Day Eighty Six: Pacy sur Eure to Maisons Laffitte - Grampies Go On Their Knees - CycleBlaze

June 21, 2017

Day Eighty Six: Pacy sur Eure to Maisons Laffitte

After a lot of thinking on just how we could safely and effectively get in to Paris, including visits to the train stations in Vernon and Evreux, we did a typical Grampies and just jumped on the bikes and started pedalling.

This time we had no maps at all. But we told ourselves we would stop at Mantes, about half way, and get some before things started to get too complicated. (We never did).

Poor Micheline (Didier's Mom) got up with us at 5 and prepared some breakfast before sending us on our way. Didier's parents had done everything they could think of to help us with this last stage - driving us to train stations, plotting to borrow a bike rack from friends, and scouting out possible routes on the computer. But in the end all they could do was wave and wish us good luck. It's like that with kids. (Didier's parents are only a bit older than us, so we are not really kids, except in terms of behaviour).

Micheline (Didier's Mom) briefly tries out the Bike Friday
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Aside from having to watch the traffic, the real problem today was the heat. By afternoon, it had topped 48 degrees. That's 118 degrees F folks! We lost count of how many litres of water we drank. One great thing in France is that the ubiquitous Bar/Tabac shops all have ice cold water on tap and in every case the people have been more than happy to fill our bottles. When it is really hot, really cold water is a super treat.

We used to find a route to Maisons Laffitte. It did very well, often finding cycling room like this.
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Firty eight degrees is insane cycling weather
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Some thing else that helped us was finding a large Carrefour Market at about the halfway point. Almost as much as the yogurt and fruit (and eclairs), walking inside in the cool was very restorative.

When we came out of Carrefour and were packing our treasures, a touring cyclist pulled in. In this region, seeing one is extremely rare. But this was Frank, from Netherlands and on his way to Santiago de Compostelle! That is, Frank had his shell and his creanciale, already with quite a few stamps. Naturally we enjoyed exchanging stories. Frank was 50, and fulfilling a dream of going to Santiago by age 50. At home, his wife and children have sprung him for as long as it will take. Really, that should not be long because Frank is typically big and strong. Yesterday he pedalled 115 km, but does not want to keep up that pace.

Frank started in Netherlands, with a stamp in his home town, and already has quite a few.
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After an age and a half we reached the Seine, and then Conflans, which is where the Oise river joins in. It is also where we picked up the signs of the Paris to London Avenue Verte, which incidentally runs to our destination, Maisons Laffitte.

Maisons Laffitte is a town along the Seine, like Andresy, Chanteloup, or Triel, but it is close enough in to Paris that one no longer thinks about following the Seine as it winds. Rather, transport just cuts straight through to Paris. Maisons
Laffitte is 23 minutes from Paris on the suburban RER A train. Paradoxically, it is 23km but 53 minutes by road, all according to Google.

Considering the extreme heat, Dodie was going well - or at least was still going. I was too, but frankly was glad to be following behind, so I could suffer without having to think about the route. Just before Conflans, though, Dodie's front tire blew. The bike swerved, but she controlled it! We had expected tire trouble because numerous (very numerous) stones were still embedded in our rubber, stuck with road tar. Dodie thinks not only did the road melt to achieve this, but our tires melted (or seriously softened) too.

The time needed to fix the tire may have been a lifesaver, because it got us to get partially out of the sun and stop.

Dodie's tire is really fed up with this
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The Oise near Conflans
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Our first time seeing Paris to London Avenue Verte signage. We will need to try the complete route soon.
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Grampies have returned to the Seine.
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Didier's house, while not cool, was still a shady haven. Didier knew he would not be home, but he left us out a pizza. Wonderful boy! We pounced on that, and also any and all fruit he had in the house.

Tomorrow we will try to completely pack up. That will leave us Friday to take that RER into downtown. We need to put in an appearance at Notre Dame de Paris, for a self-congratulatory photo. We need to spend too much money for a coffee at our favourite Paris cafe, and we want to go check out a bike shop we heard about.

Hang on while we chill out, and then we'll go do that.

Today's ride: 75 km (47 miles)
Total: 4,271 km (2,652 miles)

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