May 22, 2011 GMT
Preparation...what a bore!!!

Euro Tour 2011! All is in hand for an extended tour of Europe from 1st June to end of August. Taken early retirement...who wants to work after reaching the 50 milestone...booked the ferry to LeHavre...no return booked...the only committment I have is to be at the HU meet near Heidleburg 10th June...other than that, just wandering as I feel like it. I had attempted a plan, but soon realised that after 25+ years of planning at work, I really don't like it! So, let's see where that gets me!
Anyway, just over a week to go to D Day...better get in the garage and see what to take/what to junk/just what is the spare luggage capacity of BMWs F800GS with 1 fat bloke's 3 month supply of undies and sundries hoping to camp (fnurr) his way round Europe? Pictures and more to follow...if i get the hang of this blogging melarky.

Posted by Mike Matthews at 11:51 AM GMT
May 26, 2011 GMT
Bike's about ready...wot about me?

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Practised packing the bike, got everything on there, but the tools kit still need sorting. I will go around the bike to check fastener sizes, making sure I only take what is required. The weight will come in handy when the tools are in the compartment to the front of the bash plate...I need some biase to the front (and low) to counter all that weight on the back. No doubt my packing technique will evolve over the coming weeks ... chucking away those things that are essentials while sat on the driveway...but a pain in the ar*e when actually on the road ! Anyway, this entry is good practice for me uploading photos...if the above link works, maybe I've cracked it!!!??
5 days to go........Living the dream (gulp).

Posted by Mike Matthews at 10:09 PM GMT
June 02, 2011 GMT
Hull Portsmouth 3O May

Well, I did say I had no plan; decided at last minute to have a stay in Portsmouth before getting ferry. Had 2 nights B and B so had full day out in Portsmouth and Gosport. Well worth the visit to HMS Victory, sub museum, Explosion. Ride down was awful...rain all the way, and SatNav made it 300 miles rqther than 270...loves villages and 30mph limits.
Ferry to LeHavre on 1st June.

This is where embarkation for D-Day was...so a good point for the start of my Euro travels.
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Something old...
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something new...
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Posted by Mike Matthews at 11:45 AM GMT
Le Havre to Bayeux 1 June

Good, fast crossing. Dry and warm in France...quiet backroads to Bayeux...camping at municipal site on edge of town.
Now sat in bar with second lqrge Guiness...it is lunchtime...trying to work out why French keyboards arn,t QWERTY...not easy, and I havent got me glasses.
Sight seeing, on foot all day. No photos yet...no chance to upload them on this thing.
D Day beaches 2moro.

Photos at last...This is Bateux Cathedral...not far from the pub I was sat in.
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around here, somewhere...

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Posted by Mike Matthews at 11:56 AM GMT
June 08, 2011 GMT
8th June

Out of touch for a while...but still going strong. Mobile phone Kerrputt! Torrential rain between Bayeux and Reims put an end to that, and internet access limited at campsites. Done 6 nights camping, 2 near to Reims.
Normandy visit to all DDay beaches was interesting, especially the Pegasus bridge site, Gold and Sword landings. Also visited the American Utah and Omaha beaches. Lots of wannaba GI's...mostly French dressed up and driving Jeeps. The tapestry at Bayeux is the longest scarf you've ever seen...Sue would like it.
Moved on Sunday to Reims...long ride in pouring rain. Reims very historic site...found it expensive to eat out there, Euro15 for noodles that was just a snack. Tuesday arrived at Verdun...lots of WW1 sites nearby. Staying in hotel to dry out, and searching for unlocked mobile phone without luck. Verdun is nice town, staying right in centre. Chatting with Aussie guy touring on borrowed UK bike...he's fed up of the rain too. Wednesday...intend to visit the battlefield sites as it's dry today, then do the pubs here after evening meal.
Tomorrow...Luxumbourg or Germany, not decided yet.

