My Travel Blog

Meeting The World’s Greatest Adventurer

While moored in Chateau Thierry we did some more sightseeing with our friends Marty and Sara.  There is actually very little left of the chateau that the city is named after, but the views from the hill where it use to sit are worth the climb.  We also took them to the American War Memorial, which is located on a hill above the Marne River Valley.

The hike up to the remnants of Chateau Thierry.

The WWI American Memorial at Chateau Thierry.

Vaux-le-Vicomte was one of the best chateaus we have been to, but this time we had something a little different for our friends. Chateau Fere en Tardenois is one of the most unique chateaus we have ever visited, and it is also one of our favorites. Rober de Dreux, grandson of Louis VI, built Fere-en-Tardenois between 1206 and 1260 as a fortified castle.  For almost 400 years the castle was passed between various owners until it landed in the hands of Henry II, son of the great Connetable Montmorency.  Apparently Henry II didn’t approve of Richelieu’s revolution, and tried to overthrow him.  That didn’t work out so well for Henry II as Richelieu ended up taking his castle and then chopping his head off… though the order may have been reversed.

Next to Fere-en-Tardenois is a more modern chateau that was restored in 1863, and turned into a hotel in 1956.  We couldn’t resist ordering a cheese plate and drinks while sitting on their patio, and taking in the splendor that is Fere-en-Tardonis.

The amazing Fere-en-Tardenois.

The bridge that was built to cross the moat.

The hotel next to Chateau Fere-en-Tardenois.

Lisa and I like to walk in the towns we visit, as we never know whom we will meet, or what we will see.  Besides we need the exercise.  On one of our little sojourns in Chateau Thierry we meet the most amazing man.  He was rowing his boat up the Marne River.  I recognized the boat, and knew exactly what it had been used for, but I didn’t know who was rowing it.  We gave the man a hearty wave as he went by, and yet I so wanted to meet him.  I was hoping it was the original owner of the boat.  You can imagine how thrilled I was when we returned from our walk only to find the rowboat tied up right in front of us.

We found this fisherman with a wild bird on his shoulder.

Lisa and I rushed over to talk to the owner, and were so pleased on so many levels.  Most important he spoke English, but almost as important was that Charles Hedrich was the original owner who commissioned the little rowboat!  In addition to all that he happens to be a really nice guy!  There are a lot of adventurers in this world, but I don’t think that any come close to measuring up to Charles.  He has climbed Mt. Everest, crossed the Antarctic Continent and the Arctic icecap.  Sailed around the world single-handed. He has raced a motorcycle in the Dakar 1,000, but of all his adventures his rowing journeys for me are the most impressive.  He not only rowed across the Atlantic without stopping, but he did it twice.  It was the first double Atlantic crossing in just short of 146 days.  But his most ambitious adventure was rowing the Northwest Passage.  Charles started in Alaska and ended up on the East Coast of Canada after 165 days of rowing.  This is one amazing individual.  His websites and Facebook page are in French, but he is worth looking up on the Internet.

I knew of the boat, but not the captain.

Charles Hedrich, the ultimate adventurer.

-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.