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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend in Île de Ré

We’ve long had on the docket plans to head out to a smallish island off the French coast with friends.  But finding time to do so over the busy summer schedule was tricky.  So we squished it in this weekend, with both of our little ones coming along of course (they were born only a couple months apart).  It was a fun family weekend, not too far from home – but that felt like it was worlds away.

1) Took the train(s) to Île de Ré

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Actually, we took a lot of trains.  First we took the underground Metro in Paris to the main train station serving the Southwest of France.  That was a mistake though.  The result of doing so at rush-hour meant that we missed our first TGV train by about 2 minutes.

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So then we took a second not-so-direct train to Poitiers, before yet another train to La Rochelle.  All of which ended up with us getting a rental car there to drive the rest of the way out to Île de Ré.  On the bright side – Île de Ré is a very nice place, making up for our travel woes.

For the record, it kinda all fit. We ended up having to get two cars for the two families.

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It’s an island just barely off the west coast of France, not too far north of Bordeaux.  You drive over a bridge to get there from La Rochelle, and once on the island it’s pancake flat and very cycling-focused with separated bike paths taking you everywhere you want to go.  It’s also much longer than you’d think, at 30KM long.

We planned a getaway with friends here, to spend the weekend just relaxing near the beach.

2) Found a bike shop with a helicopter

The next day we went out to find some bikes that we might rent later in the weekend if the weather fit.  We walked a few blocks away to a pretty impressive bike shop.  Now – this bike shop didn’t appear to have any higher end road bikes, but really only island cruising bikes.  And kid carriers.  Still, tons and tons of bikes – some 1,800 bikes available for rental.

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However, most notably it had a helicopter in the back bike maintenance area:

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Yes, really.

It appears the bike shop also specializes in some drone stuff (videos/photos), as they had a customized DJI Inspire off to the side, and a few other drones and remote-controlled aircraft floating around.

What was funny though is that in their GoPro sales case, they were still trying to sell a GoPro Hero3+, which was announced 4 years ago.  You’ll remember the Hero 6 was announced last week, then the Hero5 a year ago, the Hero 4 two years ago, and well…you get the point.

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Of course – it wasn’t like this vintage GoPro was on sale either – it was full price.

3) Eating fresh oysters overlooking the sea

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Previously, I’d say one of my favorite places to get fresh oysters was in Cancale – up on the northwestern coast of France.  We’ve been there many times.  It’s also the starting line of a marathon I ran there a few years ago.  You can’t beat it.

Except, maybe you can beat it.  This place overlooks the workers (and locals) getting the oysters on the beach as the tides roll in and out.

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And, they have wine.  Did I mention the wine was free?

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Well, at least it was free until we (me and our friends) were on our second bottle.  Then we had to pay for it.

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As always, the oysters cost almost nothing considering the size and quality.  The farm trucks kept on unloading them behind us as we ate, direct from the beach.

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Seriously, kinda the new favorite place.

4) Attempted to play with new GoPro Karma follow-me updates

I brought my GoPro Karma drone with me, in hopes of getting a little bit of Hero6 aerial footage as well as toying with the new GoPro Karma follow-me modes.  I’d gotten briefed on these while visiting GoPro a few weeks back, but due to timing of the firmware and the complexities in getting the beta firmware loaded onto an external person’s drone pre-announcement I wasn’t able to try that piece out.

So I dragged the thing out to the coast for some flying (I had updated it a few days ago at home).

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I got it up in the air and took some initial shots at sunset one evening, mostly just for b-roll type purposes.  My plan was the next day to get some follow-me stuff done.

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Unfortunately, half-way through the flight the camera stopped responding (and transmitting) and subsequent flight attempts would give me a camera not found error (occasionally alternating with gimbal not found).  I’m not quite sure what’s up, though I suspect I’ll have to call GoPro support and get it fixed.  My bet is something is amiss with the hardware.

One of the issues with the Karma drone is the gimbal attachment point on it is more prone to getting damaged, even in the GoPro Seeker bag that I was using.  Given the nature of the error messages, that does seem to point to a hardware error.

On the bright side, I did get a few minutes of pretty footage before it gave up, as well as a few pretty photos like this one:

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They were taken with the Hero6, most in HDR mode.  In unrelated news, The Peanut is becoming more OK with the drone (the sound of it).  She’s perfectly fine now with the DJI Spark, though still wary of the much louder GoPro Karma.  Curiously suspicious is the best way to put it.

5) An Île de Ré Runaround

Late Sunday morning Dave and I headed out for a loop around our little portion of the island.  I loosely plotted a route using my favorite EasyRoute app (though, didn’t transfer it to any device, that’d have taken more work).  We wanted about a 40ish minute run, but also wanted to account for getting lost or having to backtrack.  Both of which may or may not have occurred.

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The tide was out, and we spent a bit of time running along the beach at one point in order to get past one section that was closed.

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We also ran past some vineyards and even some duck hunters at one point.  Note the guns:

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Thankfully they didn’t mistake us for dinner, and we made it back roughly in the allotted time.

