The Cathedral of Notre-Dame standing above Dole

I had a good day of bicycling and would have ridden to Besancon, but I stopped in Dole at 4:30 in order to use the Cyber Cafe here. I got to the Cyber Cafe at 5 PM, having been told it as open till 6 PM. It was closed. France is a great place to bicycle, but a lousy place to get internet access! I shouldn't let my bicycling be driven by my need for internet access, but I did need to coordinate things with the person I'll be visiting in a few days and I'm frustrated that I won't be able to do that since I will not be likely to have net access tomorrow - a Sunday - and probably not the next day either. I'll phone my family tomorrow or the next day to let them know I'm still alive, but I don't have a phone number for the fellow I'll be visiting.

The Doubs River in Dole

Dole is a neat town, with a good center ville - lots of pretty things, lots of neat old shops, a cathedral, and a beautiful river front. It is also the place Louis Pasteur came from. After getting over my frustration at having stopped for a close Cyber Cafe, I did enjoy walking around the old part of town and eating a Kebaub sandwich made by a street vendor. It was a much better buy than the lunch I had in Beaune!

The side of a Hypermarket and the Canal Du Centre
as I was leaving Montceau-les-Mines

My hotel last night, The Nota Bene <grin>, was excellent and breakfast was the best I've seen at a two star hotel. They did charge me 2 Euros more than they quoted me last night, but it was still a bargain at 44 Euros for a nice room and an excellent breakfast. On my way out of Montceau-les-Mines, I stopped at a Hypermarket - the French equivalent of a Wal-Mart super store for supplies: fresh bread, apple-rubarb sauce in four100 g pots, and 400g of Nutella. The market was right next to the canal. D974 was wet - it rained during the night - and the temperature was in the 60 F (14C) range, so I, reluctantly, wore my wind vest again today. Yesterday was the only day in the last week that I haven't worn it, and I keep hoping for more summery weather, but it hasn't happened.

D974 with cobblestones just north of Montceau-les-Mines

Things did improve after the next town, but D974 was still bumpy
That is a lock - there are locks quite often on the canal for boat traffic
I bet they were originally for barge traffic and D974 was the towpath

D974 does get better, and gets more traffic, as it goes north

Riding D974 was very bumpy initially - it was cobblestones for a mile or two! - but got better as I got further north. A suspension seat post would have been nice, and my shoulders are getting sore even with my suspension stem. I hate to think about riding it on a road bike, but I met several cyclist doing just that. Of course I met a cyclist this evening riding on the cobblestone streets of Dole. He didn't look too happy. The cyclists I met on D974 were enjoying themselves.

The bike path after D974 joins the expressway

When D974 'ends' at D977, I crossed the river and continued on the bike path on the other side. When that ended, maybe two miles later, I crossed back and headed down the small road on the north side. That dead ended in less than half a mile, so I rode back and headed east on D18. It came to a traffic circle in less than a mile and D974 continued from that point. Actually it leaves the traffic circle going northwest, then almost immediately you have to turn southwest, and then, in a mile or so, it is back following the Canal. But it is a different canal!

D974 after Ecuisses - heading downhill

There are two parts to the Canal du Centre - one climbing to the southeast and the other climbing to the northwest. The connect - I assume since I didn't see the connection, but that is what makes sense - through the lakes between Ecuisses and Saint Eusebe. By climbing the one and descending the other, a boat or barge can go long distances through central France. I noticed a similar canal coming into the Doubs river from the north which, I would guess, connects it to another river. A great way to move goods around that, in the case of the Canal du Centre, has become a great way to bicycle through this part of France.

An empty lock on the Canal du Center

A full lock - two small boats just left this lock heading up canal

Leaving the Canal du Centre - it is hard to have to climb <grin>!

D974 ends at its intersection with N6 and N74 continues to Beaune. N74 isn't as good riding as D974, but it isn't bad. There is more traffic, but almost all of it was cars. The scenery is mosty large vineyards with hills in the background. Nice. The very pretty town of Meursault is located about six miles from Beaune

Vineyards and N74

Meursault from N74

Beaune wasn't too exciting, but it was the place to get lunch. Unfortunately lunch was overpriced and not up to the standards I've come to enjoy. I've done well on eating in France, so I guess an occasional mistake isn't a big deal. I left Beaune on D973 heading for Seurre. Coming into Beaune, I had to fight a crosswind coming from the northwest and I'm thankful there weren't any big trucks to deal with since the combination of the strong wind across the road and the airblast would have made it very hard to keep my bike on the shoulder. Been there, done that. Lived in western Kansas. That same wind was a great tail wind head southeast towards Seurre. I was cruising in the high teens on the flat and the road was mostly flat. Easy riding through wheat, corn, and sunflower fields, with an occasional pasture thrown in. Oh yeah, the middle section was forested.

A four field system: cattle, sunflowers, wheat, and corn on D973
Note: the four field system of crop rotation was a medieval invention from this part of the world

At Seurre, I stopped at a supermarket - being very surprized to find one open in the afternoon - to get a snack. The cost was less than 2 Euros and I got to take the remaining liter of Coke with me<grin>. I like these supermarkets, but they usually are closed from 12:30 to 4 PM. Eating while on the road is a lot more structured here. I can only get lunch between 12 and 1:30 or so. I can't get supper till 7 or 8, which is too late for such a big meal. I can't get snacks except in the morning at supermarkets or late in the day. Service stations sell only car related products. Sundays are more difficult. Eating is lots easier, but not as good, in the States and Canada.

Flowers and Lovers on the river front below the Cathedral

Riding to Dole wasn't as easy as riding to Seurre. The wind had moved around to out of the southwest, so it was a cross wind on D222 and then a tail/side wind on N73. There were storm clouds building ahead of me as I rode, but they semmed to be moving northeast faster than I was.It didn't rain in Dole till 8 PM. Both roads were good riding with only a single big truck, and he passed me while I was stopped to take a picture of wheat being harvested.

Wheat being harvested along N73

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