Loire a Velo with Friends

2019-06-05 : Rainy rest day in Beffes
Windows Surface is officially done. The machine is still working but the browser is no longer able to deal with web sites. I’m abandoning it and I’ll do DAMDetails via my phone (at least for now because... ugh).

The computer owes me nothing. I bought it for our tour in 2015 because I needed a Windows machine to send in my 2015 FYE to my accountant. I really only wanted it to survive long enough to do that. I didn’t need anything fancy, so I bought the basic Surface 2 (not even Pro). It did survive, obviously. It survived that six-month tour through bumps and rain and heat, and survived several more vacations as well. It hasn’t ‘died’ per-se, but it’s gotten to the point where the defunct browser can no longer deal with the web sites I want (and it can’t be upgraded). I’m sad to see it go, but it doesn’t owe me anything.
I’m so pleased with my ability to French now. My hat’s off to my dedicated tutor, Erika. I’m able to converse so much more easily and naturally than if I had simply done self-study. Each day I’ve been recording which verbs I’m using (both speaking and hearing) so that I know which ones to focus on for future language study.
We decided to take a rest day today because the forecast was calling for 11mm of rain over the course of the day. Yeah... that isn’t happening, but at least we’re at this WONDERFUL campground.

2019-06-06 : Ride to Saint-Satur
Category Type Name Description Service Provider Cost Kms To Date Total
Activity Cycle Ride to Sancerre
$0.00 36.00 36.00
Other than one flat tire, a pleasant, uneventful ride to Sancerre today. Lynn wanted to go up the hill to see the old town of Sancerre so we rode only 36km and set up camp. Laura and I stayed behind while the others went up the hill.

2019-06-07 : Ride to Briare
Category Type Name Description Service Provider Cost Kms To Date Total
Activity Cycle Ride to Briare
$0.00 50.00 86.00
We decided that we couldn’t trust the forecast of rain for the day and left at 8 as planned. We had small sprinkles through the morning and then around 11:00 it started getting worse and worse. By the time we reached Beaulieu-sur-Loire, it was an absolute downpour. We looked at crossing the bridge, which had no separate cycle option and decided that was a no-go in the downpour, so into town we went for a break. We invaded the pub and were equally entertained by, and entertaining to, the proprietor and his clientele. We had some Frenglish laughs and an amazing lunch while the rain eased off. After lunch, the bridge was still scary, but at least do-able. We took the lane and made it across as quickly as possible.

When we were just one km from our campground, one of Brent’s front racks broke... and it broke bad. We’re now hoping to find a bike shop to buy a new one, or a welder to help fix this one.

Brent McGyvered a fix for his front rack using bits of an old chain and some hose clamps. He’s so delightfully manly. Sully-sur-Loire is 40km down the line and has a bike shop that is open tomorrow. Hopefully he can pick up a replacement rack or get this one properly repaired.

2019-06-08 : Ride to Sully
Category Type Name Description Service Provider Cost Kms To Date Total
Activity Cycle Ride to Sully
$0.00 43.00 129.00
Today was my turn to have the flat tire. No idea what caused it. Brent changed it and didn’t find a hole or a cause but it was definitely leaking. We found a store in Sully that sells patch kits and tubes (and yes we bought some) but no racks and no repair (for Brent’s broken rack, which, so far, is holding up nicely with the McGyver fix). The repair shop looked to be permanently closed.

We had a really great day all around and I’m thrilled as heck that we’ve arrived at the historic part of the Loire. Medieval towns and castles!!! So much more interesting than endless forest and rail beds.

2019-06-09 : Ride to Jargeau
Category Type Name Description Service Provider Cost Kms To Date Total
Activity Cycle Ride to Jargeau
$0.00 30.00 159.00
We broke camp in lovely weather, and then right at go-time the rain started. Thankfully our campground had a cafe that opened at 8:00 for first coffee so we tried to wait it out. After two hours of trying to wait it out, Brent, Laura, Ann and I decided to get while the getting was good (lighter rain) while Geoff and Lynn waited longer.

We had lunch and took an extended break in Chateauneuf before continuing on to Jargeau. We saw Geoff and Lynn’s bikes there, but not them. They arrived at the campground about 30min later than us.

The rain broke around 11:30am and so far the nice weather is holding. Hopefully we can enjoy this for a while.
Before dinner we walked into Jargeau to have a look around. It was a neat little town and we wandered into the only open store - ‘Velo Val de Loire’. They don’t sell front racks but we learned that Zefal is made in Jargeau. One of their products is a flat-prevention tire liner. Ann bought a set and I wish I did too. Hopefully I get another opportunity.

