To Locquirec - Three Seasons Around France: Autumn - CycleBlaze

September 14, 2022

To Locquirec

After studying the weather reports and looking out the window this morning we’re happy that we’ve planned a short ride today - it’s only a reasonably easy 26 miles to Locquirec, the coastal village we’re booked at for tonight.  It looks grey and maybe lightly drizzling out the window, but the weather apps advise of fog both here and at the end, conditions they indicate will last all day.

We can’t check in until 3 anyway so there’s no rush getting out early.  We take our time over scrambled eggs and coffee; and at the last minute I make tweaks to the route and Rachael reloads it to the Garmins.  I’ve been rereading parts of French Fling, Jacquie Gaudet’s journal of her ride through France three years back.  I read it at the time but had forgotten about it because I have Old Guy Brain syndrome, and in particular had forgotten she biked along this coast herself going the opposite direction.  I study her maps and find a couple of improvements on what I’ve mapped for us which basically just follows the EV4 the whole way.

We’re on the street by 10, wondering if this light mist is going to get better or worse and if we should find shelter and wait awhile longer.  We finally decide it’s not bad enough to hold us up and start biking seaward, grabbing a few last shots of Morlaix on the way out of town.

A last look at the viaduct, and of the attractive little park in front of the Hotel de Ville.
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Janos KerteszMorlaix war eine wichtige Hafenstadt, und wo jetzt diese Park ist, war einst der Hafenbecken. Mit dem Bau der Eisenbahnbrücke in 1861 wurde der Stadt damals seinem Hafen beraubt und wirtschaftlich schwer geschädigt. Heute ist diese Brücke eine der Hauptsehenswürdigkeiten der Stadt.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Janos KerteszThanks for prompting me to go back and read something about the history of this town. I see that this park paves over the confluence of the two rivers that come together here. Now I definitely want to return to Morlaix someday for a second look.
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2 months ago
This is the first time I’ve seen this part of town, on the opposite side of the viaduct. We’re staring down the Morlaix River, which we’ll follow for the next five miles until it reaches the sea.
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Luxury digs with a view - a houseboat on the Morlaix.
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It’s a pleasant ride alongside the bay, one of the improvements I picked up from Jacquie’s post - the EV4 goes inland here, presumably because it’s quieter.  This is fine though - traffic is minimal and the views would obviously be inspiring under different conditions.  Today though they’re grey, visibility is poor, and the mist has picked up enough that I soon put the camera in a ziplock for safekeeping and we just ride.

Along the Morlaix.
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At the mouth of the river, looking across at Dourduff-en-Mer.
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It’s not much longer though that the drizzle pretty much dissipates and is replaced with just fog.  The fog will be our company with varying intensity for the rest of the day.  Thinking back, we can’t remember the last time we biked on a foggy day - it could easily be all the way back to last winter in Portland.

A few miles down the road we detour a mile to see the Cairn de Barnarnez, an important Neolithic mausoleum that Jacquie featured in her blog and we’ve been seeing signs for.  Her photos do make it look impressive, but when we get there it’s just closing for lunch (it’s a paid entrance site, for 5€/person).  It doesn’t quite make sense to spend 10€ on a rushed five minute visit in the fog no less, so we just turn back and plan to reread about it in Jacquie’s post instead.

The look of the day.
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An attractive house on the detour to the Cairn de Barnanez.
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The best thing on our detour to see the great cairn. For reasons that aren’t quite clear to me, it reminds Rachael of Greg Garceau. Maybe if it was wearing a Caribou Coffee jersey I’d see it too.
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Gregory GarceauIt reminds me of me too--angry, defiant, bleeding heart, arms akimbo, etc.
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2 months ago

A few miles down the road we have a scare and a near miss when we turn off onto a side road and realize at the last minute that we’re supposed to be making a sharp turn here onto an alley that branches off just past the intersection.  I holler out the situation and make the turn, but Rachael goes over and her bike lands on her.  We weren’t going fast at all, but it doesn’t take much speed to result in a bad fall if you land wrong.

