Category Archives: FRANCE

MONTE CARLO, MONACO–ALL IN A DAY

I had to visit MONACObeing just 30 miles away, Ill probably never be this close again.
I’ve seen all the expensive boats & cars in St. Tropez, Cannes and even in Antibes. But being the James Bond fan that I am I had to go to Monte Carlo..

20130801-172755.jpgSO OF COURSE THE BOAT DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER IS PARKED THERE.
Monaco’s has a OCEANAGRAPHICMUSEUM. I was told it was good. I’m so so about aquariums, but i figured Monaco is only 2km x 2km, how much can there be to see? So I took my bike on the train and promptly headed in the direction of the Oceanographic Museun. I was promptly stopped and told no bikes allowed on the hill top. I wasn’t really told that I was just pointed and blocked me from going up the hill. I was a little confused so I rode around the docks and looked at the boats.

20130801-181722.jpgTHERE WERE SOME AMAZING SAIL BOATS
So I bike along the shore and the road starts heading up, 3 sets of escalators later, yep Im at the Museum. I quickly lock my bike by a photo/plague with Jaugue Cousteau taken in 1962. The museum was built in 1910. I go in and am looking around thinking,this is pretty awesome. People around me are taking photos, Im thinking pictures of fish? Then I see fish that are well-blowing my mind.

20130801-182605.jpg I SPENT 10 MINUTES WAITING FOR THAT FISH TO COME OUT FROM BEHIND THE ROCKS (worth it)

20130801-183212.jpgTHE SEA HORSES WERE SUPER TOO

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I took a lot of fish pictures. There on my photo site HERE
They had a shark petting station. I left a little space in line and some people (French) cut in front of me, I didn’t say anything. It was our turn to pet the shark, so this little girl cuts in front of me, This time I stop her and tell her to wait her turn. Corey said he cant stand how Americans patiently wait there turn, I like it.

20130801-190748.jpgTHEY WANT PEOPLE TO CONNECT WITH SHARKS SO HENCE THE PETTY STATION.
There was some interesting shark art too.

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MORE PHOTOS OF THE OCEANAGRAPHIC MUSEUM HERE
I bought a combined ticket that included the Princes Palace. NO PHOTOS ALLOWED. No big deal until you see the most amazing sculpture, so I figure there will be a post card of it? They have cameras everywhere I went back 3 times and finally took this lousy photo.

20130801-191907.jpgNO POST CARDS, SO ITS AN EAGLE WITH 6-8 INCH CRYSTALS STICKING DOWN FROM UNDER ITS WINGS. WITH A BASKETBALL SIZE AZUITE ALL MOUNTED ON A 4 FOOT CRYSTAL.
I searched the web for a good photo-NONE.
As I was riding from the Palace I was stopped by the police, told to lock my bike down the road, I wasn’t alone 2 other people were on bikes too.
So I head down the hill to where the first cop stopped me, quick right and he doesn’t see me.
I go to the tourist information and learn where the MONTE CARLO GRAN PRIXroute is and bike it, let me just say that was dangerous.
I go by the MONTE CARLO CASINO, Rolls Royce, Maserati,Lambergouni of course I got a photo

20130801-193529.jpg I CANT DECIDE WHICH ONE? THE BIKE ALL THE WAY.

20130801-193826.jpgCASINO MONTE CARLO
So Im looking for the exotic garden, I think I passed my turn. I stop and am looking at my Google map. Within 20 seconds someone came out and said I was on camera and the police would come. WTF? I told him I was just checking my map, he said I could do it on the side of the building.
Time to find the train station, well I get on the wrong train and within 30 minutes Im in Italy. But the same train went back to France and back to Antibes.
All in all Monaco was all I had heard about, money (Tax Heaven) for the rich. But there was a little Portland Oregon Influence

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NEXT I TAKE AN AMAZING TRAIN RIDE TO AN AMAZING FRENCH VILLAGE FILLED WITH HISTORY AND SCARY HIKES.

NOW BACK TO THE FUN AND ANALYSIS

I camped in CANNES, I wanted to arrive in Antibes earlier the next day. I camped at LES PRUNIERS Bungalows & Camping. Best WIFI in France and its free! The swimming pool was right next to the river the bathrooms were super clean and best of all? EVERYONE spoke great English. The host told me how to bike to the Decathalon store using the safe bike path. It took me 2 attempts but I finally got the new sleeping pad I so desperately needed.

