Final Countdown

Submitted by mag on

We are into the final launch sequence and so far everything is moving on schedule. We finished up a lot of yard work yesterday, and got our preliminary packing and checkout done, and even had time to enjoy dinner on our new deck and a fire. Tomorrow we finish packing and getting the house ready, and then in the afternoon drive to Kalamazoo to pick up our rental car. We haven’t had time to do a real “shakedown cruise” like we did last year, but we did a trial load of bicycles with our touring panniers to make sure we had all the pieces we will need in Europe. So we think we are good to go and ready for liftoff on Sunday. 

Hard to Leave South Heaven

Submitted by mag on

It’s really hard to leave this beautiful spot in Michigan – just when the weather is getting perfect and the house is fixed up for outside enjoyment. Here are some photos of the beach near our house where I sometimes (not often enough) jog. And the town beach and lighthouse at sunset. Here are a couple of shots of our new deck – still some work to be done, but better.

Planning the 2015 Adventure - this year the Danube

Submitted by mag on

Every year we spend several months cycling in Europe in the late summer and fall. When we first began this series of grand adventures, we were inspired by a book by Mike Lyon "Cycling Along Europe's Rivers". Each year we base in Haarlem, near Amsterdam, and set out on a quest to explore the best of Europe's great rivers. The first year we did the Rhine all the way to the Bodensee in Switzerland and the Mosel. The next year it was France's beautiful Mayenne and Loire Rivers. This year we are planning the Danube.

2015 Shakedown Cruise

Submitted by mag on

We were really busy this year with yard and house improvements, so we didn’t really get a shakedown cruise in preparation for our Third Great European Adventure. The closest thing we got was a ride on the Beautiful Kal-Haven Trail into Kalamazoo back in May to celebrate our anniversary (48th) and my birthday.

Blois

Submitted by mag on

We spent a couple of days at a small AirBNB apartment in Blois mostly resting as I was still sick. The city of Blois is nice with a lovely walking zone and square. We enjoyed the castle although any castle is going to be anticlimactic after Chambord. We had planned on riding 2 days to St Pierre Des Corps near Tours, but since I was recovering we decided to take the train.

Chinon

Submitted by mag on

In the morning we set off for Chinon and yet another amazing chateau - this one a real fighting castle and a medieval fortress where the knights of Templar were executed. A truly awesome castle and a lot of history and stories associated with it.

Chateau Breze and the Troglos

Submitted by mag on

We had several days to stay in the area until our friends Bob and Patty could catch up to us, so we explored the area south of Saumur. This area is fascinating and worth exploring both above and below the ground! The Breze Castle with is surrounded by the deepest dry moat in France and from the bottom of the moat, fanning out in all directions is an entire city complete with bakeries and wineries and animal shelters to support the castle. This is one of the most fascinating castles in the Loire valley, but because it is out of the way it is not as frequently visited or well known.

Saumur

Submitted by mag on

Cycling the LoireWe had glorious weather and a very scenic introduction to the Loire a Velo (Loire bike route). This section of the Loire valley is composed of massive deposits of tufa stone... a soft, easily carved rock that is used for building and lends itself to huge burrows and caves.

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