It’s scary seeing her lying on the road pinned under her bike.  Fortunately there are no cars around, but still I get her bike off her and help her up as quickly as possible.  She thanks me for not asking her to hold the pose while I get the camera out, for a nice change.  There’s damage, but it’s fairly minor considering.  She’s got a pretty good gouge on her knee that we bandage and tape up; and her back and left hand are a little sore.  We’re both anxious to see how she’ll be on today’s ride and in the morning.

And once we’ve seen how she’s come through there’s the bike to worry about.  Fortunately she fell on the left side so the derailleur wasn’t involved.  She takes it for a short test ride to check out the brakes and gears, and everything seems fine.  So that’s good.

Rachael’s been unhappy that she could only find black shoelaces when her others gave out. She hopes to replace them with white, which she thinks would work better with the piping on her shoes. It would complement her new bandages too.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesThe laces DO match the socks.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesI’m impressed! That’s quite a careful observation. Well done!
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2 months ago
Rich FrasierI totally agree. Style is everything. :)
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2 months ago
A successful test. Body and bike both seem OK. Let’s ride.
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Susan CarpenterSorry about the fall, Rachael but so glad things with you and bike are OK. Hope there are no lasting effects
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2 months ago
Keith ClassenGlad you are okay Rachael!
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2 months ago

So we take the turn down that alley, which soon turns to rocky dirt and steepens significantly.  There’s water running in it from a small creek.  It’s really more of a foot track than a biking one, so I check the map and see there’s a decent alternative and we turn back up to the road again.

So the annoying thing is that we’ve had the accident trying to make a turn that we don’t want to take after all.  Later I’ll consult the map to see if I just drew this in as a mapping error, but no - it’s the EV4 route.  Who knows why the EV crew thought this was a better choice than the nice, smooth, quiet paved road we chose instead?

No thanks. I can see water in the path around the bend and it’s too steep to bike safely so we turn back.
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I’m sure this I would be a beautiful ride in other conditions with dramatic seaside and harbor views, but not today in this fog.  We aren’t themed to slow down much, especially as it’s slightly misty and drizzly much of the time too - we just want to get to Locquirec before mist turns to rain, really.  There is one sight I need to stop for though - a boat graveyard, up above the high tide line at the head of a small inlet, Anse du Diben.  If I understand the information board (it’s in French, and the translation is poor), they’re left here as examples of the former local shipbuilding industry.

The Kalinka, its oak hull built in 1964 requiring 1100 man-hours of construction labor. The ship as a whole took 2,000 hours to build. Launched in 1965, decommissioned in 1996.
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L’Etreom, built in Saint-Guénolé-Penmarch in 1970, and retired in 1996 after a career of trawling and long line fishing off Finisterre and in the English Channel.
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I’ll bet this is gorgeous on a brighter day.
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Janos KerteszGibt es da oben hellere Tage? :-)
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Janos KerteszHey, keep this up and I might remember some of my German 101 from college! Ja, die ganze nächste Woche sieht wunderschön aus.
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2 months ago

The ride turns lumpy toward the end, with a series of 10-12% climbs that take us to the high point of the ride with no doubt stunning views along the coast, if we could see them.  But we can’t today of course.  The fog’s at its worst up here, and at one point we’re down to perhaps fifty yards of visibility.  Rachael’s almost out of sight by the time I manage to get the camera out and fire off of a shot as she disappears in the near distance.   We were both especially glad here that we had our radar rear lights with us so any passing cars would be alerted to us before it’s too late. 

Here she comes, about thirty yards off.
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There she goes, maybe fifty yards ahead of me.
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Jacquie GaudetIt's in conditions like this that I make sure my taillight is on (I'm getting better at having it always on) and also my headlight.
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2 months ago

We arrive in Locquirec about three.  No one is here, and there’s some confusion about the instructions we’ve received - the key is in the lockbox, we think.  We weren’t given a combination though, so we call the manager.  He doesn’t speak English, but manages to get across that we don’t need a combination.  And he’s right - it’s an un-lockbox, one that just opens when I tug on its door.  Inside are several sets of keys, each labeled with a name and room number.

