Jour Vingt: BUSTED!! - France on a roll -- depending on charm - CycleBlaze

June 29, 2011

Jour Vingt: BUSTED!!

Oh, MAN! I almost got thrown in a French jail today!

It started innocently enough. I had met the Sonnerbourgs from San Diego, Carmel Valley to be exact. The three of them (mom, dad and daughter) stopped at a little bridge when there was a little confusion with the "Loire a Velo" road signs. The signs are usually perfect but every now and again you get an area where is some confusion...

So I stopped behind them, trying to get oriented myself, when I heard the woman speaking with an American accent.
"Were you from," I asked
"San Diego"
So of course we talked about that for a while until finally we set off together in search of the trail.

We were just a few kilometers out of Orleans, which I need to tell you is not pronounced Orleeeens, like New Orleans, but OL-EE-ON, with that French kind of "N" sound at the end, which is not so much and N as an N with as an afterthought...

Anyway, we were almost to "OL-EE-ON" when we lost the trail. We got on some busy streets and I could see on my Garmin that we were paralleling the river and needed to hang a left.

"Let me lead," I said, so I did, and took a left turn onto a one way street.
"I don't think we can go this way," said the teenage daughter (sorry, I forgot your first name)
"It's just a few blocks," I said, though I was also thinking it was a street with less traffic than the one ahead, so off we went, with me in the lead. A few cars came by but we stopped and gave them plenty of room to pass.

Then, with only a little ways to go I saw him, the crème de la crème of the OL-EE-ON bicycle police force, waggling his finger at me from a block away and telling us to pull over. Honestly, I got the feeling a ticket was inevitable and it was then I went into my best "stupid American" act, with a little help from my friends the Sonnerbourgs

"Eew ah la velo loire, we lost trail. Eew A Loire River?" I said, even though I had it right there on my garmin.

Luckily he spoke as little English as we spoke French, and though he was nice about it and seemed a little amused he was adamant about us NOT doing what we were doing. He said some stuff we didn't understand and I pointed to the right side of the street, on a narrow stretch between the curb and the fence and said, "Ok to ride there' and used some hand signals, and then added "Loire to dwah" (which means Loire straight ahead), even though it was right there on my garmin. He indicated that yes, we could ride on the side but not in the street.
"Oooooh," I said like I hadn't thought of riding on the side. "Dacor (ok), no problem, mare-see bow-cou, miss-ure."

I gotta admit, for a while I had visions of midnight express running through my head! Who would have posted my bail!

Anyway, we rode together into the start of the town and then separated, with the Sonnerbourgs going to the train station and Paris and I continuing east. By the way, I hope I spelled Sonnerbourg right, I'm going by memory.

Aside from that it was an uneventful day. My one sightseeing 'thing' turned out to be a bust when part of it was closed for renovation. I saw a cathedral that Joan of Arc freed from the Brits back in the day but that was it. The riding was nice as always though, low traffic along the river.

I also got the best Caesar salad of my life at lunch. How in the hell can the French even make Caesar salads better than anyone else? Geech!

So, onward tomorrow. Until then...

Looks a little like a Monet painting?
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Why do I get the feeling that tampon means something entirely different in France?
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Traffic jam on the Loire a Velo bike trail. Only in France... But notice how well they maintain the trail!
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Just an everyday kind of church in France
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No chemin, no problem
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I can't imagine Shoeless Joe would be in France but it doesn't hurt to look now and then
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On the Loire River
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Loire a Velo
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My partners in crime, on the run from Johny law!
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This is Chateau N'clear'nauf
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There is more than one way to have fun on the Loire
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Today's ride: 76 km (47 miles)
Total: 1,028 km (638 miles)

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