WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL BLOG for La Pétanque Marinière in San Rafael, California. LPM has been an active Marin pétanque club since 1972 and affiliated with the Fédération of Pétanque USA, since 1975. We welcome people of all abilities, ages and nationalities to come and enjoy pétanque with us.

The Pierre Joske Courts are located on Civic Center drive in San Rafael. (click for directions). Casual games are played every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from about 1 pm. Tournament play is usually held on the second Sunday of every month.

Please consult the links on the sidebar to the right for more information on clubs in the bay area, nationally and world wide.

If you would like to play but haven't any boules, please contact our President, Christine Cragg. They can bring some for you to use, as well as introduce you to the basic skills and techniques of pétanque. In addition, if you are looking to purchase boules but are unsure as to which size and weight are right for you, we have a range of different examples from which to choose.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tino Lofaro

Tino & Antoine Lofaro

Barely a day has passed since La Pétanque Marinière said goodbye to one of it's beloved members when news arrived this morning of the passing of yet another.
Tino Lofaro passed away in his sleep last night. As of this moment we have no details.
LPM would like to extend it's most heart-felt condolences to his brother Antoine, sister-in-law Eva and the rest of his family.

Rest in Peace Tino, my friend. Not only a new and valued friend of mine these past two years, but the teacher of so many things finesse in Petanque to this novice player. Your smile, and wit, will forever be with me. Mike Menafee

Thank you for thinking about my brother Tino and thank you to everyone who called me and thanks for your support in this difficult and terrible moment. Antonio Lofaro

Adieu sweet Tino - always kind hearted and truthful - we will always remember you in our hearts! Hans, Bridget, Maxi & Wolfie Kurz

"We are devastated to learn of Tino,s passing through facebook. We are in France until the 16th. Please send our condolences to the Lofaro family" Louis and Jan Toulon

"So one night we were having a lovely dinner at Antonia's house, with plenty of wine to drink. Tino was there...he was always fun , and sweet...I offered to divorce Hans and marry Tino, so he could get a certain card...he laughed so hard, it was great. I kinda wished he would have taken me up on my offer...!! "The all time Best Shooter, I ever met, hands down!"
Bridget Root Kurz

"My sincerest sympathies to Tino's family." Diana Jacobs

"I'll miss his smile and kindness. I made a career of losing to Tino over, it seems, the last ten years. Some times by a lot,sometimes by a few. The few times I slipped by him were the times Tino was having a "bad day" for Tino. He didn't miss many shots.When called upon to point you could count on him. He always gave me advice and strategy. He made the Willits Club better with his suggestions on strategy and technique. We didn't play together that often, but, in the pick up games, Wednesday's in Sonoma, or, the few mele's we hooked up, I always felt invincible with the Great Tino on my side. Go Tino! There's a Big Petanque Game waiting you in the Sky. You'll be the New Kid again, stepping into the circle with some of the Greatest Old Masters of the Game. Go Tino! We'll miss you."
"Condolences to Tino's friends and family from the Willits Boules Club. Tino was one of the True Gentlemen of The Sport of Petanque here on the West Coast. You could always expect a smile and a handshake first thing when you saw him in the morning, and fair play and great competition when you met him in play. Play on Tino. Play on." Eldon Moilanen

"My condolences to Tino's family and friends." William Widmaier

"I lost my semi final at the US national triplette 2010 against his team and I was waiting for the weather to get better and practice some more to have a rematch (Gilles and Barbara you are not off the hook yet, lol). Tino, I learned some petanque moves from you and I am becoming a better player because of that, my familyand I will greatly miss you on the pistes. My sincere sympathies to your family." Tho Po Yang

I just went on your Club Web site and found lots of Images of Tino there.
So sorry to hear of him passing.
He was quite the Character with his play of Petanque along with his personality.
Send my best to his Friends and Family. Mary Campbell Mann

Was shocked to learn of Tino's passing. He was a great guy and a great player. He always said he wanted to play on a team with me sometime but we never got to. I even thought of us asking him if he wanted to go to Portland with us as a shooter. He enjoyed life and petanque so much, and thought he would be with us for a long time.
So very sorry to hear the news. Sara Davis

Tino was one of my heros. A sweet and gentle person, you were, may you rest in peace.
Alec Stone Sweet

Tu étais mon ami tu étais comme mon frère, tu me manques depuis que t es parti de villefranche. Jamais je ne t oublierai. Michel Veziano

Monday, December 20, 2010

Jean Louis Castagné

La Pétanque Marinière is deeply saddened in having to announce the passing of one of it's oldest and most respected members. Jean Louis Castagné passed away on December 19th 2010.
Louis was a gentle yet hard working man who always had a twinkle in his eye and a kind word on his lips. During his 38 years as a baker at Bordenave's French bakery in San Rafael,
one could tell by tasting the bread whether he had baked it.
Born in France, he was a long-time resident of San Rafael and was an active member of several French clubs including The Lafayette Club and La Pétanque Marinière.
Louis is survived by his loving wife, Marie Louise, daughter Josette, son Paul and granddaughter Cherise. Visitation hours are from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM on December 28th with a vigil at 7:00 PM at Keaton's Mortuary in San Rafael. Funeral mass at St. Raphael's Church on December 29 at 10:00 AM followed by interment at Mt. Tamalpais Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to a charity of your choice.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy" is a Christmas song with an added counterpoint performed by David Bowie and Bing Crosby. "Little Drummer Boy" is a Christmas song written in 1957, while the "Peace on Earth" tune and lyrics were added to the song especially for Bowie and Crosby's recording.
The track was recorded on 11 September for Crosby's 1977 television special, Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas. The pair exchanged dialogue about what they do for Christmas before singing "Little Drummer Boy" with a new counterpoint with original lyrics written for the special, "Peace on Earth". Bowie's appearance has been described as a "surreal" event, undertaken at a time that he was "actively trying to normalise his career". He has since recalled that he only appeared on the show because "I just knew my mother liked him." Buz Kohan was not sure that Crosby knew who Bowie was, but Ian Fraser claimed "I'm pretty sure he did. Bing was no idiot. If he didn't, his kids sure did." Crosby died on October 14, just over a month after recording the special. In the U.S., the show aired on 30 November 1977 on CBS.

