La Nogent-le-Rotrou to Maintenon, France

My new Dutch friends after supper

The Roman aqueduct coming into Maintenon

Leaving Nogent-le-Rotrou

Another day of mind changing and friend making. I started out intending to ride to Chartres, then continue east toward Paris. I ended the day having supper with a Dutch couple who are riding the first leg of a pilgrimage route to Santiago in a town north. not east of Chartres, having decided that I wasn't in the right mood for visiting Paris.

Riding toward Illiers-Combrsy was hilly, but beautiful

There were two things missing in this mornings ride: wind and cold. For the first time since southern France, I wasn't chilled while riding and for the second day, out of 24, on this trip, wind wasn't an issue.I got hot climbing out of Nogent-le-Rotrou - it was several hundred foot climb - and stayed that way most of the day. I'm not complaining: It was nicer being hot than cold.

Part of the ride to Illiers-Combrsy was through the woods

I stopped in the first town I came to - it isn't on my map so I can't name it - to get bread and pastry. It was almost noon, so I considered eating lunch at a restaurant there, but I'd only been riding for an hour and a half, so I wasn't hungry enough for lunch. That was the last open restaurant I saw till Chartres! It was Sunday and most French small towns are closed on Sunday.

My bike, parked against a tree in Illiers-Combrsy
Note how easy it is to park a bike with all the weight in the front

The biggest town en-route, Illiers-Combrsy, was my last hope for lunch, and when I found it closed, I stopped in a park and make my own lunch from my supplies. Then I headed for Chartres

Leaving Illiers-Combrsy

Suddenly I was back in Kansas! Well, almost. I was now riding on a plain with wheat and corn fields stretching to the horizon. The road, however, did have some curves in it...

I could see the tower of the Cathedral from 10 miles away - sort of like wheat elevators in Kansas, but prettier. Speaking of wheat elevators, Illiers-Combrsy had one, as well as a lot of other grain handling equipment that would have been equally at home in Kansas. Because it wasn't windy and the route was flat, I was able to cruise at 15 mph or more most of the way to Chartres. I was excited to get to see the Cathedral and I pushed hard, perhaps a little too hard, to get there ASAP. My bad knee started hurting so I had to back off for the last few miles.

The side of Chartes Cathedral
Note the flying buttresses

The side doors

After hanging out around Cathedral for an hour or so, I tried to head north, and failed. I had made the decision not to go to Paris while riding between Illiers-Combrsy and Chartres. I just am not in the mood for a big city right now. I want small towns and little hotels to stay in and eat at.

The little road that might go where I wanted

The bigger road that it led to

When I tried to leave Chartres going north, I found myself going east instead. I figured that would be OK since my map showed a road going northwest 10 km or so east of Chartres, but there was a lot of traffic on the road east, so I took the first road going north. That road wasn't on my map and it went to a town only 2 km away. I figured I could find a road going farther north and/or east and, eventually, get to road on my map. It worked and it was great riding. The key turned out to be the railroad. My map shows the railroad tracks so, when the small road passed under the tracks and I found another small road that ran along the tracks on the other side, I knew which way to turn to intersect a road on my map. That road led, eventually to Maintenon which is on my map..

Maintenon has the Roman aqueduct and a, much later, chateau. They were having a car show at the Chateau - I saw neat old cars on the road coming in - so I stopped to enjoy that, and then went across the square to enjoy a, very overpriced, beer. When I finished my beer, there was another touring bike parked near mine and a man and a woman were standing near my bike. We talked and they said they were tourists, on a tandem, and were staying a the inexpensive hotel next door. I had planned to ride on for another town or two, but a cheap hotel and good company was too much to pass up ;-}.

I got a room, cleaned up, went back over to the car show - someone drove a Triumph TR-3a in just as I got there. I owned one of those - from 1964 to 1995. Then I went back across the square and spotted my fellow tourists. We visited for a long time, then had supper together at 'our' hotel. It was interesting to have a French supper at a Chinese hotel. More French food with a Chinese flavor than the other way around. My new friends were celebrating his birthday, so she bought our suppers. I'm not sure I see the logic of that, but I certainly enjoyed supper and appreciated their generosity.

Oh, I rode 55 miles today, with 1300 feet of climbing, in four and a half hours. I started late because I needed to finish yesterday's web page and I ended early because of new friends. A very nice day.

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