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Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, At the foot of the Bear Glaciers, eternal ice, British Columbia, Canada

Adventure is what you make it

Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, at the foot of the Bear Glaciers, British Columbia, Canada.



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Old 11 Jun 2020
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Job quit, house sold, time for a round the world trip! (Started during a lock-down)

Hello all,

As the title suggests, i have started (well, on the 20th of May) my round the world trip. Like a lot of people posting on here, i'm travelling solo.

I have started a bot of a blog to keep a track of my travels, the website for this is www.theferaltraveller.com and ive been posting pictures on Instagram under the_feral_traveller , feel free to check them out if you're interested.

I'll past the first post or two in here and add them in periodically...

So take yourself back to May 20th...

Travel, remember that? Leaving the house and going somewhere just because you felt like it…

Like most of the UK (and world), I’m sat at home right now dreaming of times where leaving the house just because you wanted to, wasn’t as socially unacceptable as dropping a fart in a lift.

A large part of the reason for my time spent reminiscing about days of care free travel, is that I handed in my notice at work in the middle of November 2019, 3 months of notice to be exact. Then, from mid-February I would spend six weeks finalising my house sale, selling the remainder of my belongings and sorting my affairs before riding my motorbike round the world. My ferry to Spain was booked for March 31st.

You would be correct in assuming this has not gone exactly according to plan.

At a time when I had expected to have been riding round Spain and Portugal for 5 weeks and considering leaving Spain via the Pyrenees and popping into Andorra, I have in fact, not moved an inch. My initial plan was to get the ferry to Spain, head straight for the mountains and wild camp while moving slowly towards Portugal, sort of like below:



I had been holding out hope for the six weeks since my first ferry was cancelled that the Ferries would start again, the first round of cancellations ran until mid-April, I decided that I would err on the side of caution and only book a ferry for after the dates that the EU said the internal Schengen region border restrictions would be lifted, which was the 15th of May, so I booked for 17th May. Keeping an eye on the Brittany Ferries website I noticed that the late April and early May ferries had now also been cancelled, the new date bookings were being taken from was 15th May in line with the EU’s statements on internal borders.

At this point I was feeling rather smug, I’d done my research and felt like I was ahead of the game. Brittany Ferries then cancelled all ferries to Europe before June 1st. I was not ahead of the game; I was stabbing in the dark like everyone else.

Now, I appreciate that the Coronavirus pandemic is serious and that we all need to do our bit to slow its spread and, as we keep getting told, flatten the curve but this doesn’t change the levels of frustration felt when the dates travel will be allowed to resume, keep drifting further and further towards the horizon.

As a backup plan I had been keeping an eye on other routes out of the UK and through Europe, was there a way to start my trip without the use of the ferry to Spain?

Passenger ferries form the UK run to a number of places within continental Europe, these include France, Spain and the Netherlands. A quick google will let you know that the Netherlands has the least restrictive Coronavirus related lockdown measures of the 3 of these countries and in fact the ferries haven’t stopped operating at all during this pandemic.

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.

I’ve now booked a ferry to the Netherlands, what happens from there is anyone’s guess. I will need to be doing a lot of wild camping as hotels and other forms of accommodation will be closed, but this is OK with me and was always part of the plan. I will no doubt be restricted in where I can go and when but keeping abreast of the news will hopefully allow me to enter countries as their borders re-open.

I will of course be respecting each countries rules and restrictions but as most of Europe are weeks ahead of the UK right now, it makes sense to me to get across to Europe as soon as possible.

With current events as they are, I have had the same thing said to me countless times since Coronavirus, Covid-19, call it what you want emerged, ‘wouldn’t you be better off leaving this trip until next year’, and, ‘aren’t you worried about traveling while the virus is still around’. The short answers are no and, no. The slightly longer answer is, you will always be able to find a reason not to do something and you can’t panic and abort every time your plans take a knock. I do appreciate this is a fairly large knock, but it can still be worked around.

This pandemic will, without a doubt, change the nature of my trip. It will alter where I’m able to go and how I’m able to interact with people once I get there, but this doesn’t have to be seen as a bad thing. I will be visiting countries as they emerge from a once in a generation (we hope) event that has changed the way sections of societies interact with each other. I’ll be seeing the world in a way I perhaps won’t be able to see it again in my lifetime, regardless of how this turns out, it will certainly be interesting. This may not be the adventure I planned but it will be an adventure none the less.

So, time to get going...

When I was sat at home dreaming of this trip, a part of it, and quite a large part was centered around wild camping. As anyone who’s participated in a bit of wild camping will (or should) know, its technically illegal in a lot of places. For the most part though its overlooked as long as you adhere to the golden rule of wild camping, and that rule is this:

Don’t be a dick.