According to co-writer Ian Fraser, Bowie balked at singing "Little Drummer Boy". "I hate this song. Is there something else I could sing?" Fraser recalls Bowie telling him. Fraser, along with songwriter Larry Grossman and the special's scriptwriter, Buz Kohan, then wrote "Peace on Earth" as a counterpoint to "Little Drummer Boy". Crosby performed "Little Drummer Boy", while Bowie sang the new tune "Peace on Earth," which they reportedly performed after less than an hour of rehearsal.

LPM 2011 Calendar

La Pétanque Marinière 2011 calendar

All tournaments will start at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays (except as noted).
Most tournament entry fees are $7. Exceptions may apply.
For further information, call Christine at: 415-302-5069 or by email at: petanque.marin@gmail.com

Caution: all data susceptible to change
For the most up to date info go to: cochonnetmarin.com or petanque-marin.blogspot.com

February 13 (Sunday)

Select Doubles
Registration ends at: 10:00 a.m.
Games start at 10:30 a.m.
Cash Prize

March 13 (Sunday) California Commemorative Cup
***Daylight savings starts***

Select Doubles - 1 man + 1 woman
Concours - plus consolante if 16 teams or more.
Entry fee - $7 per person
1st Place - Plaques & Perpetual Trophy
2nd Place - Plaques

Registration ends at: 10:00 a.m. SHARP
Games start at 10:30 a.m.
Bring your own lunch
Apéritifs to be served after the tournament.

April 10 (Sunday) ** Lentils and Sausage Picnic **

Registration ends at: 11 a.m. Games start after Lunch
1 p.m. or before Panaché format, open to all
Bring friends and guests. Non-Cash Prize

May 7 (Saturday) Men's & Women's Tête a Tête

Registration ends at: 10:00 a.m. Games start at 10:30 a.m.
Men’s Tournament / Woman’s Tournament
Cash Prize

June 12 (Sunday) ** Annual Steak Picnic **

Registration ends at: 11 a.m. Games start after Lunch 1 p.m. or before
Panaché format, open to all Bring friends and guests.
Non-Cash Prize

July 10 (Sunday) FPUSA Northwest Regional

Pre-registration Required
Details to Follow
Select Mixed Doubles

August 14 (Sunday) Fourth-Annual Bay Area and Beyond Inter Club Tournament

Fifth-Annual Interclub Tournament. Non-cash prizes. Pre-required registration.

Register by e-mail at: petanque.marin@gmail.com or call Christine Cragg at 415-302-5069

September 11 (Sunday) ** Annual Leg of Lamb Picnic **

Panaché format, open to all. Bring friends and guests.
Registration ends at: 11 a.m. Games start after Lunch
1 p.m. or before
(Free for members in Good Standing).
Non-Cash Prize

October 9 (Sunday)

Tino Lofaro Memorial Tournament
Triples a la Melee - Cash Prize

Registration ends at 9:30. Tournament begins at 10:00

November 13 (Sunday) Tournament a la Mêlée.

Registration ends at: 10:00 a.m.
Games start at 10:30 a.m.
Cash Prize

October -November Tba Annual Business meeting and dinner

For picnic reservations call: Alain Efron : 415-479-5820 E-mail : lutecemeister@gmail.com

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2010 PA OPEN - Opening Ceremony

courtesy of Pétanque America:

An unforgettable moment of the Open.
Most players never met. Neither did the musicians. No problem.
Turn up your speakers

Friday, December 3, 2010

Berlin Pétanque Scene

Lifestyle | 26.11.2010

Too cool for boules - Berlin's petanquists spin the metal balls their way

Boules is cool again, or so they say, with registered clubs mushrooming all over France and the UK. But there's a whole other petanque culture to be found on autumn evenings along Berlin's canal banks.

"Please, can you get as little information as possible from that Guardian article," my brother says to me, looking strained with exasperation when he learns I'm planning to write about his favorite pastime. He is referring to a piece published over the summer about the new trend for boules in France. The author took the occasion of a celebrity boules tournament set up by fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld in St. Tropez, and then described at length how the stereotypical Gallic pastime was suddenly in again.

The article was illustrated with photos of supermodels and film-stars idling around, gaily flinging metal balls all over the place while wearing straw hats, white shoes and similarly breezy fin-de-siecle attire.

But it wasn't the sight of his favorite social game being hijacked by a bunch of giddy, overpaid fools that so offended my brother - a man who does get frustrated with that sort of thing - it was that the journalist made a distinction between this and "the little image in his head" of normal, traditional boules, also known as petanque: a game for morose, alcoholic French pensioners in string vests and flat caps.

The truth about boules...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New Pétanque Clubs

There are some new clubs in our ever expanding world of pétanque. If you're traveling and plan to be in their area, don't forget to bring your boules.