20130728-222540.jpgMY 20 YEAR OLD THERMAREST GOT A TUMOR AND HAD TO BE REPLACED BY A FULL SIZE MODEL
I’m staying at Corey’s place in Antibes, France. Not as well known as St. Tropez or Cannes, but just as upper class as them. Plenty of expensive boats in the harbor, shopping, fancy cars, gated and walled compounds.

20130728-212411.jpgYOU CANNOT SEE INTO OR OVER ANY FENCE OR GATE, VERY PRIVATE.
ANTIBES sits out somewhat from the mainland. They have a
PICCASO MUSEUM, its the 4th Piccaso Museum that I know about. I saw a painting in a gallery across the way from the museum, I’m thinking about buying. (thinking).
Corey’s apartment couldn’t have come at a better time. The bike needed work, the trailer was broken and stuff was falling out, my shoe inserts came unglued, the laundry was due to be done, I needed to go food shopping.
I bought the parts for the trailer at a boat shop (my first mistake) cost? over $40 for 2 latches and some screws yikes! So all I need is a drill. Mark who had Corey’s keys for me suggested his dad might be able to help.

20130728-215957.jpgJEAN-MICHEL WAS THE BRAINS BEHIND THE OPERATION.
Without his input we wouldn’t have accomplished what we did. They live at the top of a hill over looking Antibes with swimming pool. WOW!
I went shpping at a store called CARREFOUR its somewhere between a Fred Meyer and Costco. The place was an uncontrolled mad house. The French drive their shopping carts like they drive their cars, aggressively. I saw people opening jars of spaghetti sauce and smelling them to see which one they wanted. They sell 6-1 liter bottles of water wrapped in cellophane.
I witnessed someone stuffing candy in between the bottles, basically stealing the candy. There were shoppers everywhere who could see what was going on. Nobody said or did anything.
Again having a good bike with me really opens up opportunities to do some exploring (by bike). I thought I would ride around Cap Antibes.

20130728-224814.jpgIT STARTED OUT AS A BIKE-ABLE PATH.

20130728-225228.jpgBEFORE LONG I WAS CARRYING MY BIKE UP AND DOWN THESE STONE STEPS.

20130728-225549.jpgFINALLY AN ESCAPE ROUTE OFF THE TRAIL AND STAIRS. Lots of security cameras and listening devices while walking up.

20130730-235915.jpgTHESE GUYS WERE PRACTICING TIGHT ROPE WALKING.

20130731-000203.jpgTHE LANDSCAPING COMPANY WAS WORKING ON THIS HOUSE SO ITWAS A RARE CHANCE TO SEE THE HOUSE WITH THE GATE OPEN.
Corey’s has views of both the pool and the ocean. I get up early and caught this

20130731-000622.jpgBEAUTIFUL SUNRISE
Every beach is crowded here, Its the peak season here, Northern France is closed they’re all at the beach.

20130731-000929.jpgIVE SEEN SO MANY TOPLESS BEACH GOERS, ITS USUALLY GRANDMA
TAKE CARE JEFF
WHATS NEXT? I SPEND THE DAY IN MONTE CARLO MONACO

RANDOM THOUGHTS WHILE PEDALING

I see on facebook where some people think Apple is full of itself or that the I-Phone sucks. Apple products are widely respected and used by many people around the world. If you were Apple and your product was used by millions of people, you might be a little full of yourself too. To be inside the circle (living IN America) and complaining about anything is ridiculous. Sure we want it our way, but come on. For those of us that live in America, were in the eyes of the world. We are still the envy for many people around the world (not everyone but a lot) . I have both young and old people tell me almost daily, their dream is to come to America, for a visit or to live.
Audrey who I camped next to, spent a year in Los Angeles. She comes to America every chance she can get. Her email is AudreyLAWomen@….. They struggle here in France her husband, has been to Afghanistan several times, as a soldier. Most of us are so far removed from the conflicts our country is involved in. Just living in America.

20130728-182848.jpg FABIEN AND AUDREY WERE COOKING DINNER, SCALLOPS/PASTA AND FRESH TOMATOES WITH BASIL AND MOZZARELLA.
Their little boy Theodore is 20 months old and super fun(ny).

