Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Forges Les Eaux to Dieppe to Newhaven

France, along with Germany, and many European countries for that matter, are very fond of their cyclists. As a result, there are several bike paths, routes, trails, you name it. Thanks to our lovely new friend Mark in London(mentioned in previous posts), he recommended a great trail to get to the coast, on the ferry, and pretty much back to his doorstep. After a slight wrong turn that was quickly resolved, the route through France was indeed a lovely, flat, ride. Thank you sir!

I could NOT get enough of the French bakeries

Can't beat trails like this.


Our last look of the European continent before the UK 

Greg didn't get a picture of it, but there was a large amount of Harley riders on this boat

We arrived at the border after dark and thankfully the campground was ok with us arriving after 10pm. The border crossing guard thought it was odd to see two yanks at the crossing and kept asking us the same questions about why we'd do this as our honeymoon. I have to admit, we were both sad and happy to be back in a country that spoke our native dialect 

Chambly Equestrian to Forges Les Eaux

So like I said, the next day we had to hustle because we had a very long day against us. But I should probably slow my roll and mention something that happened while we stayed here. The equestrian center offered us our first taste of decent WiFi in a very long time. We were able to connect with family and properly plan the upcoming ride into Amsterdam. While determining the route to the Netherlands, about 6 days of solid riding, we discovered rain was in the forecast. Every day. Rain. Now, I know I've mentioned previously on this blog, probably multiple times, that we hit a lot of rain on this trip. It was later discovered that, in part, was due to a lower than usual jet stream. Thus giving the European continent a much wetter and colder climate than it is use to. We kept an eye on the UK, which was seeing record rain fall and flooding throughout the region.

So, let's recap:
1. Loads of rain already on our trip
2. Just rained on us every day in Paris
3. Another 6 days of rainy riding in our future
4. And the possibility of dealing with a very soaked UK in the last 3 weeks of our trip
5. Breaking point, met

We decided to contact our airlines and inquire to the cost of leaving early. Turns out leaving a day before the Olympics in London, along with all the other London natives, was going to be surprisingly cheap. So we had a heart to heart, said 'fuck it' and booked it. Four months of our almost five month trip and we were throwing the towel in, 3 weeks shy. Basically we were leaving before the Olympics instead after the Olympics, as previously planned. 

So, we now had a couple days to ride to the coast of France to catch a ferry into the southern tip of England. Onward we rode with a lighter feeling in our hearts to enjoy the rest of France, and a promise to plan another trip in the future to visit the Netherlands and ride the UK from top to bottom.
That window, up top, that was our room. The last door on the left, that was my fuzzy boyfriend's stall

The ride started rough with me feeling a bit under the weather and riding into head winds, so it made for a slow start. Not so great, considering we were looking at a 90+Km day. For the most part we hit decent weather, saw some more disgustingly beautiful sites, and made it to our campground for the night with some light to spare. The rain was even kind enough to wait until almost the end of the day to give us a quick shower before letting up.

Altar through the keyhole
Duck house

Nothing to see here, move along...

a lot of WWI and WWII memorials throughout the region. 

I very much loved the small towns of France. And all of Europe for that matter.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Paris to Chambly Equestrian Center

So it was mentioned briefly that we got hungry and when we get hungry we, like many of you, wevget grumpy. We unfortunately couldn't find anywhere to eat and we were going through small towns, oh and it was apparently a holiday, so stores weren't open. Holidays, Europeans like them a whole lot more than Americans and as a result, they let their people have those days off from work. How crazy is that?! 

About those lodgings... 

Something I cannot express enough is gratitude. We met some very generious people on this trip and by far the most generous was Mark in London. Along with so many wonderful things, he set us up with a place to pitch out tents on the way out of Paris...at an equestrian center, on a very old Chateau's plot of land. Horses. Did I tell you I am a lover of horses? Tis true. I was raised on horses. 

Once we actually got out of Paris, the ride was pretty uneventful. If uneventful was getting backwards escaping that city, breaking another spoke(me), getting a bit of rain, some mud, and some serious hungertation snaps at each other. But it was a short ride, only about 50km, and when we arrived at our lodgings for the night I just pee'd with sheer squealing little girls delight. The proprietors of the equestrian center didn't think pitching are tents was good enough, so he set us up above one of the stables-above horses-to sleep. He also got one of his employees to drive us to a store for food supplies, as we were very low and the nearest one was another 15km away. Ok, the barn, a lot of you would probably not enjoy the thought of sleeping above smelly horses in a drafty barn with the smell of old leather tack in the next room, but I however, was giddy. 

But first, some photos of the day's ride:
another old church. 
Awesome, right? Honestly, it I laughed What's a little mud at this point? We'd been through hail on this trip already.

and then...our lodgings. SQUEAL:
Our digs for the night, on the second floor

Our view

More view...
During the stay we got to explore the grounds and see a herd of ponies running in the fields. I cannot make this shit up. There was even a small lake or big pond, take your pick, and a little "secret garden" area with old urns, a wall fountain with natural water spout, and a whole lot of creepy over grown plants.
this handsome warm blood jumper is my new boyfriend. 

The chateau

It came with it's own church
At sunset
creepy pond, or lake, take your pick.
We unfortunately didn't get any photos of the grown over fountain/grotto that we discovered due to it being too dark by that point. The next morning we had to hustle out...