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.