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After spending ten sunny days riding dirt trails and roads through the Vosges in Alsace, swimming in waterfalls and sleeping in castles, Nick and I camped out for the afternoon in a cheap cafeteria featuring wifi. We considered riding the Jura. Both Switzerland and France have continuous mountain bike routes through the range. We looked back and forth between the two routes trying to discern which looked like the most fun. After fifteen minutes of website tab dancing, we called it. We bookmarked the French dirt routes for a later date and pulled out a map of Europe. Nick is Ukranian. As long as I’ve known him, he’s wanted to bike in Ukraine. That is where we’re headed.

As luck would have it, less than twenty kilometers from the cafeteria lives a wonderful girl named Johanna. We met last year while farming and exploring Corsica. She’s from Mulhouse, France.  I cold called her and she invited us for dinner. Although in eastern france, she hosted a typical western french party: crèpes and cidre, songs and good company. It was a great send-off for our trip to the east.

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