20130728-183621.jpgNOTICE THE FLOATING DEVICE IS AN AMERICAN CAR, SO NAMED.
Before I met Audrey’s parents (they were camping too), they heard I was from Portland so they went to the Internet (from America) to learn something about Portland. When they walked up he said ™CITY OF THE ROSES™ I about fell over, laughing. He didn’t speak very much English, so that made it very funny, too.
The grocery stores in America have a selection of coffee thats unimaginable and a grinder so you can have your making preference. I`ve never seen that option here, anywhere. You can buy food in every form, frozen, fresh, canned, cooked, ready to eat meals, fresh blueberries in January.
But all of this comes at a price~Climate Change is for real, the U.S. the worlds leading producer of CO2 on a per person basis, is doing nothing. Its all about the economy (MONEY) , it is so short sighted. The extra dollar you make short changing the environment will be spent mitigating the effects of climate change. Mother Earth isn`t going to put up with it.. Something as simple as lowering the speed limit could cut CO2, 20%, but you can`t step on our freedoms. Our privileged attitudes is killing OUR home, planet earth. Just ask the people of ALASKA
Yet the economy is proving to be sacrificed for just the top 1% of the population according to Obama. If all of society benefited from the environmental consequences, maybe you could understand this pro-economy attitude, but it`s not trickling down. 57% of soon to retire Americans have $25,000 saved for retirement. Your estimated to live another 20 years after you retire. $25,000 might last one year, if your lucky. So a chosen few are really the winners in all this. I`ve only been to 3 countries on this trip, so far. I have not seen nearly the homeless problem that is happening in my city, Portland.
This part of Europe is world renowned for it`s economic problems. But again, I don`t see the homeless problems like in the U.S. Spain may be having economic problems, but some of their investments have been good for the general population. You can take reliable public transportation to anywhere in the country. I took the train to Colera, Spain and its just a town of less than 600 people. The U.S. hasn`t invested in public transportation like Europe has, which is an investment in the average person and the environment.
Americans have one of the lowest percentage of passport holders in the world. Our perspective of how the rest of the world lives is far removed from our eyes. I offered my brother a ticket to Costa Rica to stay at a house I had for a week on the beach. His response, Americas the best why would I want to leave? He’s not alone.
I’ve had pizza out several times, the olives still had the pits in them, there are so many small things in America we take for granted.
The bar code is used around the world, invented in America. When I went snorkeling in Spain I heard the rip of velcro-invented in America. We have touched so many lives around the world with our inventions.
If your handicapped in France your moving to America. I was on the sidewalk at a train station in front of 3 handicapped parking spots, not one ramp to get up or down, with my bike or wheelchair for that matter. I rarely see anyone out and about in a wheelchair, there are curbs EVERYWHERE.
When I was in St. Tropez, the Porsches, Lamborghini, Masserati and all the huge and expensive boats, are some of what the 1% are buying. The fancy cars passed me on the highway but when I got to town, I passed them in some of the most chaotic traffic Ive seen.
I’m not sure what all this means. Wait, it means we cant allow this economic disparity to continue. Sacrificing the environment for the 1% is bad for everyone, including you, me and Mother Earth . Higher Taxes on the rich not lower taxes and a carbon tax on fossil fuels are a start.
I think about lots of subjects while biking, this is just the most important topic facing ALL of us.

20130728-204551.jpgSOME OF THE TRAIN INFRASTRUCTURE IN FRANCE.

Bless the human race (not just America)
Jeff

TRAIN NIMES TO TOULON, BIKING UP THE COAST

I spent the day after the show riding to PONT DA GARD. The tourist office gave me a map and showed me the backroads way there.

20130722-072946.jpg I TOOK A FEW SHORT CUTS THROUGH SOME NEIGHBORHOODS.

20130722-073111.jpgTHEY GAVE ME AN AMAZING ROUTE.

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I took one photo of the ancient aqueduct

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I was whipped, so I tried to get the bus to stop and give me a ride, Nope. So I had to ride back 50km round trip, not that far but somewhat hilly. I rode the whole thing. Of course I went back to the tourist office to thank them and let them know I did the whole thing.
I’m taking the train to Toulon, on the coast, I’m giving riding in France one more attempt. I want to ride but I was pretty scared earlier.
Getting the bike on the crowded trains can be encumbering at times

20130722-073844.jpgSTANDING ROOM ONLY
The further down you get on the train line the less people,

20130722-074010.jpgHad my own seat even, with real bike compartment.
I get off the train wearing my Levis and its HOT. I try to ride, but no, swap to cycle shorts and I’m off. At first the road is narrow and I’m leaning towards getting back on the train. My old friend Corey is letting me stay at his place in ANTIBES while he visits Portland. I tried to get there before he left, but no. I told him at the pace I’m going I see him when he gets back.

20130722-080139.jpgTHE BEACHES ARE BEAUTIFUL
I camp at CAMPING DU PIN DE GALLE its affordable camping. camping can cost as much as $40 a night, its the French coast and its all of Europe’s rich playground. As I’m typing this a german tourist showed me a picture of Jack Nickelson he took 3 days ago in St. Tropez.
I decide to get up early, before the heat and ride. I cant believe it BIKE LANES EVERYWHERE, I’m in heaven. I meet some cyclist going south that said there are bike almost all the way. Finally. I meet these 2 Italian cyclist we ride together for awhile, their riding (touring) with fixes. I ask if they want to share some Moroccan treats, YES they do.

20130722-082117.jpgMIRCO, ME and ALESSANDRO
I stopped and talked with Kyungmin Jang from Korea.

20130722-082708.jpgHE HAS BEEN TRAVELING FOR 10 MONTHS, JUST SWITCHED TO BICYCLE 6 WEEKS AGO.

20130722-082900.jpgWHEN THERE WAS NO BIKE LANE THERE WERE FEW CARS

20130722-083002.jpgTHE BIKE LANES ARE GREAT

20130722-083055.jpgBIKE LANE TUNNEL
I’m staying at a SUPER campground PARC CAMPING DE PRAMOUSQUIER. I had lunch here yesterday, probably the best meal I’ve had in France so far. A huge salad with Jumbo Prawns with tiny bay shrimp, egg, tomato, lettuce. I’m staying today until lunch then heading to St. Tropez.
The owner of the campground has this awesome MOTOCONFORT motorcycle that was built the same year the campground was opened, 1952. It has been totally rebuilt and not been ridden yet.

20130722-084608.jpgYEP, I HAD TO GET A PHOTO ON IT, WITH MY OTHER NEIL YOUNG SHIRT

I spent the day at the beach with Jens,who’s tent could sleep ten. We laughed all day at the beach and into the night. We should have been arrested.

20130722-110328.jpgHE HAS A REFRIGERATOR AND 2 BURNER STOVE TOO.
The French breakfast is terrible biking or energy food si I showed Jens how to make oatmeal with fruit for breakfast

20130722-110629.jpgBY CUTTING UP APRICOTS AND CHERRIES.
The campground was well staffed and well dressed for the task at hand

20130722-111252.jpgHERES FANNY HARD AT WORK
MORE PHOTOS HERE
IM OFF TO ST TROPEZ TO MEET UP WITH JACK
SEE YOU ALL LATER
JEFF

NEIL YOUNG ROCKS NIMES, FRANCE

JULY 22, 6,30AM
I saw Neil Young was going to being touring in Europe at the same time I was. I put several of the tour dates for France and Italy on my Google calendar. So Google reminded me 2 weeks before the show in Nimes, I was still in Spain, I looked on the map and figured I could ride there in time for the show.
I rode from Colera, Spain to Sete, France. I rode some of the most beautiful roads and mistakenly rode some of the most dangerous roads Ive EVER ridden. I stayed in a Hostel in Sete a couple days then took the train to Nimes a few days before the show. I went to the box office and secured one of the last 100 tickets that were left.
I was walking to the show (long way from Hostel) tried to hitchhike, Nope. Met a women, Jo who lived in France near the border by Colera. She traded her ticket for a standing floor ticket so we could see the show together.

20130722-064021.jpg THE STADUIM IS AMAZING

20130722-064222.jpg INSIDE THE STADIUM
Patty Smith was the opening band.

20130722-064404.jpg SHE WAS GOOD BUT IT WAS ALL ABOUT NEIL YOUNG

20130722-065312.jpgI suggested to the guy in front of me to take a photo like this one, he took one without his hat, but the hat worked better.

