Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day Seventeen

Besancon to Mouthier-Haute-Pierre

Sunday, We started out in the wrong direction and it was a good thing we did.
In the town of Besancon there is a clock and watch museum, that yesterday we wanted to go to but decided to go to the fort on the top of the hill. Today the admission to the collection of time pieces was free. We saw some of the oldest and nicest we have ever seen.

The museum also had old clock tower escapments on display on the top floor with an unfinshed cieling. The perfect room for these machines which are works of art.

On the road we got turned around again and found our selfs in a little village just in time for lunch. Eggs in a wine sauce with bacon. Its as good as it sounds and with the bun and coffee breakfast from the hotel, we were now ready to ride.

Some of the nicest riding yet. We are now in the mountains with real climbs.

You see signs like these all the time without thinking, but when france...

We had never seen so many fawns at one time.

It got darker later in the day and started raining. Climbing in the rain is heads down with the only thought in mind to just get it over and done with.
Today's climbs were now up around 2000 feet and fairly open. We were starting to see huge clifts and signs warning us of falling rock. Even though it was raining, we just had to stop to take a photo for you.

We arived at our hotel late, cold and wet. Happy to be there we went straight to the room and got ready for dinner.

This was our last full day in France. Leaving is always sad. Tomorrow's ride will be for the most part, all up hill. We will be crossing the French, Swiss border in the afternoon and hopefully be to our hotel before dark.

We can only hope for a dry day but look forward to being back on the bike again.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day Sixteen

Gy to Besancon

We started our ride early today. The breakfast at the hotel was rolls and coffee. Not much. We figured we would get something down town before we headed out.
The "Casino miny market had yogurt and it worked great.
The ride started up hill. Up hill for about 5 miles, wooded, filtered sun and no wind.
The surface of the roads here are close to perfect. High speed down hills are safe.
Today being Saturday there are more people on the road doing Saturday chours and just getting out. We were passed by a Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera Edizione Tecnica, I think just going to the dump. It was white and very beautiful.

Mountain like hills are starting to be seen on the horizan.

Beautiful views from the top of the hill climbs are always a pleasure

We reached the town were staying earlier then what was expected but spent about 35 minuets getting to the hotel with many round a bouts. Road construction had us at times in one lane paths with just enough room to be passed by cars.
This is a big city and the traffic is heavy. Barb calls out turns as they come up and we usally make it to where we wre going without problem
The part of the town we are in is known as "Old Town" Origanly Roman, Old town is on an island and a very large hill.
We checked into our hotel and changed in the bathroom because our room was not ready.
After we headed out for a great lunch.

We finished with lunch and got the bags to the room.

There is a huge double walled fort at the top of the hill in the center of the island.
Finished in the 1600s, The fort is a spectacular bit of history. Once housing 7000 solders, you can see for miles from on top of the forts walls.

Some of the most beautiful stained glass we have seen yet is across the street at the cathedral.

Dinner at eight and dont be late! Another fantastic meal. Go see the photos.

The walk back to the hotel was amazing, Building lit up, older then you think, The restraunt was built in the 1500s and this arch in the year 175 BC!

It came to mind tonight at dinner that except for crossing the English Channel, we had self powered us to that spot. Maybe it was the wine talking, but what a feeling being so far from the start with the end of the trip less then a week away. We are sure that given the time, most of the people we know could do such a trip and would enjoy it.
The feeling that unless we had followed this old road to Rome, we never would have ever found this town or even heard of it.

We look forward to the adventure of being back on the bike tomorrow and what it will bring.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Day Fifteen

Chalindrey to Gy

The best of the best today. Sunny, warm and no wind. The flat has turned into hills.
Great climbs and great views.

We woke to deep fog in deep France. There are not many Americans here. We headed out when the sun was breaking through. Wooded and wonderful.

Were starting to see large hills off in the distance. Not just little 500 footers but whats starting to look like mountains. More like New England and not Kansas.

We came across 3 bicycles today being used as planters for flowers and as decoration.
Looking closely, two looked like they could have been worth something in the colectors market.

Lovely Bicycle with a wicker baby seat! Dont you think all baby seats should be made out of wicker?

We had a fantastic lunch, the best so far. We keep saying that, but it may, this time be true. You know where to find the photographs,

By the way the girls say hello.

