A bit more, but not much..
We got to Brighton and found a park for the bike.
The weather was starting to turn on us, (as usual) so I in particular was feeling the cold, we both needed the loo so we found the nearest and headed in.
Once we had both relieved our bursting bladders we found somewhere warm to have something to eat, we thought it would be rude to go to Brighton and not have fish and chips so we did.
Once full and warm we headed back out for a short walk up Brighton pier and of course to take photos like the tourists that we now are.
Jo on the pier
We finally finished and headed back to the bike, get all our gear on and started our way to make the surprise visit to my parents. We navigated the M25 surprisingly well, the traffic wasnít too bad either. We must have timed it just right.
We ended up staying here for three weeks longer than the originally planned week due to some issues that needed to be sorted before we could head off. Although this was eating in to our time overseas we both had a great time while we were there.
Thank you to everyone for a great time back at home in good old Essex and to those of you that we didnít get to catch up with we will see you in August/September time.
The 11th of June we packed the up said our goodbyes and headed on our way to hopefully sunny France!!!
We left my parents house with plenty of time to make it to Dover, the traffic was good and it was pretty much straight there. We headed straight for check in, apologising for being over an hour early, but to our surprise he very kindly put us on the next ferry due to depart an hour early . Bonus!!!
The ferry journey itself was good, the bike got tied down securely so we didnít have that to worry about that.
So we made ourselves comfortable and waited to dock at the other end.
We were both quit nervous when we got off at Calais, myself never driving on the right hand side of the road and Jo was worried about navigating.
We rode off the ferry and tried to find our way out of Calais, but..... sad to say, we couldnít. We decided to follow the flow of the traffic which wasnít any help to us as of course they were all heading to Paris or beyond.
After about half an hour of what felt like riding around in circles we decided to stop and consult the Sat Nav, (the first if many such consultations), figured out what direction we were travelling in and what direction we wanted to go in and eventually found our way out.
We both decided that we wasnít going to travel to far today but make a big push tomorrow.
We found a camp site along the coast, it was cheap (11 Euros) but basic, but that is all we need, as long as there was hot running water we werenít too fussed. We settled into our new home easily, we made ourselves dinner a very appetising meal of beef and noodles (it tasted better than it sounds) and then headed off for a walk along the seafront.
The weather had improved since we got into France but I was still quite cold, I suppose the sea breeze didnít help that matter either.
We headed back for camp to settle in for our first night on foreign shores.
Dover from the ferry
The first night went well, for Rob at least I said I was cold and didnít get a good nights sleep hence thatís why I was up at 5:30am
We took it quite slowly the first morning, the people in the tents next to us also were riding a bike, although we didnít speak to them much, The Guy also snored like a train so Rob and I were trying not laugh too loudly in case we woke everyone else up, the camp site seemed to be quite busy.
By the time we managed to re pack everything and get ourselves sorted out it was about 9:30am
We headed into Boulogne and across a huge suspension bridge which we managed to get cross for free. The roads so far seemed to be very good, not in just quality but a nice ride as well, descent corners and all.
We decided as it was our first full day of riding we really wanted to make a big dent in the miles planned. We thought it would be an idea to see what the toll roads were like and how much they would cost, there was an alternative roads on the same route we were heading for, so if the first one was too expensive we could get off at any available junction.
The first toll we paid for was only 4 Euros and 60 cents which we didnít think was too bad although we did think that as we were bikers we my be able to get through free like the tolls in the UK, that bubble was soon burst.
We carried on, deciding that although the first toll wasnít expensive we couldnít afford to do toll roads everyday so thought we had better start as we meant to go on.
We were doing great until we came across another toll booth, we were both perplexed as to how we managed to end up at it, we were sure we hadnít seen any toll signs on the roads, We took the ticket and carried on going, there were no turn off or Junctions to avoid going through, so we had no choice but to go through it. Again the price wasnít too bad it was 5 Euros 20.
We headed to La Harve for lunch, We seemed to be making good times and we couldnít wait to stop as we were both a bit numb and both very hungry, it was all going well until we hit La Harve itís self, with its spaghetti junctions and not very well sign posted roads, we inevitably got lost, we managed to end up at the huge oil refinery, it was all a bit strange so we headed on and ended up outside a very big Gypsy camp, we stopped to consult the sat nav and get it to direct us into the centre.
