We left Dole a little before 9 am with the small village of Ranchot as our destination, about 20k up the canal. Everything seemed to be going well, although the engine seemed to be making a little more noise than usual. After 4 locks, about 11:30, the engine made a bang, spit out a puff of smoke and began to shudder violently; it was only running on three of four cylinders! There was supposedly a tie up in the village of Orchamps just ahead but it was nowhere to be seen. The engine was still running, although just barely, so we figured we might as well continue to Ranchot, where there was a good tie-up. Normally we shut off the engine in the locks; there doesn't seem to be any reason to just sit there idling, breathing in exhaust fumes for 10 minutes, but we had two locks before Ranchot and we were afraid if we shut off the engine we'd never get it started again. Holding our breath we navigated the river sections of the canal against the current (luckily not that strong), and limped into Ranchot about 1:30.
Right after the engine started acting up, Cathy Jo had phoned Alain to let him know we were in trouble. He answered from the hospital! He'd been installing a new generator in a big barge and sliced the tendon in his thumb. He said to call when we got situated and he'd see what he could do. After we got tied up we got back in touch with him and he said if he could, he would see us Friday morning. Luckily the Ranchot halte has electricity and water and is a very secure tie-up for 7 euros a night. We settled it with our stomachs churning, wondering what could possibly be next.