Now that seems like an easy rule to follow which is why its baffling that so many people get it sooooo wrong! The age old saying of ‘take nothing but memories (or pictures nowadays) and leave nothing but footprints’ covers most of it.

If you’ve read the ‘Traveling during Covid-19’ post, which can be found ‘here’ you’ll know that the original plan was to take the ferry to Spain and spend some time camping in the mountains in the north while heading towards Portugal.

In steps a global pandemic, its all goes to pot and I’m looking for other options.

Sweden, they have taken a very different approach to the Coronavirus pandemic than the rest of Europe, I’m not going to get into a debate about whether its right or not but I’m certainly happy to take advantage of their open borders.

The UK to Netherlands border remained open and the Germans had stood down their border in the northern regions bordering the Netherlands, this seemed like as good a time as any to start making tracks.

Its worth noting that Sweden also take a different approach to wild camping, they’re all for it, and the swedes bloody love it!

Day 1
So the date is the 20th of May, I’ve packed up my bike, said goodbye to my girlfriend, Char, and left Coventry, first stop, the magical town of Harwich. OK, so it may not be described as magical but it’s letting me leave the country so I’m pretty fond of Harwich for now.

I had a Stena line sleeper ferry booked for the Netherlands (which for the record is great!) with the aim of riding straight from the Hook of Holland port to Rostock in Germany for the overnight ferry to Sweden, it’s about 705km of motorway riding on a 250cc motorbike, you would be correct in thinking that’s a shit day out.

Day 2
None the less it got done fairly uneventfully, with the exception of being about as close to running out of fuel as I have ever been (without actually running out) on the German Autobahn, I’d underestimated how much fuel a tiny engine uses when trying to plow into a head wind and maintain motorway speed. When I got to the petrol station, I managed to get 9.7 liters into a 10.1 liter tank. That 400ml of fuel would have been good for another 5 miles or so in those conditions so maybe I could have cracked on a little longer.

So next is the ferry to Sweden, a cabin wasn’t mandatory on this ferry as it was on the previous so I didn’t bother, got some sleep on a chair and arrived in a slightly less fresh state than I arrived in the Netherlands.

Day 3
I arrive in Sweden, nobody checks my passport, I just ride straight off the ferry and into town. Brilliant.

This is as far as my ‘last min change of plan’ planning had got, I was now in Sweden with no idea what I was going to do next. A healthy dose of ‘winging it’ should suffice.

I pick a random spot on the coast and head to it, that doesn’t seem too productive, so I decide to head a little north and join the Trans Euro Trail for a while.

If you haven’t heard of it before, the Trans Euro Trail, or TET, is a network of over 50,000km of trails that run round Europe. The aim of them is to stay off road for as much as possible, if roads are needed the smaller the better. You can find out more ‘here‘.



So I sit on the TET for a fair few hours until I feel like I should probably start looking for a place to camp. My mum had told me about an app that campervaners (I don’t think that’s a word) use to record and log places to stop for a night. They can be carparks, laybys or in a lot of cases out the way little spots that you would have had to have spent ages searching for. If you’re interested the app is called park4night, ill put a link ‘here’.

With my new found app in hand I find a little spot by a lake, when I get there its really off the beaten track, if a big camper made it there I’m pretty sure they’d just have a living space full of smashed plates that had fallen out of their cupboards as it was damn rough.

I pitched my tent 10 feet from the water and cooked up a delicious noodley treat, day three was a winner!



Day 4
I start the day with a wash in the lake, good start.

I then decide im going to head over to an island off the east coast called Oland, but with the a pair of these fellas “ above the O.

The weathers changed a little now, its cold and wet, not raining, just spitting and, well the best way to describe the weather would be ‘shit’.

It takes a fair few hours to get to Oland, not a fun ride being cold. I’m also starting to get a little bored of the scenery (I have a very short attention span). Its lovely, its just the same, every house looks the same, red with white corners, some may be painted yellow, a couple white, I saw a grey one but I imagine the owners of that house were hauled into the town square and burnt as witches. Red, if your Swedish, your house is red.

Once in Oland I use the faithful app again to find a nice little field that’s left open for people to camp in. The app does let me adown a little here as there is mention of a toilet, that toilet doesn’t exist and the field is very exposed and there are a few other vans kicking about. I solve this dilemma by digging an en-suite in the porch of my tent.

Now, I was as apprehensive as I imagine you are reading this about the prospect of having a shit in my own tent but needs must! If I’m honest I was expecting to have to move my tent along if my en-suite was needed. In reality, putting soil on top worked a treat, like a long drop with a very tiny drop. Crisis averted, tent en-suite invented, created and trialed!



Day 4 wasn’t the best, time to sleep and move on.

Day 5
I decide to spend a little time planning what im going to do next, Sweden has the largest lake in the European union, Lake Vänern, I should probably go have a paddle in that.