We also ask him about the bikes and he says to leave them on the deck and he’ll come by in about an hour to show us where they go.  It’s wet out so we choose to misunderstand him and find an out of the way spot inside in the hallway to leave them for now.  Later we’ll come down and see they’re gone and hope they’ve been relocated rather than just stolen.

The view across Locquirec’s harbor from Our room in the Hotel du Port. The tide’s out - way out - and all the boats are stranded in the sand.
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The big drama for the evening is the anxiety over whether we’ll eat or starve tonight.  Locquirec is a very small place, with a few cafes and bars along the waterfront plus the restaurant in our hotel.  Unfortunately our restaurant is closed today, as is every other spot on the waterfront.  There’s a bar open that serves sandwiches, but they say it’s a drinks only place in the evening and the sandwiches of the day are gone by now.  A few blocks away there’s an upscale resort hotel with a nice if spendy-looking restaurant, but I’m told they’re fully booked this evening unless we’re staying at the hotel.

Finally I find the open tourist office, and the guy pulls out the map and restaurant list to see what’s open tonight.  There’s a place a mile down the beach that opens at 7, he says.  I take down the number, rush back to the room and make a call.  Yes, they’ll be open and he takes our name.  We won’t starve!

It’s a relief when we get there right as it opens at 7, a tiny canvas-covered space with maybe half a dozen tables.  Not the best place we’ve eaten for sure but some wine, a decent salad and some so-so pizza do the trick.  And the walk there and back is pleasant enough, and probably the right thing for Rachael - she’s stiff and a bit sore when we start out but better after the walk.

Looking toward the sea from Locquirec.
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Looking across the bay at Locquirec’s small commercial waterfront. Our hotel is the white building on the left.
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This is another place with dramatic tides. This is the look from our window at about 4, just an hour after the photo shown above.
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And by 5:30 when we start off for dinner it’s like this. By the time we return the bay is full up to the sea wall.
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Ride stats today: 28 miles, 2,100’; for the tour: 85 miles, 5,900’

Today's ride: 28 miles (45 km)
Total: 85 miles (137 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 14
Comment on this entry Comment 8
Suzanne GibsonHope you're OK, Rachael! And that the weather improves.
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2 months ago
Jacquie GaudetTwo things I learned in Brittany:
- Be very very careful about unpaved routes. They can be full-width ankle-deep mud and are to be avoided in or after wet weather.
- There are places where it can be difficult to find somewhere open to eat. Opening hours vary. Some places don't open until 7 and others close at 7. Some hotel "restaurants" only served registered guests, even if there's a menu out on the sidewalk. But automat pizzas aren't that bad, especially if there's no other choice.
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2 months ago
Kathleen ClassenI hope everything is fine in the morning Rachael. At our age we don’t bounce as well. Take it easy tomorrow! Falls, even slow speed ones, are never a good thing.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetThanks for the caution about the unpaved roads. We avoid them anyway, but we’ll definitely bear this in mind.

And a good point about restaurants. Locquirec was a good slap in the face, but hopefully we’ll do better going forward. We found an excellent meal tonight, but only because we arrived at 7 sharp. Much later and I suspect we’d have been turned away.
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2 months ago
Rich FrasierI hope you heal quickly, Rachael. And I also hope you find those white shoelaces!
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2 months ago
Rachael AndersonTo Rich FrasierThanks!
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2 months ago
Rachael AndersonTo Kathleen ClassenI’m still a little sore but doing fine. The scary thing is that I was in the middle of the right lane with a bike on top of me until Scott could get it off me. I’m glad there were no cars!
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2 months ago
Rachael AndersonTo Suzanne GibsonThanks. The weather has definitely improved. I was very sorry to hear about your hernia but very glad you got such good care.
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2 months ago