Day 9 05/27/23
As hard as we tried we didn't get to riding until 10:00am. It was a beautiful day with a nip in the air but nothing a few layers of clothing couldn't warm. We are mostly following what is called Eurovelo 4, a loosely cobbled together collection of roads and paths. At times we find ourselves on the route and at other times we are winging it.
Our first stop was at the place where the battle of Veleus took place. If you are interested I took a picture of the sign which gives you the history. You could almost envision all the action and pandamonium the nearby village had undergone. How could such mayhem have happened in such a beautiful setting. We were tired today but the countryside did not fail to enthrall us. The little villages along the way are like riding through mainstreet Disneyland: cute, pristine, enchanting.
It was Saturday and people were out cleaning and caring for their yards. Others were riding bikes, strolling the streets or having a nice lunch in their yard. We stopped a few times along the way to enjoy some bread and cheese. Not a lot of sightseeing but more of a having to cover some distance to get to our campsite. We camped in a place called Camping de la Vallee near Fecamp. We are still amazed at how clean the campgrounds are. There is a toilet brush next to every toilet and when you are finished it is customary to scrub it. That would be great in America!
We made a nice meal comprised of penne with Bolognese sauce, sauteed beef and a zucchini garnish to top it off. Of course it was accompanied by a delicious baguette made fresh that day. I suppose it is redundant to say a fresh baguette in France but it is getting late and my bed is calling.
Keep in rolling
Scott and Sarah
Rode 44 miles today
Day 10 05/28/23
Today started off with overcast skies and a dew point that made the morning not so pleasurable. When you live in Colorado you forget that dew exists. For you millennials, dew has nothing to do with the drink. In simple terms, our tent was soaking due to all the moisture in the night air. But the sun peeked out just before we broke camp and we were able to dry out our tent.
We rode into Fecamp and saw a beautiful town nestled next to the sea. We didn't stay long because we were hoping to get to Le Havre earlier than 4:00 but that soon eluded us. Heading out of Fecamp we climbed and we climbed until we came to a gate. We could climb no more. Thankfully we could lift the arm of the gate and were able to pass but a few minutes later we came to another barrier that was immovable. We looked for a way around it but in the end we had to unpack the bike to slither it through. Just those two glorious events set us back 45 minutes.
At the top of the hill we stopped to reorient ourselves when up pedalled a man and two women, Pierre his wife Ariane, and their friend Aurelie. They stopped near us and a conversation ensued. Pierre asked us, "Is that a Colorado flag?" We were dumbfounded that he knew what it was and he said he knew all the flags of the 50 states. That is impressive especially when I would be hard pressed to name ten. Soon we were invited to follow them to coffee and off we went to the city of Entretat. Upon arrival we were surrounded by multitudes of tourists because of the incredible rock formations rising up out of the sea. Porte d'Aval is the name of the arch and it is absolutely stunning.
We had missed coffee time so we headed out of town and back onto Eurovelo 4. We soon arrived in a small village and had coffee with our new friends. Along with coffee they ordered a platter of assorted cheeses, bread, marinated tomatoes, salmon and fruit. It was a welcome break from our usual boring diet. We spent a good amount of time chatting and when it came time to pay the bill we were generously treated with kindness.
At this point we knew for sure we would not arrive early in the day at our Airbnb but it was time well spent. We finally made it to LeHarve and it was as crowded as Disneyland on a hot summer day. There were people everywhere as it was a three day weekend. The weather was beautiful and the beach was filled with sunbathers and sailboats. We arrived at our Airbnb around 5:00 and spent the rest of the night planning out the week and doing some laundry. Just because we are on the road doesn't mean we don't have chores it just means there aren't as many.
We are not wine drinkers but since we are in France we thought it would be a good idea to give it a try. At lunch I asked Pierre to suggest a few wines and his list will give you an idea of how wine and the French are integrated. I think we have a nice compliment of options. No Gallo for us!
Red : Mercurey, Pommard, Nuits St George's, Moulin à Vent, Fleury
Cotes DU Rhône
vins de Loire
Keep it rolling
Scott and Sarah
Rode 44 miles today
Day 11 05/29/23
We spent the morning enjoying a few extra moments at our Airbnb. It was nice to actually spend 14 hours inside a place that felt like home and not have to pack up a wet tent. But the day was looking like a beauty with a blue sky, little wind and a cup of coffee to warm up. Our first stop was an outdoor adventure store equivalent to REI. We needed to purchase some fuel for our stove since, in Britain, we bought the wrong stuff.
Leaving the store we headed south onto this amazing suspension bridge heading out of the LeHavre harbor to Honfluer. It seemed like it was straight up and straight down. As we reached the apex we had a fantastic view looking back at the city of LaHarve. We were told that LeHavre was completely destroyed in the war and had been completely rebuilt. Today is memorial day in the U.S. and I could not think of being in a more sobering place. Our boys paid a steep price as well as all the French living in this area.
We rode most the day on little country roads through houses with thatched roofs and picturesque villages.
Coming into a village around noon was this quaint gourmet store full of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, jellies, jams, wines and best of all, coffee. We bought some cherries, green beans, and an apricot along with two of the tallest coffees a euro could buy. The owner brought the coffee out to our sidewalk table and we enjoyed every bit of the bean we could.
The rest of the ride was just beautiful and we made it to the La Vallee de Deuville campground.
Campgrounds in France are like resorts. They have water parks and restaurants and bouncy houses and playgrounds and lots to do for families. We plan to visit Omaha beach and American military cemetery in a couple of days so we have booked an Airbnb for next three nights in Bayeux. We are really looking forward to that.
Keep it rollin
Scott and Sarah
Rode 39 miles
Day 12 05/30/23
We were expecting a long day today but we had no idea how bad the wind would be. Leaving our camp we headed out to the coastal town of Deauville. This town is the place where the Paris elite come to play on weekends as well as the American film festival that is held there annually. We didn't have the time to look around because we had a lot of miles to cover.
After three hours of riding we decided to stop at a park for a picnic. The baguette and cheese were magnifique. Somewhere along the way we also stopped at a roadside fruit stand. Picking up some cherries and apricots we found a place down the road to eat them. By now we had been riding in a lot of wind and I needed a toothpick to get all the sand out of my teeth. We had been forced to leave the beach trail because we were getting blasted with sand. The reports were 25+ mile per hour winds. But the good news is that it was a tailwind which allowed us to cover a lot of ground quickly.
Within six miles of our Airbnb we pulled off the road to get directions. My battery was so low that I had to pull out my battery charger to change it. We just happened to be in front of a bakery and it all looked so good that so we decided to treat ourselves. Immediately we were told to get seats and the staff would come and take our order. Just then a guy walks by and asks us if we were the ones riding a tandem. We said yes and he immediately followed it up with another question. Is that a Colorado flag on your bike?
Craig and Susie Christensen were their names and we shared a table for coffee and desserts. They were on a two month bike tour and riding much of the same route as us. We exchanged contact info and we hope to see them again somewhere down the road. Finally made it to our Airbnb for three nights and looking forward to some time to explore, recoup and you guessed it, catch up on chores.
Keep it rolling,
Scott and Sarah Dontanville
Rode 61 miles