BOULES DE LEON, St. Augustine FL






Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pétanque America Open 2010 - Slideshow

The Pétanque America Open took place on November 13 & 14 in the quaint and historical community of Fernandina Beach, located on Amelia Island in northeastern Florida.
Two hundred and twenty-four competitors from twenty-three United States,
Quebec, Canada & Belgium formed one hundred and twelve doubles teams.
The Waterfront was transformed by workers from the city and a small army of volunteers, into a spread of sixty courts, with bars dispensing beer and the patron libation Ricard. The Police Auxiliary sold water and sodas, and the Yulee Volunteer Fire Fighters threw down some mean burgers on the grill. A local caterer and pétanque enthusiast, prepared panninis, antipasto and grilled merguez sausages
On Friday, competitors started showing up, and "testing" the courts, the surface being much different than that of last year's event. Claudie Weibel from Belgium demonstrated his shooting technique.
His world record score of 66 was set in the qualifying round. He lost to Manea of French Polynesia in the 1/2 final by a score of 35-34. The final was won by Leboursicaud of France (over Manea) by a score of 34-12
The names were pulled, pools were formed and Saturday after a welcome by the Mayor of Fernandina Beach, and the French Consul of Northeast Florida, the games began.
The tournament was organized in such a fashion as to be welcoming for all levels of play and competition. Teams were guaranteed to play in no less than seven matches during the course of the two-day event. After the dust had settled, there were winners in six brackets; two concours and four consolantes.
Although this is primarily a pétanque event, there is more to this particular gathering than perhaps any other. Surely it is about the players and their desire to compete, in the hopes of winning, but it's also about the people who come to have a great time just by being in the company of so many people playing the sport we all love. It's about the people who organized such a function that forges so many friendships. It's about the people of Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach who welcome us so warmly and take care of us while we are there. And it's also about the people who, through last year's tournament, have discovered pétanque and are so wildly enthusiastic about playing it. Thanks to everyone who participated in the concept & design, organization, sponsorship, set-up & tear-down, hospitality, and also to those who traveled so far to
make the event the success it was.

The Slideshow tries to capture all of the aforementioned aspects of the weekend's activities without being so long as to be rated a full length feature movie. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saturday Morning Petanque in Fernandina Beach, FL

Saturday mornings in Fernandina Beach, Florida means Pétanque! Various teams and individuals arrive at the waterfront in historic Fernandina to get their weekly fix of this friendly game.

The game is extremely well know in the European countries but is catching on like wildfire in the United States and Amelia Island is no exception!

Click here to read the rest of the article and watch the video

Sunday, November 14, 2010

2010 Petanque America Open

********************************N E W S F L A S H************************

During the competition this weekeend at the Petanque America Open in Amelia Island, Florida, four of our local club members, emerged victorious.

David Spangenberg and Peggy Matsuda won second place in the "concours b" after a cliff hanger of a game where from being down 12-1 came back only too lose 13-12.

Verena Rytter and Claudie Chourre won fourth place of the "consolant b"

All of the 224 competitors had a great time playing in such a great
tournament, and we congratulate our own for playing so well.

More tornament coverage to follow in the next few days.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Check here or with your club for a possible postponement date. November 26 could be a possibility

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pétanque Art

Carter Ingram from Novato, California has an excellent hobby: He makes haind-painted Cochonnets. Have a look, and think: Would you risk one of these babies by throwing a boule at it?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Portland Bouligans

A well made T.V. interview which speaks for itself...

News Channel 8 @ 6 - The Portland Bouligans from shaughn on Vimeo.

It looks like the folks of the SKO Pétanque Club in Borneo are also having quite a lot of fun with pétanque. Here is a video taken at the shooting competition during the First Inter-Borneo Tournament.
For a more detailed look at their club, visit their blog at: SKO PÉTANQUE CLUB

Saturday, October 16, 2010

45th World Pétanque Championships

The Following is a detailed description from FPUSA President Joe Martin of the events which took place at the 45th World Championships this last week in Izmir, Turkey

Those who have been following the World Championships that concluded last weekend know of the results: France won both the triples competition and the shooting contest. The team from Madagascar was second and Spain and Mauritania were collectively in 3rd place. A new world record in the shooting was set by Claudy Weibel of Belgium (66 points out of 100 possible).

And, the Turkish federation with only a couple of months notice, pulled off a very well organized event. You'll remember the championship had originally been awarded to Taiwan but earlier this year, it was determined they would be unable to fulfill their commitment to host it and Turkey, thankfully, took it on.

Here are some personal observations.

Well over a hundred of the world's best petanque players (48 triples teams) gathered for a few days of games in Izmir, Turkey, on the Aegean Sea, to sort out the best of them this past weekend. The New Zealand team had arrived days before in order to adjust to the time zone changes and the President of that federation told me it was strange to arrive at some airport on her way to find she had arrived before she had left New Zealand (International Date Line).

With coaches and delegates ( like me, for example) and accompanying spectators, there were about 500 of
us, not counting the large staff of Turkish volunteers and those from the FIPJP (the international federation).

Arriving bleary eyed but very happy to be on terra firma, participants filtered in all day last Wednesday and made for the headquarters hotel adjacent to the venue, anxious to be assigned lodging and then have some of that strong Chai tea the Turks like, or failing that, a beer or rakki (Turkish version of Pastis).

Thursday was for the head of the delegations to stand in line at the hotel bottle neck getting the identification badges, meal tickets, and the latest update of the schedule of events and times to be in place, and surrendering their team's licenses until the end of the competition. Thursday evening was also the FIPJP board meeting and was as enjoyable as a board meeting can be.