Hello from France

Along the road we came to a village with a laundry. We have only seen one other on this trip,
These were the places that news got spead and things were planed in towns like these for hundreds of years. We love this part of France that you would never, ever see in the United States. Check out the kneeler.

Most of today was on car free roads, The cars are allowed, but there was very little traffic.

We made it to the finish around 5:30. We may be the only people here in the hotel tonight.
Dinner downtown at a great pizza spot. The only pizza spot we have seen with table cloths. Nice!

The dry roads today made riding fun. Rain makes taking the camera out of the bag hard. I dont want to do it as much and spend most of the riding time, head down.
The wind isnt bad except for the noise. We can only hope for more days exactly like today.

We are looking forward to tomorrows ride that will be hiller then today.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Day Fourteen

Chateaubillain to Chalindrey

Dry roads to start, then wet, then sunny, then really wet, then really sunny for about 10 miniutes, and then,,,You get the picture. Blowing to beat the band all along.

Beautiful day, all in all. the first part of the day was on rolling open roads. We have come up over 1000 feet now and it's starting to get much hillier, not bad. Some times the hills hide the wind.

Riding along, we came across a sign that said the road ahead was being worked on. We have never had a problem before getting around work crews, so we decided to carry on.
After about 4 miles, the road was compleatly blocked off. There was no way we were going to go back. It looked as if we had, it would have added an hour or two to the ride.Lucky for us it was lunch time and with the normal 2 hour window, we went for it. I'm not sure if they would have allowed us to pass through, but when we were on the other side of the bridge they were working on, we saw the workers coming back. There were two vans of workers. I did not make eye contact.

The little town we were in was named "Beauchemin" my Mom's maiden name. I have been looking for this name in France for all the years I have come here and never until this time had seen it, figures they were fixing the road?

The little Chapel in Beauchemin

For those of you interested, there were no Beauchemin's in the Beauchemin cemetary.

Shortly after a very long downhill, the route led us to a canal trail. We love the canal trails. They're flat, wind free, and old. The buildings along the way are always interesting and the trees along side, beautiful.

Lunch time came late, three o'clock, not a good time to try to find a restraunt open in France. Our only town that would have any chance of having anything was at the top of a 700 foot hill, Langres is a very old walled city. We were lucky to find a little lift to bring us to the top of the hill at the 400 foot leval.

The very large hill top city is huge. We never come across Americans in places like this. We are not sure how they would come across it or why they would be there.
We only found it because of the "trail"

All the restraunts were closed. It was after two and lunch in France is over.

Walking around , with our bags from the bike, we found a little pastry shop that was open and had hot food. Chicken with wax beans and carrots, sit down and quite lovely. While we were eating, the sky outside opened up and it rained very hard while we ate our dessert. By the time we were ready to go, the sun had come out again, bright sunny day!

We found out from the Madame that the "Office of Tourism" is at the other end of the town. We walked there in warm sunshine enjoying the afternoon and feeling lucky having missed another soaking.

We go to these offices to get "The Stamp" for our Pilgrim Passports, more on that one later. While we were there, the sky opened up again and rained harder then it had all day. Lucking out twice in one day! By the time we were finished wirh the Tourist Office, it had turned again into a warm and sunny day! Wonderful!

The desent out of town was steep and fast. Wet streets caused complaints from the back seat of the tandem and a "Thank you" when we got to the bottom safely.

The route put us back on the canal to what now had become very wet and muddy.

We came up in back of a cycle tourist that had been on the road for a couple of months. He was fully loaded for camping and was just riding along. He had heard about the Via Francigena but was not following it. He told us that over the past two days of riding the canal toe path, the conditions were the worst he had seen. I think he wanted to have us take him home with us, because he kept mentioning that he needing a hot shower.

We passed him because the ruts in the toe path got too deep and the depth of the puddles questionable.

Shortly later we crashed. Not at speed, but our left sides got covered with mud.
I turned around to see if the bicycle traveler was in back of us and if he had seen us go down, he was no where to be seen.

Falling into the canal could mean death. Its too deep and the walls to high to get out. If alone, you would have to cling to the side until someone came along to help you out. That could be a very long time. If I was to do this type of canal toe path travel for an extended peorid of time I would bring something to float with just incase. We hope he did not fall in.

We got to our overnight stop around 6:30. We thought we were going to be late getting in so we finished the last 5K in the big ring. We were lucky to have it never rain again today and to have the last 2K of our days journy, all down hill.