It turns out that’s quite a trek for one day so I decide to split it in half, I have a group call with some friends in the evening so decide to treat myself to some accommodation with some Wifi.

Accommodation found (AirBnB), I head west, rejoin the TET and start north to my digs for the night, the TET got a little more fun, more muddy, more roots, more off-roading rather than gravel roads, I imagine it gets better still the further north you go.

Group call had, lots of laughs had, video call with Girlfriend after, lots more laughs had, bed time.

Day 6
On day 6 I had a fairly short stint to the lake, I got there in no time, I’d left the TET behind now so was on the road. With the help of trusty app again I found a great spot for the night. I did have to pop back into town as the Oxfod USB charger I had fitted to my bike broke. I had only used it for the previous 5 days so I’m a little peeved about that. Luckily, I had a cigarette style charger port fitted also so I popped into town to grab an adaptor and I was good to go.

See camping spot below:





Lake Vanern is great, and massive, I got the drone out to take some pics, being 87 miles across it obviously just looks like an ocean.



Day 7
In what seems to be the style of this trip so far, and if I’m honest, how I hope it continues, I wake up and start to think about where I’m going to go next. I come to the conclusion that I should go to the coast, I pick a random town on the east coast called Smogen, pack my tent and head west.

Smogen is a great little town, I wandered round it for a little while, took one picture because I’m shit at remembering to take more and got the ever faithful app out again.



This time the app plays a blinder, it takes me about 45 mins from Smogen to a little cove that has a tiny patch of grass which is perfect for camping on. That may not sound like a big deal but most of that area is bear rock so a nice patch of grass right next to the cove was great to find.





Set up camp just in time to see the following sun set.


Not bad ey!

Day 8
Time for a lazy morning, all this getting up at whatever time I like and doing whatever takes my fancy had not at all worn me out so I think I deserved a rest!

First course of action is to take a bath in the sea, I promptly stand on what looks like an Oyster….it is an Oyster. The whole shore is littered with them, just wander around at knee depth and pick them up. Which is exactly what I did. Wild camping and foraging, this has tuned out to be a brilliant spot so I decide I’m not moving!





It’s this spot that made me think of the main rule of wild camping, people seem unable to follow it here. I carry a spade on my bike so if you’re in a van you certainly can. If you pop into the woods for a pee you will find many a surprise waiting for you. Like the rhyme goes, ‘if you go down to the woods today you’re sure to be in for a surprise’, it just wont be a teddy bears picnic, it’ll be a dirty big turd covered in toilet paper. Dirty bastards!

Little surprises aside, this has been by far the best camping location to date. Sweden has become epic again!

I’ll stop this post here as I’ve no doubt lost both readers by this point.

Feel free to add your email on the right in the ‘Subscribe’ section for the next update.



Soooo, obviously that last line is cut from my blog so you would need to go there to subscribe if interested in following along.

I have another post about the reasons i chose the CRF250 Rally which may be of interest to some on here.

Cheers,
Mike
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Old 12 Jun 2020
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Great stuff Mike, please keep posting!
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Old 12 Jun 2020
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Enjoy reading about your ride. Thanks
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Old 12 Jun 2020
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You're having WAY too much fun, you bugger.
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Old 12 Jun 2020
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Week 2!

Day 9

Unlike most days so far, I actually wake up with a plan. A mate of mine has worked in Gothenburg and raved about the city, so that’s the destination.

As much as I like camping, while in cities I’ll be staying in cheap accommodation. So I’ve booked a single room in a Hostel in Gothenburg. I choose my accommodation by looking on a search engine and sorting price low to high. As long as none of the recent reviews of the top result report any murders, they’ve got themselves a customer.

For anyone’s that’s interested, I stayed at Gothenburg Mini-Hotel. It was £21 for a single room for the night with a shared bathroom, can’t whinge at that. It was clean, had a bed and TV, for the money I cant ask for more.

Stuff dumped in the room, it’s time for a wander. My mate was right, Gothenburg is awesome! It may be in part due to the main comparison being locked down UK where the streets are dead and the atmosphere is non-existent. Either way, the streets are busy and the architecture is great. There’s a real cafe and outdoor bar culture. The other main appeal is that there seems to be a lack of the usual city dwelling pretentious pricks, everyone seems relaxed and friendly!

During my trip i really wanted to get into photography. For this reason I head back to the hostel for an early night.

Day 10

An early morning follows. I head back to the places i tagged on Google maps the day before and take the following:









Time to leave!

As Sweden was never really on the plan, its been a little rushed. I’ll definitely be going back though.

I start to head south towards the Danish border, with the use of Park4night again i find a beach that the locals will tolerate you camping on and pitch up for the night.



