To Avallon - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

May 25, 2022

To Avallon

Today would be my last day cycling with our small group of Cycle Blazers as I would be off tomorrow morning to visit friends who live near the Canal Nivernais. Once again, we planned to meet at the Collégiale Notre-Dame church at ten, with a pre-departure visit inside the church to view the stained-glass panels commemorating the American soldiers who participated in WWI (Thank you Keith Klein for alerting us to the panels). Then it was time for a group photo. We lined up with our bikes while Suzanne set up her camera and tripod in the square in front of the church. After a few quick snaps capturing our smiles and bonhomie, the camera was secured and we rolled across the cobbles, one after another. There was a small break in ranks as we descended from town, with Rachael and Janos electing to follow Scott down the ramparts while Suzanne and I took the more sensible road option. But we all made it across Pont Joly and were on our way to Avallon.

 It was a glorious morning with deep blue skies and white clouds. About three miles out of town, my iPhone went dead, leaving me without navigation or means of communication. Luckily, Rachael had stopped up ahead to respond to an earlier text from me and I was able to follow her Époisses where we set up her phone as a WiFi hotspot so I could download the route onto my “US iPhone.” I normally keep the cellular setting off on this phone, using it only when WiFi is available. I had been downloading the daily RWGPS routes on both phones so as to have back-up on the road. However, I’d gotten a bit relaxed while traveling with the group and neglected to keep up with the daily downloads. Although I could have activated the cellular on my second phone, the incident served to emphasize that redundancy is a key component of safety on the road.

Amost ready for the ride to Avallon
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Morning in Semur-en-Auxois
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Our trusty steeds
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Five Cycle Blazers celebrating our time together
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Janos, Rachael and Scott took the ramparts option down from Semur-en-Auxois
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Looking back at Semur-en-Auxois from across the Pont Joly
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I was glad to have a ride buddy around to lead me into Époisses
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The commune of Époisses is notable for two things - Époisses cheese and the Château d'Époisses. The cheese is a soft cheese with a wine-rubbed rind, giving it an orangish/reddish color. The château is a privately owned 12th century medieval castle whose grounds are open to visitors. We took a fair bit of time exploring the grounds and just enjoying the day. Then it was back on the bikes for the climb to Pisy, a rather gradual climb that offered increasingly broader views of the surrounding countryside. We took a somewhat leisurely lunch in Pisy, finding a nice shaded courtyard with concrete benches, then continued on small roads descending into Montréal, a town I’d visited in 2015. We were back on the larger D957 for the final run into Avallon, a less enjoyable stretch that included a moderate climb, a headwind, and an increasing amount of traffic as we got closer to our lodging near the older part of town.

A partial view of the Château de Époisses and gardens
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The Pigeonnier
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Pigeon entrance in the upper window of the pigeonnier
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Scott AndersonMust have been some mighty fat pigeons back in those days.
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2 months ago
The Pigeonnier, framed
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Rachael AndersonGreat photo of Scott!
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2 months ago
Lucy MartinNice portrait shot
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On the way to Pisy
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On the climb to Pisy
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On the climb to Pisy
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Happy at the top
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Lunch break for the bikes
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Uncurious sheep on a hillside
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On the way to Avallon
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On the way to Avallon
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Looking south to the Morvan in the distance
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Three Cycle Blazers on their way to Avallon
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We were all staying in the same hotel/restaurant, a modest lodging with an unimpressive breakfast menu. However, there was a shared kitchen where we could prepare and eat our own breakfast, so after cleaning up Rachael and I set out on a food mission: bakery, grocery, restaurant. We checked out a little bit of Avallon, found a bakery that would be open early the next morning, identified a suitable restaurant for dinner, and stocked up on eggs, ham, cheese and fruit at the grocery store. A highly successful mission, if I do say.

Dinner was a mix of good food, long waits between courses, and once again, easy conversations among friends. From my perspective, it had been a most wonderful journey through Burgundy with four special people – good cycling with good folks.

In Avallon
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In Avallon
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In Avallon
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Rachael AndersonWow! Another good picture of me. We miss having you around! I hope you are having a good visit with your friend. We look forward to seeing you in Paris!
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2 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Rachael AndersonI think it's a great picture of you both! Missing you all as well and looking forward to Paris next week.
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2 months ago
This is the planned route, not my ride as I lost navigation and tracking for about three miles
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Today's ride: 27 miles (43 km)
Total: 1,178 miles (1,896 km)

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Gregory GarceauHi Susan,

Good job in documenting the tour of Burgundy with the other Cycleblazers (as well as the rest of your "skipping about the continent.) Your words and pictures really convey what a great time you all had.
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2 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Gregory GarceauThanks Greg - it really was a special time and I'm glad I was able to give some sense of how much we all enjoyed it.
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2 months ago
Suzanne GibsonMissing you! Love your write up of our day (s). I'll catch up eventually.
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2 months ago
Lucy MartinIt’s so cool that the five of you met up and cycled together. Lovely.
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2 months ago