Boofzheim, France to Lac de la Liez, France

Day 12 – Boofzein to Mulhouse – 101kms

We were on the road by 08:30 and according to our map we had about 80kms along the canal. But off-coarse the canal ende abruptly and we found ourselves headed for Colmar, and after a slight course correction (about 3kms each way) we were back on track for mulhouse. The day turned out to be very hot at 35°c. At one point while checking our route we noticed a road just West of us going the same direction but through a wooded area so after topping off our water supply we headed for that road and some shade.
It turned out to be a great idea, the ride through the woods was much cooler and no car traffic, but the heat coupled with the high humidity was getting to us so we used some of the water to through over our heads to cool down.
When we got to Mulhouse we found that the camping was on the other side of town (naturally) so we had to cycle through heavy traffic to get to it. While riding around the camping looking for a spot we saw the Australian family waiving at us so we went over and set up near them. We had a nice reunion, exchanging stories of the past few weeks and sharing a few beers. Later on in the evening it started to drizzle and we called it a night.
The ride today was  long but very nice, with great weather, good roads and cycling paths. The camping here is OK and fairly clean.

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Breaking camp in Boofzheim.

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Back on one of our favorite canals.

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Plenty on cycling signs with distances, everywhere.

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Just great cycling, along this canal path.

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Looking West towards Massif du Ventron, Vosges in the distance. Click to view larger.

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And the road ahead.

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Some of the wildlife along the canal.

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The lovely road through the woods after Munchhouse.

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Lovely fields along the way.

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More woods just before Mulhouse.

Day 13 – Rest day

This morning we decided to have a rest day. We have been riding nonstop for a week and a half and need some time off the bikes. And this is as good a camping as were going to find, it’s quiet, and there is a Carefour super market nearby for supplies.
The Australian family ar continuing west along the canal and look for a room because the next camping is about 90kms which is too long for the kids to ride. We on the other hand will make this ride in one day, so we pland to meet up again at the camping LÍsle-sur-le-Doubs.
So after they left we got some supplies and kicked back for the rest of the day.

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Saying goodbye to Helen Jeffs, Shane O’Brien, Tom O’Brien and Rosie O’Brien.

Day 14 – Mulhouse to LÍsle-sur-le-Doubs – 86kms

We got on the road on the road by 07:45 to an overcast day. We found the canal easy enough and started cycling West. Again we had ridden this canal in 2010 and knew what to expect so nothing new to write about. By noon the weather warmed up and later on we stopped at a village along the way for some supplies. Ridding along this canal is very nice with beautiful scenery. The path is also in very good condition, its a great way to cycle between France and Germany while avoiding the hills. It’s also part of the R6 cycling route from the Atlantic to the Black sea and has many benches at regular intervals so very easy to stop whenever and wherever you like for a break.
At Longevelle-sur-Doubs we got off the cycling path and got on the D663 which is not recommended, it has a lot of traffic and not much of a shoulder. We did see other cyclists on it, which made us feel better, but no excuse, if you’re doing the R6, stay on the cycling path.
We got to LÍsle sur le Doubs, found a supermarket, got some supplies and went to the camping. After setting up we kicked back with a few cold one’s and about an hour later the Australians rolled in with their enormous four person tandem. Camping here is very good, well priced and excellent pitches.

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Great riding.

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Many small villages along the way, but only the bigger ones have any shops.

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Just in front of this lock a large bird of prey swooped down and plucked out a fish from the water. It was amazing it was the first time we’ve every seen anything like this outside of Discovery channel. Off-course I was too slow with the camera.

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Looking back down at all the canal locks.

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Nearing the top.

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I doesn’t get better than this.

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On the fast and dangerous D633.

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We thought we were messy, but when the Aussie’s spread out we looked like we were 10 in the group 🙂

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The four person tandem. Their blog is at bike4four.wordpress.com. Amazing family, great blog, check it out.

Day 15 – LÍsle-sur-le-Doubs to Fraisans – 107kms

After saying goodbye for the last time to the Australian Family we got on the cycling path at 09:00, a full hour later than we wanted.
From the very start there was a clear sky, warm, no wind, fantastic cycling path and great scenery, the whole day was perfect. The pictures tell the story 🙂
We rode past Besancon to the first camping we had planned but that was nothing, the camping was right next to a very crowded lake, looked very dirty and they wanted €12, with no hot water, so we continued for several kilometers to the next.
The camping at Fraisans is basic but good for the night at €8.

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The day started out great and just got better. This section is the best of the whole canal.

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It just doesn’t get any better than this.

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Getting near Besancon, the hilltop fortress can just be seen on the right.

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 We would have liked to check out this town, and some day we will, I’m sure we’ll be riding through this area again in the future. We just love cycling in France.

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The canal goes though the hill at Basincon.

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Quite a few tourist boats about, probably would be best to visit any historical town in France (or anywhere in Europe) off season.

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There was another tunnel the canal went through at Thoraise, but no cycling path next to it, so we had to climb over this short hill.

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And a new region of France.

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The basic but neat and great value for money camping at Fraisans.

