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Days 44 - 48

Day 44       07/01/23

We woke up after a night of rain and waited until noon before we set out; hoping to catch a break in the weather. We had a good hour before the drizzle set in, but the last two hours ramped up to be a downpour. "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head" (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid) was a song from a great movie but a five hour ride through the French country side with that song on repeat, is a bit much. I have been wondering why everybody seems to cycle in sandals, now I understand. My shoes filled up like swimming pools with no way for all the trapped water to escape. It all sounds miserable but it actually was fantastic.



When we arrived at our next campsite the sun broke through so we quickly set up, unpacked, laid out all of our gear and hung our clothes on a line. Voila! Almost everything dried out except our shoes. It wasn't but an hour before the campground manager came by and tried to tell us something. Hopeless, we could not understand a word she was saying but the guy camping next to us did his best to interpret. Apparently they do not allow clothes lines in the campground but she let us borrow a drying rack. We are now in a area where English is less common so Google translate is coming in handy.



Sadly, it looks like we will have to ride in the rain tomorrow but we have a hotel room to look forward to at the end of the day. We can't wait, a shower with a real towel is simply magnifique. Using a camp towel for weeks on end is like trying to dry yourself with a cloth dinner napkin. I guess it's a small price to pay for such a great adventure.



Keep on rolling

Scott and Sarah

Rode 42 miles




Day 45        07/02/23

It rained most of the night and into the morning but it quit raining around 10:00am. We had a little sunshine that dried out our tent which is always a good thing. Fortunately for us, the weather got better and better but we had a very long day of pedalling. More canals and more hilly countryside.


Our first stop was for lunch beside a canal lockhouse. We were sitting on a bench when a couple pulled up on a tandem with a homemade trailer. It is rare to see another tandem and it was great that they stopped to talk. Thierry and Michèlle live in France and were riding from Italy back to their home near Nantes. We all exchanged a lifetime of stories in about an hour. They invited us to sit for lunch but we had already eaten. We felt terrible for having to leave but we still had many miles to pedal to our hotel.



The gears for shifting the bike starting acting up because of a frayed shifting cable. My hope was to get to our destination and deal with it there. We finally arrived in Montceau-les-Mines around 5:00pm and trusted Google to direct us to the hotel. We were fooled once again and ended up going in the wrong direction. Neither of us were happy campers. We were very tired, hungry and ready to be done for the day. After a bit, we finally righted the ship and checked into our room. But wait, it's Saturday night! We have no food and very little is open. So we did what every real American would do, we went to Burger King. Simply put, it was a gut bomb.



As we crawled into a real bed with sheets, we were both glad that the day was over. It felt so good that we decided to stay another day. After all, we are very tired and we need to fix the bike.



Keep on rolling

Scott and Sarah

Rode 50 miles




Day 46          07/03/23

We took today off but ended up doing more than we had planned. Thankfully the hotel offered breakfast and it was just what the doctor ordered. A fantastic buffet with crepes, pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, assorted  cheeses, deli meats, croissants, cereal, orange juice, fruit and endless coffee. We were hungy and ate to our hearts delight.



I started to work on the bike but realized that I needed a better wire cutter and another shifter cable. Amazingly, right across the street was a sporting goods store that had what I needed. We were back in business. They also had rain booties which we hope will solve our soaking wet shoes issue or at least minimize it.


We met a couple from Germany (Michael and Angela) whom we spent a good deal of time talking to after breakfast. They have been riding from the Netherlands back to their home in Frankfurt. We found that we held a lot of similar worldviews in common which always makes for an easier conversation.



We ran into them again at dinner time and shared a meal together. I tried something new, beef cheeks. Yes, they are exactly what you are thinking they are.  The menu described them as gelatinous in nature and full of collagen so I ordered them. I figured that ought to do something for my wrinkling skin. Cooked in a brown sauce and served with rice they did not dissapoint. We said our goodbyes and headed off to our room to call it a night because morning always comes too soon.


Keep it rolling

Scott and Sarah

Day off




Day 47          07/04/23

We were awakened at 3:00am to pouring rain. It was not what we wanted to hear since we had a long day ahead of us. Thankfully when we rolled out of bed around 6:30 the rain had abated and the forecast was looking decent. We headed downstairs for another great breakfast and got on the road.

 

The day started out cool and overcast but within a couple of hours it was gorgeous. Most of our time was on another beautiful canal. To be honest, the last couple of days have been hard on the both of us. Bad weather and unfamiliar surroundings can have an affect on one's mood. But today was a mood lifter; just when we needed it. It was so nice to be able to stop along the route, at the place of your choosing and take time to eat lunch under a blue sky.



Of course a day never goes by when we don't have to go grocery shopping. We stopped into the Lidl supermarket to pick up food for dinner but there it was, Ben and Jerry's Cookie Dough ice cream. You don't know how hard I tried to resist buying it but it fell right into my basket and Sarah put up no resistance. When we checked out we headed out what we thought was the exit only to set off all the alarms. We weren't sure how to apologize so we kept on going. It was kind of an emergency; we had to find a place to eat our gluttonous purchase.


As we rode away from the store we bungeed the ice cream to the top of our rear pack. Riding through traffic the road got a little bumpy and it was then that I asked Sarah to check on our cargo. At that very moment our ice cream had slipped out of the bungee and was just about ready to become road kill. She grabbed it in the knick of time but now she was riding with a container of Ben and Jerry's in the same hand that she was signalling the traffic. It was quite the sight to see as we were flying around a roundabout brandishing our Ben and Jerry's like the total American tourists we are.

Within a mile we found a nice park bench and inhaled the pint of ice cream like it was our last dessert. It was so good and so fun to have such a treat.



Not long after that we arrived at our campsite and did our usual set up and shower routine. I cooked some really good burritos with cheese, avocado, squash, tomato and of course chicken all wrapped up in a flour tortilla. It was a nice change of pace from our usual pasta dinners. It was the fourth of July and in our hearts we were honored to be Americans but the day went largely unnoticed in this part of the world.



Keep it rolling

Scott and Sarah

Rode 56 miles



Day 48        07/05/23

Today was another beautiful day like yesterday but I found myself in a desperate situation that involves a little secret. Yesterday while eating my decadent ice cream I sunk my spoon deep into the carton and my spoon snapped. Today, I had no way to eat my cereal so I had to borrow Sarah's spoon. If I had lost my toothbrush I am sure she would have said, "No way, you are not borrowing my toothbrush!" I was surprised she was willing without hesitation to let me use her spoon and I was sure to lick it clean before I gave it back.


More beautiful canals today. People were motoring their boats up and down enjoying the peace and serenity. The fields and fields of sunflowers looking for those morning rays was an awesome inspiring moment. We had to stop and take it all in. Our morning coffee at the campsite is never enough so we stopped fairly early at this cute lock house that served coffee. The lady could not speak English but she brought the goods. We are finding less people speak English in the countryside but we are getting better at Google Translate and hand signs.



We had planned to stop in the town of Dole for another visit to Decathlon for a spoon but instead we found a Supermarche that had a set of infant utensils. So now I have an undersized spoon for my mouth. I can hear you all saying, "Aren't all spoons undersized for his mouth?" I have never been one to live by the motto, "A closed mouth gathers no foot."


We ended up at a small municipal campground in Orchamps. We had another great dinner and as we finished up Michael and Angela came riding by. They hung out for a few moments and had to move on because they had reservations at another campsite. They invited us for breakfast in the morning and we hope to join them.



Keep it rolling

Scott and Sarah

Rode 53 miles

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