Sadly for us, our candidate to be elected to the FIPJP Executive Committee, Robert Pierre, was not successful, but he made a good showing and was very helpful to me in making sure I understood what was going on in the meeting, conducted in French. In my other meetings with various officials and federations, Robert was indispensable to making sure our position was known and understood.

The teams sought out practice grounds in the dual purpose park containing trade fair pavilions and an amusement park with a roller coaster and bumper cars, etc. There were dirt areas and a practice court had been constructed outside.

Captained by Jean-Pierre Subrenat, our three other players on the team were Xavier Thibaud, Eric Bertin (all NYPC), and PJ Malette, well known Bay Area player. Steve Ginsberg, also NYPC, had signed on as coach. Jet lag aside, they were feeling good, looked sharp in their uniforms, and one could just sense they were going to play well together.

The large h
all (FIPJP policy is to play under cover) had been configured with 24 courts and the concrete floor covered with about an inch of coarse and fine gravel. Indeed, there were some spots where a previously tossed boule had blown the gravel away, leaving bare concrete and a boule would descend from its plombée to land directly on bare concrete and then go soaring off the court.

By Friday, the shooting contest was under way with one player from each of the 48 teams going through the same sequence of shooting exercises that we use on our courts (shoot the boule, shoot the boule behind the jack, shoot the middle boule, etc, all from different distances. During the early part of this contest Claudy Weibel set the new world record of 66, but Bruno Leboursicaud (France) ended up winning with a 34 just because of the way the contest is configured.

On Saturday, there were 5 qualifying games using the Swiss System which arranges matches according to how well teams are playing, better teams end up being matched with better teams, worse teams with others that are not playing so well.

At the end of these 5 matches, our U.S. team was ranked a very strong 18th out of the 48 teams in the competition! Rarely in our 30 years of sending teams to the worlds has our U.S. team ranked so high in the qualifying matches. The chemistry and camaraderie was there, and on a personal note, it made me very proud to be a part of our delegation.

In these 5 games, we won against Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Russia, and lost against Thailand and Portugal. All the players on our team were put into various games.

Based on the Swiss ranking, ou
r team was in the top 24 and had made the Concours! These top 24 teams were put into the Concours pools ( 8 pools of 3 teams each) and played each other. Lose twice and you are out of the concours though teams losing twice are given another chance by being put into the consolante (called the Coupe de Nations), which is where our teams usually are placed right away since we traditionally we are in the bottom half of the team rankings.

As it happened, our Concours pool included Morocco and Portugal, and we ended up losing twice and sent into the Coupe de Nations, where unfortunately for us, we lost to Djibouti, a strong team that got to the Coupe de Nations semi-finals. So then we were spectators which meant we were able to enjoy watching the best teams progress.

On Sunday, the matches concluded with some of the best petanque playing I will ever see. These players in the worlds are able to make a very high percentage of their boules count in the game, with only the occasional stray point or missed shot. And, many of their shots result in a carreau, so they will shoot a far away boule holding the point knowing there is a good chance their boule will sit in the same spot (sur place) or at least hang around for the point.

In the final for the world championship, it was France against Madagascar. They went back and forth on the score, but it ended up 12-12. In the last end, the jack was pushed out to 12 meters. France held a not too close point, Madagascar shot their last boule, knocking out the French boule. Their boule rolled very close to the jack giving them two points because they had another not so close boule. Philippe Suchaud made a clean shot on the Madagascar boule at 12 meters, leaving Madagascar with the winning point, but France had one more boule and Henri Lacroix pointed it in to win the game! The crowd erupted in cheering and the French team ran to each other hugging and kissing. It was a spectacular game!

After the awards ceremony with the winner's nation's flags being raised and medals looped over heads and bouquets of flowers presented, the 45th World Championship concluded.

That evening there was a gala dinner at a restaurant on the waterfront featuring a roasted lamb and pasta and much hugging between the players of the various teams, and trading of team shirts with one another, sometimes peeled off one player to be put on by another.

Monday morning several hundred players and delegates made their way by taxi to the Izmir airport for the flights home, mine via Istanbul, and NYC.

Quite an experience to be around so many excellent players but all enjoying the same camaraderie that you and I experience when we meet for casual play on our courts.

The next Worlds in in 2012, maybe you will want to start sharpening your game now.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mauritania celebrates Pétanque World Cup bronze

Sports fans in Mauritania finally have something to be proud of.

By Mohamed Foily Samba Vall for Magharebia in Nouakchott – 14/10/10

On Tuesday (October 12th), Mauritanians gave a triumphant welcome home to their national pétanque team, returning from 45th Pétanque World Championship in Izmir, Turkey, where they earned a bronze medal.

Forty-eight countries, including Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Morocco, participated in the event. France defeated Madagascar in the final to retain their title.

It was 10:30pm at Nouakchott International airport when a large crowd of supporters welcomed home the four members of the national team: Sidina Ould Ethmane, Abdallahi Gueye, Brahim, and Mohamed Ould Abeid. With them were coach N'Diaye Aboubekrine and the head of the delegation, Abdel Kader Ould Abeid, all proudly wearing their bronze medals.