Day 11

Sneaking into Denmark

My original plan to leave Sweden was to take the ferry back to Germany. Like many, I had not fully understood the Danish border restrictions.

Luckily for me though I met a German biker on the ferry, he had a plan to ride through Sweden, Denmark and back home. When I asked how he planned to enter Denmark he said that as he was transiting home, it counted as a ‘worthy cause’ to enter Denmark.

With this in mind I booked a refundable ferry ticket back to the UK for a weeks time and headed to the Danish border.

The ride from Sweden to Denmark is awesome, you cross a massive bridge that touches down on an artificial island between the two countries where it turns into a tunnel. I was tempted to bust out the drone for a picture of the bridge but didn’t think this would ingratiate myself too well with the Danish police that are pulling every motorist over on said little island for questioning.

I arrive at the police check point, explain I’m off home and showed my ticket. The police officer seems pleased with this and she sends me on my way…I’m in Denmark!

Arrived in Denmark

While in Denmark i decide to ride the Danish TET. I pull over after an hour or so for some food, thoroughly unimpressed with the Danish section of the TET. Its about 5% dirt and the rest is roads, almost doesn’t seem worth it.

Meeting other bikers

While eating two bikes pull up behind me in a car park, they had spotted me on foreign plates and pulled over for a chat. They turned out to be Alice and Henriette, two Danish ladies that pass their time riding dirt bikes. Henriette has done her fair share of traveling on a bike, check out her website, fortheloveofwheels.com.

As we’re all riding the Danish TET we decide to carry on as a trio. After Henriette wanders off route we end up at one of her friends small holdings eating koldskål, which, translates to Cold Bowl. As you might be able to guess, it was cold and served in a bowl. The Danish are not an inventive bunch when it comes to naming stuff!





Meeting new and interesting people on route is one of the great things about traveling, hopefully many more encounters like this to come! Thanks again guys for your hospitality!

Finding a camp spot

After leaving the guys at their friends small holding I head for another spot I’ve found on my faithful app and pitch up on the coast just in time for another awesome sunset.



Day 12

This is the second day i wake up with a plan, hopefully this wont start being ‘a thing’!

I’m going to make some good progress today, head down through the rest of Denmark and back through Germany to the Netherlands. I’m not planning on doing any sight seeing in Germany. Northern Germany doesn’t hold much appeal for me (sorry Germans). I lived in hamburg for 8 months after I graduated so I’d prefer to spend my time in places I haven’t been able to explore before.

Getting through the German border was fairly straightforward. I use the same story I used at the Danish border only this time the police officer isn’t so interested to see documents.

Once through the border I pull over and cancel my ferry ticket, its done its job!

After that its many hours of riding through Germany to get over the border and set up camp in a little woods. Not much else to say about that!

Day 13

Back in the Netherlands and time to slow down a little, I’m meeting my girlfriend Char in Amsterdam in a few days and its not far away.

If you’re going to do nothing for a day, there’s no better place than a beach, so I pack up camp and look for a beach near by. Luckily in the Netherlands there’s a fair few lake and canal beaches.



That’ll do!

I’m not going to lie, very little happened for the rest of the day!

After I decided to take my traditionally sun burnt British body away from the beach it was time to find a camp. I find some sand dunes on Google maps surrounded by a forest and head for that.

It turns out that these sand dunes are miles of sandy tracks surrounded by forest, what a find! After an hour or so of riding round these trails i find a spot to camp.



Day 14

Being the tourist

When in the Netherlands, what should you look at…windmills of course. Time to be a complete tourist and Google ‘best windmills in the Netherlands’. Turns out, there’s a lot! Keeping focused around Amsterdam I decide to head to The windmills at Kinderdijk. These bad boys are an UNESCO world heritage site which I assume means they’re good?!

So I’m heading west with google maps set to follow the dyke along the river Lek. If you’re in the Netherlands and want a good way to see the country, I can highly recommend you follow a dyke for a while. I’m normally a mountain lover but flat has never looked so good!

To YouTube or not to YouTube

After a short break at a river side beach to top up my lobster tan, I get to the windmills. At this point I bump into a couple of guys riding awesome retro motocross bikes. After a while chatting it turns out that one of the guys is a British chap called named Graeme who is a travel vlogger. He has a YouTube channel with his wife called ‘Babe, where’s my passport?‘. Go and check these guys out, what a life they lead!

This made me think, maybe a YouTube channel would be a good idea!

After Graeme and his father in law had headed off, I wandered into the windmill site to take some pictures:



Back to camping

As has become part of the daily schedule now, it was time to find a campsite again. This time I knew where I was going, I’d seen a great little patch of grass just below the Dyke next to the Lek river.

