To La Coquille - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

May 8, 2022

To La Coquille

For some reason I did not sleep well last night, waking about 2:30 am and not drifting back to sleep until almost 5:30 am. Perhaps I was fretting over my lost pocket knife –a nice Leatherman multi-tool. I had used it to cut the bread and cheese during my lunch stop in Charras but somehow it did not make it back into my handlebar bag. It isn’t a necessary item, but is sure nice to have. So, instead of tossing and turning I decided to see how difficult it would be to re-route today’s ride so as to pass through Charras. My ultimate destination was a Chambre d’Hôtes outside of La Coquille, a small town east of Feuillade. My original route headed north from Feuillade, but Charras was to the south. I managed to find a more southern route to La Coquille, but it increased distance and elevation by a little more that 4 miles and 400 ft, respectively. Knowing that it would bother me all day if I didn’t at least try, I fortified myself with pancakes and headed to Charras.

It was a beautiful day for cycling and as I headed up from the Bandiat through the farmlands and woods of the eastern Charente, I forgot my concerns about the pocket knife and just enjoyed the moment. After six miles, I reached my blacksmith friend but he had nothing for me – I can only take comfort in knowing that someone else is enjoying a pretty fine pocketknife. I headed back down the road from whence I’d come, and after a couple of miles turned east toward Mainzac where I stopped for a little snack and was cheered by a small herd of horses.

Leaving Feuillade along the Bandiat River
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Looking back toward the Bandiat River
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On the way to Charras
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On the way to Charras
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On the way to Charras
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The way to Charras also passed through woods
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I've nothing for you, said the blacksmith
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Rich FrasierSusan, this is your chance to go home with an Opinel, the French country folk’s go-to knife!
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3 months ago
In Mainzac
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Snack time in Mainzac
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Cheer me up, Buttercup
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Shortly after leaving Mainzac, I crossed into the Périgord-Limousin regional nature park. There were no signs welcoming me to the park, just a single demarcation that I was in the Périgord, a former French province that is now part of the Dordogne department of France.

 From my little online research, the Périgord-Limoiusin regional park was created in March 1998 and is located on the northwestern outskirts of the Massif Central. Covering over 1800 sq km, it has a diverse landscape of agricultural fields and wooded areas that flank the western foothills of the Massif Central. As I am learning in real life, most of the ridges/foothills seem to run north-south, so my travels eastward necessarily entail a lot of ups and downs, through woods, fields, and farmland.

Leaving Mainzac
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Crossing into Périgord and the Périgord-Limousin Regional Park
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12th Century church in Hautefaye
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Château de Beauvais
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Up through the woods
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Climbs are rewarded with vistas of open fields and woodlands
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There is a lot of logging in the Périgord Vert, and on this Sunday holiday the cut logs made for a nice lunchtime spot
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Unlike national or state parks in the US, most of the land in the French regional parks is privately owned. Small towns are scattered throughout and, less often, larger cities. People live and work in the park, but today everyone seemed to be enjoying Victory Day and traffic was extremely light. Although I usually seek out the smaller roads when designing my routes, I found myself enjoying the low-traffic larger roads with their gentler ups and down. However, the bigger roads tend to be less interesting and it was nice to be back on the small byways for the last twelve miles – more work, but more fun.

Climbing through the woods on one of the small byways
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Cattle lazing under the distant trees
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Cows cooling
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Cows on a hillside
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I was staying in a Chambre d’Hôte located well off the beaten path – and with very slow WiFi. Many of the guests are pilgrims making the journey from Orléans to Santiago de Compostela and as there is no restaurant close at hand, Véronique will provide dinner, on request. It was a wonderful home-cooked meal of pumpkin soup, lasagna and strawberry crisp – all made with local ingredients. A hearty meal for the days to come – I fear I’ll need it!

My Chambre d'Hôte
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Today's ride: 42 miles (68 km)
Total: 618 miles (995 km)

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Mike AylingPity about your Leatherman. I found one on a walking path in a tourist area and intended to hand it in at the Police Station in the town but as it was not manned at the time I retained it.
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3 months ago