Click here for the complete article

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Live Petanque

Live feed from the 45th World Championships

ON NOW (0800 pdt) Germany against Sweden
update @ 0835 pdt Germany 9, Sweden 5

click here for live feed

Friday, October 8, 2010

The 45th Mondial of Petanque 2010 in Izmir is ready to be launched on Wednesday October 6. Halls of the International Izmir Fuar are operational to accomodate the 48 nations and teams resulting from the confederations Africa - America - Asia - Oceania & Europa (team nation = 1 delegate, 1 coach and of 4 players). The Mondial one with Petanque will include a World Championship in triplettes (eliminatory in mode System Swiss with 5 turns) and a World Championship of Shooting of which the winners will be crowned "World Champions" and will thread the shirt arc in sky. It is Hall 5 of the International fair of Izmir Fuar which will be the theatre of its matchs.
TRT television channel of Turkey will film and make transmissions of matchs as well as finales of World Triplettes and the World one of Shooting - click here for coverage.
Sport+ will diffuse the final of the 45th World Championships on Wednesday October 13 to 20:15. A repeat broadcast is envisaged on Sunday October 17 with 9:00.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Rick Steves Helps Inaugurate Edmonds WA Pétanque Court

The sun shone brightly when Rick Steves had the honor to throw the first official “boule” to inaugurate Edmonds Petanque court situated on the west side of the civic play field directly across from the city Council chambers and Police station.

Many thanks go to Mrs. Michelle Martin who originated the idea and our Parks Department director Brian McIntosh who made it happen. Francophone and Francophile alike rejoice that we now can enjoy this wonderful French sport, which can be played by anyone at any age.

Seattle and Bellevue Petanque Clubs will now face stiff competition in regional Petanque tournaments. You can find the “boulistes” playing on Monday morning at 8:20 a.m. and Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Free lessons will be given and all are welcome.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Bike Rambler - Tour has end

Hello Everyone, Just a short dispatch to let you know that I left Seattle yesterday morning by train and arrived in Fresno, California this morning. My bike and I are now back home. Thanks for all your support of me on this ambitious bicycling tour of the Pacific Northwest...what a ride it has been. I will send a final "Bike Rambler" dispatch to all of you in a few days. It will give you the grand overview of the tour.

Get up on your bike.

Pedal on,
Tim "The Bike Rambler"

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Bike Rambler "Asphalt Ruminatons"

When last we heard from our bike rambler friend and founder of the Fresno Pétanque Club Tim Channel, he had just won the FPUSA National Triples in Portland with Mike Stasack and Ryan Baker.
As we look in on his progress in this, the third chapter of his bike tour of the Pacific Northwest, we read that he is having a close-up and personal encounter with this country few will ever experience.

Chapter three of the bike rambler

"Clack, Clack, Clack...

I am having a great time on this bike tour. I have met so many interesting people. Almost all of them want to be included on the mailing list for these missives. So then this little written communique reaches more and more each time it is mailed.

Since my last dispatch to you, I have pedaled over 300 miles. I have encountered only a few other bicycle tourists. What an interesting and remarkable group of people.

A young man biking from Vancouver BC to San Francisco (Mark), a chance encounter with three bike tourists on a hillside in the middle of a Fish and Game wildlife refuge. A young woman (repairing a flat tire) and the even younger man accompanying her were biking from Seattle to Mexico. Their third member, a middle age man, was turning around at Cannon Beach, Oregon and heading back home to Seattle. Then there was the 65 year old man and woman from Australia cycling to San Diego. Me, just having crossed the rugged Oregon Coastal Mountain Range coming from Portland (Highway 47 and 202) was exhausted, but delighted to see them. They were the first bike tourists I had encountered on this trip.

I am at that middle place on the tour, halfway through the journey. Just less than 500 miles to go.

Everyday, the road seems to whisper me on to my next destination. There is an existential aspect to bicycling long distance. You have time to think, and think, about life. This gets all meshed into the awe for natural beauty surrounding you in the forest, the wildlife refuge or even the city. I find myself often singing old 60 and 70's folk songs when I am pedaling in the proverbial middle of nowhere.

Yesterday was another long biking day for me as I pedaled 75 miles from just south of South Bend Washington to Olympia. Click here for that route. A friend's son (Norman's Paul) is letting me rest at his house for two night.

As I rolled out of the camp site yesterday at 7 a.m., the temperature hovered around 51 degrees and the sky was overcast. Perfect bicycling weather. It was 4 miles into South Bend, and breakfast.

As I pedaled into the sleeping town, the only sounds that I could hear were the giant converter belts moving the freshly caught oysters from the bobbing fishing boats to the awaiting dump trucks. Clack, clack, clack, as the oysters shot off the convert belts into the open air space, suspended for just a moment in time, before giving in to gravity and crashing into the belly of the truck with a thump. Tens of thousands of oysters everyday, for us.

Clack,clack,clack, as I rolled my bike up to the only open restaurant for an early breakfast. Upon entering, I saw I was the only customer. An older woman, the waitress, approached me and said "good morning dear. You want some breakfast?" I immediately saw she had stories to tell me and I said " yes I do darling, and I'll take some black coffee too."

Her name was Marsha. You could see that her body was giving in to the passage of time, but her wrinkled eye lids were full of spirit and as I answered her questions about my bike tour, all I could think of while looking into those wrinkled eyes was time, and how it's slow relentless clack, clack, clack courses through our bodies.

Yes, existential recognitions with eggs and toast, intertwined with Marsha's breakfast music of the Allman Brother Band "Eat a Peach"album
. As The Midnight Rider floated through the restaurant, it's bluesy medley, rich as butter flowing over hot biscuits, washed over me and I realized that I was in a blues shrine, not Hamp's 101 as they called it.

Time, I ain't gone let it catch me, but the fishing net keeps swinging closer every day. Clack, clack,clack, like an unaccompanied Gregorian chant. I ate my breakfast and prepared to head east. As I was walking out the door, I heard Marsha say "Now you have fun honey."

