Barge Life: Maps and Navigation

Two choices for detailed maps of France's inland waterways

Two choices for detailed maps of France’s inland waterways

Europe’s network of inland waterways usually provides multiple ways to get to the same place. With the choice of routes comes the dilemma: Which way should we go? Continue reading

Life on Board: Freshwater

A watched tank never fills.

A watched tank never fills.

On a day-to-day basis, little is required to cruise through France on Wanderlust. Our fuel tanks are large and our engine is not particularly thirsty. Even when moving frequently we can go for months without needing to buy diesel. Electricity to power our domestic life does not have to come from the shore mains. A second alternator powered by Wanderlust’s main engine produces 110 amps at 24 V while we are cruising.   If the engine is not running, 900 W of solar panels or our 3500 kva diesel powered generator support the bank of domestic batteries (800 ah 24 V). The tanks for our propane fueled oven and cook-top last for months. Aside from food the one thing that we need to take on regularly is freshwater. Continue reading

Canal de St-Quentin to the Canal de l’Aisne à la Marne: St.-Quentin to the Outskirts of Reims

Wanderlust tied for the night just past the Gaudart Ecluse

Wanderlust tied for the night just past the Gaudart Ecluse

Between St-Quentin and our next major destination city Reims there are no major cities. The waterways are rural and quiet. The villages are small. Along the way we stopped for nights near three towns, Chauny, Pinon, and Bourg-et-Comin, and also spent a night in the “middle of nowhere” just past the Gaudart Ecluse. Continue reading

Canal de Calais and the River Aa: Calais to Watten

Inside a lock while departing Calais

Inside a lock while departing Calais

Once we had Wanderlust safely tucked into the Calais’ Port de Plaisance we had a number of things to do. Our dog Gigi needed to be liberated from her foster parents in Canterbury England. Once a convenience, our leased car had become a burden and had to be retrieved from Caversham and returned to Charles de Gaulle Airport. Inside the barge, our preparations for the crossing had to be unraveled to recapture the living space. And importantly, the heavy layer of salt that we picked up crossing the Channel needed to be removed from the outside surfaces of the barge. Steel boats and seawater are always a challenging combination. We held at the port in Calais for four nights doing the things we had to do. All the time we lusted for a taste of the waterways before us. Continue reading