'd taken a wrong turn, and GPS was taking me back around to put me on the right track (as it were).

As I entered the village, it suddenly dawned on me:  It wasn't "Chezkevin", it was "Chez Kevin" ("chez" in French, meaning at the place of)!!  So, while I didn't have a street address, nor cell service, I did still have the ability to ask locals in French "Do you know Chez Kevin and where it is?", thinking it was the name of his property (even though his name was Ray and he's English....).  Not  unusual for these parts.  Well, turns out "Chez Kevin" is his RESTAURANT, which he failed to tell me, and his reference to Facebook was:  Look it up on Facebook for directions.  When I met him and apologized for being late, and explained I didn't know what I'd been looking for, his answer was, "Everyone here knows this place."  Uh, huh.  Okay.  But I was pleased that the cookware was at a restaurant; figured it probably would be good stuff that he was getting rid of because he wanted to purchase new, or was closing...

But no.  He told me to look for his little white van and follow him in my car to where the pots and pans were.  Failing to ask the obvious questions:  where are we going, and how long will it take to get there (especially since gas is so expensive)?,  I  just agreed, and headed off after him...

....up another hill, along more winding country roads...Okay.  Enough.  This wasn't feeling right.  Where was I going with some strange man?  So I honked at him, figuring he'd know to pull over, that I wanted to say something.  No reaction; he kept on driving.  I continued, too, and then honked again.  Again no reaction.  So I pulled over and figured once he figured out I wasn't following him anymore, he'd come back.  He didn't.  So I made one of my "famous" 3-point, middle-of-the-road U-turns (I had to do it to get a driver's license 55 years ago in L.A., so try to use it as often as possible...but that's another story...).  And then he came back.  So I pulled up next to him and finally asked, "Where are we going?  How long does it take to get there?"
"  Just about five minutes.  It's not my house.  They're at the house of my friend who died."

Uh, huh.  Nope.  Not going to happen.
"I'm sorry, but I just don't feel comfortable with this," I told him.  He shrugged, drove off, and I looked for a street in which to do another U-turn.  Found one.  It was called "The Martyrs"!

I decided to keep going (I mean, I was already out, right, and still hadn't had a decent destination), so headed northeast through the village of Sussac, and then into the town of Eymoutiers -- and AT LAST I had arrived at a destination!  This is the "entrance" to the Lac de Vassiviere area in the Limousin.  I went to the tourist office, got a map and information brochure, had a coffee ("grand crème") in a bar, and felt quite pleased with myself, for actually BEING somewhere I wanted to be.

As I left Eymoutiers, I smiled to myself, thinking what a nice story this would be for my blog, when -- JEEZ!  What was THAT?!  Who put that sign in the middle of the road??!!  Another few hundred meters, and there's a huge, overturned truck, blocking that access road to the autoroute.  Another U-turn (my U.S. tester would be proud, if he knew and were still alive...).  Well, as it turns out, that sign in the middle of the road that I almost ran into, was actually two signs:  "Barrée" (road is barred/closed) and "Deviation" (detour).  So I followed the Deviation signs...and followed them...and followed them...going along still more twisting, torturous, hilly country roads.  I've now added an HOUR to my return route.  And now it's raining.   And it's getting cloudier and darker, and my vision in my wonky eye is compromised.  And I'm no longer smiling.

I obviously finally did get home -- but without feeling I'd actually BEEN anywhere, despite the fact that I'd been on the road the better part of the afternoon and used up almost half a tank of gas (say, $20-25).

And I STILL need pots and pans. :(

A la prochaine --

Update 3/18/2018:  I went to the supermarket (well, actually two), and bought the pots and pans I needed there -- which is what I should have done in the first place!



  1. Try eBay or Amazon for pots & pans. I've bought high end skillets and pans that Sellers get at Bed Bath or Beyond (or wherever) and the item is brand new, but the box is crushed or otherwise damaged, so they can't put out on the floor. Ebay or amazon folks buy them up and sell them for a lot less than retail. Oh, and look on youtube for an easy way to get your duvet cover onto your comforter. I've been struggling with it for years dreading the job of spending way too long trying to stuff the damn down comforter into a coverlet or duvet. The youtube video (which I had to watch 10 times WHILE I was doing it!) was genius. Hopefully I'll be able to have a visit with you and the Girls when you're visiting...............New meds and I never quite know how I'll feel. Cheers!


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