Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Making It Our Home

Launch Day Friday was the hottest so far this summer; in the mid 30’s (look it up!) but if we were ever going to leave the dock, we had to make Oldtimer ours. 
 A massive cleaning job was ahead of us, shelves had to be made, places found for all our stuff, although those would move periodically over the next week, and various boat gremlins dealt with.

The car would have to go back to Dijon on Tuesday so we decided to take a break from chores and take a little drive on Sunday.  Off to one of our favorite Burgundian towns, Tournus. First it was a visit to Caves du Mancey to stock up on some of our favorite wines, then into town.

Arriving downtown we found the waterfront festooned with stalls selling everything from glassware to mounted boars heads, old postcards to silver.  Cathy Jo found a great 1950’s clock for the galley.  Day and date in French! (The day, anyway.)

After lunch at a waterside restaurant it was off on a leisurely drive back to the boat.  On the way we spotted a nice private chateau.  We think we could probably live there.

Tuesday morning it was off to the Dijon train station to return the car.  We didn’t get lost once.  After a 30 minute train ride, we were back in St. Jean hard at work.

One boat gremlin  to be dealt with was the charger/inverter, the device that charges the 24 volt batteries when hooked up to shore power and provides regular current from them when shoreside power is not available. The one in the boat was old technology, not friendly to current electronics and, since we got a very good price on the purchase and installation of a newer model, we wanted to get that done.
For that, we would have to leave our slip, go through the first lock of the Canal de Bourgogne, site of the three local boatyards.  The installation was complete late Wednesday afternoon so we just stayed put.  Thursday morning we traveled back through the lock onto the Saone River for a little extended sea trial.  Besides, it was hot again and there’s no better place to be than on the river with it’s cooling breezes.  We headed up the river about half an hour, then back down to a pontoon at a campground just above St. Jean.  They have a great little restaurant there and it seemed like a good day for a full French lunch. You know the drill - starter, main course and desert with a half liter of wine.  30 and a “rest” afterwards. Then back to the dock.  

For our first excursion of the year we decided to head up the Canal de Bourgogne, the site of our first ever barge experience with John and Patti Hardman back in 2006 and then in 2011.  We needed to knock the rust off our locking skills and 21 locks in the first 20 kilometers should accomplish that.
We had thought to leave on Saturday or Sunday but first, another electrical gremlin.  The new charger/inverter wasn’t seeing the generator to recharge the batteries when away from shore power.  Since, unlike Odysseus, Oldtimer has a regular refrigerator and hot water system, the generator, while not absolutely necessary, is real handy.  And the Mr. Wizard responsible for installing the new inverter said he could look at it Monday.
Sunday evening the heavy rain that had been predicted for the last couple of days finally arrived and Monday morning we once again locked through lock #76 onto the Canal de Bourgogne.  Phillipe (Mr. Wizard) brought his laptop down to the boat, made an adjustment to the inverter and voila! Power whenever we need it.  And there’s a reason it’s called a “Whisper” generator.  It makes very little noise and, with our large battery banks, will only have to be run if we decide to sit bankside for three or four days with no shore power.
But, hey, it’s still sprinkling and the forecast for tomorrow sunny and 23.  This is a good place to sit and wait out the rain.  We’re in no hurry to be anywhere!

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