Day 36 06/23/23
Today was fantabulous from sun up to sun down. We woke up and the weather had cooperated perfectly; in the low 60's . That is a good sleeping temperature when you are camping. Today is officially our second month into the trip and we have ridden 1,100 miles. We have been taking time to see plenty of sites so mileage doesn't really come into play.
We rode by the village of Villandry. We had not planned on stopping, but from a distance the Chateau caught our eye and we wanted to get some pictures. Of course, as we got into the town, there was a Pattisserie and like Pavlov's dog I smelled a bone and headed for it. As we pulled up eight men were seated outside drinking coffee; I immediately pegged them as Irish. We got our coffee and pastries and they invited us to sit with them.
Within minutes we were all having a spirited discussion about guess what? Politics! They were all retired professors at a college in Dublin and they were on a bicycle tour together. So as you can imagine we had a lot of fun chatting. When it came time to leave we neither snapped pics of them or the Chateau. We were so caught up in the moment we forgot what we came for.
We rode into Tours and basically rode out but we did stop to see the amazing cathedral and the self cleaning toilet. Yes, the two don't seem to go together but that was how it rolled. We arrived at our campground in Ambois early in the day and immediately set up, showered and ate lunch. This is the town where Leonardo da Vinci spent his last few years living in a Chateaux which was owned by King Francis I.
We headed off to Chateau du Clos Luce. It was a 20 minute walk through the heart of Ambois. Shops, restaurants, cobblestone, and wonderful architecture greeted us with every step. In the Chateau we saw Da Vinci's bedroom, drawing rooms, mechanical room and displays of many of his inventions. His drawing and interest in the human anatomy was off the charts. He was truly a Rennasaince man in all disciplines of life.
We finished our tour of the Chateau around 7:00pm and headed into town for a nice meal. The temperature had dropped into the mid 70's and it was perfect night for a meal at a sidewalk cafe. We indulged ourselves with some wonderful lasagna, salad, bread and beer. We finished up the night playing Farkle and watching hot air balloons rise into the evening dusk just above us. As I said, from sun up to sun down we had a fantastic day.
Keep it rolling
Scott and Sarah
Rode 35 miles
Day 37 06/24/23
We planned to take a day off of riding but we still rode 20 miles to visit a Chateau. Chateau Chenonceau exceeded all of our expectations. Built in the 1400's it has undergone subsequent additions and renovations with each adding to it's exquisite beauty. We spent about four hours walking the fully decorated and historically rich interior and another hour walking the gardens.
The day was warm and sunny and the ride to and from the castle was through what must have been enchanted forests at one time.
Back at the campground we met a couple named Wim and Lydia from Holland. They both spoke English and we had great conversation and a few laughs. They are cycling around France and they invited us to come stay with them in Holland. We hope the timing will work for us but we will have to wait and see.
Keep on rollin
Scott and Sarah
Rode 20 miles
Day 38 06/25/23
Yesterday was supposed to be a short day but it surprisingly turned out to be much longer than expected. It wasn't so much that we rode a lot but rather we met a lot of people. Before we left the campground we said our goodbyes to Wim and Lydia exchanging photos and contact info.
Our first stop was Chateau du Clos Luce to get a picture with our bicycle. Our bicycle was made by Da Vinci Designs in Denver so we thought that this was appropriate. A woman working at the Chateau was more than excited to take our picture for us.
Moving on down the road we ran into a couple from Great Britain who were on vacation. They had rented a sporty red convertible and were travelling through France. The wife confided in Sarah that the car rental was a gift to soothe her husband's mid life crises. The crazy things strangers tell you never ceases to amaze. We had a great time chatting with them and they loved hearing all about our adventure.
After walking through a flea market we came upon a picnic area with a snack bar. It was lunchtime so we decided to order sandwiches. Sitting next to us was another couple who were vacationing in France for three weeks. It was their first trip without there children who are both in college. We must have talked for an hour about life and family and adventure. They were from Nashville Tennessee and we really enjoyed talking with them.
By now, the temperature was up in the low 90's and we still had 12 miles to our destination. When we arrived in Blois it was a Sunday and guess what, no grocery stores were open. We were able to find a corner market that had a few supplies and best of all, ice cream. Fortunately, the campgroud had a snack bar that served some delicious burgers so we didn't go hungry.
Early in the evening we struck up a conversation with another couple from Holland. And once again we spent hours talking about a variety of subjects. Their names were Sjaak and Thea. They are riding a portion of the Eurovelo on ebikes. We were invited to stay with them when we pass through their area in Holland. We hope that works out as well but it all depends on our time.
It was a different kind of day, filled with lots of wonderful conversations with new friends. It looks like the weather is going to cool down tomorrow as we visit the Chateau at Chambord.
Keep it rolling
Scott and Sarah
Rode 28 miles
Day 39 06/26/23
We woke up to a considerably cooler morning as we packed up and headed to Chambord. We have never experienced so many bugs and spiders of all sizes since we started across France. They crawl out of your helmet, hair, packs, tent and we even find them in our shoes.
Sarah was removing the rain fly off of the tent this morning when ten or so earwigs came tumbling out from underneath the rainfly. She hates those things with a passion but they seem to be her best friend. On many days Sarah spends a good amount of her time clearing the spiders and ear wigs off of my back as we ride. God only knows what is crawling on her back while we cycle but they say, "What you don't know won't hurt you." Can someone please tell me who "They" is!
The Chateaux at Chambord was over the top! We both were overwhelmed by its enormity and beauty. Our pictures will not do it justice but we must post a few to give you a taste of it. We have come to the point of castle and history saturation and have decided no more for now. It is all beginning to flow in one ear and out the other!
One thing that we have always known is that you can't trust Google maps. If it gives you wrong directions while driving a car, no problem. When it gives you wrong directions while riding a bicycle there are all kinds of undesirable effects upon two people pedalling a tandem bicycle. Never go down a road that is unpaved in the middle of nowhere, unless you know exactly where it leads. Just saying!
We decided to kick it up a notch and rent a tented campsite with a storage garage for the bike. It is basically a bedroom with a covered porch for 30 euros. You still get to use the shower block and all the electricity you need. I can't tell you how much nicer it is than the skanky motels we slept in last summer on our ride across the US. Dinner was comprised of some rice, fresh shelled peas and chicken brochettes accompanied with a local wine recommended from our friend Pierre. Fabulous!
Keep it rolling,
Scott and Sarah
Rode 28 miles