2019-06-10 : Ride to Olivet
Category Type Name Description Service Provider Cost Kms To Date Total
Activity Cycle Cross-country to Municipal Camping Olivet
South of Orleans $0.00 25.00 184.00
Our friends from Manchester, Nick and Cathy, who we keep meeting at campgrounds, told us about staying at Olivet. It’s quite a bit off the Loire a Velo track and wasn’t on my radar but they said that you can take a tram from there into Orleans. We decided to go for it, and using a combination of Brent and Laura’s navigation brains, our paper maps and Maps.me, we cross-countried our way down. It’s a wonderful campground and I think the proprietor gave us the best site available down a hedgerow corridor to a private spot beside the canal. The train is easily accessible, and there’s a quick easy hop over to a pathway that takes us directly back up to the Loire a Velo when it’s time to leave!

After setting up, Laura, Ann, Brent and I took the team into Orleans and had lunch and a look around. Yay! I’m so excited to see Place du Martroi again! Geoff and Lynn aren’t feelin’ the rhythm of our travel so they’re off on their own most of the time, making their own fun.

2019-06-11 : Ride to Beaugency
Category Type Name Description Service Provider Cost Kms To Date Total
Activity Cycle Ride to Beaugency
$0.00 37.00 221.00
We rode from the campground up to Orleans on the separated bike path which was very civilized. We had second coffee while waiting for the bike store to open and then visited the store. They sold front racks but nothing that will work with Brent’s rig, so he is continuing to ride with his McGyver rack, which doesn’t seem to be giving him any trouble. I managed to get the flat-prevention liners I wanted though.

After leaving Orleans, we had an easy and pleasant ride to Beaugency, arriving just as the rain started for the afternoon.

I am having ongoing issues with my phone trying to connect to WiFi. Everyone else has been able to connect but I can’t. Maybe there’s something wrong with my antenna or something ?

2019-06-12 : Ride to Val de Blois
Category Type Name Description Service Provider Cost Kms To Date Total
Activity Cycle Ride to Val de Blois
$0.00 46.00 267.00
I haven’t been tracking the costs of the campgrounds because we’re always sharing expenses. They’ve been between 6E and 8E/ea everywhere we’ve stayed.
I left my ukulele behind in the campground this morning. It’s getting really beat up and I’m not playing it so I don’t feel like carrying it around anymore. Hopefully someone will pick it up and give it a nice new home.

As has become routine, it was quite nice when we got up but not long after the temperature dropped and we had a cool day of riding. We took the long way to Blois, via Chambord Castle, which is quite crazy.

We had some amazing black clouds gathering just as we were waiting to get into the castle and suddenly there was a loud thunder clap and the skies opened up. Everyone rushed the door and we cuddled in the entry getting slightly less drenched than when we were completely outside.

The storm cleared while we were inside but then more clouds gathered. Just as we left the castle it started to rain again but it only lasted a few minutes before it eased off. I was quite amazed that everyone voted to camp tonight rather than look for a hotel in Blois, but I’m so happy about it! I love camping while on a tour. It started to rain again just as we threw all of our stuff into our tents and now it’s quiet again.

Whew! What a day. We’re all REALLY ready for the rain to stop.

2019-06-13 : Ride to Chaumont sur Loire via Blois
Category Type Name Description Service Provider Cost Kms To Date Total
Activity Cycle Ride to Chaumont sur Loire
$0.00 26.00 293.00
No rain and no flat tires. It was a glorious day! Either our luck is changing or we’ve started setting the bar really low.

We camped near Blois last night and chose a near site on the other side to allow lots of time in the city today. I wanted to see the old town and Laura wanted to see the Magic museum.

When we got to the campground it was so hot that our stuff dried in minutes of sitting in the sun. Amazing how something can seem so impossible one moment, and then be done the next. Our stuff had all been wet for dayyyys!

We took a ‘Rhonda Detour’ today - Ann’s first. We missed a turn to stay on the paved trail and ended up doing a few km down a really rocky dirt trail. It seemed right at first but by the time we knew it was wrong we were so far along that we decided to take our chances on being able to correct further up rather than backtrack. Thankfully that worked out swimmingly - as soon as we reconnected with the road, we could see our trail again right away. The sun came out and we all celebrated by stripping on the trail.

We keep running into a group of Vancouverites who are doing a tour and today we ran into them in Blois. We also met a group of four from China who are traveling the opposite direction from us. Tonight we have a couple from Sydney sharing our campsite. They have the kind of tent with a super long vestibule in the front.

2019-06-14 : Ride to Bléré
Category Type Name Description Service Provider Cost Kms To Date Total
Activity Cycle Bléré via Chenonceau castle
$0.00 40.00 333.00
Another day of riding with no rain and no flat tires. Brent finally got to see Chenanceau castle after missing it in 2015.

I like the spirit of the flag ensemble (country you’re visiting on top, then your own country under), but it hasn’t been working out the way I’d hoped. The Canada flag just droops while the France flag waves happily. So, tonight I am reverting to flying only Canada.

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