And actually, if you have been watching The Tour, you have seen much of what we have seen while cycling across this northeast quadrant of France: quaint little towns, buzzing by patisseries, gorgeous green countryside and field upon field of corn, green leaf lettuce, or wheat (either just cut or dry and waving and waiting). Though unlike the tour, we have no car to rapidly change our flat, adjust our seat or provide us with water when we are empty. There are no cheers other than those from our own team of four. But that is enough: if we learn to cheer adequately and increasingly for one another... this whole amazing---and sometimes trying---trip will be worth the risk of leaving jobs and spending our savings.
And we all agree: there is something SO COOL about cycling across France at the SAME TIME as the Tour de France. And we hope to catch a genuine, bare-eyed visual of the Tour de France itself, in Paris just days from now.
It has become our habit to cycle, land at our destination, rest and regroup or grab a snack and shower then [if TV is provided in our residence-of-the-day] watch The Tour. It is on right now, in fact. They have 106 kms to go; and today we only cycled 28. All hills, up and down, up and down from Coucy le Chateau Auffrique to Ambleny (FR). Our longest was a few days ago, we reached a [leg-roaring, attitude stretching] 72 kms. The last 800 meters were uphill to the fortress on the top of the hill in Laon, France. (Makes me think of your tshirt, Jim, that James adores, a take off from the usual "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger," but rather straight to the point: "I am not dead yet.")
Quick recap: our tiny tour de la France has been from Vervins to Laon, from Coucy le Chateau Auffrique to Ambleny (where we are today), then we will go Pierrefonds and to Senlis and finally to Paris.
(p.s. sorry no photos, cannot upload recent France photos due to the awful internet connection; will add them in a few days).