20130722-065656.jpgBEFORE NEIL CAME ON

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20130722-070130.jpgNEIL THROWING WATER ON THE CROWD
I recorded part of this song THERES A HOLE IN THE SKY HERE

20130722-071030.jpgMORNING AFTER
We shared a Taxi after the concert back to the Hostal

20130722-071459.jpgLaurence, Me, Gaelle and Jo (american version of her french name).
NEIL YOUNG ISA GREAT AMERICAN (CANADIAN) ARTIST I FELT SO LUCKY TO HAVE BEEN A PART OF THE SHOW
MORE PHOTOS HERE

ALL THOSE CRAZY FRENCH DRIVERS

July 17, 2013
Tonight is Neil Young in NIMES,France. I posted several concert dates in my google calendar 6 months agp and to be reminded 2 weeks before the show. So Nimes popped up and I was still in Spain with 2 weeks to get here. Well, after some horrific and awesome riding (and a train), I made it.
The show is in a Roman AMPHITHEATER Built in the first century A.D.
Crossing into France was exciting, new foods and language (barriers) to work with.

20130717-163034.jpgTHIS WAS A VERY POPULAR PHOTO OP
I was getting hungry for some lunch, the road was super narrow. I spotted 2 cyclisteating lunch at a roadside picnic spot (France has alot of these). It*s 2 Hungarian cyclist , who spoke 2 words of english. I whipped out my I-translate switched to Hungarian and we talked through the I-phone. Then an english guy rides up

20130717-163507.jpgAND ITS PHOTO OP TIMETHEIR WERE SOME .

20130717-163748.jpg WHEN ON A BIKE LANE, IT WAS AMAZING.
JULY 21, 2013
The reason I haven’t posted to the blog has been the lack of reliable internet. I got internet service in our van in Morocco while we were in the middle of nowhere. One hostel the internet stopped at 10pm? I have no idea why? Its so hot during the day that the evening is the best time to write. All that said I have good internet right now at 6~30 in the morning.
Those Crazy French drivers are so impatient. The Tour da France may give you the image of France as a safe cycling country,no way. The tour has police escort and thats what I feel I would need to feel safe out here. I’ve been flipping off and yelling at these crazy drivers. I`m in a harbor city this lady is honking at me, I let her by, she turns right-right in front of me and heads in to park, were talking about 5 or 10 seconds saved. Then I gave a 1 minute sign (for about a 10 second delay) so I could get up on the sidewalk, their honking. I flip them off, before I know theres vegetables flying out the car window at me, I got hit in the chest with a baseball size garlic. Then the guy (who is driving, his girlfriend threw the produce) is waving a knife at me. I had zero encounters in Portugal or Spain like this.
An interesting solution to prevent being doored by a parked car.
.

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20130717-164429.jpg WHEN THE RIDING WAS GOOD IT WAS THE BEST.

20130721-065805.jpgTHIS WAS AN AWESOME ROUTE

20130721-065935.jpgTHAT INCLUDED SOME FREE (AND SOME OF THE BEST) (SLEATH) CAMPING.
There were some great bike images

20130721-070206.jpgLIKE THIS MURAL IN FRONT OF A BAKERY
In Oregon people put the antlers of deer on their garage.

20130721-070438.jpgIN FRANCE THEY PUT THE DEERS FEET ON THE GARAGE.
The weather has been spectacular so far, while riding some horrific (dangerous) roads I stopped to gather my courage and tried to hitchhike (waste of time).

20130721-070918.jpgWHILE RESTING I COULD SEE LIGHTENING IN THE DISTANCE, NEVER RAINED ON ME THOUGH
I started this thing of taking pictures with policemen in every country. First they said no, then I showed them the Spain and Portugal police pictures, then they said OK.

20130721-071418.jpg YEP THESE ARE FRENCH POLICEMEN AT THE FARMERS MARKET.

20130721-074433.jpgTHIS ISNT THE EXACT ROUTE, BUT CLOSE
The strip of land from Agde to Sete was 20km of bike path. Im meeting more local cycling tourist

20130721-074752.jpgTHESE WERE FRIENDS FROM TOULOUSE THAT I ROAD WITH, THEY HAD AN 11 YEAR OLD WHO SET THE PACE FOR THEM!

20130721-075324.jpgNICE TILED BIKE LOGOON BIKE PATH, THERE WERE SEVERAL ABOUT 18 INCHES ACROSS
Who reads my Blog?

20130721-075752.jpg LOTS DO HERES A LIST OF THE COUNTRIES.
What to do with old appliances?

20130721-080754.jpgPUT THEM IN A PARK AND TURN THEM INTO FLOWER POTS
I took some video of boat jousting in Sete, France
BOAT JOUSTING
PHOTOS HERE TOO
sorry it took so long yes im having too much fun!
jeff