Well, today is the day that we knew that we would begin to pay for what so far had been a very leisurely trip down the Canal
du Nivernais. We had traveled about 40km since last Saturday afternoon, about halfway to our destination. That left about
40kms to go in the two days remaining.
We started early, right after picking up fresh bread, croissants, and cough
syrup from the pharmacy. By 9:00 we were underway for our day of what would become a blur of locks and bridges.
Some of the liftbridges that were on the map ended up being nothing more that ruins that we floated by. Others were very
well maintained and easy for Patrick to open and close with little or no help. Others fell somewhere in between. These could
definitely be remembered later that evening with sore arm muscles.
Today was hot and we were happy that the canal
shut down for the lunch hour. It allowed us to set the table up in the shade just off the tow path and eat and rest. We
were soon on our way and kept pushing and pushing to make as much progress as possible. Julie said that it was one of the
hardest days she had every worked.
At around 6:00 we pulled into a mooring by Monceaux le Comte. It was right
next to a lumber yard, And while it was not the most scenic spot that we had stopped at, there were large water sprinklers
cooling the large stacks of lumber. The overspray from the sprinklers would periodically mist us and keep us cool.
Patrick and I took a short walk up into the village where we found a tabac open to 7:00. We bought some bottled water
and strolled back through the village. It was very charming. There is a church at the top of the hill that opens on a small
square. There we watched a couple of cats exploring around the ancient (at least from a Californians perspective) building
There is a very well respected restaurant in Monceaux le Comte, Auberge Centre, which looked wonderful
and reasonably priced. We were all simply too tired to get showered and cleaned up for a fancy dinner. And while I now wish
that we had gone there and eaten the escargot raviolis (priced at 45FF), an omelet with mushrooms, shallots, and brie aboard
the boat sure tasted good that night.
We knew that we still had 20 km to go, so we knew another early start was
necessary. It rained almost all night. That seemed to be the pattern--hot and sunny, or warm and rainy.