To Nolay - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

May 17, 2022

To Nolay

Today promised to be a relatively easy cruise over to Nolay, and one hopefully free of some of the drama of the past few days. The weather was nice, there was a dedicated bike route, and I had a new helmet. My first surprise came when I arrived at the bike route – a surface of chunky gravel reminiscent of some Iowa roadways. After several failed attempts to find a rideable surface, I was eventually routed onto a small farm road and rolling though the countryside. In fairness, there was a lot of nearby road construction indicating that they were working to improve the bike route surface.

But the excitement wasn’t over. The route turned onto a dirt farm road and I was soon heading down through the middle of a large farmstead with a couple of fairly large dogs, one of which was occupying the ground in front of me and barking furiously. I used my best “No, bad dog” call and he retreated, but kept circling around in front of me - a process that continued as I kept slowly cycling and yelling. After a few rounds of this, the dog retreated to the fenced yard and the farmer came out to see if the dogs were causing a problem. As the dog was clearly all bark and no bite, I assured him it was fine, and he assured me that I was on was on the correct road – but warned me to watch out for the muddy potholes. No kidding! Some of the ruts were more like chasms, causing me to dismount and pick my way along the track. Soon however, the surface improved and the route took on a serene and even ethereal quality of being in another place and time.

Sporting my new bike helmet
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A little too chunky for me
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You say the bike route goes through where?
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Finally, my kind of route
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On the dirt, with the mud and ruts. This shot was taken once I'd survived the dog challenge and the deep road chasms and had a chance to look back on the farm and the road behind.
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Once I'd passed the muddy sections, the gravel surface smoothed and the road wound nicely across the hillside and up through the woods.
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A calming stretch that was greatly appreciated after the morning's excitement
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A look back
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The paved bike path began at Ravelon, about eight miles into the ride and took me almost all the way to Nolay. It was easy riding along a flat tree-lined path. The trees provided a nice shade as the day warmed, but the ensuing ten miles were largely uninteresting. I did spot a pair of pygmy goats, some Charolais cooling in the shade, a threatening bull, and a few bullet trains. In addition to limited scenery, the bike path offered little in the way food or coffee. I detoured into a couple of nearby towns, but finding nothing I downed half a Clif bar and decided to double-time it so as to arrive in Nolay before restaurants stopped serving their mid-day meal. And just about then, I crossed a bridge that offered a view of downtown Epernac, where I spotted the tell-tale umbrellas of an open restaurant. I made a quick U-turn and had my first “sit down at the table” lunch of the tour – a beet salad starter and a plate of roast chicken with rice. The chicken was prepared the French way - basted in butter and drippings and with the meat falling off the bones – delish.

Finally, the paved bike trail
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This pygmy goat was only interested in chomping on the grass
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A panting calf
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I wanted a better photo, but I retreated when he started pawing his left front hoof
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The TGV high speed trains made such a roar that at first I looked up, thinking there were fighter jets in the area.
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Saint-Leger-du-Bois had a nice church and cemetery, but nowhere to eat or drink
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I can see Paris from here
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The open umbrellas in Epinac beckons
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In Epinac
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Shortly after Epinac, the route left the bike trail for a small road that took me over a low ridge, past lush green meadows and into Changey. To avoid a small climb on gravel, I had routed myself onto the larger D973 for a couple of miles, having grown more comfortable over the past week with the volume and speed on these larger “D roads”. I was rounding a downhill curve at speed when a bee flew into my helmet, and couldn’t escape. I pulled off as soon as it was safe, but not before I’d been stung several times. 

That was all the excitement for the day. I was soon back on the bike path, crossing viaducts and looking down on the town of Nolay. I’d booked lodging in the same hotel I’d stayed in on my first tour in Burgundy in 2009, the tour that turned me into a cyclist. Like me, the hotel has aged a bit – although I think a fresh coat of paint and some flowers could do wonders, for the hotel at least. I strolled around a bit before and after dinner, thinking of tomorrow when I would relive moments of my 2009 Burgundy tour and rendezvous with new friends from the Cycle Blaze community. It was hard to sleep.

Heading up toward Chagney
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On the way to Chagney
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Stinging bees and fast cars on D973
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Crossing into the Côte d"Or on the paved bike trail to Nolay
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Nolay, nestled in the vineyards of the Côte d'Or
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Crossing the Viaduct of Cormot
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My lodging in Nolay, Hotel de la (H)alle, 2022
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My lodging in Nolay, Hotel de la Halle, 2009
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The timbered building and XIVth Century Hall of Grains in Nolay
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In Nolay
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In Nolay
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In Nolay - I like how the the setting sun reflect the opposing building n the windows of the timbered building
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The Nolay Cathedral steeple
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The Nolay clock tower, with figures that come out to dance when every hour on the hour.
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Today's ride: 30 miles (48 km)
Total: 951 miles (1,530 km)

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Tricia GrahamReally looking forward to tomorrow post with the great meet up!
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2 months ago
Rich FrasierI hope you're more impervious to bee stings than I am. Multiple stings in the head would have put me into ER!
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2 months ago