Day 52: Chalezeule to L'Ile sur Doubs: Not Quite Kansas Anymore - Grampies on the Go - Again! - CycleBlaze

July 10, 2012

Day 52: Chalezeule to L'Ile sur Doubs: Not Quite Kansas Anymore

The Camping was pretty poor last night, with the site packed with VW camper vans (that I wish I had!) and lots of noisy traffic on the nearby national road. I wrote the blog literally in a sink, sitting on two stacked plastic garbage cans. I am not complaining, you understand, those little garbage cans can be quite comfy!

Standing around in the cyclists' ghetto this morning, we batted about where a good destination for the day could be. People seemed to think that Mulhouse (pronounce something like "mule ooze")was about 90 km away, and therefore within reach. The EV6 standard calls for Camping every 50 km, but it's approximate, and often there is something too close and then something too far. Plus some maps show Camping in spots where others do not, and worse, there are different vintages of the "official" map, not marked as to their dates!, and containing different information.

With these factors in mind, Mulhouse seemed to be the destination of choice.

We set out before the others and promptly got lost. It was nothing that 5 KM of wandering around couldn't fix. This did not mean that the others got the jump on us, though, for they also got lost. Haha.

The route contained other hazards. For example, Dodie only just won the war of nerves with this feisty machine:

This machine was not giving much ground
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Cyclists are also a bit thicker here. There are long distance tourers, credit card tourers, day trippers, and Tour de France wannabees. It's the latter ones who either charge at you from ahead or sneak up silently and blow by from the rear. Like speeders on any mode of transport, they are a hazard.

It's a bad shot but it gives the idea of the fast moving oncoming traffic
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At Deluz, things are looking more German to us
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The final "hazard" is the increasing appearance of hills, cliffs, and mountains. as others have noted in blogs, as long as you can cling to the rivers you are ok. But if you or the marked route happen to stray too far, watch out for those hills!

We are sneaking between the hills
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We crossed paths during the day with our friends from the last few Campings. Here, our long distance spy camera reveals why we are able to keep up, for example, with Jo and Marc:

Jo and Marc slacking off on a bench
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Aside from the advent of hills, we see other differences in the land and buildings. Towns with narrow streets and crowded stone buildings are giving way to towns with houses scattered on hillsides, with grass all around. This is clearly necessary to provide space for the likes of Heidi and Julie Andrews to run with sun on their faces and the wind in their hair!

Houses on slopes with grass in between.
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Another fancy church
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It dawned on us and the others during the day that there was no way we were making it to Mulhouse (we will be lucky to get there tomorrow). So our safe harbour became L'Ile. The Camping here features free wifi and an indoor place to sit and type. Hooray!

L'Ile sur le Doubs
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Our little cyclists ghetto expanded a bit, to welcome a French man with a dog in a trailer (we have not really talked to him yet) and also Ken and Sue.

Ken and Sue are interesting. They are almost a clone of the Grampies (or vice versa). They are from Kelowna, cycled to Calgary and flew here, cycled from St Nazaire and are heading to the Black Sea. Their gear is all Mountain Equipment Coop. Last year they crossed Canada. Year before, New Zealand. They speak Canadian English - the harsh inflections that now grate on my ear a bit, in comparison to the melodic French.

As is usual, we not only exchanged the UQ's but we sized up their equipment in a flash, much as members of the opposite sexes do when passing in the street. "Why is Ken's rear wheel different from your other three?" says I. "It cracked just ..here.. in New Zealand" - the reply. "Ah, it figures". "Is that the MEC "Volt" tent - looks a little different from the one we tested." "The previous year's model?" "Ah, it figures" And so on.

Ken and Sue from Kelowna
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And so it goes. Tomorrow we will stand around looking at maps and then each head off, probably to regroup all in the same place. Meanwhile the landscape and people scape will change under our wheels, as it already has. And how about this: our bread today was a rye and not baguette. I need to get my mind around that - very soon now.

Today's ride: 73 km (45 miles)
Total: 2,169 km (1,347 miles)

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