Jun 4 – 24 Lyon, Fr to Basel, Switzerland

This leg of the trip starts in Lyon where we have spent a week with the boat docked at Confluence Marina. Ed Howe and Kim Keown joined us in Lyon for a three day road trip to Geneva, Lausanne, and Dijon followed by a day of sight seeing in Lyon. Only farmer Ed would know all the grains we passed in the fields or that the Swiss are the leading experts on wheat due to their drive for self sufficiency. Marcia loved the textile museum in Lyon, the center for weaving.

Peter and Diane Mahoney then joined us in Lyon on the Jun 1st and we started on the journey to Basel, first up the Soane River from Lyon to Losne. At Losne, we entered the Canal du Rhône at Rhin with our first stop a Dole. Peter, the lobsterman, had trouble getting used to minus readings on the depth sounder, but Diane did not get the least seasick. On to Osselle with a rescue of an Welsh boat hard aground, this effory endeared us to the VNF lock team.

Uphill toward the Rhine this is a canalization of the Doubs River, downhill it is pure canal. The older European canals have set of standard dimensions and The Sabre 48 with a clean cabin top is pushing the maximum except for length, here is comparison of Canal and True East Dimensions. Width – 5 meters vs. 4.7; Depth – 1.6 meters vs 1.3; Height – 3.5 meters vs. 3.4.

We calculated June 6 would the day of reckoning at the Thoraise tunnel. Clear sailing thru this tunnel and the next, looks like we get to Paris after all. On to Besancon where we toured the citadel before Peter and Diane left us to head for Barcelona. Peter felt like he was having a reincarnation in each of the medieval cities we visited.

Continuing uphill we passes thru Baums-les-Dames, Sur la Doubs, Dampierre-sur-le-Doubs then on to Montbelaird. Typically we would see one or two cruising boat and some days none.

We pass thru 126 locks on this route over the two week period. Most of the locks are remote control operated, we got a hand held device at the start and turned it in at the end. A lock typically takes about 15 minutes for a passage. At our tightest passage we had an inch and half clearance on a bridge and typically had 6” on each side of the boat in locks and under bridges.

On June 13 we were joined by Tony and Julie Prigmore at Montbeliard for several days on the downhill run to Basel, Switzerland. Along the way we had our second rescue as 6 ducklings were about to be squished by a lock door, Tony met Tony and again our VNF lock team were terrific. Our typical cruising speed in the canals is 5 miles an hour, Marcia and Julie spent much of the time walking along the tow path next to the canal.

Two days with over 25 locks per day brought us to Mulhouse where we were tucked into a wonderful small marina in the center of the city. This is Peugot’s headquarters and home of the fabulous Cite de l’Automobile Musuem that even Julie enjoyed. What a great visit.

Arriving in Basel, we cleared the boat out of the EU resetting the VAT clock for another 18 months, saving a 22% VAT tax 😃. At Basel we rented a car and headed for Interlocken and the Swiss alps. From the lake at 1,500 ft, three trains and cog railways take you to the Top of Europe at 11,300 ft. The last stretch is thru a 16 kilometer tunnel built by Italians at the turn of the 20th century. We returned to Basel via Lucerne with a stop for lunch in this classic city on the lake.

click on the picture to see the photos of this journey