My Travel Blog

Journey to the Heart of Burgundy

As we cruise down these sybaritic liquid highways we never know what we will come across.  It is what makes traveling at five miles per hour so interesting.  We’ve actually been in a bit of a rush.  We needed to get to our permanent mooring in Saint Jean de Losne, in the heart of Burgundy, before we headed back to California for a short visit to see our friends and family.

Cruising down the Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne we came across a group of French soldiers setting up a mobile bridge across a small river.  I have to say they didn’t look like they were in a rush.  I suppose they didn’t have much to worry about, as there aren’t many enemy combatants in Burgundy.  In fact I’m sure that most of the locals spend a good part of the day drinking wine.  I know we do.  Actually I shouldn’t say that.  One of my cardinal rules on Rabelo is that if you are driving or handling lines there is no drinking until we are tied up for the night.

“Not what you expect to see. Notice what’s next to the guy’s right hand standing at the back of the vehicle. No doubt it is standard army issue.”

“The French Army setting up a mobile bridge.”

A little past where the French army was training we came across a man that was exploring the countryside on foot along with his horse.  It actually looked like a very peaceful way to commune with nature.  Of course when nature calls I’m not sure what he does, but hey we’re in France so I’m sure it ‘s not a problem. Though for now I’m going to stick with Rabelo.

“This actually looks like a fun way to travel.”

We tied up for the night far enough away from the local pig farm that we could no longer smell it.  Lisa and I decided to take a walk to the closest village that was about two kilometers away.  There wasn’t much to see in Champagne sur Vigeanne.  I’m not sure they have ever had an outside visitor.  I know the dogs had never seen one as they all barked at us.  We continued along a winding road through town until we came to a small stream.  It was actually the headwaters of the Marne River.  Next to the river was a lovely private chateau surrounded by a high wall.  Of course we would never let a rock wall get in our way, so we climbed down the edge of the stream and peaked around the wall to get some pictures of the chateau.

“A nice private chateau along the Marne River.”

That night I was sitting on deck with a cold beer in hand just enjoying the sounds of the rustling leaves and the chirping birds when I heard this terrible racket.  There must have been forty hounds running down the opposite side of the canal.  If you have never seen a hunting dog they are very large animals, and typically taller than a German Sheppard, and no doubt weigh more.  This incredible pack of dogs was running at full speed, and then I saw what they were headed for.  There was a fisherman about a quarter of a mile from where we were tied up just minding his own business.  Imagine how you would feel if you were casually fishing along the side of a canal, and forty huge dogs came running towards you barking and howling as if the world were about to end.  Fortunately they were friendly dogs, and just wanted a little something to nibble on like a cookie or possibly an arm or leg.

“Some hounds at full sprint making a lot of noise.”

“A husband, wife and child taking their dogs for a walk. How would you like to be the fisherman?”


-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave”  and “When Stones Speak”– 
Chuck Palmer Adventure novels


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.