Getting to France
16 to 21 September 2007
Our initial plan was to tour the southern counties and then get a ferry out of Portsmouth to the south of France. This plan was dashed when our UK insurance company failed to send out some needed papers causing us to return to London to pick them up. Bureaucratic incompetence knows no geographic boundaries it seems.
This photo shows the bike setup with the custom built tank box and removable side bags
Another shot of the bike rig. Amazingly, it all works ok
Our run back across the country included a short detour through the Welsh valleys. These original coal mining areas look much as I remember from old movies of DH Lawrence novels: bare arse hills with bare arsed towns. These villages are a million miles from the swank coastal villages full of cashed up English refugees.
We stopped at one pub for a piss stop and I am sure we were the most interesting thing to happen that week. If only we could have understood what they were saying, I’m sure we would have had in interesting time with the locals!
We over-nighted at Thornbury (near Bristol) and visited Steve Smith’s uncle and aunt and his 8 Rolls Royces. We stopped at a smelly B&B out off Shaftsbury next to a dairy (bad mistake) and enjoyed the 17th century house and 18th century plumbing. We then headed for Kent and a couple of days make and mend to pick up the paperwork. The country lanes were crowded, the countryside cluttered but the ride overall was interesting and enjoyable.
Ashford gave us a chance to get some haircuts and find some internet access; both essential after the wilderness of the Wild West.
All of this faffing about left us short of time to get down to Montpellier for game three. The Channel Tunnel was the quickest option; or so we thought. Hours of waiting, then sitting on the bike in a line for more hours was only made bearable by the fact that it didn’t rain.
Waiting for the train to France
To top off the experience, an emergency was sounded half way through the tunnel when a fuel spill was found in the deck above ours and we were evacuated to the end of the train for the remainder of the trip. Great!!!!!
On the train before the emergency warning alarm sounded!
Two hours on the excellent French motorways south to Rouen cleared the cobwebs and a hearty French dinner put all right with our world again. Finding the Statue of Liberty was a bonus!
Just like our love of "big" things, the French have a collection of little things, in this case, the Statue of Liberty at Barentin north of Rouen
Just to get the size in perspective
Friday 21 Sep was our toughest day so far on this adventure. A “little” miscalculation in the navigation saw our 620 km (thank the heavens we are free of those dreadful miles) day extended over 12 hours.
An interesting house at Nonancourt. Dieter would love finding a straight side in this building!
After winding though villages and back roads all day we gave up and headed for the motorway and tested the stability of the big rig at high speed over the last 250 km. 250 divided by 140 equals……..a quick trip to town.
Places to stop by the highway are hard to find
Brive was an unexpectedly pleasant reward after a hell of a day.
The Beemer standing guard outside a Brive hotel
More Brive markets. The fresh produce is excellent at these local markets
The run down to Sete on the Med coast with a lazy, long lunch, and a wander through interesting back lanes, highways and mountain villages was just the kind of day we like on a bike.
This big arsed bridge may be called a viaduct, but it is still impressive. 130 kph all the way
We found Nick at a cheap hotel (where else), a cold beer and some food and our miserable run to Brive was forgotten. To top it off, Sete is another great town.
At last we get to Sete and meet Nick
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