Michael and Amy Ride in France!

Click on this image to see a digital impression (but is it art?).

Amy read about a Bicycle, Balloon, and Barge trip that took place in the Loire Valley and featured (twice) daily tasting of authentic French wines and cheeses. It took little work to convince me that that's where we should go for our summer vacation. We, and about 20 other people, joined up with Gerhard Meng in Paris to begin our 1997 French version of Gerhard's Bicycle Odesseys.

We saw...

french castles...

...complete with wildlife,


cool ruins,

and more sunflowers than you could imagine.

We told everybody that the reason we were going on this trip was to bicycle, but some would argue that the balloon component had a certain alure. This is what it looked like to be aloft about 1/2 hour after sunrise.

When ballooning, one goes whereever the winds take you. Here's on of our two balloons rising just in time to miss the church steeple. We must have been a rare event because the townsfolk came out of their houses to see us in their underwear, but...

The sheep wore even less!

What goes up, must come down!

A soft landing with passengers in the "giggle position"

And the reward--we presented the farmer with a bottle of Champagne, and he countered with cheese from his goats and wine from his neighbor's vineyards.

One happy customer.

Trips like this sure are a lot smoother than they were in the 16th century. Why, just four hundred years ago, you'd have to through seven locks to get down this hill. canals,

Now, they've just rerouted the canal to conveniently avoid it.

This was our trusty hotel, bar, and restaurant facility. It might not look like much, but after 35 miles of cycling, the showers are great and the food tastes *fantastic*. The wine and cheese weren't bad, either.

In addition to these prints, I also took alot of slides, but those take more time to scan (PhotoCD and whatnot), so this will have to do for now. We leave you now with these Louis XIII (and earlier) statues:

Click on any of these images to see larger ones.

That's all for now!