29th JUNE 2007
29th June | Sunday
1st July | Tuesday
3rd July | Thursday
5th July | Sunday
8th July | Tuesday
10th July | Friday
13th July | Sunday
I woke early (no surprise) and set off from
Chepstow to meet up with Bill and Henry at Price
Parts U.K. Headquarters at Rockhampton, Thornbury.
I got as far as the Severn Bridge and decided
that I didn't have my mobile!
Back to base, only to discover that I had it
all along! Too many pockets.
I arrived at Henry's at 8 o'clock. Ric was there
and was going to accompany us to the Ferry at
Poole and make sure that we really went.
Bill arrived 10 minutes later and couldn't dismount
unaided. Good job he wasn't going on his own.
After a passport and ticket check, we set off
in the direction of Poole via Bath and the A350.
We got as far as Bathampton, south of Bath when
we ran into one of the many monsoon-like storms
that this summer has brought us. Despite stopping
to don waterproofs, I was soaked through to
the skin within two miles. The rain lasted for
almost an hour and then, brilliant sunshine
started to dry us out.
What a site we must have made, four steaming
Herberts heading for the coast!We arrived at
the Ferry Terminal at Poole at 11 o'clock. I
changed out of my "shower proof" coat
and Kevlar lined strides and hung them both
out to dry on the bike.
After a cup of tea and a cheese sandwich, we
boarded the Sea Cat Ferry and, with a wave to
Ric we were off!
We parked the bikes on the car deck and stewards
arrived to lash them down with ratchet straps.
Perhaps they anticipated bad weather? We had
booked reclining seats for the trip and, made
our way from the car deck to the stern cabin
where the recliners were. We were shown to our
seats by another steward.
He returned a few minutes later and asked an
elderly Gent and his Thai Bride for their tickets.
They'd tried to blag two spare recliners and
had no intention of paying any extra and told
the steward so. Off went the steward and returned
with a very hard faced officer. He explained
without any emotion, that if the Gent didn't
either (a) move or (b) pay the surcharge for
the seats, he, and his wife, would be forcibly
removed by members of the crew and his car would
be off-loaded when the Ferry returned from France.
I've rarely seen a wallet open so fast.
After a long blast on the ship's horn, we
were off. Out of the harbour, past Brownsea
Island and out into the channel.
That's when it happened.....
First the cold sweats, then the churning of
the stomach. Five minutes at the toilet sink
told me that this wasn't going to be a five
I made it out onto the deck and, after carefully
testing the wind direction (once a boy scout.....),
spent the next five hours making a fine effort
to try and turn myself inside-out. I became
soaked from head to toe in sea spray but was
welded to the ship's rail.
The steward came out onto the deck. "Sir,…
sir… are you OK?"
I muttered a reply through a mouthful of drool
and, of course, he couldn't make out my reply
and so repeated his question. "Sir,…
sir… are you OK sir?"
I turned to him and, mid hurl, tried again to
make myself clear "Look mate, just F***
OFF and leave me alone to die. There's a good
Bill told me that, when he came back inside,
the Officer asked the steward "How's the
passenger on the deck?"
"I don't think he feels very well at all
sir. I think he's rather ill." came the
reply. Bill nearly split his sides when I told
him the other side of the story later.
We stopped at Guernsey on the way which offered
some respite. Then the last lap to St Malo.
Back to the rail and situation normal. The steward
came out again and forced a coat on me. Apparently
the Captain could see me from the bridge and
was concerned about hypothermia!
Then I spotted it.
" LAND HO!" I managed to mumble waving
a shaky finger at the horizon. Just how must
real sailors feel after weeks at sea?
Back inside to find that almost everyone had
been ill. The waste bins were full of sick bags.
At least I'd recycled mine to the fish. Cod
Down to the car deck on legs of jelly. I managed
to get underway on the bike.
That's when it happened…..
I fell straight over on the greasy car deck.
So glad I bought the Crash Bars from Price Parts!
Got the bike back up and made it out of the
ship, only to find that Bill was lying on his
side behind me down on the car deck. They wouldn't
let Henry or me back onto the boat to help him,
even though we protested that he was our Granddad!
With help from the stewards he emerged with
only a bent footrest to show for his trouble.
Henry jumped on it several times and un-bent
it. I'm so glad we brought a skilled mechanic
SATURDAY 30th JUNE 2007
We decided that, given the way we (I) felt,
camping tonight was out of the question. Henry
looked up the address of a local "Formula
1" lodge. I hooked up the Sat Nav and Ozzy
Ozbourne took us "straight F***ing"
The plan was to make an early start. That's
what I like about plans, they change! We checked
the bikes over and got underway around 9.30.
It was overcast and spitting with rain so Rubber
Knickers were the order of the day. We made
our way past Rennes and generally south via
dual carriageways and Motorway standard roads.
This let us keep good average speeds (for Enfields).Fuel
ran low so we pulled off the main drag and searched
out a filling station. Refueled, got a replacement
stop and tail lamp for Henry and off we went.
That's when it happened..
I led off from the petrol station and went back
up the hill towards the dual carriageway. The
look on the face of the poor little girl on
her moped coming down the hill and round the
bend on the same side of the road as me was
Oops!A quick swerve and a look in the mirrors
told me that Bill and Henry were too close for
me to be able to deny that one.
'Pas de Problem!
The further south we got, the more the weather
improved. Rubber Knickers were gone and we looked
out a spot for lunch. We found a Spar Shop and
loaded up on bread cheese and ham. We dined
like Kings. Henry and Bill both crashed out
on the grass and were snoring in unison!
Half an hour later, we resumed towards Angoleme
and from there, turned off towards Perignac
and Mike Scott's palace. We turned on the Sat
Nav and, after it sent us on two wild goose
chases, we ended up on the right road.
I had no actual address for Mike's place, only
a picture of the village church taken from his
place. So we parked the bikes in the square
and revved them up for a minute or two. That
soon brought Mike out. It reminded me of the
Tiger Tank scene from Kelly's Heroes!
We parked the bike in one of Mike's Barns and
headed for the "fsst" sound of beer
being opened.Mike's place was very welcoming
after a day in the saddle. I felt like crap,
especially after the trip on the ferry and then
the ride down to Mikes. Those who know me will
know how bad I must have felt when I went to
bed without eating any of the fine chilli that
Mike had laid on.For anyone planning a motorcycle
trip in this region, I know that Mike is looking
to provide accommodation at Perignac in the
near future. It comes well recommended.
STATSISTICS DAY 2;
248 miles from St. Malo to Perignac
343 miles in total
Average 171.5 miles per day