2015-07-30 Lons-le-Saunier – Gray

Today’s photo shows a roadside memorial near Dole. French memorials often just show the person’s first name and unlike Irish memorials normally don’t include the date of the accident. Unlike First World War monuments, roadside memorials are not that common in France and after cycling 3,000 km around France, I only came across about a dozen. The same distance in Ireland you would see at least 100. What’s really poignant about this is that Charline was probably named after Kylie Minouge’s character in Neighbours and thus was probably in her teens or early twenties when she was killed.

20150730_StravaToday – 97 km. Total so far  – 1940 km. Only planned to go as far as Dole today but it got nice and cool in the evening, so I went another 30 km as far as Gray.

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The mystery of French roof construction is finally solved It has taken me about 2 weeks to find proof but eventually the mystery has been solved. According to Noel, the photo that garnered the most attention back home was that of a house in Lourdes being built with vertical lathes in its roof. No-one could figure out how you could fix tiles or slates to a roof with only vertical lathes. But as I suspected at the time, the vertical lathes are only to hold the felt in place and as the above photo clearly shows horizontal lathes are nailed on top. French tiles are much smaller than Irish tiles hence the lathes are spaced quite close together.

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French petrol pump at an Avia garage. A few days ago, I wrote about how Noel had to use his credit card before he could fill the hire-car with petrol. But as we were in a rush that day, I didn’t get any photos but on the way to Dole today, I went past a similar petrol station so stopped to take a few snaps. You first choose your language and then simply follow the instructions on the screen to fill up with petrol or diesel. In France, you have the choice of 98 octane petrol or normal 95 octane unleaded petrol. At this Avia garage, 98 octane was €1.48 a litre, 95 octane was €1.46 and gazole or diesel cost €1.25. Petrol prices varied considerably throughout France but on average petrol was slightly dearer than Ireland while diesel is slightly cheaper.

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Memorial to the Battle of Bir Hakeim in Tassenieres. There are a lot of First World War memorials in France but this memorial commemorates the battle of Bir Hakeim in 1942 when the Free French forces led by Charles de Gaulle and their British Allies fought valiantly against Rommel’s Desert Corps. About 3,800 French troops held off over 32,000 German and Italian troops for over 2 weeks at the ancient fortress of Bir Hakeim in Libya. It was the first major battle for the Free French Army in World War 2 and their dogged resistance led to the Germans abandoning their planned invasion of Malta.

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Star Trek style water tower There are a lot of unique water towers in France and this one reminded me of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek.

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John Deere tractor in need of some TLC. This tractor is maybe 50 years old and probably done a ton of work in it’s time but is now badly in need of restoration. You can just make out the writng “50hp” but I don’t think it is capable of 50 horsepower no more. Modern tractors can generate up to 500 hp but back in the day, 50 hp was a lot of power.

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Traffic lights with a countdown clock. In some ways, the French are ahead of the Irish and in other ways, they are behind. One way they are ahead of us is when it comes to temporary traffic lights. This model features a countdown clock to let you know when the light will change green. Such a simple yet brilliant idea.

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Sacre blue, Dole is twinned with Carlow. Of the 7 towns Dole is twinned with around Europe, incredibly, I have been to 4. I visited Montserrat and Sestri Levante in 1991, Northwich in 1998 and Carlow in 2001.

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Lots of work going on in Dole Dole was one of the busiest towns i came across in my travels around France and doesn’t deserve the lazy connotations. The roofs in this part of France are really steep a bit like their hills.

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Cycle path routed around back of bus stop This is just a silly piece of road design. Forcing a bus to stop in the middle of the road when there is space to pull in. Just ridiculous.

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Follow the Yellow Brick Road. Felt like clicking my heels together just like Judy Garland in “Wizard of Oz” when i saw this footpath.

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Typical Dole office One of my favorite Tweets from this year’s Tour de Travoy.

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Municipal campsite in Gray. It was nearly 9 when I arrived at the campsite at Gray and the reception was closed, so I just found a spot to pitch and paid the next morning.

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