My Travel Blog

One – Nay – TWO New Crew… and a Scooter

A lot has happened since the last installment of Living Barge.  Kevin is back home helping his wife with the baby, and we already miss him. At least we are still in contact.  His friend Stephan spent a couple of days helping us move Rabelo, and then our new captain arrived.  Despite Rabelo being an unusually large barge for just one couple it is still smaller than our house.  When personalities don’t mix the space on Rabelo no matter how large becomes confining. Unfortunately our fist captain did not work out, and so we had to let him go.

While we were in Meaux a lovely young couple drove from Paris to meet us.  Lisa and I both liked them a great deal, and they were both very enthusiastic about the job.  Before hiring Kevin’s replacement we thought long and hard about hiring them.  Ultimately we decided that their lack of mechanical knowledge, and limited or no experience on the small canals of France was too big of a problem.  When Kevin’s replacement did not work out I had Lisa call the young couple immediately.  They had both been driving tour boats on the Seine, and with all the flooding there was no work.  They were thrilled to hear from us.

A little faster form of transportation went buy us on the way to St. Dizier.

Lawn gnomes next to a lock.

We found this natural spring that is the source for the St. Louvent River.

It didn’t take long for Nathalie and Alban to make the necessary arrangements to change jobs, and all of a sudden we had a couple for crew.  Initially Lisa didn’t want an extra crewmember, but so far she has really enjoyed Nathalie and Alban’s company.  They have been with us a week, and have more than lived up to our expectations.  I’ve been working with them on the intricacies of driving Rabelo.  They are fast learners, and exhibit a great deal of enthusiasm.  We are keeping our fingers crossed, but we think we may have a couple of winners!


Nathalie driving Rabelo for the first time with me and Alban looking on.

Nathalie handling the lines in a lock.

The line handler has to stop our 200 ton baby within inches of the lock gates.

At our first stop I had to show Nathalie and Alban how a real mariner improvises on the canals rather than those city folk that only run boats in the middle of Paris.  We stopped at a beautiful, quiet, peaceful spot in the middle of nowhere.  It was intended more for campers than barges, as there were showers and a washbasin.  I wanted to fill up our water tanks, but there wasn’t a hose connection just a washbasin.  Well MacGyver’s got nothing on me.

A deck wash down pump, some tape, a hose, an extension cord, and we were in business.

The Marne River next to where we moored.

Another view from our mooring.

Along with hiring a new crew we also decided to buy a motor scooter.  Kevin brought his along last year, and it proved to be so useful when it came time to move the car that we decide it would be a worthy addition.

Initially we were just going to get a 50cc scooter, which is the least powerful you can buy, and doesn’t require a license.  Our thought was that we move such short distances in just one day that we didn’t need anything faster. After a lengthy debate we ultimately settled on a 125cc scooter.  With the extra horsepower we can ride on the highways without impeding traffic.  It is much safer, and besides it goes vroom, vroom.

A new toy for Rabelo.

Lifting the new motor scooter aboard.

-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.