My Travel Blog

I Think We Are Becoming French…

I know better than to rush while cruising the idyllic canals of France, but we have friends we’re meeting in Strasbourg.  You have to realize that when I say rushing in France the word takes on a whole new meaning.  In fact we may have spent too much time here, as I think we’re turning French.  Before you know it I’ll be wearing a beret.  Yesterday Lisa said we’re out of bread, and if we happen to see a boulangerie we should stop.  A few minutes later we came to a small town, tied up, jumped off Rabelo and within ten minutes we were on our way again with two fresh baguettes.

Rabelo pulling in to a small ton to get baguettes.

“The incredible lunch Lisa made, and notice the slices of baguette.”

We never know what surprises await us around the next bend. The Canal de la Marne-au-Rhin even took us over the Marne River on a causeway.  Fields of corn, sunflowers and wheat surround us.  Great Blue Herons swoop past our bow, the healthiest cows I’ve ever seen look up to check us out, and fisherman smile and offer a pleasant bon jour. Train tracks run along side the canal, and on occasion we catch someone waving as they whizz by.   Does life get any better?

“Crossing over the Marne River.”

I can see the tall steeples of a church in the distance.  As we get closer it begins to grow until I realized it’s a cathedral out in the middle of nowhere.  We debated if we should stop, but don’t.  When we turn around and head for Paris we will.

“A cathedral in the middle of no where.”

The weather is starting to change even though it is still August.  Some of the trees are beginning to lose their leaves.  We had light rain on and off all morning. Just as we entered a lock Wilco turned to me and said he thinks the rain will stop soon.  Two minutes later we got hit with buckets of rain, lightning and thunder.  I never appreciated how benign Southern California weather is.  Of course we had the pilothouse down so everything got soaked, especially Wilco and me.

“Two drowned rats.”

“Wilco talking to some curious onlookers.”

We spent the night at Ecluse (lock) 12.  There was a restaurant not 20 steps from where we tied up, so Lisa and I had a date.  There was a major boat rental operation next to us.  Watching the renters drive a boat for the first time was scary, and we’ll be meeting them on the canals tomorrow.

From Ecluse 12 we did six locks and then came to this amazing concrete structure.  You drive into a black hole through a garage door that closes behind you and seals you inside.  It’s like a concrete elevator shaft.  The lock lifts you 50 feet to the summit pond, or the highest portion on this part of the canal.  The lock operator said the next lock was 30 kilometers away, which is a long ways in this hilly terrain.

The black hole that we must enter.”

“Entering the black hole where we will be sealed in.”

“A view through our kitchen window of our gangway.”

-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.