I get there and cook some dinner. As i start to think about putting the tent up a couple of Dutch chaps rock up for a nights fishing. We get chatting and they’re fishing for eels, apparently they’re illegal to fish for but really good so they head there a couple of times a year.

As I’m not the fishing police I leave them to their evening and get the tent up.

I’ll leave it there, feel free to add your email to the subscribe section on the right.

All links are available on the blog itself if you're interested.

Next blog post, Amsterdam, Luxembourg and sneaking into France

Cheers for reading,
Mike

Blog - The Feral Traveller - My solo round the world motorcycle trip

Instagram - the_feral_traveller
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Old 12 Jun 2020
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Great posts, many thanks.
Please keep posting your journey - don’t be like so many on here and just fade away.
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Old 13 Jun 2020
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Sneaking into France

Day 15

As I’m meeting Char at Amsterdam airport tomorrow morning, I decide to get a place to stay for the night before as well. The Netherlands is getting back to normal now. There are hotels, restaurants, bars, museums and all sorts open for business so it’s great to see a lot of Europe returning to normal!

As I cant check into our little apartment until early afternoon I best find something to do. I have a little Google session and see if there’s anything id like to visit. First port of call is the beach so I pop that in the Sat-Nav and make my merry way. When i get there, its a big, cold, windy stretch of beach. I’m not sure what I was expecting. Maybe some kind of Caribbean scene?! It was so exciting I didn’t bother taking a picture.

Back to Google, I’d got it pretty wrong the first time but surely I cant screw up a Google search twice!

Next up, I find a little town called Edam. How could you not want to go to Edam?!

So into the Sat-Nav Edam goes and I’m back on the bike.

Not at all cheesy…
get to Edam and this time I’m very happy with my destination. It’s like a little dutch postcard so I get the camera out and do the tourist thing.





Heading to Amsterdam

After a wander round Edam I head to out apartment in Amsterdam to check in. I manage to find a little space next to the apartment to park the bike much to the displeasure of the old lady next door. She was fine with the pile of rusty bikes but a lovely adventure bike wasn’t to her liking it would seem. Each to their own I guess!

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Amsterdam, I can definitely recommend the L’Home apartments we stayed in. They get great reviews and for the price I certainly couldn’t complain. The location is great too, check them out ‘here‘.

I’ve got an evening to kill before Char arrives which I spend editing some pictures and watching a film.

Day 16

I wake up early the next morning to take some pictures of Amsterdam in a deserted state and end up with the following:







I then head back to the apartment, drop the camera equipment off and head to the airport to meet Char.

We head back to the apartment and settle in before heading out for dinner.

Day 17 and 18


For the next two days we pretty much wander round Amsterdam. We take in the usual sites and Chars pretty pleased to be in a country which allows people to live almost normally for a bit so we head to little coffee shops, cake shops and eat out as much as possible.

A good few days had!



Char managed to time her trip to allow her to get back into the UK before the date the mandatory 14 day quarantine begins on 8th June, shes not a daft girl!

Day 19

Day 19, Chars departure day came around very quickly, unfortunately the dates were forced by the UK government. We’re now hoping the mandatory quarantine doesn’t get extended past the planned 3 weeks to allow the next visit to be planned!

So, back to day 19, Char has an early taxi back to the airport, it’s sad to see her go but looking forward to the next visit! I get packing my stuff back onto my bike, the aim today is to get to Luxembourg so I had best get on the road.

Due to borders into Belgium being a bit of a pain, I decide to swing back out into Germany and then into Luxembourg. Again there are no issues with travel at all.

Once in Luxembourg, I head into the forest to make camp for the night.



It wasn’t the most picturesque spot I’d had during my trip but it was secluded and bang in the middle of a forest.

Day 20

So you’re in Luxembourg, what do you do, take pictures of castles obviously! In Luxembourg that’s like shooting fish in a barrel, the country is tiny and you can pretty much see a castle or some awesome architecture every time you turn around.





After castle spotting, I thought I’d wander around Luxembourg City…





Amazingly, by the time I’d seen some castles and walked round Luxembourg it was only just approaching lunch time. It really is a small country! With half a day to spare I decide I’m going to head south, back into Germany and look for a place to cross the border into France with the aim of visiting my mum.

Sneaking into France

So I’ve made my way down into Germany, I’m pretty confident that a good entry spot into France will be through the Parc Naturel regional des Vosges du Nord, please see below:



When I arrive I couldn’t be happier with my choice. I’m sure there are plenty of other areas that would work just as well for a drop of sneaky border crossing but this is the one I’m going for.

I fill the tank and head into the woods, the French border comes and goes with about as much fuss as you’d expect. I stopped at the border and take a picture.



I did hang around for a while waiting for my passport to be checked but they must have been on lunch, so I made my way into France.

Once in France the riding picked up a lot! I decided to head straight through the middle of the Vorges Mountains, this turned out to be a great idea!

