Day Eighty Four: Bray to Pacy sur Eure - Grampies Go On Their Knees - CycleBlaze

June 19, 2017

Day Eighty Four: Bray to Pacy sur Eure

Our farm stay continued interesting as I got to meet the father of the six lovely children, just as he was heading out with his very large tractor and sprayer. Between the father and son I have learned that the farm supports 300 sheep, and raises the necessary feed for them. All of the lamb produced is consumed in France, and is of top quality. This differs from what we saw of the sheep which cover the dikes in Netherlands, and which are solely exported to the Middle East.

Breakfast was highly informal, as we shared the kitchen table with little Cyprien, who was dining before going to catch his school bus, which would take him to Beaumont.

We really enjoyed sharing a bit of this family's life. Sometimes we like the anonymity of being in a hotel, and sometimes getting to know people is best. This, anyway, was a good one.

Some of the eight member family from our farm stay
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Dodie and Maxim go over the route
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Dodie and Maxim confirmed the location of the rail trail that actually runs for 40 km near here, and which would deliver us directly to Evreux. We were able to hop on this quite easily and to pedal the 25 km portion that we needed. It gave a good boost, avoiding roads and especially providing a shaded corridor (often) to help with the heat, which rapidly mounted to the low 40's.

The route had reasonable signage along its length, but surprisingly it dumped us unceremoniously, with nary a goodbye, into a completely unsigned and nodescript section of Evreux.

We scouted around a bit, until we located a sign pointing to downtown. Following a few of those, we arrived at a sign pointing to the Office de Tourisme, and so we were back in business. At the Office the tow staffers did a pile of work finding us a safe route to Pacy sur Eure. They marked things on maps and they printed stuff for us. Even more, they (however reluctantly) agreed to our stashing our bikes in a back room while we sallied off to find a restaurant.

Evreux must have been really demolished in the war, because it really seemed to lack a narrow street, restaurant filled section. But there was one place right beside the TI, and it worked out. We both ordered salads. Dodie's had lots of sliced ham, plus eggs, tomatoes, cheese cubes, and lettuce, while mine was the same but with sort of thick bacon like slices. These salads were cut from the same mold as the one we had received in Lisieux - that is, with some form of ham and some form of local cheese. Maybe it is a Normandy specialty.

We realized to our great dismay yesterday that some books and maps that we had bought along the D Day beaches had fallen off the bike. so we took the opportunity of throwing money at our carelessness, and buying some more at the Evreux TI. We espcially like kids' version history or natural history books, which somehow we find contain just the amount of information we are prepared to absorb. We can always justify them, of course, by sayig we will read them to the grandkids (which we will). One special new purchase was a Normandy flag. We like to fly flags around our farm, just for the colour. But we got some flak one time for choosing a colourful "rainbow" flag, which might, we learned, identify the place as a gay village. The Normandy flag has two golden lions, which should be ok, except they do look a little gay.

The way to Pacy was a little tough, with a convoluted route, large roads to avoid, and much heat. But Dodie did a good job managing all the various maps and suggestions she was given.

Going was slow, though, and made really crazy slow by the accumulation of tar and gravel on our tires. It was so hot that the tar on the road was melting! In most places this took the form of a gooey slick, but in others the car traffic had ripped up section of pavement, scattering melty lumps all around. They might as well have paved the roads with chocolate.

This made going very slow
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We rolled into Pacy in the late afternoon, and stumbled onto the Mairie. Our target was Didier's parents' house, but our SIM that yields a bit of internet has not been doing it, and our offline program, Osmand, proposed streets of the name we were looking for in towns from 30 to 300 kms away, while missing the one that was under its nose.

So we used the nuclear option and called Didier's Mom, who sent Didier's Dad to collect us.

We are very close here to Giverny, the town near the Seine where painter Monet lived. Monet is one of the few painters we think we understand, and there is an added perverse draw for us of Giverny being a huge tourist attraction. We had planned to cycle there tomorrow, but it seems we are being taken by car. It will still be great.

Right now I am looking forward to some sleep even more than usual. I thought I was doing quite well with French, but 6 hours of ries way before I had any idea of what the subject was. But first, here are some morephotos from today's adventure:

Typical Normandy scenes follow
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Along the Route Verte
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The catherdral in Evreux, but most parts of town were fairly dull
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The Evreux clock tower near the TI
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Pacy
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Didiers Dad shows us the way to his home
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Look Joni Fathers Day "brownies"
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Today's ride: 65 km (40 miles)
Total: 4,196 km (2,606 miles)

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