As I stepped into the clacking, my next destination was whispering to me and beckoning me on. Get up on your bike and I rolled toward Olympia.

Tomorrow I head to Brementon. This city is on the Western side of Puget Sound. Directly across the Sound from Seattle. It will another long, but delightful day. Here's Saturday's route. Sunday, I pedal to Port Angeles, Washington and the ferry across to Victoria British Columbia. Click here for Sunday's route.

I'll write you again when I have access to a computer. Do good things. "Now you have fun honey."

Clack, clack,clack.

See you in a bit,
Tim Channell
The Bike Rambler

Belgian Pétanque in Portugal

Belgian Petanque contest in Carvoeiro


Last weekend the very first petanque (jeu de boules) contest took place on the brand new surface in Carvoeiro at Vale de Milho. About 12 petanque experts played very professionally and seriously.

Although the contest was initially organised for the men, the ladies decided to set up their own contest. As the event was so successful, the organisers have decided to arrange another game in October.

Monday, August 23, 2010

FPUSA National Triples Results

Greetings from Portland,

Our hosting of the FPUSA National Triples over the weekend was a very successful event and a lot fun. One might venture that the winners had a little more fun than the rest of us, but all would agree it was fun and successful because of a great effort from our volunteers and a very congenial group of players. The beautiful weather helped, too.

We began on Friday afternoon by welcoming arriving players for casual games and a chance to learn our courts. Most of the teams in the event were on the courts then and joined us for a "apero and drawing to assign team numbers for the next day's match-ups. After a few snacks, Tim, our club president, fired up the grill and covered it with "brats" Wisconsin style, to accompany baked beans, potato salad, dessert items. Very delicious and so convenient to the players allowing them time to continue their casual games without having to leave to search out their evening meal.

Saturday morning began with a random series of games for the 13 teams, including one we were very pleased to see from the New York Petanque Club which served to make the tournament a true "national' one, since the rest of the teams were from West Coast clubs.

By about 4 pm we had all our games in and the results could be used to seed the pools for the concours and the consolante the next day. Eight teams were placed in two 4 team pools, and the other 5 teams formed the round robin consolante.

Sunday morning, while enjoying a really tasty continental breakfast of complimentary mini-pastries from La Petite Provence, announcements and welcome remarks were dispensed with and play began.
Teams in pools began their quest to win two games in row and assure their progression out of the pools and into the Semi's and Finals. But, as we know in this zero sum game, a winner also means a loser, so those teams who lost their first game struggled to win one more so they could also advance. But, teams losing twice were then spectators for the afternoon. Being a spectator was not an altogether unpleasant way to spend the afternoon watching the continuing games with such good teams competing.

In the Semi-Finals for the concours then, we had the local team of Pierre and Philippe Agnesse and Joe Cortright matched up with the New York Petanque Club team of Jean-Pierre Subrenat, Xavier Thibaud (both on the FPUSA team going to Turkey for the "worlds" in a couple of months, and Thierry Juillard.
The New York team uses the plombée very impressively to great effect and their flat shooting style yielded more than a few carreaux. However, the Portland Petanque club's team came out ahead 13-8, also very impressive.

In the other semi-final, it was the Seattle Petanque Club team of Greg Conyers, Lee Harris, and John Hunt, against (wait for it) a team comprised of Eugene club players Mike Stasack (EPIC president) and Ryan Baker, and Tim Channell, founder of the Fresno Petanque club. They eased to a 13-2 victory over the Seattle boys.
The Final for 3rd and 4th place was therefore between the the New York players and the Seattle team. It was a close game but the New York players pulled off a 13-11 win to take 3rd place and win medals and prize money.

So our final for 1st and 2nd Place was between the Portland club and the Eugene/Fresno players. In a long game with many great plays, and to the surprise of many spectators, the Eugene/Fresno team emerged the victors (13-11) and National Triples champions for 2010!

The consolante meanwhile had been continuing on and was played to 11 points to help insure its finish before the Concours final. The top two teams in this tournament and who finished "in the money" were, in First Place, our own Tim Larson, Wally Peppel, and Shaughn McClurg (Congratulations!!) and taking second a Seattle/Lamorinda (Lafayette, CA) team of Jimmy Flour, John Chanthavisay, and Jean-Marie Letellier. Also, congratulations!

By now, delicious aromas from the buffet catered by La Provence had arrived and was ready for serving. Over tasty wines selected by our club sommelier Pierre Agnesse, we gathered around tables and enjoyed the chicken, and salmon entreés, and accompanying salads and wonderful mini-pastries. Such fun!

Awards and photos followed and while most player were ready to return home or to their motel rooms to "vege out", a dedicated group were out on the courts again while there was still light enough to see the cochonnet and play another game or two.

The combination of camaraderie and good food and drink is what draws us to the sport and keeps us coming back. Most of us would agree petanque is a wonderful addition to life.

To those of you who helped put on the event and those who played, the Portland Petanque Club thanks you sincerely for making the weekend a great one.

Pétanque News from Pattaya City, Thailand

The Bike Rambler - Asphalt Ruminations

Hello Everyone,

It seems that getting around to another "The Bike Rambler" update is difficult at best for me on this extended my bike trip of the Pacific Northwest. For now, it is increasingly looking like I will only be able to give you these brief e-mail updates. If that is all I can do on the Northwest Bike tour, I will write a travelogue for all of you when I return home.

I am having a great time. I have logged about 200 miles so far on my trip and will be cycling from Portland to Astoria, Oregon today, click here. It will be one of my long bike days at about 100 miles.

Since I last communicated with you, I have cycled from Eugene to Corvallis to Portland, Oregon. I have met so many wonderful people on this trip.