Where we’re going, we dot need roads

I set google maps up to take me on the smallest roads I could find, I wasn’t expecting what that would entail! Below is the first of these “roads”. Things got better from here.



After leaving the first dirt track, I followed google maps into what can only be described as a forest. Now, I don’t mean a track in a forest, I mean just a forest.





I did for a second consider turning round and finding an actual trail. But I reached ‘**** it’ fairly quickly and decided to crack on and see what happens. I’ve got days of food and water on board, worst case I get stuck and have to camp while I sort my mess out.

Not out of the woods yet!

After I find the exit to the forest I’m back on a trail, this doesn’t make the riding any easier as the trail turns into a steep rutted track that offers zero grip.





I found that in the middle of the ruts i had enough grip to control my speed. The bike doesn’t handle the best fully kitted up but its perfectly capable of getting down routes like this. It’s a shame the pictures don’t show just how steep these trails were, outside of the rut there was no option of stopping. As I could stop in the rut, I thought it would be a good idea to prop the bike up in the rut for a quick picture.

After a few hours of increasingly interesting trails later it’s time to find a camp spot for the night. I’m starting a habit of finding water to camp next to. Today is no different. I find Lac de Pierre-Percee and make my way there. It’s pretty epic when I arrive so yet again, I’m a happy camper!

What a day!

Day 21

I wake up early and the lakes looking awesome so I send up the drone for a quick snap. The fog is rolling off the lake over the dam which looks pretty cool.



I decide that today is going to be a road day and I’m going to head across country to see my mum for a few days. I shoot across France with nothing of note to report and get to my Mums, I’m now in central France.

That’ll do for this post, please feel free to subscribe in the subscription box to the right of this post.

Thanks for reading, please feel free to subscribe to the blog, that always gets updated first and I'll post t on here when I can. Also, a lot more pictures o up on Instagram than n the blog posts, so follow that if you'd like to see them.

Cheers,
Mike

Blog - www.theferaltraveller.com

Instagram - the_feral_traveller
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Old 13 Jun 2020
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That is most interesting.

Sat here in sunny Mid Wales, one could be led to believe that the rest of Europe is so well sealed up that not even a mouse is crossing borders.

I suppose the problem now is the quarantine coming back to the UK, although that is being challenged in court too.

Starting to feel as though I need another motorbike.......
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Old 13 Jun 2020
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Great pix, thanks!
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Old 13 Jun 2020
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Originally Posted by greasemonkey View Post
That is most interesting.

Sat here in sunny Mid Wales, one could be led to believe that the rest of Europe is so well sealed up that not even a mouse is crossing borders.

I suppose the problem now is the quarantine coming back to the UK, although that is being challenged in court too.

Starting to feel as though I need another motorbike.......
I just popped on my logical thinking hat, there's no way any country is putting that much resource into border closures, its only on tarmac roads from what I've seen and in populated areas.

I'm not worried about the quarantine as I'm less than 4 weeks into a round the world trip so i cant imagine it will still be in place in a year.

The media has done a great job in hyping things up

Thanks for giving it a read and there's certainly worse place to be than mid Wales!

Cheers,
Mike

Blog - The Feral Traveller - My solo round the world motorcycle trip

Instagram - the_feral_traveller
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Old 13 Jun 2020
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Fantastic writing and photos and what an adventure - my hat off to you sir, just subscribed.
How’s the bike? Happy with your choice?
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Old 14 Jun 2020
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Originally Posted by Flipflop View Post
Fantastic writing and photos and what an adventure - my hat off to you sir, just subscribed.
How’s the bike? Happy with your choice?
Thanks, glad you like it!

The bike is great so far, its obviously not going to set the world on fire but its getting me about and being pretty good on fuel, so no complaints yet. if you've seen the 'The steed' section on my site you'll know its had some changes.
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  #13  
Old 15 Jun 2020
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Thank you much, for taking us readers virtually with you!

Nice writeup and pictures!

You truely are travelling light - with very less! That you are even able to carry a shovel - should shame many vanlifers - who arent able to live traceless outside

I love the "small" bike which gives you much more freedom than most other extended travellers I did meet. Very funny that we did many similar choices - you with the bike, me with the car. You win (Landcruiser 200, V8 Diesel - but maybe also "tiny" compared to Crafter / Sprinter or truck based RTW vehicles, too with the "be able to go anywhere" approach)



I will follow your trip - thank that you even share it at Hubb!

I`m jaelous of the "additional" freedom, what your travelstyle bring you - also to be able to follow the single trails!

Surfy
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Old 15 Jun 2020
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Hi Surfy,

Glad you liked it.

Big fan of the land cruiser, a great choice for a long trip!

