13th JULY 2007
29th June | Sunday
1st July | Tuesday
3rd July | Thursday
5th July | Sunday
8th July | Tuesday
10th July | Friday
13th July | Sunday
In the morning, Bill seemed to have developed
' a bit of a head'! Heaven only knows why? He
emerged, just head and shoulders out of his
tent, before collapsing again and muttering
I'm never drinking with that Henry Price again.
Another camera moment.
We cooked up some breakfast. Bill didn't seem
to feel much like a fried egg for some reason?
Plenty of nice strong coffee, after which Bill
looked a little bit more human. We checked the
bikes, topping up as required, and waving our
hosts farewell, headed north for the bridge.
We motored on up the Autoroute Norde and I managed
to do my running out of juice trick again. Henry
came to my rescue with the contents of his unleaded
primus stove and a little from his tank and
I was back in business. Of the three bikes,
mine was always going to be the problem. Henry
had the larger capacity tank and Bill was achieving
much better m.p.g. (for petrol at least) that
I was. I don't think that Bill ever went onto
reserve throughout the whole trip.
Soon, around another bend and the bridge was
beneath us! It is a magnificent structure and,
considering its method of construction, i.e.
that the deck of the bridge was shunted out
from the northern end across to the southern
end seems to be beyond belief!
After photographs and yet more admirers of
the trio of Enfields in the car park, we set
off again for Brendan’s place. We had
arranged to meet Brendan in a bar in the town
(good plan), at 4.30. I managed to get a message
to him that we were on the way but were running
late. We arrived, at last, just before 5.30.
Brenda greeted us with ice cold beers and we
presented him with his official Lonely Bob's
Magic Cloth to help him keep his shiny bullet
in good order.
After downing the beer, we followed Brendan
for a mile or two to his delightful farmhouse
which is really in the sticks. It has such a
lot of character and there is plenty to keep
Brendan busy for a little time to come. Saying
that, we reckon that he has storage capacity
for at least two dozen bikes! On the downside,
Brendan explained that the winter usually brings
over 1 metres of snow with it. Henry started
to dream of an Enfield Snowmobile.
Brendan and Henry disappeared into the barn
and, after rummaging around, found an old Solex
trailer. No prizes for guessing whose bike it
got attached to for a photo opportunity?
Brendan gave us the guided tour of the extensive
land and outbuildings. An old bread oven exists
which might yet be brought back to life. Pigs,
Brendan soon had the BBQ was ablaze and Monica
had prepared a lovely spread and, not for the
first time, we dined like Kings! We had to protect
all of our food from the chickens who were not
averse to jumping up and stealing from the plate
on your lap! The dog did his bit as well; but
more of him later.
The view to the West was an horizon silhouetting
the volcanic mountains that hold the source
of the Volvic water company. Not a caveman in
site apart from the unshaven Henry and me! We
chatted and swapped anecdotes until the light
disappeared and then looked to bed down. Tomorrow,
the plan was to get past Paris and as near to
Calais as we could before stopping again. We
would need a good night's sleep to be ready
for a long ride ahead.
We set about retiring for the night and Bill
and I took up Brendan's offer of a piece of
lounge floor to park our bedrolls on. Henry,
who was getting a taste for the outdoor life,
pitched his tent in the yard.
The frisky dog settled onto his bed in the hallway
behind the front door and Brendan et famile
retired upstairs. We were all soon asleep until
Bill woke in the wee-wee hours with the call
of nature. In the darkness, and without his
glasses, Bill groped his way out of the front
room and dressed only in his pants and vest,
began to feel his way along the wall of the
hallway towards the ground floor bathroom.
That's when it happened.....
The dog awoke at this point and instead of barking,
decided to check out the stranger. In stealth
mode, he crept up behind Bill, (shuffle shuffle)
and decided to investigate the aroma. He planted
his nose deep into
the crevice of Bill's underpants from behind.
Bill, who until now hadn't noticed the dog,
was now suddenly fully awake and more than a
little surprised, to say the least! As he shuffled,
the dog shuffled with him until he disappeared
into the sanctuary of the bathroom. Bill had
tried hard to shuffle without exposing his 'main
course' to the dog. Bill's journey back to the
bedroom was almost as exciting although, not
so much of a surprise.
STATISTICS - DAY 15;
245 miles Oliana Brendans
SATURDAY 14th AUGUST 2007
3286 miles in total
Average 219 miles per day
After a hearty breakfast, we mounted up and,
with Brendan at the front, headed back to civilisation.
We waved Brendan goodbye at the toll plaza for
the motorway and headed for Paris and Le Périphérique!
Why somewhere the size of Paris doesn't have
an M25 I do not know!
For those of you not familiar with Le Périphérique,
it is a dual carriageway / motorway ring road
around Paris. Being, what it is and where it
is means that there are a great number of junctions,
slip roads and flyovers squirting off in all
directions, all on top of each other. Add to
that the fact that we were going to have to
negotiate it on a hot summer Sunday afternoon
when the traffic was at its busiest and the
fact this circus was full of French drivers
who had spent all the morning at the battle
de l'Arc de Triomphe topped off with the fact
that we didn't have a clue where we were going
and you have an idea of our problem. It is a
We had a good distance to go to keep on track
with our required schedule if we were to make
our booking at Calais so we really couldn't
afford too much time being lost. I decided that
the best chance of success was to let the Sat
Nav do the work. We pulled over and had a break
south of Paris.
We had to enter the orbital at 6 o'clock and
exit at just after 12 o'clock. I punched in
a destination on the A1 out of Paris for Calais
and explained to Bill and Henry that they needed
to make sure that they kept close. It would
be too easy to become separated in the war zone
of traffic that we were about to encounter.
Deep breath, a quick flash of the Eifel Tower
over the flat Paris landscape and we were in.
It was hell! Like riding through an industrial
washing machine on heavy soiled wash. We discovered
that many French motorists like to wave to British
tourists. Mainly with the middle finger of the
left hand. And, apparently, the French for Hello
mate is merde! I'm learning all the time. When
I opened my eyes, we had come out the other
end, on the right road, in good time, and no
one missing! All together, a bloody miracle!
We continued north east towards Lille, looking
out for either a camp site or a lodge. Mile
after mile, nothing. We decided that time was
marching on and we were knackered. We had covered
more mile today than any other on the tour.
We left the A1 at a little place called Roye.
We found a cheapo lodge but it was full. The
only other place in town was the Hotel Roye.
It was not going to be cheap but took a vote
on what to do. Bill wanted to go on and find
somewhere cheaper. Henry and I were bushed and
wanted to stay here. Bill agreed to go with
the flow and we checked in to a triple bedded
room. Henry and I showered and changed and wandered
over to a local restaurant while Bill crashed
out and watched some football on the TV.
Tomorrow would prove Bill to have been right
and Henry and me wrong but - C'est la vie!
As a point of interest, Roye is very close to
The Somme. Another day perhaps?
STATSISTICS - DAY 16;
353 miles Brendan's - Roye
3639 miles in total
Average 227 miles per day