My Travel Blog

Returning to a Remodeled Rabelo – Our 2016 Preview!

Lisa and I have been in California for almost six months.  It’s time to pack our bags.  We are heading back to Rabelo!  I can’t tell you how excited we are.  Kevin has worked hard all winter.  He demolished the one large bathroom our two guest staterooms shared, and replaced it with two en-suite bathrooms.  We can’t wait to see how the new bathrooms came out.

Rabelo at her winter home. All the tables, chairs, and plants have been removed from the deck.

A new friend near our winter home in Veneray les Laume.

The old bathroom being remodeled.

Rabelo is currently hauled out of the water at a boatyard in Moret-sur-Loing.  This is the beautiful town we visited last year where Alfred Sisely lived and painted.  We are getting a new larger but quieter generator.  This will be a great improvement as our stateroom is directly above the engine room.  We are also having the bottom painted which will include painting a dark blue waterline stripe that will match the rest of the blue accents on Rabelo.  This will be the first time our big baby has had a proper waterline since we’ve owned her.

Rabelo hauled out of the water.

“The old generator being taken out through the main salon.”

Beautiful Moret-sur-Loing.

As I sit at my computer typing this blog I can’t help but think back to all the wonderful things we did and saw last year.  France is a magical country filled with welcoming, helpful, friendly people. No doubt the best part was being able to share so many of those wonderful experiences with family and friends.  Our 2016 schedule is insane. That’s right insane.  Lisa over did it again.  During the next six months we will have 18 guests coming to stay with us plus we are going to Ireland for two weeks, as well as taking a five-day writing class in Paris.

Rabelo moored in the heart of Paris.

Driving Rabelo down the Seine into Paris.

Rabelo moored near the village of Santenay.

Crossing the Loire River on the Briare Aqueduct.

Rabelo is our second home, though technically she is our primary residence as we spend more time in France than we do in California.  We’ve made so many improvements that she is no longer the same vessel we purchased five years ago.  With all the changes, our big baby fits our lifestyle to a tee.  We are as comfortable on our floating home as we are in our terrestrial home.  She is great for entertaining or just lying around and relaxing. Hopefully we are done making changes, but who knows? I’m afraid Lisa still has more plans for Rabelo.

Rabelo’s main salon on the delivery when we first bought her.

“Rabelo’s new main salon.”

My friend Scott driving Rabelo from the old pilothouse. Note the snow on the riverbank.

Rabelo’s new pilot house.

Most people say Rabelo is much larger than two people could possibly need, and to some extent I agree. Yes, she costs more to operate and maintain than a smaller vessel, but for Lisa and me the added cost is worth it.  Most of our barging contemporaries look at our giant barge and think it must cost a fortune to operate.  The truth is that Rabelo probably costs only 20% to 40% more to maintain than a much smaller barge, and yet she has four to five times as much space.

This will be my last blog chronicling our 2015 cruise.  I’m going to take a few weeks off to get settled on Rabelo, and then I’ll be back at my desk pounding out more adventures of “Living Barge.”

-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.