We had a great two days relaxing by the lake in the tiny village of Rhodes – apart from last night when a stormy wind threatened to blow off the bike cover at 2am. Cue headless chickens from the Bowers family running around half asleep trying to safeguard the bikes from the impending storm. In the end Phil’s bike ended up inside the campervan all tucked up and safe.
All was calm on Tuesday morning as we prepared to leave. Jean who runs the site with his wife Michelle turned up with an unexpected gift – a special painting celebrating Phil’s Bath to Rome exploits.
As well as being a local artist, Jean is also a keen accordion player and even did a gig once with a band in Nashville. Both he and Michelle were so generous to us, donating some vegetables when we were low on supplies and giving some money to Phil’s charities. Jean also invited over a reporter and photographer from Le Republicain Lorrain newspaper in the nearby town of Sarrebourg. So Phil had his photo taken and hopefully will soon be big news in the Moselle region!
Soon we had left all the PR and selfies behind and found ourselves on a remote forest track near the lakes around Rhodes – as usual I was little worried about the skinny tyres on my road bike.
Soon though we were on harder ground – and virtually had the place to ourselves.
For a few days we have tantalising glimpses of the Vosges mountains in the distance to the east – and they were coming ever closer. If you are not a cricket fan, Phil’s cryptic comment will pass you by.
From the start Phil’s ambition was to broadly follow the Eurovelo 5 route across France, through Switzerland then to Rome. And for the first time we saw a sign showing we were right on the route. How did we manage that?
All was going so well – until we again tempted fate and turned down a rough track by the side of a canal. And this time Keithio’s skinny tyres didn’t hold up – yet another puncture which we mended reasonably easily, only for the tyre to go down again. So my bike had to be nursed to the campsite, unlike Phil’s which was clearly galvanised by its night in the van.
There was a reward though at the end of all the hassle – the campsite is in a tremendous wooded valley and nearby to a spectacular mechanism to raise and lower canal boats. It’s called the plan incline and does the work of 17 locks.