Going through some decidedly less touristy terrain

Nevers to… About 65 km from Nevers

It was actually kind of hard to get the brake pads! On Monday morning, I found that The “Intermarché Hyper” didn't have any bicycle stuff, and neither did the Home Depot-like place next door, so I had to go around to the E. Leclerc, another 3km away. They had them. At the cash register, I remarked that they were kind of hard to find, and the person said “yes, with all the bicycles having disc brakes these days.” D'oh!

I bought four brake pads, but once I went to replace the rear pads, I of course saw that they're nowhere near being worn out. I figure they will be worn out pretty soon, but I put off replacing the rear ones.

It's definitely a lot more rural now. The Loire is a lot smaller too. I made a reservation tonight at what I though was a B&B. It turns out it's a combination B&B and campground, and they just assumed I was calling for the campground. Of course, when I called I had no idea they were anything but a B&B – indeed, they're stretching the definition of “B&B” in my book. Anyway, I guess I'm camping tonight. It's a much nicer campground than the one on the west coast with the disco, though. There's a big open field with enough space, so I'm not perched in what amounts to a parking space. Still, I'd really rather have a bed. Also, I no longer have to carry my inflatable pillow, since it has a hole in it. So that's good news.

I reserved dinner, which is good since the nearest store is 10 km away, and opens tomorrow morning (smallish grocery stores close at 1 PM on Mondays, to help make up for the weekend). Also, I am getting breakfast too. So I guess for me, this place is more of an “and B.”

I'm looking forward to the hotel tomorrow.

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Somewhere to Paray-le-Monial

Some hills at the start, but a beautiful canal ride most of the way. I bid farewell to the Loire. Now I follow more or less along a canal that links the Loire to the Saône. That also means I'm switching watersheds – the Loire goes to the Atlantic, whereas the Saône ends up joining with the Rhône (which starts in Geneva), and the water winds up in the Medeterranian Sea.

Paray-le-Monial is a delightful little town of about 9,000. One of its claims to fame is that Pope John Paul II visited the basicilla back in the day. It was kind of perfect for a two-night (one day) stay – nice stuff to see walking around, a supermarket, and a nice hotel.

I mostly did errands, though. I reported my French ATM card missing – I think I left it in the ATM a couple of weeks back. I don't actually use it, but whenever I come to France I bring it just in case, and I usually check my balance once just to see that it still works. Anyway, I went into the branch to report it missing, and I got to sign a big form “lu et approuvé” (read and approved), so that was fun. I also got my hair cut.

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Paray-le-Monial to Montcharin

I managed to miss a sign, and make about a loop of about 8 km. The thing is, it was raining a bit this morning, so I put my phone and stuff in my dry bag, just in case it kept raining. That makes it harder to check the map, and I missed a turn, which put me on a road back to Paray-le-Monial. I first knew something was wrong when I saw the sister city sign that said “sister city with Bethlehem, Palestine” with a little Palestinian flag. I though, “that's funny, the place I just was was also a sister city of Bethlehem.” Then I rounded a corner and saw my hotel. D'oh!

Anyway, it was fine. The ride was a little taxing today, though – it was along a canal for the first 4 km, and from then on, all roads going through rolling countryside. So, hills, and a lot of turns. But I got to Montcharin around 4:30.

Montcharin is the opposite of touristy. It has a regional TGV (high speed train) station. I got a hotel near the motorway and the train station. Here's the view from my window:



I made an important discovery: Season 2 is, in fact, better! The new Star Trek is available on Netflix in France, and it's really nice not having commercials. I like the Captain Pike, too.