The sat nav did its thing and we took off as fast as we could go away from the camp, it took us back through the spaghetti junction and took us smack bang into the middle of the centre where we found a nice little patisserie and had extremely yummy baguettes for lunch.
Ok so we hadnít started off very well this morning but we got over it and started to make our way to our final destination of the day which was Bayeux Via Cean. There is some great little villages between La harve and Cean.
All along the motor way there were mega expensive cars whizzing past us and it was the same when we got to the petrol station. It was a great sight to see there was just car after car lined up, we soon became to realise that it was the le Mans TT race later on in the week.
We met up with an English guy who was riding a Honda VFR, (for those of you that donít know what that is, it is a Sports tourer with a lot more guts than ours although we didnít do a bad job of keeping up with him.) who we got talking to at another petrol station.
Turns out he was heading to Cean too, so we decided to follow him there. He also then informed us that he wanted to stay off the Paege roads, realising a few moments later that these were the toll roads.
Once we got to Cean we stopped and had a chat and figured out the best route to get to Bayeux. (again consulting the sat nav)
Well we obviously didn't memorise the directions well enough because we ended up heading in the totally wrong direction (i'm blaming the crappy French road signs) But to our surprise we ended up on the north coast of normandy not far from the D-Day beaches.
We headed into the nearest camp site which was what the French call a municipal site. All that means is that its cheap (10 Euros 50) and basic, we sorted out our things and made dinner. We were both feeling quite sore today it was the furthest we had both been on the bike. we did roughly 250+ miles in one day.
After dinner of chicken rice and beans we headed into the village for a walk around. Me being nosey, I rolled ankle whilst gawking at a bus load of German soldiers!!!
It was a nice little town with a Museum about the D-Day landings, there where still memorial reefs laid out from the anniversary which we both stood a read in silence.
We headed back to the camp and headed for bed.
The D Day Museum
Considering we were up at 6.30am the day before we sure made up for it today, we got up at about 9.30 which put rest to the thought of me now being an early bird. Yesterday must have just been a one off :-)
We ate the left overs from dinner for breakfast which wasn't as bad as it sounds. Packed up the tent and re packed the panniers and top box which we realised we had to do everyday to get everything in them how we wanted to and headed off for another day of French riding.
We didn't get very far just the next Village along to go to the Office de tourism which was in Port de Bessin, we collected a few leaflets of where the D-Day beaches actually were and other such things of interest. We sat on a bench outside the tourist office for about half an hour watching a weir in action (Rob is so sad), filling up with more water opening the gate, letting the boat in from the harbour then opening the other bridge, we were fastinated.
We headed for Omaha beach and the American cemetery, We spent a while at both, we met three British Harley riders at the beach and followed them up to the cemetery.The cemetery was very moving, you just see row after row of white crosses and their names, it was quite surreal but moving all the same, unfortunately every single battery for both cameras had decided to die at this particular point so the only photos we have of this are tiny little ones on Joīs phone.
From here we headed to Bayeaux to see Bayeaux tapestry, this was very impressive and if it was for the the hand held audio we wouldn't of had a clue as to what was actually happening along it's 70 metre length.
After leaving Bayeaux we headed for Le Mont saint Michael were we stopped by the side of the road and had a look at this very impressive building
We headed into a village to find a camp site as it was getting late and we needed to buy dinner. We would head back to Le Mont Saint Michael first thing in the morning. We stayed in a little camp-site which was essentially someone's garden, it was reasonably ok for the 12 Euros we paid. There was only us and another woman there but we figured it would be the cheapest camp site being so close to Le Mont saint Michael.
We made dinner, went for a walk and headed to bed in prep for a long day of riding in the morning.
Rob had noticed that along the way the houses have started to look Spanish, I on the other hand didn't agree and said its a Mediterranean thing, Rob was still not so sure.
The weather has been good so far although we are both still riding in full motorcycle gear, it kept threatening to rain so better to be safe than sorry. Well that was what we said anyway.
A little dog that liked the smell of our food
Le Mont Saint Michael from near we camped.
More to come soon, we promise :-)
Posted by Rob Mott at June 25, 2009 01:16 PM GMT