Day 11 – Chaumont to Bar-le-Duc – 63 miles

It did rain over night and I awoke to find a family of Brits had arrived. They were from Lincoln and were heading south in their camper van without much of a plan. They had come via Calais and had the demanding job of entertaining two small children for the duration.My plan was to continue north. The weather was bleak as I set off but there was no rain as I continued on a major highway.

A tell tale clue it rained overnight

There’s something dispiriting about camping or riding in the damp. Also I was missing that rest day that enabled some sorting out of kit as well as putting your feet up. Certainly this wasn’t a place to stay.

The bollard was for the workmen strimming the verge. Nice to ride slowly up a hill without cars close by. Inevitably the workmen encouraged me up the hill

Eventually the sun started to come out and normal service was resumed weather-wise. This meant a change in tops and splashing on Factor 50. I took the opportunity to drag out a towel and a pair of shorts to hopefully dry them out. Sadly this also applied to the road that still went up and down!

I found a bench to get out a map to study it

I look at the map to assess the type of road, the distances between towns and to confirm I’m heading in the right direction. I’m never certain how far I’ll get but ordinarily the constraint of where the campsite is determines the destination.

Some fellow road users

I was following a road to Saint-Dizier but by this time had decided that Bar-le-Duc was my overnight stopping place. I try and eat every hour. Sometimes it can be a treat (see the photo). This is my favourite French confectionary.

Something fishy going on here

I left the main road to run parallel on a B road. Some of the properties are delightful.It’s the coordinated paint scheme that elevates it. Also what French colours.

I had stayed in Bar-le-Duc before and whilst liking the camp site I was kept awake then by a couple of inconsiderate French lads who decided to have a Saturday night all nighter with music (here’s my 2018 blog). I parked my tent on a different part of the site.

This time there were no similar issues. I hadn’t cycled through the town last time and this time I discovered a sunny and busy high street with cafes and bars. A little too far to pop into from the site but worth noting for another visit. This is my plot below. On arrival the Reception was closed. I asked a Dutch couple what the arrangement was? They said the owner was cleaning the shower block. I found her and she said ‘put up your tent’ and see me later when I open up Reception. I did and the €6.20 was reasonable I thought.

However, it’s here that that Leeds United won promotion. Huddersfield Town beat West Bromwich Albion and ensured that we were up! I had a small bottle of wine to go with my baguette and fromage and I sat there texting excitedly and being delighted by the messages I received from old friends who knew my delight. A bit of an anti-climax really and I felt I should have been touring York, in the Morgan trailing my scarf with ‘Marching On Together’ blaring at Volume 11. The video was something I put onto Facebook as the deed was being done by our Yorkshire neighbours.

Laundry and animal abuse…

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