NORMANDY

Pegasus Bridge, where the Brits used gliders to land within 50 yards...
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near Gold Beach. Tank is a Churchill?
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Point Du Hoc, taken by US Rangers...lots of shell holes.
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And wannabe GI's...mainly French guys.
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Loads of vintage stuff...
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REIMS
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Fort Du Pompelle, part of the protective ring around Reims, took a bit of hammer.
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VERDUN
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Chapel came under fire...
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Heavy rain during evening meal...ducks took a chance...
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Verdun is surrounded by Citadels...as well as the one right in the town. Verdun was under siege for 2-4 years, the city was awarded lots of medals of honour.
This is Fort De Douaumont a few km from town. It is huge, with kms of underground passages and rooms, with lift up gun turrets poking out the top. 600000 French and German soldiers died in the hillsides around here, and this is where the Americans staged 2 big offensives to regain ground around the city.
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Posted by Mike Matthews at 09:53 AM GMT
June 10, 2011 GMT

Over the last few days I have endured severe pins and needles in my left arm. It's now got to the point whereby the whole of my arm is totally numb. I cant use the clutch or switchgear, so the last few hundred km have been a bit hard on the bike's gearbox. So, thought it wise not to go futher into europe, instead headed for Zeebrugge to get the overnight ferry to Hull...only a few miles to ride home then. At Doctors this lunch...awaiting referral to specialist. Doc thinks that years of biking have given me severe white finger syndrome!
Anyway, as soon as it improves I will resume.
So, done Belgium in 3 hours. Say something nice about Belgium. Mmm. Erm. Oh, I know. It improved as the ferry left it behind!

Posted by Mike Matthews at 09:51 PM GMT
July 24, 2011 GMT
Stuck at home for now

Quick update.
Solved my connectivity problem by buying a Motorola Xoom tablet PC, so should be able to update the blog anywhere with WiFi access. Has a built in camera so life should be somewhat easier on the move. Just hope it's reasonably robust.
But...been to the specialist re my duff arm, and I need surgery to the carpel tunnel on both wrists! The right one wasn't even bothering me, so I will delay that one. I'm informed the op should be within 18 weeks, so that rules out any long trips and off road for now, though I do have a plan to get to Mandello for the Guzzi 90th bash, so will update on that later.
Cos I've sat at home pondering my next move I've spent too much time on t'internet. Result? More spending as I 'found' a nearly new Suzuki Intruder begging for a home. 1800cc of chrome and sparkling paint...not much ground clearance so no off the beaten track with this one! Got plenty of time for polishing at the moment.

Struggling to get photo to transfer...always a problem to solve...ggrrrrr!

From my PC, easier to up load photos from this rather than the Xoom thingy wotsit...this is at the Sledmere monument on the odd sunny day we have. Within my 100 mile limited range for the time being...this is one heavy beast, almost twice the weight of the BMW800GS.
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And Brid south bay...here with the pillion seat fitted. Oh...that's two sunny days then. Stand by for the hose pipe ban!
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Posted by Mike Matthews at 07:54 PM GMT
June 21, 2012 GMT
UK meets (Intruder)

I had my wrist and hand surgery in December 2011.. all appears well but building up to longer trips. Range was limited to around 100 miles, dependant on clutch use...but now up to 350 miles, then I have to rest for a day or so till the swelling subsides.

So, since last blog, have only done localish trips. The Suzuki Intruder 1800 has completed two meets of the Suzuki Intruder UK club. One held in Norwich, the latest in May 2012 in Lincolnshire. Of note there was the opportunity to have the bikes photo'd with a Lancaster Bomber.
Hopefully the photos will attach;DSCF0021 (800x601).jpg

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Posted by Mike Matthews at 05:17 PM GMT
Intruder 3rd Euro meet

June 1 - 3 2011 saw the 3rd Euro meet of the European Intruder Clubs held in Haro, Rioja, Spain.
I opted to miss the long ride through France, instead using Brittany Ferries Portsmouth to Santander with return to Plymouth for 191 Euros. Slept on recliner-awful, smelly, noisy- but found decent settee in piano bar to kip. Not a problem on way out as the ferry docks in Santander at 1800, so used a local hotel to get some kip...after a few jars and tapas, of course. Had met up with Dusty and Steve The Manc, then waited till following ferry came in to met Lenny and Thermo (intrudercruz gang).
Haro meet was great, well looked after by the organisers and the Dutch and German contingent who were there early. Some drinks and tapas were consumed, again.

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Some of the many...200 or more

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More tapas please...

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Dusty, Dutch friend, Christine, Steve, Dave

After the meet I moved on alone to the Picos region. Stunning area. Stayed B&B in Potes in log cabin style hotel.

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Then onto the coast road heading back to Santander.
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Posted by Mike Matthews at 06:03 PM GMT
 


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