May 2nd, 2011. Villey le Sec - Moussey, 85km, 6h02, 13.5kph.
Sunshine and head wind.
Via Canal de la Marne au Rhin: Maron, Sexey aux Forges, Pont Saint Vincent, Méréville, Ludres Industrial Estate, Laneuveville devant Nancy, La Madeleine, Varangéville, Dombasle sur Meurthe, Crevic, Maixe, Einville au Jard, Bauzemont, Parroy, Xures, Lagarde. Bivvy in Moussey.
On our way at 7.30AM. We had to cross over to the other side of the dam to follow the left bank of the Moselle river. All the way to Maron the path was incredibly smooth and beautiful, weaving among trees and ponds along the river. Swans, herons and all sorts of other water birds were busy with their ablutions or fishing for breakfast. Hovering mist, contre-jours, rays of early morning sun light through the trees: another superb morning !
Sexey, Méréville... Had to make sure to follow the right direction due to several canals intersecting in the area.
We did see the sign but never saw any 'turbine powered bikes'.
'Our' canal passed by Ludres. A shameless heron was standing on the bank, staring at the crystal water slowly flowing by, gauging an unsuspecting fish. Didn't even move when we cycled by...
Morning coffee in Laneuveville. First double lock. The towpath gradually shrank to a single lane of thickening grass. We decided to follow the D2 road instead.
In Varangéville, quick stop at a panel beater's to ask for some air. They'd never seen bicycles in their work shop... We'd lost close to 2 bars pressure since we'd started off ! Daniel even got his chain greased.
Thanks for your help, Gentlemen!
The road we followed was flanked by large factories producing salt, chemicals and cement. Not very pretty sights; but the sun cheered everything up... and we were only passing through...
Shopping at a Carrefour Market for a sunny lunch on the bank of the canal just outside Dombasle sur Meurthe.
That's when we learned that Mr Bin Laden had run into problems... A second major political event was to occur a couple of weeks later...
Continuation on the towpath. When it got too grassy: on the adjacent roads. No fun pedaling on soft ground with 5 bars pressure in the tyres.
Came across an unusual situation at the Bauzemont lock. A boat had entered the lock, heading down-stream. When the rear gates closed, a large branch had got caught between them, preventing them from closing properly.
Result: water was coming in too fast from the rear to allow the front gates to open and the 'sailors' were stuck !! To make matters worse, there was no help to be expected from the lock keepers: they were on strike! We advised them to call the police for help and finally had to leave.
The countryside was starting to become hilly. Many large fields of yellow rape-seed. Non-stop up and down. All the speeds on the bike were put to use. It was hot ! Both bottles empty. In Einville, a man watering his garden gave us a refill.
We continued our way on the D2 road through Parroy where the Mayor stamped our travel logs. New stop in Lagarde for another refill... It was a very hot day indeed !!!
That's where we met Bernard, self proclaimed 'wood-splitter' for widows, collector of flags and pennants, owner of an authentic and spotless 27-year old orange Mobylette !
Hardly two minutes after meeting the man, we were summoned to his kitchen to fill the bottles. Within no time he proceded to pull out his collection of odds and ends: a log with a WWII German machine-gun bullet stuck in it (his chain saw just missed it...), the Algerian and Australian flags he had just bought at a neigboring village fair, his piles of split wood, ranging from logs to asparagus-size kindling, all of it neatly arranged in his barn and marked with the dates the job had been done !
We had to insist to leave and asked him how to get to Moussey where we had decided to stop for the night...
No problem: he put on his helmet, gunned-up his Mobylette and led us to a bridge on the outskirts of town. Slightly eccentric but endearing old guy !
The local grocer had quite another opinion of the man... but as far as we were concerned, he had welcomed us, given us water and made sure we wouldn't get lost... in a region, (Lorraine), where people are rather reserved. Thanks again Bernard !
A few more kilometers to Moussey on a flat road in the late afternoon sun. There, the owners of a lodge let us set up our tents in magic surroundings and told us we could use the facilities... Were they being generous by caution ? Do cyclo-tourists have such a bad reputation ? Whatever the reason, their generosity was appreciated... and Rock 'n ' Roll spent the night in a shed, well protected from the elements !