Sancerre to Sully-sur-Loire - Melo Vélo Meanderings - CycleBlaze

June 4, 2018

Sancerre to Sully-sur-Loire

The highlights today were the people I met along the way.

Although this is my first extended, and for now, solo tour, I have cycled in many parts of the world with family, friends, or on organized tours.  I have been fortunate to cycle in several European countries as well as New Zealand and Southeast Asia. On those trips, there was to much to enjoy in discovering the beauty and history of other lands and the camaraderie among my traveling companions.  My trip to Southeast Asia - through Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand - revealed to me to the joy of interacting with the local community - of embracing the people (often literally) through whose land I journeyed.  Often, these encounters were fleeting - shouts of hello from Vietnamese children or big hugs and smiles by an elderly Cambodian woman.  When touring alone, I find that trying to communicate, to take chances, to share a few moments with other cyclists and local citizens can often result in my favorite part of the day.

As I was eating breakfast at the hotel this morning, who should appear but the two Spaniards I met yesterday - Manuel and Javier.  After hearty greetings, we headed out together, all on our way to Sully-sur-Loire.  We stopped on the way down the hill for a few pictures, and I bid so long, see you later.  And how true that was.  We leap-frogged each other several times, always stopping to exchange a big smile and à bientôt!  

Javier and Manuel ready for the day's ride
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View over the Loire Valley from the road down from Sancerre
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The route today was varied and interesting.  A few dodgy spots coming down from Sancerre soon led to a nice paved section along the river where I stopped for a short break with some free range chickens.  There was an extended magical stretch through the trees along the lateral canal, where the sun came out and Manuel and Javier caught up just before we crossed the Loire on the Pont Canal aqueduct at Briare.

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Free range chickens checking out a picnic area along the Loire
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Jeanie RedickThe comment and image of the chickens on your retirement freedom ride can’t help but remind me of where your career journey began with dr savorian’s(sp?) chickens at UMASS 🐓🐓
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6 years ago
Magical stretch along the lateral canal
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Pont Canal at Briare - From 1896-2003, it was the world's longest navigable aqueduct
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Shortly after crossing the Loire, I stopped and shared a lunch break with two Dutch cyclists, Nell and Hank, who were doing day trips in the area on e-bikes.  Cycling is very popular in the Netherlands, and everyone seems to have multiple bikes - at least as I can tell from the three Dutch couples I have met in the last three days!  I live in Iowa, which is home to many folks of Northern European heritage, including the Netherlands.  My grandmother came to America from Sweden, and our conversation turned to immigration. For a period after WWII, many Dutch emigrated to America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and Nell was wistful about this generation of immigrants who have "one foot in each country", and who may yearn to return to the homeland as they age in years.

Nell and Hank, lunch mates from the Netherlands
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I caught up again with Manuel and Javier as they were eating lunch, but continued ahead as I was staying with my first WarmShowers host and did not want to arrive too late.  I passed through the small town of Saint Florent about 3 pm, wanting something cold to drink.  Not unexpectedly, the town was closed down at that hour, and I summoned best French to ask an elderly woman walking along the street if there was anyplace I could get something to drink.  Everything was closed, she said - and she then proceeded to invite me to her home!  Pointing the way, she followed me to her house where  she pulled out a big bottle of water and replenished my stock. Then she shooed me off and continued her walk - amazing!

The kind French woman who invited me into her home to give me some water
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Jeanie RedickThirst solved - water given - then Shoo!!!love her honest heart !!!
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6 years ago
Charmaine RuppoltHow kind of her to help you with your need of water. :)
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1 year ago

I made it to Sully-sur-Loire a little before four, just as it was starting to rain.  Unfortunately, I had the wrong address for my WarmShowers host.  It took about several minutes trying to straighten things out, all the while rain becoming harder and steadier.  I was fairly soaked by the time I got the correct final address and directions. A gentleman who lived in a nearby house had been watching me intently and wanted to know if I was okay, if I needed a place to get dry.  Not needing to take him up on his kind offer, I soon found my way to Pia and Kevin's, my WarmShowers host.  They are a young couple who love meeting/hosting touring cyclists and sharing their views on cycling, politics, the environment and life in general.  Pia was working late, so Kevin and I made a lasagne dinner - or at least I tried to help by stirring the sauce without burning it.  Alas, there was some burnt on the bottom, but both he and Pia were gracious enough to tell me it was delicious.  It was to be a long day tomorrow, so I called it an early evening and promised not to wake them at the crack of dawn.

Pia and Kevin, my first WarmShowers host family
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Today's ride: 57 miles (92 km)
Total: 223 miles (359 km)

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