Feel free to add you email in the subscription box on the blog, you'll get told any updates automatically then

Cheers,
Mike
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Old 20 Jun 2020
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Week 4! ish

MOTORCYCLE TOURING IN FRANCE (+ANDORRA)

Day 22, 23, 24, 26 & 26

So, today’s blog post is going to skip a few days as I’ve spent a fair few of these days at my mums. She lives in a little place called Sardent, in France.

If anyone really wants to know about my time mowing the lawn, trimming a tree or filling a trailer with mud, please message me separately and I’ll fill you in on all the juicy details.

For the rest of the normal folk, I’ll resume on day 27.

Day 27

I leave my mums and head south, I’m heading for Spain after all and that’s where you’ll find it, if you’re in Sardent. Well, south west if you’re being picky.

I pick the town of Narbonne to head to, for no better reason than I spot it on a map and it’s south. You’re probably starting to get an idea of the extensive planning I’ve put into this trip!

This is going to be another ‘road day’, I’ve got somewhere to be (no reason to be there but lets not worry about that) so I’m going to get on with it.

I do the usual trick with Google maps, pick a load of tiny towns along the way to force the route onto back roads.

I like France a lot, I come every year. Normally I get off the ferry and head to the Alps as as quickly as possible to ride mountain bikes. I also really like the west coats, if you’ve been to Biarritz or Lacanau Ocean then you’ll understand why, if you haven’t, then you should!

Despite having been here numerous times, I’d not been to the south west, until now. The section between Sardent and Narbonne is fairly uneventful. It has got some beautiful little towns and is reasonably hilly but it’s not quite floating my boat.







I get to Narbonne and decide I’m going to head to the Mediterranean coast to camp. I use the good old Park4Night app again and end up in a nice little wooded area, there’s no epic view but it’ll do for tonight.

Day 28

It’s time to head to the coast to take in some of the joys of the Mediterranean, I get to Saint-Pierre-La-Mar and start pottering along the coast. It’s long, it’s flat and its sandy. But that’s about as exciting as it gets. I know, I’m riding along the Mediterranean coast of France, quite whinging! The problem I have is, it’s just not doing it for me. There’s no point going on a round the world trip of your’e prepared to settle for ‘Meh’.

I get the maps out again and look for something a little more exciting. Andorra. I’ve always wanted to go to Andorra but never got round to it. I’ve also not been to the Pyrenees before either which is odd, as I bloody love a mountain!

I find a potential camping spot and stick it in the SatNav, I’m off to Porte-Puymorens, or more specifically a little dirt track leading up a valley in that area.

As I leave the lovely 22 degree sunshine of the coast and head inland, I climb, obviously. And it gets colder, also obviously. It also starts to piss it down. None of this can make the Pyrenees any less epic. The roads are great and the scenery is stunning. What scenery I can see between the fog and rain is stunning anyway.

When I arrive at the chosen spot the navigation takes me off the asphalt road and onto a dirt track. This track leads further up the mountain. According to a crappy app I’ve just used while writing this (so take this with a pinch of salt), it’s at about 2200 meters I make camp.

Nature teaches me a lesson

I haven’t had the joy of putting a tent up in the wind for a while. You forget how easy mother nature finds it to make you look like a bit of a tit. I’m tired and cold and not thinking straight so I have one of those moments where you have to stop and have a word with yourself because you’re being an idiot. ‘Mike, if you try to put the tent up in strong wind without pegging it down first, it’s going to **** off down the hill and you’ll have to go get it’. Talk to self completed, I peg out the tent, then put in the poles. Camp is made!

As its getting cold and dark I decide to cook a quick meal in the mini vestibule of the tent and get some sleep.

Day 29

I wake up bright and early at about about 05:00. This happens for many reasons. 1) I went to bed at 21:30. 2) My inflatable sleeping mat has failed in the middle of the night and I’m now just lying on the floor, which is cold. And 3), which is probably the most important one, I’m busting for the toilet. I’ve let it get to the point where I’m doing the little sleeping bag dance trying force the urge to go away. It doesn’t. I’m forced to get out of my lovely warm sleeping bag and open the tent. It’s colder than a snowman’s nipple outside but the cold and the toilet urge suddenly vanish when I look up.

A lake of clouds

I’d seen pictures of mountain views where the clouds flood the valleys and look like a lake but I’d not seen it in person before. It was absolutely stunning. The sun was just starting to poke its head out too which made the view even better. I manage to snap out of the little trance the view has put me in and grab my camera bag.

As I’m starting to set the camera up the cloud starts to rise. It does so a lot faster than I’d expected and within a few seconds the cloud has covered my camp. I’m a little bit pissed off at this point as I’m pretty sure I’ve missed the opportunity to try to capture the image I woke up to.

