Take one cowboy, add one cowgirl, mix in one motorcycle, 'shaken not stirred' and hold on to yer' a@# !! Hi, we are Bill McKay and Karen Brown, presently from Bandera, Texas...We are working horse people. What that means is Karen trains horses and I "cowboy".
(Yes...that is REALLY what I do! )
Please join us in our FIRST motorcycle adventure. (Well..Karens first, anyway.)
Being a lifelong bike enthusiast, when Karen told me, a year ago, that we 'needed' to go to Europe. I told her "No thanks!" "What did I want to go to a city for?" " They're just fulla' people and cars and buildings and ALL the stuff I don't like!" BUT she kept talking and I said the ONLY way I was goin' was by motorcycle and danged' if she didn't say "WHYYY NOT!" (I'd like to tell ya'll that it really didn't go this smooth but, it REALLY did!)
Now there really wasn't as much planning as you might think. We got on the horn ( the net to you college guys) and checked out a few places for rentals, (we didn't, and still don't currently, own a bike) and came up with 'Bournemouth Motorcycle Limited' inthe UK..after a few dozen e-mails, ( let me tell ya' these people have been GREAT) we were set up to ride!!! Tickets, money, backpack, hat (hell yes! I'm takin' my hat!) we're ready to shove off!
There's more to this story than I can tell inthis first entry but, why try and give you everything right at the start of the story....if'n you want ALL the 'bloody and gory' details...you're just gonna' hafta' keep checkin' in!
Wish us well. First stop, London! Look out ya'll! We're loose with the saddle on!!
4 July '06 Bandera, Texas
Okay....so there are TWO words that should NEVER be combined. As a matter of fact, ANYBODY that EVER uses them in our presence is gonna' open the "whole can a whoopass". Those words are 'sport' and 'tourer'. Let me tell ya' brother. There ain't no such thing! At least not with the letters GSX attached!
Anyway, after that 'surprise'! Hey ya'll, we're in Belgium!!!!!
We hit the UK after an all night flight and were met by our good friend Peter Eldridge. He took us on an overland tour of the British countryside, then on to Bournemouth to pick up the bike, (which I have now fondly nicknamed 'Torquemada'. Yeah, yeah, look it up!).
Just a quick note to all, there aren't any pics on this entry because I am using a computer that is run basically in Flemish! 'Sides I have enough trouble with an english based computer!
A word about this 'left hand drive thing'.... COME ON GUYS!!!!! I know everybody wants to feel 'special' but cut me some slack!!!.....Only a couple of wooops'ses and "I'm sorries" but we made out. Stayed at a great B&B in some place ?, ( will give them full credit for a great stay on the next entry).
Made it to Stonehenge. Nice rocks? But ran into to a bunch of nice bikers so had to visit, coffee, scones, bullshit...... you guys that know me;... know me! Got to look at a couple of the new BMW Adventurers. Tried to trade straight up with 'a little boot' but NO WAY would they jump.
One of the riders' wives told me about the left hand drive thing, about medievel times and the sword on the left side so you could draw it and fight? I told her that in the US if ya' tried that sword crap, somebody would just 'shoot yer' sword carryin' ass. Settled that one. US..1 / UK..ZIP!
Headed out next morning for Dover and darned near made it despite bucking the cross winds on the (race bike/sports/tourer) 'Torquemada'. Spent the night in a 'smelly little spot'; would mention the name buuuut..... I'll think about that one.
Left out on Sunday morning in the light mist/rain, for Dover. Had a couple of REAL hairy moments with the wind, but arrived safely. After a quickie breakfast at the port, qued up in line right behind a new friend. Fellow traveler on a Yamaha big twin, Franz Till.
Franz is a shipping manager, from Germany, and had been over to the UK for an airshow! GREAT guy! Stayed with us on the ferry, shared coffee and bike/life stories. We were still suffering from severe 'jet lag' and with the iffy weather, we were not looking forward to our next little leg (to Brugge). Franz was headed home to Cologne and offered to guide us right to our next highway exit!! Now please understand. We aren't wimps by any means, but we were exhausted from the wind and jet travel and really appreciated the company! ( Man ya' gotta' love bikers)
THANKS FRANZ!!! We made it!
We are staying with our friends Tine' and Stefan and their daughter Emma. They had a party in progress as we arrived so the local society of Jabbeke, Belgium got a taste of 'cowboy'.
For our horse friends, we are horseback riding on the North Sea coast tonight. We'll let you know how it goes or doesn't go.....Hi to all our friends and family back home!! It's going GREAT! Kelly and Toby; don't forget to pet the dawgs! (Yes, "Bandit" can sleep on the bed.)
Will post pics on our next entry....Bill and Karen
SOOOOO....we made it to Austria. After a great farewell ,from our friend's in Belgium, it was off to Germany. So much to tell.....winding roads, friendly people, all the way to the holy mecca of racing; Nürbürgring!
We stayed in the greatest little guest house just down the road from the race track. Haus Veronika!!!! Karl, (also the Stihl chainsaw dealer), and his wife Hanna, welcomed us and the "Torquemada" like we were family. Fabulous place....had dinner at a Gasthaus in Nürburg, the Cafe' Paddock. If you go, you'll know the place as soon as you enter the town. The racing mural is a dead giveaway. Didn't work up the nerve to try out the track, but we did make a stop at Bikeworld. DROOL!!! Huge dealer in Nürburg. They tried to make us welcome with my limited German and their limited English, but it worked out.
The 'Torquemada' loved the highway. You can keep the sucker for touring but, you have got to love this hussy for the 'twisties'! She rode out great and made us feel at home in the mountains.
Yes, I know! Where are the pics? Well this cafe' wouldn't let us down load from our camera so we'll have to wait until we get to a friend's house in France to put up some pics.
We got nailed by some weather in southern Germany. Nothing heavy, but we found out the good and the bad regarding our choice of FROGG TOGGS for our rain gear. Jackets, OK. Pants ..NO WAY. Maybe if your legs are only 20 inches or so. Otherwise..... Actually, this has been a terriffic shakedown for choosing RTW gear. We are definitely finding out what works and what doesn't. Soft panniers suck. Period. On,off,on,off,on,off.....what a pain. A tank bag of Goretex. A definite must have. We'll add a lot more on gear, from novice bike travelers like us, as we go along.
Now, about that Cop thing. So we get into the Alps, head through the most fantastic country. You know what we mean? Really start getting into the ride. We stop at the first "REAL" Tourist Info building we see. Nice place for a rest and to visit, right? Wrong! Here comes a cop with a van full of computer equipment and a belly full of importance. "Ver are your PAPERS?" You have NO toll sticker!" Now 'fellers, there must be 50 signs around in 20 different languages, and not one of thoses suckers says ANYTHING in English about a toll sticker. Oh well. SIXTY-FIVE Euros later ( 5 for the sticker and 60 for the hell of it) and we are back on the road. Now I'm not generally too difficult about the law but this one was bullshit! I mean, guys ! Setting up a ticket trap in the Tourist Info parking lot? That not only stinks, it ain't even fair. Our rental company didn't clue us in either, and i guess it really isn't their problem, but.... Anyway, that's 60 Euros that somebody ain't gonna' git in someplace as spent money....hell the guy acted like he was on commission! (At least he didn't have to smile)...So off to Italy through the Alps. We'll backtrack when we post pics in France. Hi to all our friend's. Love to the danged dawgs! (That was from Karen)
Adios for Now, Bill & Karen
15 July 06
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