After spending a restful first night on the boat, we got up and took our first boat showers. The shower area has a plastic curtain to help isolate the shower from the rest of the bathroom, but unfortunately it is not big enough to wrap around the shower stall and everything that we left in the bathroom got wet. This included a towel and a roll of toilet paper. A few hours later all was dried out, though, so no permanent damage.
Sunday, had been forecast to be the coolest day of the first week we were to be in France and the forecast was right. While it was sunny, it never got warmer than about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. We were underway about 9:00 AM after Dawn’s delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs and ham and our first stop was just past Pierrefitte-sur-Loire at a canal marina to replenish our water tank after the four showers. Our first experience with the water service was a learning one. We had a hose on the boat with a faucet fitting on one end, but we discovered that the water supply had no corresponding fitting. By holding down a button on the faucet, water came out at low pressure from a smooth discharge pipe. We were only able to fill our tank by swapping the ends of our hose and holding the cut-off end of the garden hose against the smooth discharge pipe. It was basically a two-person operation as one person had to hold the hose while someone else pressed the button. After considerable time, the tank was full and we continued onward.
We made it to the Abbaye de Sept Fons (Abbey of seven fountains) about noon and we stopped to explore this 12th century building. Most of the grounds are unavailable for visiting, but the enterprising monks who still work the monastery do have a gift shop (surprise, surprise), so we bought some jam, lavender water and a couple of other items.
During the day, both Rich and I traded off piloting the boat, which I found welcoming, as it gave me a break, plus we then had two experienced pilots. Our next stop was the village of Beaulon, which the guide book advertised to have several attractions. We rode our bicycles about a kilometer into town and quickly discovered that, it being Sunday, the town was deader than the proverbial doornail. Nevertheless, we rode our bicycles around the very quaint and picturesque town without hardly seeing a living person. We did stop to visit the local church which, like the majority of old-time European churches, was interesting and historical.
Continuing onward, Jill tried her hand at piloting the boat through one of the locks and she did quite well! While we made it though the lock without incident, I think Jill might have found it somewhat stressful, as she did not volunteer again the rest of the day to handle a lock. But the journey is still young, so maybe she will want to do it again.
Approaching the 7:00 PM end of the traveling day, we arrived at the tiny marina of Vanneaux and found it full, so we continued through the Vanneaux lock and drove our mooring stakes into the canal bank just downstream of the lock. We have discovered that the typical canal marina is basically a wide spot in the canal with mooring pylons and water and electricity may or may not be available. However, a mooring spot is rarely available. The boat has sufficient battery capacity to make it through the night without a problem, so as long as we do not spend too long between recharges, there is not an issue. We were advised that we would need to top off the water tank at least every three days, but so far we are doing it more often in order to stay safe.
Jill and Dawn made a delicious “chicken” piccatta and salad for dinner. It turned out that when Jill had purchased the package of chicken labeled “dinde“, she was actually buying turkey. But nonetheless, the turkey piccatta was great!
We played a game of Hearts (cards) that evening. We have basically been without an internet connection since we left Digoin, as the countryside is sparsely populated and we have not been able to find Wi-Fi along the way. This is preventing me from posting to this blog in any sort of timely fashion. I am documenting the day’s events in Word for future uploading to my blog. We ended Day 2, our first full day on the canal, having covered about 35 kilometers.