Bains les Bains to Conflandey: The great circle route - Poking Around Europe 4.0 - CycleBlaze

September 12, 2017

Bains les Bains to Conflandey: The great circle route

What a completely different day from what we had imagined. Again it didn't begin with a great deal of promise. It was raining when we woke up. We had a lovely breakfast in our mansion with a couple from Dijon who were in Bains les Bains to enjoy the thermal baths to help her arthritis. She remembered a great deal more of her high school English than I do my high school French. We were the first Canadian guests in the hotel. Our impression is certainly that we are well off the tourist route...we haven't heard English as a first language in days.

Yuck. This is getting a bit repetitive.
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Very shortly after we began we stopped for a navigation check and I suggested to Keith that we stay under cover. It was pretty obvious what was coming to me, unlike the first day when I was the oblivious one. But not so to Keith, who clearly hadn't looked up from his Galileo app long enough to take in the weather. He wanted to cycle until we got wet (that is a direct quote) which was perhaps one minute, and there we were under a tree again. Our next stop was under an overpass. The day would be cloudy but dry one minute and then it would just bucket down. The final time I was peddling my little heart out to get to another underpass only to realize as I was close that I couldn't make it. Another tree did the trick. Fortunately this only lasted for the first hour or so of riding, and then we had clouds and sunshine the rest of the day.

A little navigation under a railway bridge and out of the rain. The wind wasn't as bad as it had been at this point.
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The riding along the Canal les Vosges didn't disappoint. It was just as beautiful, or more so than yesterday. We stopped in a sweet little village to buy cheese and a baguette for our lunch and met Monika. She is from Germany and has a holiday home in France. We learned the very interesting history of the town from her.

Then it was on down the lovely canal and the day was unfolding exactly as I had imagined it. We watched the charter boats (and a near collision) and had a delicious and very French lunch on a bench overlooking a lock. There were so many locks!

Beautiful riding.
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Monika and I. Love my outfit. Tres chic.
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Monika said this was her favourite part of the canal and we could see why.
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It was spectacular.
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A determined cyclist and her Rainlegs reflected in the water.
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Still on the canal here.
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Just gorgeous.
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And then it all changed. The bike route (we are still on the Charles de Temeraire route) took us away from the canal, onto a D Road and up and up and up. About this time our friend the wind decided to put in an appearance as well. The rest of the ride was beautiful, very up and down and the CN called it the great circle route. There were certainly more direct ways to get where we were going!

We were off the canal and on our way up into the hills here. There was a tiny but beautiful village. Some homes were exquisite, the rest were for sale. I wondered how many were holiday homes. This is a beautiful part of France.
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As we got to the top we started to have a few welcome sunny breaks.
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We came across this very touching memorial in a peaceful rural setting. Not even a car went by in the time we were there. It was impeccably maintained and decorated with fresh flowers. It was very moving.
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The interior had plaques with the names of the fallen in the order of the date they died. It so highlights the futility of war.
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The peaceful setting.
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After much climbing we found a sign for our old friend so we knew we were on track, but that didn't mean we dropped back to the canal. We continued on D roads through the countryside. We were enjoying the unexpected 'not all day on the flats' ride.
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Sheesh!
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After climbing a big bump we were back on the canal watching the charter boats go by. We got a good giggle watching four very serious (dare I say nervous?) and conscientious boaters proceed down the canal only to have some very casual young people coming from the other direction nearly collide with them. It was a good show.

Tonight we are in a converted barn with very shaky internet. We are rattling around in a palatial 1600 square feet of accommodation with, oh bliss, a washing machine. I may be able to post this narrative, but it will probably be tomorrow evening before I can post pictures.

The serious boaters.
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And the casual young people in their hoodies who almost mowed them down.
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A beautiful house at one of the locks.
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We left the canal and started climbing again and the sun came out! We were expecting to be on the canal all day but not so.
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This is about a 3 inch track where Keith and I both nearly went down within seconds of each other. A terrific example of not thinking of cyclists when designing the road. Fortunately we were going uphill. For someone going downhill and hitting it, it could be a disaster. And this is on a dedicated cycle route.
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This fellow came trotting over to meet us.
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The wind in his hair.
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Oh boy, are we ever glad we are not over there!
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Another interesting bystander. She had lovely earrings.
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Here is the ride from Bain les Bains to Conflandey:
https://www.relive.cc/view/1180544754

Today's ride: 67 km (42 miles)
Total: 747 km (464 miles)

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