My Travel Blog

Freak Storms and an Archeological Dig

As I sit here typing the latest installment of Living Barge I can still hear the distant roll of thunder.  The last couple of nights and especially this afternoon the storms have been incredible.  Today I watched as a gust of wind picked up our deck table and six chairs and send them flying. With howling wind, the crash of thunder, slashing rain and lighting strikes every second it was an amazing display of nature’s power.  Fortunately we were safely moored.  These storms come up so fast that if one caught us while on the canal I don’t know what we would do.

We went looking for a supermarket in Saint Dizier and came across an archeological dig. It’s a lot like a supermarket, but the stock is a little more out of date. There were a dozen young people with brushes and dental tools picking at human bones that had been buried for over a thousand years.  Watching them work you start to believe that they must develop a relationship with each skeleton.  You’d have to wonder what was this person like?  How did they live?  What did they do? What was their name? And how did they die?

“A dig in St. Dizier.”

“A manual drawbridge. Note the hand winch that the operator is walking towards.”

“Crossing over the River Marne.”

We rushed from Saint Dizier to Chaumont to meet our good friends Gail and her husband What’s His Name?  Later in the week our new friends Mary and Doug will join us.  Doug is a phenomenal winemaker that learned his craft in Burgundy.  He has set up a number of tours that we would never get to take but for his connections. I’m sure that Lisa and I will really enjoy the tours and seeing Doug, Mary, Gail and oh yes What’s His Name?  Even though it’s starting to feel like we are running Hotel Rabelo we still look forward to seeing friends and sharing the barging life with them.

“Meeting our good friends Gail and What’s His Name at the train station”

“Everyone enjoying some cheese and wine. It’s a tough life.”

“A friendly hello as we pass a lock keepers home.”

Last night we tied up next to a beautiful picnic area with no one else around.  The waning light on the field across the canal was amazing. Lisa and I went for a walk at dusk and found another field covered in ground fog.  When we got back to Rabelo the insects, birds and frogs were making an unbelievable racket. French frogs don’t make the same sounds as American frogs.  It’s more like monkeys chattering in the jungle rather than a simple croak.  With all the noise my curiosity finally got the better of me.  I picked out a particularly robust frog, and in my best broken French asked why all the clamor and strange sounds?   The frog explained that he was just trying to get a little action that night, but that he was deathly afraid of the French and their voracious appetites.  Therefore, he had to disguise his voice.  He told me how all his friends had lost their legs to hungry Frenchmen, and after all what lady frog would want a mate without legs?

ground fog covering a field.”


-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave” – 
a Chuck Palmer Adventure novel


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.