To Apt - Three Seasons Around France: Autumn - CycleBlaze

November 11, 2022

To Apt

I’ve been frustrated by the house cat in our stay here.  He greeted us immediately when we arrived and always seems to be around; but he never stayed put long enough to let me take a decent photo.  Typically, as soon as I got the camera out and aimed it his direction he immediately stopped what he was doing and sauntered toward me, spoiling the shot.  Finally, just as we’re leaving he walks up to the front door of the house and settles in front of it, basking in the sun.

Nice of him to finally stay put for a minute!
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On the way out of town we stop to look again at the pair of towers rising above the traffic circle at the entrance to town.  I noticed them biking in last night but we were focused on finding our room and didn’t stop.  I wondered about them though, with their obviously industrial character.  I didn’t see any signage for them so I just took my shots and planned to research it later.

The results of my research are in.  They’ve been identified, and I learned a new word in french in the process: minoterie, or flour mill.  The towers are remnants of the Saint Jean flour mill, a large complex built in 1887 to mill grain grown in the Camargue.  The mill didn’t stay in business long, shutting down in 1910 as unprofitable.  I’m sorry I didn’t know what these were at the time, because I’m pretty sure the mill itself is still standing nearby if I’d known to look around for it.

The Saint-Jean tower, a remnant of the Saint-Jean minoterie.
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The Saint-Louis tower, a remnant of the Saint-Jean minoterie.
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Today’s ride to Apt feels like it could be the last really fine ride of the season.  The weather is fantastic - minimal winds, wonderfully clear skies that give clear views of Ventoux whenever you come to a gap in the terrain that you can see to it through.  With the exception of a few miles navigating Cavaillon nearly the entire ride is on an excellent bikeway, a pair of rail trail conversions.  East of Apt it is branded as the Calavon cycle route, a spectacular route following the Calavon through the heart of the Luberons.  The stretch between Saint-Remy and Cavaillon is very new, opened just last year and wonderful to cycle on - smooth, safe (for much of the way it parallels the nearby D99, a scary road: two lanes, narrow, shoulderless, busy, but beautiful with both sides lined with plane trees).  Only a year old, the surface is still nearly unblemished.  

Outstanding weather, outstanding route, outstanding scenic value.  As good as it gets. 

On the route. It’s branded all along by these curious structures, which Rachael thought might be a reflection of the steam engines that ran down this line a century ago.
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On the left, the new Veloroute between Saint-Remy and Cavaillon. On the right, the beautiful but frightening D99. I’m not sure, but I think we rode down the D99 on our ride from Dubrovnik to Barcelona four years ago and from Nice to Lisbon before that.
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The view south to the Alpilles.
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On the new cyclepath - so new our Garmins don’t even know about it.
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Still seeing a few Camargue horses. This one looks like she’s mimicking a bugling elk.
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Église Saint-Pierre-ès-Liens, Mollégès.
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Some sheep. I’m sorry for not including the barking dog nearby warning me to back off, but he wouldn’t come out of the shadows.
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As good as it gets.
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There were three pheasants calmly walking around in this field. Unusual - usually we just get a glimpse at one as it’s flying off into the nearest cover.
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We enjoy stunning views from the top of the bridge crossing the Durance at the entrance to Cavaillon.
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Keith Adams"What's that mountain in the far distance?" he asks, knowing full well what the answer is. Smartass.

Amazing, though, that with only minimal zooming in on my phone the tower/antenna at the top is clearly recognizable. I gotta git me one of them good lens cameras.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Keith AdamsSomehow it keeps slipping into photos. I don’t know how that keeps happening.
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2 weeks ago
Crossing the Durance.
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The view southeast across the Durance to the Luberons.
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Once we’re past busy Cavaillon we’re on the ideal, family-friendly Cavalon Veloroute.
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Lunch stop. Look at the size of the impressive plane tree, with Rachael dwarfed against it in the shadows.
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No, I don’t know what this gesture means. Hopefully it’s a friendly one.
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Just another random interesting sight along the way.
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Keith AdamsWith their coats so shiny and clean, that's a handsome pair of horses.
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2 weeks ago
We’re following the trough through the heart of the Luberons, with low ranges and hill towns on both sides. I think I recognize this one, from our first tour through here 30 years ago.
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Yup, just as I thought. Gordes.
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The view south toward the Luberons. I had forgotten how much lavender cultivation exists here in this basin.
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The Luberons again. This is our fourth time through the region, but we’ve never seen it like this from the basin floor before. In the past we always took the high road through the villages - Bonnieux, Menerbes, Lacoste - and looked down.
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It took a double take before I realized this man was trying to flag me down for some Veloroute-side assistance. His rear wheel has slipped in the forks and his tire is bound against the frame. He frowned when I pulled out the Allen wrenches, pointed at the bolts on his bike, and then beamed when I pulled out a small crescent wrench.
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Nearing Apt.
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Video sound track: Bahia, by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd

I know there are some interesting sights in Apt, but our B&B is nearly a half mile out of town and we’re both content to sit around the room until dinner time.  We’ll be here two nights, so there’s always tomorrow.

The Apt cathedral.
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From the wall of tonight’s restaurant. The next time we’re in the vicinity we’ll have to bike up to Col du Frêne to see if it’s really as breezy as all this.
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Keith Adams1901 First Prize
1902 Unique Gold Medal
1905 Gold Medal

Seems like three different ways of recognizing "We're the best", unless First Prize 🏆 is awarded to more than one contestant each year.
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2 weeks ago
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Ride stats today: 36 miles, 1,100’; for the tour: 1,687 miles, 92,100’

Today's ride: 36 miles (58 km)
Total: 1,687 miles (2,715 km)

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