Day 15 – Fraisans to Saint-Jean-de-Losne – 57kms

Got up a bit late today. After yesterdays ride we were pretty beat. We ended up hitting the road at 09:00 with just coffee which is never good in one of the warmest days yet. The temperature today reached 35°c.  The ride to Dole +/-35kms was along the very nice canal but because of roadworks we had to take a detour to Damparis. When we reached Dole we sought out a supermarket for supplies than found a nice place to sit back for a nice lunch.
We reached the end (or the beginning) or the Rhine/Rhone canal and turned South for about 4kms to Saint-Jean-de-Losne. We knew there was a nice and cheap camping there as we’ve stayed before in 2010.

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Another perfect day.

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Dole.

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You’ll find identical pictures in the 2010 page’s 🙂

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Finally reached the Saone.

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Looking back at the first lock of the canal.

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Saint-Jean-de-Losne.

Day 16 – Saint-Jean-de-Losne to Dommarien – 94kms.

What a day! This had to be the hottest day by far at 40°c. We got underway early at 07:30 knowing it would be very hot but did not plan for such a long day i this heat. The first 30kms or so were on the D20 to Auxonne, where we stopped for supplies than continued on the D24/D976 to Lamarche-sur-Saon, where we followed the signs to get back on the cycling path along the Saon.
WE continued on the cycling path to Pontailer-sur-Saon  where we crossed again, got some more supplies and continued on the West side of the river. It wasn’t long before we reached the junction of this little known canal De la Marne A la Saone. This is a very nice little canal is a bit rough at places but it more than makes up with it’s scenery. It’s very quiet, hardly and other cyclists or runners, it was just a pleasure to ride on.
The first camp we tried for (about 70kms into the ride) ended up being the same one we tried for in 2006, and it hasn’t improved one bit, still a shit-hole and we would not spend a night there. After we got back on the canal we found that an English couple had arrived in their canal boat so we asked them if we could top off our water bottles, which they thankfully did. And while they were helping us out a van pulled up with a couple guys that took care of the locks, so we asked them if they knew of another camping and they said it was about 20kms further up the canal. Now at this time of the day it was so hot the sweat was just purring off of us. About half way there we stopped at a farm house and asked if we could get our water bottles topped up again so the kind people did it for us. The camping here is very basic and there is nothing in the village. No shops, nor restaurants so we broke out our emergency noodles. Never leave home without them.

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On the busy D20 without a shoulder.

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Still on the D20, in a rare moment without any traffic.

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On the equally dangerous D24.

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Lamarche-sur-Saon

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Finally bicycle paths again.

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Borrowed someones private pear to have our tea.

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The canal entrance.

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We’re headed for LÁngres.

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Looking back at the Viaduc dÓissily. Click to view larger.

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A lovely long and thin, English canal boat. The lady said she sailed from England. Brave woman.

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Just before the camping at Dommarien, and Monique has just about enough cycling for the day 🙂

Day 17 – Domarien to Lac-de-la-Liez – 35kms.

We got on the road at 07:30. The plan for today was a short ride to Lac-de-la-Liez, were we’ve stayed before in 2006. We were still tired from yesterdays long ride in such hot weather, and today was no different, the temperature climbed to 33°c by 09:00 with high humidity. We checked the weather reports and they all said heavy thunderstorms are coming to the area by late evening, so we’re going to a popular camping which also has a mini market and restaurant. We plan to have a rest day there.
The canal part of the ride was easy enogh but once we reached the top we found out that the canal goes through a tunnel and impossible to ride by bike so we had to detour around. There are two options, and we chose the easier but longer one. Going to the village of Chalindrey on the D24, were we got some supplies, than with good climb on the D17 before a nice long decent towards Lángres. Both Lángres and La de la Liez are on hills so the thought of visiting the historical city would have to wait again. It’s just too hot and we’re too tired to check it out this time.
The camping is still the same as we remembered, very clean with good pitches, even though we had to ask for a sheltered place under two trees and higher up, also I made sure there was a slight slope so we wont flood.
Later on while chatting with some neighbors this very strong gust of wind came and the temperature just dropped by about 15°c and it sent everyone running to try and catch their lawn chairs and umbrellas. We also jumped up and while Monique was collecting our stuff I tied down the bikes and secured the tent with all the guy-lines. Later on we started to see some serious clouds over Lángres and a lot of thunder and lightning.
The wind was coming from the South and at first we thought it might just miss us so we went to bed. But come 03:00 we woke up to this gale force wind that was blowing the tent all over the place, with hail coming down over us. I was glad we were under a tree so got protected a bit by the hail. But we were afraid from all the lightning which seemed to be cracking very close to us.
We quickly got dressed in our rain gear and collected our most important gear and prepared to make a run for it to the nearest shower block, in case the tent collapsed.
The hail didn’t last long 15 to 20 very long minutes, and the rain lasted till morning. Just before dawn we woke up to some noise above us and we found a poor bird got blown of a tree and found shelter between our outer and inner tents. We just left it alone and went back to bed. By morning is was gone.
The temperature was much cooler now and we slept in. It was the first time we were caught in such a nasty storm while sitting in a tent. I guess our tent passed every test, we are now very happy with it.

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Early morning on the canal again

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And the number one lock on this side of the canal.

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Heading to Chalindrey.

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We love some of these chateaus in France. Click to view larger.

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On the D17 heading for Lángres. Which could just be seen in the distance center of picture.

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Lángres taken from halfway up the other hill on the way to Lac de la Liez.