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Published: August 6th 2019
Doug’s shaving kit
The blade is still good
Danielle and I wake up early on the 30th. Today is a travel day - on to Jumièges - still in France - near Rouen.
We are more or less following / stopping at key cities / points of interest related to the Maple Leaf Route (thanks Nancy for lending me the trilogy).
I am not exactly sure of Doug’s route taken but I am assuming he more or less followed the Maple Leaf Up and Down routes.
Maple Leaf Up postings were staked along the fractured highways that pointed the way to the ever-shifting Canadian front lines in the ground battles for Northwest Europe. These routes were crucial logistic arteries extending from the Normandy beaches deep into Belgium, the Netherlands and eventually Germany itself.
Scores of supply trucks (one/ or more of which Doug would have be driving) carried their essential cargo Up : food, ammunition, fuel, weapons and of course troops. Coming back Down the route their trucks would be carrying the wounded.
Doug was also a motorcyclist in the corps delivering messages to the front lines and doing reconnaissance work.
Harley produced 20,000 model WLC 750cc motorcycles for the Canadian army -
Doug’s standing orders
For drivers of M T vehicles and motorcycles
Doug would have been required to maintain his. The motorcyclists would often carry 2 saddlebags, a1 man pup tent, 2-3 gallons of gas, a short shovel to dig trenches, small utensils and a frying pan as well as their protection.
D-Day plus 75 years:
I walk into the city centre of Bayeux up onto the cobbled streets, past a gently revolving waterwheel and into the oldest section of the town.
There is no one out and about - my mission this morning is to find us good, strong coffee. We opted out of the buffet style breakfast service the last two days - way too formal for me. There is something surreal about entering a room at 8:00 with 40 guests at various stages of eating breakfast - all perfectly cleaned, coiffed and dressed for the day - doing their best to stay out of each other’s way and be proper. Truth be told I am still a little embarrassed by my espresso machine fiasco from two days before.
I am alone with my thoughts - the last 3 days have been powerful/emotional - I somehow feel my dad is with me - Saying “ see
Not sure if this was the type dad drove
Keith - this is why I never wanted to talk about what I went through“.
I walk for a couple of km and am just about giving up hope when I hear some movement in a nearby courtyard. I peer through the gate and see it is an outdoor bar / restaurant / an oasis. The owner and his wife are arranging tables and chairs and picking up from the night before - cigarettes in mouth - I love it - I ask in my stumbling french if it is possible to get 2 cafes to go.
A few minutes later I am back on the cobbled streets with 2 americanos trying to find my way home.
As I approach our Hotel street I am greeted by three huge tour buses and about 200 day tourists converging on the empty streets of the unsuspecting city Centre - I am getting out just in time.
Danielle and I savour every sip of Americano, pack up, programme “M” and carry on/up the Maple Leaf Up route.
What will tomorrow hold kind reader - I am optimistic.
The good - starting to find what you are looking
Doug in a ?
With a small dog
for / seeing deserved memorials and well maintained cemeteries for both the allies and German fallen.
The bad - it s very hard in the small coastal towns to find non-tourist trap places to eat. I was hoping for fresh seafood, fish chowder and biscuits type experiences like those we experienced down East in Canada. No luck yet.
The ugly - I am realizing that Danielle may not have known what she signed up for. 1) Danielle has still not gathered up the courage - can‘t say that I blame her - to tackle driving these 90 km, very narrow, roundabout filled roads - even with the “almost” perfect instructions from “M”. 2) I am an odd bird - cemeteries and memorials do not depress me. Not everyone’s idea of an outing - and Danielle is no exception 3) we are packing, moving home base and unpacking every three days - becoming a bit of a chore - Danielle is starting to leave most of her clothes right in her suitcase 4) I spend a fair bit of time on the blogs - I am sure Danielle didn’t think I would struggle as much and work on them
Doug - on the left
Again not sure what type of vehicle this is
as long as I do and last but not least 5) in this part of the world almost all places of interest are best reached by foot or bicycle - there is rarely any parking to bring a car - Danielle is getting more walking in than she bargained for.
The funny - technology is winning this trip - as usual. I have had 5 fatal error crashes alone trying to finish this one blog - losing along with what little is left of my sanity - hours of work. Are the writing Gods trying to give me not so subtle hints. My IPad almost made in out the window to the courtyard a few times. Maybe Danielle has been talking to them..
Tot: 2.727s; Tpl: 0.057s; cc: 14; qc: 51; dbt: 0.0399s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb