Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Last 3 Days

Rapid fire. Still no access for photos.
The ride down from Canterbury was wonderful. Tail winds, noiseless. Not without hills. The North Downs Way. Not super hilly, but climbs better then one might be use to. Four mile climbs, hedge row. Beautiful reaching Dover, we stoped at a great little Pub for a snack and a Beer.
Three Hundred Foot descent to town, nice. Good thing for the Drag Brake. We passed Dover Castle without stopping. Very Large and very Beautiful.
Arriving at the Hotel, we got the bike into the room.
Glossy dinner menus, it was fine, the wait staff were wonderful.
Bags to the lobby at 8:30am, we needed to be to the ferry, 1 mile away, at 9:30. Here's where it gets tricky. I needed to ride the bike to the ferry, Barbara needed to get the bags there. Taxi for the bags, me for the bike. Two different spots.
We were lucky to find each other in short order on the boat.
Different story when arriving, passengers were sent out a different door to a different part of the dock, cars, buses, and two wheel things were sent out and another way, and never the two shall meet!
I figured, go to the center of town, and sit by the biggest monument, so I did, for two hours. After two hours I thought I would find a restaurant in the same block, park the bike with a note and wait while eating. On my second lap, I heard, "Scott!", totally out of place, Barbara, driving a mini white van with ads all over it came to my rescue.

The Waiting Spot

We managed to squeeze the tandem with the bags into the van and both head out for dinner, mussels, fries and beer, Lelf to be exact. The mussels were tiny and very good.
We were asked to park the tandem across the street in a open air space with a locked door. I never took a photo for the reason that I really want to forget how bad it was. In the center was a tree, of size, growing in the center, I locked the bike to it. Trash was everywhere. Returning the next morning, I found the bike.

Day 3, this morning, our first full day in France, perfect weather. We headed South West 18 miles, into a strong headwind with a seven mile climb, to a town, Wissant, where the real route began hundreds of years ago.

After a great lunch and adjustments to the Tandem, we started out. Absolutely beautiful!
We climbed for over an hour to a spot looking back we caught our last glimpse of the Englash Channel and its White Cliffs.
The rest of the afternoon was off road. All kinds of conditions, some to rough for the 32mm tires and 700c wheels. Walking when it was best, we stayed riding for most of the afternoon.
Around 5:00 we got so turned around that we lost an hour trying to figure it out. We may have been on track, but second guessed our best judgement and headed for the pavement.
While lost, we came across a family of 7 phesant's. Beautiful.
It got to be around 6:00, so we decided to head for the pavement. Wide open spaces, we rolled into a small town that was having a Rensance fair in the park. I think they were getting ready to chop someone's head off when we arrived.
We found the Office of Tourism open and went in to get our stamps for our "Passports"
We headed out of town by way of the highway with what looked like 15 KM's to go to our hotel.
Turned around again, we finally rolled into the hotel driveway around 7:30 and just in time for dinner.
Our stay tonight is in an old sodden mill building. Water runs around the grounds with slush ways and waterfalls. Rushing water can be heard at all times.
The hotel serves its own beer. A Triple Belgem style ale that is very strong and very good. One is all you need for 3 people, for a week!
Tomorrow we will be back on the bike for a 67KM ride.

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