An Ode to Justin: My Happy Traveling Companion

Thank goodness Justin is here.

Then again, since he’s been here: My nephew has endured a train strike and rain every single day, anything and everything from a drizzle to a cold downpour. However, he hasn’t complained. Not even once. Not even when I get grumpy. Like today, after it started pouring rain when we were halfway through our ride.

Anyway, and also, what with Justin being so young (29) and full of energy, he’s now also assumed the role of advance scout I once happily performed when Susan and I did French bike trips. He’s Steve and I’m Susan. And, speaking of Susan (who I do speak to every night on WhatApp), I was getting kind of lonely without her … and then Justin arrived. He’s quite the conversationalist, even if about a third of what he says is way over my head and/or beyond my comprehension.

Advance scout?

So, a couple of days ago, after we arrived in the hilltop medieval town of Rocamadour, dripping wet of course, Justin went on a walk. Way, way down into town via the steep serpentine stone road. He scouted out places to see and places to eat. Me? I took a nap! A really nice and well-deserved nap. Later, he showed me the walk … and the restaurant.


Yesterday, when we got to Beaulieu, a place I stayed earlier on this trip and thought I knew … Justin went for a walk/hike while I … napped. Hey, after riding in the rain and then, even more so, the long drying out process (first myself and then all my clothes), I’m exhausted. Justin discovered a path down to the river and a pedestrian bridge across it (the photo below) and a whole new section of town I’d missed. He showed me the route later, after I woke up from a lovely nap.


Then there’s the tech issues. Justin is a PhD in genetic engineering (and specializes in computational biology) and is a computer genius. Every time I have an issue with the blog or wifi or editing photos or … anything really, since I always seem to have problems with technology … he patiently fixes it. Plus: He figured out a way to download Google maps to his phone so we can use it while we ride, even when we don’t have wifi. Genius! And, he has a translation app that also works without wifi. More genius! The only thing Justin can’t seem to do is explain, in simple English, what the heck it is he does at work.

He also explained to me the story behind the Leroy Jenkins reference on Barry. So now, as we reach the bottom of a steep climb, I shout: “Leroy Jenkins.”

And today … Justin talked with the animals. Livestock loves Justin. They approach and want to talk.


And now, right now, while I’m writing, Justin is on the Duolingo app, learning French. By the end of this trip he just might be fluent. Darn, listening to him learn French is making me sleepy … think its nap time.


2 thoughts on “An Ode to Justin: My Happy Traveling Companion

  1. Really enjoy your stories of Riding in France. Took a tour of the Champagne region with a friend from England. We took camping equipment. It rained almost the whole week, and we would have to pack up, with rain in the mornings. But as you know, France is just a great place to tour via bicycles, and it was worth it, every drop of rain, and Champagne!


    1. Hi William … Thanks for reading the blog. I have biked the Champagne region, twice in fact, but it’s been a while. Stayed in Reims and Eperney and did lots and lots of hills! Was beautiful biking, and went on a few cave tours and had a few bottles of bubbly of course. The stand glass in Reims cathedral are a vivid memory … amazing colors/blue light.Also love the town of Laon north of Reims. Medieval town on top of a cliff. All the best….Steve


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