At this point I get the drone out, I may not be able to get the picture I wanted but I’m sure I can get something. The fog is pretty thick and I know you’re no supposed to fly drones out of sight, but as the age old expression goes, **** it.

I send the drone up, it’s limited to 500m above the take off point which is a shame but I manage to get some stunning pictures. I’ll pop a few of these below.





As I’m flying the drone about I notice that the cloud starts to head back down the valley. It settles back down in the valley in the same position I woke to. It turns out that the cloud cycles through this process repeatedly. In this case about every 10 minuets it would start to rise up the valley again, sit around the top of the mountains for a little while and then head back down.

This gave me lots of opportunities to try and get a good image. As is always the way with photography, only a few of these result in anything worth looking at. I’ll share my favourites below.



Andorra

Following a hundred pictures of clouds in a valley I head for Andorra. Obviously the first thing I do is ride back down the valley into the fog/cloud.

This fog/cloud doesn’t go anywhere for the rest of the ride into Andorra. I arrive in El Pass de la Cassa, it looks like fog, I don’t hang around.

Following the signs to Andorra la Vella I have two options, the tunnel which cuts out the Envalira Pass, or ride over the Pass. If you go to Andorra, DO NOT take the tunnel, unless its snowing or the pass is closed, then knock yourself out! The road to Andorra la Vella is epic, the Envalira Pass is like a work of art. It’s near constant hair pin turns on a near perfect road surface. Whats not to love?!

Now, I imagine you’re sat there thinking, great, I’m about to see a picture of this epic road. You my friend, would be wrong. I’m fairly new to this writing a blog thing. I’m currently perfecting hindsight photography. In hindsight, it would have been a great idea to take a picture of that road. I didn’t, lets move on!

Imagine picture of epic road here…

Once in Andorra la Vella I pretty much rode round for a while then returned along the same road, I’m not attempting the Spain entry until the borders have opened so its back to France for me. I did actually take couple of pictures of Andorra la Vella, see, I’m slowly learning!







What I did take a picture of however, was the mountains on the way back along the epic road that you dont get to see. This was just before dropping back into El Pass de la Cassa.



I take a slightly different route back through the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean coast and I’m glad I did:





Fitting in with the locals

When riding in foreign countries I tend to want to learn what is and what’s not acceptable as far as filtering etc. is concerned before doing anything other than sit in the line of traffic. In some countries its illegal to filter for example. So there I am, sat in stationary traffic staring at the gap between cars itching to get between them and make some progress.

Then, two motorbikes fly past on the hard shoulder, cut across further up and squeeze themselves between the outside lane of traffic and the central concrete barrier. I was expecting some concerned looks. Maybe some head shaking from the people around me. Nothing. Complete indifference. Another goes past.

It dawns on me that not only is filtering allowed in France, its socially acceptable to do so like a maniac. In the UK, on a major road, you filter between the outside lane of traffic and the next, as a rule. In France you filter wherever there’s a clear 6 inch of daylight between cars, 4 inches if you’re in a hurry.

Being one to encourage cultural integration, I do my bit for Anglo-French relations and join the hard shoulder, at speed. I’m now making some serious progress. At one point I’m coming into an underpass, there’s no room to pass on either side. People almost stick their cars in the wall to make a space for me…gotta love the French! Progress resumes. I’m riding in a way that would encourage mutterings of ‘look honey, that guys riding like a complete douche bag’ if i was in the UK. But I’m not, I’m in France and everyone is OK with it. I could get used to this!

Camping on the med

I decide to leave the entry into Spain until the borders officially open. The internal restrictions within Spain are still in place sop i would have to sneak between provinces also. This seemed like to much hassle and as it was only about 4 days to wait, I decide I can probably cope spending this time on the coast of France.

As I want to stay put for a while I’m going to opt for an actual campsite for the first time on the trip. A quick Google search finds a little camp site just next to the border with Spain. It works out t about £6.80 a night so I decide to pay up until the day the border opens. Its quiet, and there’s showers, not much else to report about it.



Day 30

I wake up to more people arriving at the camp site, it seems this isn’t going to be as quiet as I’d hoped! I’m starting to remember why I wild camp. I’m all for family camping but it gets a little tiresome to hear the constant shouts from parents… ‘Put that down!’…’ Come here!’… ‘Stop hitting your sister with that spade’… Well, I assume that’s what they were saying, my french is no where near good enough to know for sure!

Oh well, I’ve made my bed, best make the most of it and get out for a walk along the coast and leave the families to it.



I can certainly deal with this for a few days, more than makes up for the noisy neighbours!

That will do for today’s blog entry!

Please add your email to the subscribe sections, either to the right or below, depending on if you’re viewing this on a computer or a phone. This will notify you of future updates.

Thanks,

Mike

Blog http://www.theferaltraveller.com
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