And oh the places I have seen. From the 4 million dollar bike bridges in Eugene, the mowed wheat field as the sun rises at 6 :30 a.m., the Brigittine Monastery in Amity that makes amazing chocolate, to the United States Petanque National Championship in Portland, Oregon.

Their are to many people to individually thank right now in this missive for the food, lodging, conversations, washing machine uses, computer services, etc. They know who they are. Merci to dozens of you.

Until next time, Carpe Diem.

The Bike Rambler

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wooden Balls, Metal Balls - Bowling Fever Grips Lamorinda

There's clanking and clattering all over Lamorinda as the locals turn out to play variations of an ancient sport. And somehow, there's always a nice Merlot within reach.

Growing up in the Midwest – I won't say exactly when, but if the name Ozzie Nelson rings a bell, you're in the ballpark – indoor bowling was hugely popular. Bowling places were popping up all over, so much so that it was difficult to keep one's mind out of the gutter. Brunswick, maker of mechanical pin-setting machines, was a brand better known at the time than McDonalds… although Brunswick fries weren't nearly as tasty.

Nowadays, bowling alleys are hard to find as cheap real estate in Lamorinda. According to the Yellow Pages, the closest to us is in Costco Country, on Monument Boulevard in Concord.

Although alleys may be on life support, bowling remains alive and well. It's simply moved outdoors. Think of the sport of bowling al fresco. Hereabouts, it is being lapped up in two European flavors: French and Italian.

The former is called petanque (PE-tonk, as in "Honk If You Like Petanque"); the latter, bocce (BOCH-ee) ball. In Italian bocce means kiss, or so I'm told. What do I know, I'm Irish. Both derive from a game originated eons ago by Greeks.

The current form of petanque originated in Provence, France, more than a century ago. An estimated 17 million French play the sport in the homeland.

Click here for the complete article.

Friday, August 13, 2010

2010 Emile Furlan Memorial Tournament

The Emile Furlan Memorial Tournament will take place this year on Labor Day weekend at the Furlan Ranch just outside of Knights Landing, north of Woodland, Ca. If you have never participated in this event, it is surely one you don't want to miss.
Bring your R.V., or tent and sleeping bag and sleep under the wonderful canopy of walnut trees, or if you prefer something a bit less rustic, there are several hotels in nearby Woodland.

All of the details are in the 2010 Furlan Tournament Flier.

There is also a slideshow from a previous tournament.

Even if you don't have a team member, there are people looking to play. Call Kevin Mcgill to assist you in forming a team.

Since it does take place on the Labor Day weekend, it is advisable to book your hotel now, since availability may be hard to come by.

Don't forget the insect repellent, since their is nearby water. Pretty during the day, yet home to some voracious little creatures at night...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Bike Rambler - “Visage of America”

One of the most driving forces behind pétanque in the last few years has been a humble, self effacing young man, Tim Channel, of the Fresno Pétanque Club. Tim is a real mover and shaker, partly to blame for the fact that the Fresno Club is the largest and fastest growing club in the nation! Although this post really doesn't have to do with pétanque, it is all about one man's energy and determination. We wish him well on his journey and look forward to future dispatches.

Hello Everyone,

Many of you have heard that I was planning an 800 mile bicycle tour through Oregon, Washington State and Victoria, British Columbia. This tour starts this evening when I board an amtrak train for Oregon. Click here for the bike route.
I do not want to blog about this bike tour. It takes too much time. Many of you, however, have asked that I write something that tells them about the bicycle journey. So, I will occasionally be writing a brief little summary on some of the trip highlights. These highlights will be encapsulated in "The Bike Rambler."

Thanks for all your support. I'll be back soon.


....So It Begins - The Bicycle Journey
An occasional journal by Tim Channell during his 800 mile bike tour In Oregon, Washington & Victoria, BC.

...nothing so liberalizes a man and expands the kindly instincts that nature put in him as travel and contact with many kinds of people. - Mark Twain, 1867

Road Statistics: Today, I boxed my bike for transit to Eugene. My 4 panniers are packed and I am ready.
Route: Fresno, Sacramento, Eugene
Total Bike Miles: 0
ispatch #1 - Fresno, August 12, 2010

I begin my bicycle journey this evening with an overnight train to Eugene, Oregon. It will change me.
America has always been discontented. In a land of wealth and plenty, America’s people are always striving and seeking new horizons, new changes. We Americans fervently believe that a new town, a new house, new friends or a new marriage will make us happy. For a while, it works, but never for long. Yet, we continue searching for the holy grail of happiness. We believe it is our destiny. It is a wishful and dreamy ideology, and simultaneously a strange national psychosis.
I am an American. I start this bicycle journey believing that I will find Americans along the way that will enrich my life. This optimism is so very American. I plan to briefly chronicle in this short column some of America’s people that I meet along the way. I will be looking for their optimism and telling you about it.


When my friends found out I was planning an 800 mile solo bicycle tour of America’s Northwest, their usual response was “Why?” These sentiments, however, ranged from “that’s dangerous,” “you’ll be lonely,” “there are bears out there,” “carry a gun,” “This will change your life,” and so on. I just smiled at their insight.
What motivates someone? It’s a mystery to me. I have no good reasoning for going on this journey, other than I think it will be a delightful time. I suspect I will learn something about my country, my home and most likely about myself. In this short column “Asphalt Ruminations,” I will briefly describe some insights I find along America’s byways.

