My Travel Blog

One Cleat Will Nevers Do – And That’s No Typo

With Rabelo’s new itinerary there was now time to enjoy the sights. What was I thinking? When barging there’s no excuse for rushing except when you really need one. With our new schedule there was now time to smell the cow manure, corn, hay, and of course the roses.

Some flowers to smell alongside the canal.

We had passed a small sign next to the canal advertising goat cheese and honey for sale. The next morning we went looking for the farm. We ended up driving down three long driveways until we found the right place. It looked abandoned, but we eventually found an old guy that didn’t seem like he was all there. Held us into a small room in a barn that was filled with refrigerators. I was convinced that’s where they kept the bodies.  We were told to wait.  A few minutes latter another guy walked in that didn’t seem quite right either.  I thought I had entered a Steven King novel.  Fortunately everyone was very nice, and we ended up buying a bottle of honey and a half dozen pieces of cheese.  When it came time to pay our new friend didn’t have any change.  We bought another bottle of honey to make it an even amount.  The honey was from Acacia flowers, and was the best I have ever had. The aged goat cheese rather than being soft like most goat cheese was hard as a rock, and full of flavor. Our little adventure was well worth the effort.

Goat cheese and honey for sale.

The farm looked abandoned. That’s our car parked in front of the barn.

“Buying fresh and aged goat cheese. The aged cheese started out the same size as the fresh, but shrinks over time just like a shrunken head.

Plenty of roses at the farm to smell.

Our next stop was Nevers. Kevin called the Port Captain to make sure there was room for us in the marina. We were told no problem. To get to Nevers we had to leave the Canal Lateral a la Loire and head down a small canal that was only 1.2 meters deep (approx. 4 ft.).  Unfortunately Rabelo draws 1.2 meters. We ended up burrowing our way through the mud on the bottom of the canal. When we arrived the Port Captain was waiting for us. He directed us to a slip next to a retaining wall that was intended for a 30 ft. boat. Okay, so Rabelo would hang out almost a 100 ft. As long as we were next to the wall I assumed we could tie up. As I got closer and closer I started to look for the bollards on the wall and around the slip, but there were none. Kevin ran up to the bow where the Port Captain was standing on the dock with an entourage of on lookers.

There was a whole a lot of hand waving going on, which is never a good sign.  I stopped the boat, and ran up to the bow to find out what we were supposed to do.  To my horror there was only one cleat at the slip.  It was so small our dock lines would not even go around it. What was the Port Captain thinking? Kevin explained that there was nothing for us to tie to, and that’s when I discovered we were dealing with an idiot.  The Port Captain asked Kevin if we could just drop our anchor. It was the equivalent of a mechanic telling someone to use their feet instead of brakes to stop a car. Kevin explained that dropping an anchor was not going to work, and suggested another spot that was right in front of the Port Captains office.  The spot Kevin suggested worked out fine, and we spent a delightful weekend in Nevers.

Lisa and I had dinner across the marina from where Rabelo was parked.

A muskrat checked us out while we were having dinner. They may be cute, but they’re still oversized rats.

There was a fishing contest in the marina that weekend.

Crossing the bridge over the Loire River with the NeversCathedral dominating the skyline.

-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.