Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Saturday, May 7, 2016

On to Oldtimer, April 21 - May 3

We booked half of a 4 person couchette on the night train from Venice to Paris. It stops about 6:30 am in Dijon. We pictured a romantic overnight ride that would allow a restful nights sleep before we picked up the rental car in Dijon and headed for the boat. Well, not quite.

Only one of the other seats was sold, to a young man, Evan, from a San Fransisco suburb on a “Highlights of Western Europe” trip; Rome, Florence, Venice and Paris in about two weeks. After our 7:30 pm departure we opened a bottle of wine and had a snack for dinner then tried the bunks.  Remember those really bad sofa beds, the ones with the bar in the middle? Yah, like that. And narrow. It was kinda like sleeping on somebody’s couch. Since the ticket was pretty cheap, I guess you get what you pay for. We did get some sleep and the Dijon rental car office opened at 8 am. By 9:30 we had arrived at Oldtimer.

Other than being really dirty, the boat was in great shape after sitting forlornly for the last 8 months.  Wednesday afternoon we dealt with the “exploding suitcases” and found places for just about everything.  Thursday the weather was still nice and we spent a good portion of it with the business end of a scrub brush, bucket and hose making Oldtimer sparkle again. Friday we began one of the more pressing tasks. There were some rust spots and flaking paint on the deck so we wanted to paint it before the summer cruise. After prepping most of the day Friday, we hoped to get it coated on Saturday.  It was not to be.

Saturday and Sunday were the marina’s planned “Opening Days,” or “Salon Fluvial,” with all of the for sale boats open for viewing, vendor booths, food and drink, pony rides and a carrousel for the kids as well as art exhibitions and other entertainments. Of course the weather turned nasty; cold, windy and spitting rain. Very few hardy souls turned up.  Sunday was a little better. There was sunshine in the morning and some people were about but it was still bitter cold; high temps in the 40’s F. By late afternoon it was spitting again and the tents closed up and left. We weren’t getting any painting done, either. Luckily there were several inside chores to take care of so the miniblinds were hung, pictures mounted and reading lights and fans installed. Also, since it was so cold we got a chance to make sure our wood stove and radiator systems worked.  Passed with flying colors!

There was also shopping. No spring would be complete without a little pillaging at the Ikea in Dijon. And since we were only on the boat for a short time last year, we never had a chance to set up a garden so a trip to the nursery was in order for herbs and flowers.

We haven’t been here this early before so we hadn’t seen the rapeseed (canola is a variety) fields in all their blooming glory. The sun shone brightly when we took the car back to Dijon on Friday and we were able to get these roadside pictures.

Amazing huge swaths of bright yellow!

Saturday the weather deteriorated again and Sunday morning and afternoon it was cold and rainy. Luckily by evening the rain had stopped, just in time for the arrival of Tim and Christine, our first guests from what we refer to as our “winter” home. Monday morning we’d move up into the boatyard basin for new batteries and some serious grocery shopping. Tuesday morning it was goodbye to Saint Jean de Losne.  The summer’s cruise was underway!

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