In case you’re wondering, here’s the DCR Analyzer comparison set.  Interestingly, the Apple Watch totally seemed to omit the first three minutes of both GPS and HR recording.  Which is totally bizarre.  It plotted the initial point, and then went to sleep or something for three minutes. Never seen that before.  Beyond that though, all three watches were fairly close on HR tracks as well as GPS tracks.

A few hours later, we jumped on the train and zoomed our way back to Paris.  This time, just one train.

With that – thanks for reading!

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17 Comments

  1. Bjorn

    Such a coward that didn’t let fly his drone in front of the duck hunters! :-D

  2. Paul S.

    So those weird enclosed rectangular “ponds” on the map are actually oyster farms?

  3. Sam

    Livin’ the dream!

  4. Gavin

    When Karma says it can’t connect to the camera, just double check that it’s not the camera causing problems. Mine once couldn’t connect and it turned out to be the camera itself that was frozen. Popping the battery out/in woke it up, and normal flying resumed.

  5. Pavel

    Hi Ray,
    how do you extract .fit data from Apple Watch?

  6. Guy C

    I know this is a question that has bugged many people for a looooong time but reading your description of planning your run above made me think of it again… Question is: do you have a go to app that actually works (without needs a PC/Mac/laptop) for creating a route on an iPhone and then transferring to a Garmin Edge? (I have the 1000)

    The Strava app isn’t it and Garmin Connect app isn’t it either (including the new Beta version – I want to plot my own route not have Garmin select something for me based on popular rides). I know about RidewithGPS but you can’t do this without paying for it, which is understandable for RWGPS, but frustrating having invested so much money over the years in Garmin Head units.

    It drives me mad when the only reason I need to take a laptop with me when travelling is to be able to create a new route. Or am I missing something here / The only person with this problem? It *really* is something that should be properly supported in the Garmin Connect app especially since they’re just about to release the new version.

    • Yeah, RWGPS is really the core option.

      It sucks though. I know Garmin is close (sounds like end of year) to be able to create a course on Garmin Connect Mobile by just tapping dots, and then shoot it to the Garmin devices.

      That’s all I really want. All I’ve ever really wanted.

    • Guy C

      Me too – that’s all I ever really wanted – don’t understand why it is so hard.

      It’s not even just plotting the route – your EasyRoute app seem to be able to that (thanks for the tip) and I know or RWGPS can do it for a fee, but even then transferring to the Edge via bluetooth or into the Garmin Connect app so that it syncs with the Edge is *so* hit and miss in the real world. Can’t do it 9 times out of 10. Partly the fault is with the iPhone as you really need to do it through an app not a direct BT transfer from phone edge, but really this should be easier – Garmin are you listening!!!

      Having reaad about the Wahoo Bolt it seems that RWGPS is the answer for this too.

      When are Wahoo and Garmin actually going to include proper course creation in their apps and then course transfer to the device from within the app without needing a PC? If Wahoo did this and support Garmin, Bryton, Mio, Stages, Powrtap, etc head units as well they could steal a real march on the sector.

    • Mike Robinson

      The RwGPS app for iPhone and iPad doesn’t support creating routes.

      Using RwGPS with a browser on mobile devices just doesn’t work well. They don’t seem to have fully implemented touch control. It is possible to create a route, but try and move a course point or add a cue, and it is practically unusable.

      I don’t know if RwGPS plan to support route creation and editing on their apps, but it seems like the logical next step.

    • Mike Robinson

      Just to add, I’ve used the “Take me to…” feature on the Wahoo app to create a route and it has worked pretty well.

      However it doesn’t allow you to change or edit the route it comes up with. I found this a problem a couple of times on a recent trip, as I wanted to plot a route to get around detours, but obviously the “Take me to…” app doesn’t know a road is blocked and there isn’t an easy way to get an alternative route using the app.

  7. rudi

    Hey Ray!

    Did i spot your arm wearing an Apple Watch 3 there?

    I saw your unboxing but how is your review coming along?

    thx!

  8. Paul

    I’ve had that issue with the Apple Watch when using the Strava app. Here’s the response from Strava:

    “Sorry for the trouble you’re having with the distance for your activities. There’s a known Apple bug where if you start the recording near your phone and then head away to start your activity, a few points get recorded into the file (pulled from the Phone’s GPS) and the activity distance is initially being measured from those phone GPS points.

    When the watch goes outside and the phone stays at home, it takes the watch a long time to start getting its own location. This causes a large gap in the GPS data and due to this the first set of GPS points are ignored when the activity is saved and data is analyzed. To avoid this in the future, start the recording away from the phone if you’re going to leave it behind.”

  9. Remco Verdoold

    Hi Ray, is it now accepted in France that when pregnant you can still eat raw fish? It’s funny that ‘many’ things are not allowed when pregnant but that every country makes an exception for their own delicatesse.

  10. gademz

    On one hand AW3 other VA3?
    In-depth review VA3 is today?