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Day 8 - Chalon-en-Champagne to Piner


A stunning day. Made all the better by the zero wind factor. Set off from our Chateau just south of Chalon-en-Champagne in the small village of Sarry. However, not before we had surveyed the map over a post breakfast champers which was the remnants of our sojourn through champagne country yesterday.

We both agreed this was the longest continuous piece of good road we had endured thus far. This was Gareth.W's last day before he heads back to London and so it was befitting that it was so good. Undulating hills with no serious climbs and open fields of asparagus farming and more rapeseed. Rode through some pretty Coole Small villages ....

and passed all manner of French farming industry ....

Came across the customary roadkill ....

.. hare yesterday gone today .. must say too his circumstance reminded me of my own ... hair (hare) no more !!! :-) ....

As we passed through village after village in search of our customary 25 km morning coffee it became obvious this was a part of France abandoned. Gareth took it upon himself to stop and ask the only business open in a small hamlet if she'd make us coffee. She was delighted to do so telling us that she had plenty of pilgrims pass through . A haircut ensued to repay her for her kindness ....

Interestingly, she said that the EU regulations and French taxes were killing this part of France and all small businesses. Her point being that 49% of all her profits are taxed and in order to conform to EU regulations her costs were prohibitively high. This, she said, was the reason for so many local villages being devoid of small businesses. She confirmed what many others have said. This is Le Pen territory. In fact, without exception since we left Rheims the message has been consistently the same. Le Pen. Vast in size but a very small % of the population I can't imagine Macron being threatened by their beliefs . We queried where the nearest restaurant was and even though it was a round trip diversion of 20 km from the planned route we made the effort . Post lunch we bumped into "Sam" outside the restaurant .

A "pilgrim", Sam had started his walk from Hadrian's wall which he noted was the northern most roman road in the U.K. and was making his way to Rome along the Via Francigena. Already three months on the road he is hoping to be in Rome by July 15. Averaging 36 km a day and with a sizeable pack on his back he had taken a diversion from his walking buddy and they had agreed to meet in Brienne-Le-chateau some 20 km down the road. # respect Our stop for the night was Piney. A slight diversion from the planned route as Gareth W. has a train to fetch tomorrow from Troyes and it only seemed fair to make it as easy for him in the morning to get there.

Ponderings of the day ....

Hill of the day - the 1.5 km straight up piece of vertical outside Dampierie after our lunch of steak frites and beer. Insect carnage on sunglasses - 7 Number of times I thought "*#** me that was close " as a another truck passed us on the 9km stretch of road from Lesmontes to Piney - 17 Number of times I thought "" it's good to be alive " as we trundled along beautiful countryside - 77 Tarmac .. now there's a mildly interesting topic. Only because it dictates how you roll and the friction or not that dictates your speed. It's the small things after all you notice when expending your own energy propelling yourself forward. Here's my summary. On a scale where a marsh is 0 and ice is 10 this is how I have thus far rated the friction of road surfaces Sand - 0.1 Cobblestones - 1 Loose gravel - 3 Hard compact gravel - 5 Coarse blue stone chip bitumen - 6 Very worn blue stone chip bitumen - 7 Cement - 8 Light grey or cream coloured smoothed tarmac - 9 Ice -10

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