Friday, July 16, 2010

We French a little more

Maybe you have noticed our bicycle sandals? Who would have thought a Teva (well, a Keen really) would make a good bike shoe? It turns out that biking in sandals is the best, especially when it's hot. We both have pedals that are flat on one side and clipless on the other, and the sandals are shimano spd compatible. But that makes for some goober tan lines. Joshua is tiger, Ramona is panda.

Out of Saverne, the route towards Lorraine (westward) goes along a canal. Since Napoleon, the French have been building canal systems that criss-cross the country. Usually there is a small, less traveled road along these canals, and now they are being turned into bicycle routes. We traveled a well-used canal and through a sweet town where we had another lovely second breakfast with fresh bread from the bakery.

The path lead us along the main canal until it turned south-west. Then we followed an unused canal with a series of unused locks accompanied by unused lock-manager houses, although some seem to be either lived in or even occupied by businesses.

When we emerged back into the better traveled world of currently running canals, we got a view of this beautiful old mill.

But after that things went downhill, and not in that coasting-on-a-bicycle downhill way. Our aim was to meet the Sarre River in Lorraine and follow it into Germany (where it becomes the Saar). The small patch of France we needed to cross has many small roads that seemed likely bike-friendly roads. But we found that rolling hills and small country roads are not nice when trucks, lorries, also use them. We had a tour bus pass us way too close and after that we employed our LA skills to basically block the lane so other drivers had to wait until there was no oncoming traffic to pass us. And it was hot and our fifth straight day of riding. I have one pretty picture of that route.

We made it to a town with a tourist office that had a bicycle in their window, and managed to take another absolutely gorgeous old road across to a campsite not far from the Sarre. Again, the road was dirt, sometimes gravely, and even very steep for a portion. But it was shady and free of traffic so we loved it. The campsite was busy with noisy people, and we celebrated rain that made everyone go inside in the morning. We packed up in the rain and headed out, with the goal of returning to Germany before the day was over. In Sarreguemines, on the border of France and Germany, we stopped at a couscouserie and had a happy couscous.

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