Today marked our midway point on this difficult segment of our ride. The progress feels satisfying.

Last night was crazy noisy until about midnight. Turns out the French music festivals go late. The earplugs worked for me, but not Natalie. Other than getting to sleep late, we slept well. These trips really help us sleep well….

We woke up between 5 and 6, made breakfast, repacked, and were on our bike in front of a bakery before 8 (so we could buy morning pastries, of course). 

Today’s ride had us traversing between routes on surface roads. There was a bit of traffic in the morning but we were mostly riding against it and most cars overtaking us did so with proper caution. 

At one point early on we were routed to a farm road to forest road to closed forest road (went around roadblock because we didn’t want to backtrack), to dual track, to single track, to a no track, to a tractor path next to some crops, and then back to farm road. Komoot (our route-planning software, linked to both our phones and bike computers) is usually good about not doing that to us. For a while we were wondering if we had an hour-long backtrack in our future. We also wondered why the road was closed and if someone was going to be frustrated with us. Gratefully everything played out nicely and it was the only obstacle of the day.

The ride was quite pleasant – about 76 miles mostly on a gentle uphill slope. More that ⅔ of the ride was on cycleway which is much more relaxing than roads with cars.

The locks and canals are fascinating. And we didn’t realize how many there are in this region at least. The French equivalent of an old American in a blue one-piece Winnebago suit driving a motor home is a French couple in khaki pants and white sailors hats driving a barge mobile home slowly up and down the canals. Seems like you can get almost anywhere using these boats. There are times, sweat soaked and sticky from sunscreen, I wonder if we’re doing this wrong…. 

Lunch was a grab and go from a grocery store. We probably drank a combined two liters of banana smoothie, red sugar water in a can, and chocolate milk. Then we smacked on Pringles for the next few hours (haha, so healthy). We down so much liquid during the day and whenever we arrive at out destination we keep on chugging. Perrier seems to be our favorite, but we appreciate variety. Dinner was from a grocery store and baker (an orange, canned peaches, super delicious veggie pizza and equally delicious veggie sandwich on a baguette, followed by favorite chocolate dessert drink), and we bought food for breakfast while we were at it.

Tonight we are in the 4th floor of a townhouse built in the 1940s. It is small but comfortable. It is tastefully remodeled. We wish it had an air conditioner, and because it is raining now we can’t keep the windows open – but what a luxury to be out of the rain. The forecast had us slated for a monsoon mid-ride today. It rained hard for less than an hour and we arrived mostly dry (not counting the sweat). 

We are in a town called Besançon, and there is an amazing 17th-century citadel or long fort way up high on a huge ridge overlooking the town. From our Airbnb we can look up and see it out the window.

Here’s more info and a cool photo:

Hard to believe we left a week ago today. What an adventure!

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