Thanks to Ms. Terry for her help in getting me physically and emotionally trained for this long bicycle tour. Terry has been my wife and partner for almost 26 years. She is a dynamic force in my life, and our community. Unlike me, she seems to always know what to do. I will always be enamored with her perkiness and patience. She is a bicyclist also and one day will bike around the world with me. She is my love.
And So It Begins

County negotiates to buy Marin Commons complex

County officials are negotiating with the owners of the 35-acre, 455,000-square-foot Marin Commons complex in San Rafael to determine what it would cost to buy the facility.

Acquiring the complex and turning it into a public safety center instead of constructing a building next to the Marin Civic Center is among proposals under consideration by the county board.

County supervisors met behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss what an agenda called "price and terms of payment" with negotiators, apparently including representatives of Corac LLC of Delaware and its managing member, Connecticut General Life Insurance Co., owners of the Marin Commons at 1600 and 1650 Los Gamos Road. The complex reverted to its lender in a $62 million foreclosure last year.

Although the county board's agenda disclosed the purpose of the closed meeting, and an official pointed it out to a reporter, all were mum when emerging from the private talks.

"We gave instructions to our real estate negotiator," said board president Judy Arnold, declining to elaborate.

"We're seriously looking at all our options," added Supervisor Steve Kinsey. "I can't say any more."

A plan to build a $100 million-plus public safety center near a dog park next to the Civic Center has been a political hot potato in Santa Venetia, where residents fear the move would ruin the neighborhood.

Former Assemblywoman Kerry Mazzoni, who lost a bid to unseat Supervisor Susan Adams in June, made abandoning the Civic Center


site a cornerstone of her campaign, saying it was crazy to erect a new building when the Marin Commons site could be acquired for about half as much.

Acquisition and retrofitting of the earthquake-safe complex would save money and provide more than enough space for public safety facilities, allowing consolidation of other county leased facilities as well as the lease of unused areas.

At last report, the "preferred alternative" of the Board of Supervisors was the dog park site, where officials have long envisioned the first phase of an 85,000-square-foot public safety complex costing an initial $58 million. An environmental analysis will review several sites, including the Marin Commons complex.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

UBK Studios at Amelia Island

With the Pétanque America Open coming up in November, UBK Studios, a low or "no funded" group of cinematographers is trying to raise enough funds for travel expenses from Chicago, IL to Amelia Island, Florida for 3-4 crew members. Equipment rental (Canon DSLR Cameras, audio equipment, lighting kits), music licensing rights and DVD Duplication.
Their goal is to film the entire tournament proceedings and general atmosphere at the competition, but there is a catch...
they need your help. As you may know pétanque in English is not very common as there are few videos around. After looking at LUDO it was blatantly apparent that these guys know their stuff and through their proposed dvd, will give pétanque a huge shot in the arm here in the states by showing pétanque in all of its social and competitive facets.

Visit UBK Studios Pétanque Promo to watch the pétanque promo. For information on how you can contribute to this worthwhile cause, visit Indiegogo

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fresno Hmong take World

As you may have heard by now, the trio of fine youngsters from Fresno, have won the World Qualifier Competition and are headed next year to the Junior World Championships. What was interesting to see during the competition was the extreme sportsmanship on both sides of the battle. Congratulations on winning shots or points could be heard from one team across the court to the other. A breath of fresh air to be sure when in some competitions, the fact that a game is being played seems to be lost amongst those competing. It could be said that their quality of sportsmanship and playing ethics is due in large part to their parents and other elder relatives. Fine, hard-working, dedicated people teaching their youngsters how to be the best while retaining dignity and respect for their adversaries.

It also comes from their Hmong, or Mong heritage. The terms Hmong (IPA:[m̥ɔ̃ŋ]) and Mong ([mɔ̃ŋ]) both refer to an Asian ethnic group in the mountainous regions of southern China. There, they remain one of the largest sub-groups in the Miao (Chinese:苗族) minzu (nationality) along with other related ethnic minorities. Beginning in the eighteenth century, conflict with Han Chinese settlers migrating to the south caused Hmong groups began a gradual mass migration to Southeast Asia. As a result, Hmong currently live in several countries in Southeast Asia, including northern Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar. Traditionally, the Hmong practice subsistence agriculture and the harvesting of timber.

During the last century, the Hmong have been caught up in the political instability which affected Southeast Asian nations. Many Hmong people in Laos fought against the communist-nationalist Pathet Lao during the Secret War. When the Pathet Lao took over the government in 1975, Hmong people were singled out for retribution, and a large number fled to Thailand. Many were resettled in Western countries, including the United States, Australia, France, French Guiana, and Canada. Others were returned to Laos under United Nations-sponsored repatriation programs. Around 8,000 Hmong refugees remain in Thailand.

Today, approximately 270,000 Hmong/Mong people reside in the United States, the majority of whom live in CaliforniaMinnesota (41,800), and Wisconsin (33,791). (65,095 according to the 2000 U.S. census), Fresno, Merced, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, and Wausau, Wisconsin have especially high concentrations of Hmong/Mong people. There are also smaller Hmong/Mong populations scattered across the country, including Western North Carolina (Hickory, Morganton, Charlotte), Linda Vista, California, Sacramento, California, Stockton, California, Winooski, Vermont, and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, centered around the towns of Ephrata, Pennsylvania and Denver, Pennsylvania. There is also a small community of several thousand Hmong who migrated to French Guyana in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

La Pétanque Marinière would like to congratulate Kenny, Hai & Pengsue in winning the Junior World Qualifier and wish them all the best in their travels abroad and in the actual competition. Carley Stasak from Eugene. Oregon will accompany the team as an alternate