Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 16 to 30 of 30

Thread: Nearly off to France for 9 days!!!

  1. #16
    apriliaforum prov-nov
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Newport, went
    Posts
    30
    If the wife gets the job she is after, and I get the Falco really, really, fixed then we'll be off to France in September, I have two mates over there with a bike specific B&B, near Limoge, and haven't seen them for a few years due to having a stoodent wife and no money

  2. #17
    apriliaforum Junkie old git's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Worcester, UK
    Posts
    464

    Return from France, trip report of sorts

    OK, back home at 1.00am this morning, so will do some notes in stages.........
    Gentle ride in good time down from Worcester to Portsmouth, took some M-way & easy gliding back roads, arrived at port last Friday around 3.00pm to sail with Brittany Ferries down to Bilbao.
    Once again good crossing, no dramas very clean & tidy boat (or is it a ship when its that big?) weather was warm & did the whole trip down 2-up total of 136 miles on one tank without the light coming on !!!! just shows what you can do if your careful.
    Excellent facilities on board & a calm steady ride down to Spain, arrive Saturday 7th in Bilbao, had already booked a Hotel in town, so a short ride round & booked in.

    Out in town was very busy, night was cool but seemed like everyone was out, did some tapas at various places, took my own best advice & went into anywhere that looked like it was full of locals, we wern't disappointed.
    By 10.30 every 5th or 6th bar was overflowing with people into the many side streets, we weaved or way round & round various roads, no real direction just made sure we had a bearing for the river so we could find our way back.
    Ended up after mucho vino grabbing a late night (for us anyway) buffet chinese of all things which again was frequented by several groups of locals, so couldn't be all bad, then back to the hotel around 11.30 to get our heads down ready for the following morning.

    Had been lucky with the weather on Friday down the the port in UK, dry & warm, Saturday crossing had only the slightest swell, but Sunday we woke with clouds looming in the close distance.
    Guggenheim museum was the idea for that morning, but much walking the night before & new shoes (don't even go there) the night before had done for Mrs. O.G. so even the short 800m walk the museum was enough to have her 'mentioning' her blisters so a few quick snaps of the outside to show we had really been there & it was back to the train station cafe for breakfast & then the Hotel to change ready to ride.
    Last edited by old git; 04-14-2012 at 09:09 AM.

  3. #18
    apriliaforum Junkie old git's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Worcester, UK
    Posts
    464
    Suited & booted on the bike, only a short day planned to get across the boarder via the coast type road & San-Sebastien ( a very nice looking place in the dry I guess) and upto Bayonne only a 110mile day one planned.
    However, as we left Bilbao the clouds opened their contents & rain stopped play, we had do apply the waterproofs before we had even done 10 miles.
    Traffic was light, but road surface although without holes looked very shiny so care was taken & pace was realativly slow. Everywhere looked dark & dank in the poor light & persistant rain, but as we came into San Sebastien for a stop & coffee, someone upstairs turned the tap off long enough for us to remove the waterproofs for a walk round.
    However, he did not account for my wifes legendary grip which tried to remove the sole of her bike boot as she pulled the waterproofs off......
    So, now she is standing with waterproofs half on / half off with the sole of her boot in her had saying oops !
    Day 1 of the journey back has started well.
    Some gaffa/duck tape liberally applied and athough she would not win any fashion contest, she could walk to the bar!
    Inside, Tapas & coffee for a early lunch type stop make us fell a little better despite the rain which has again started outside. 45 mins pass & still no sign of a let-up, so we don the now named 'telly-tubby' suits & get back on the move.
    Again, keeping to some local roads, we make slow-ish progress & across the boarder along the D810, rain, rain & more rain takes us through to Bayonne where we have booked a B&B.
    Clean & well placed on a main road, with a resturant next door, we arrive around 4.30pm and once un-loaded & dried off head for some food.
    Mrs.O.G. is now showing signs of being very emotional (not something she is usually accused of), and showing signs of flu.
    Fish soup, some of the finest pork I have ever eaten & the usual cheese filled the whole inside & Mrs. O.G.'s tears were replaced by large applications of red wine (something which she IS accused of regularly) & by the time bed came, normallity was restored.
    Day 1 finished & we are already thinking despite the heatwave at the same time last year, Easter is too early for riding a bike in France!

  4. #19
    apriliaforum Junkie old git's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Worcester, UK
    Posts
    464
    Day 2 starts dry but very overcast, objective is central Bordeaux.
    We take the D79 & D652 up to Lit-et-Mixe and stop again for coffee. Weather has brightened up and roads are good with very little traffic. we make gentle progress through the day winding our way up through the Pays de Born, area is mostly flat plains with large plantings of trees, France & the French seem to love to hoard firewood.
    Don;t know if this is for everyday winter fuel, or for fire-pits/BBQ type outdoor leisure but every home seems to have at least 30 trees worth (slight exageration) of chopped wood in their yards.
    We seem to go forever across these large tracks of land without seeing anyone, its bank holiday Monday at home and out in the wilds the fuel light comes on a little early, only 92 miles !!!! seems my full tank was not quite full.
    We were heading for the D218 up towards Arcachon on the point of the coast, but decide to cut out & use the sat-nav to find the A63 & hope for services.
    Mile after mile cutting through little hamlets seems to take forever, actually only about 15 miles, then onto the main A63 & up onto the E05.
    Eventually find a sign saying services 18 miles !, pray, pray & pray some more as I coax the bike along asking it to sip, not gulp fuel.
    Sip, sip sip........sip,sip,sip.......services & a fuel kiosk with someone in it!!!!, this we find is a rare sight in France.
    Fill-up with 98 Ron, coffee from the machine, not bad actually and a very short chat (my French is very poor) with a guy & his wife +dog on a GS1200!!!, they are out for a bit of a ride round with their son on his Yamaha Diversion.
    We exchange looks at each of the bikes, indicate in broken French they all look good & marvel at the dog style cockpit/tankbag into which they put the pooch before they wave & set off once again.
    I'm not sure its a BMW original fitment but it worked very well. What kept the pooch from jumping out if he caught sight of a cat or something I don;t know, but he didn't seem to mind sitting in his own version of a semi-rigid clear tankbag, he may well have had a better view (completely wind free) than anyone else on the ride.
    Into Bordeaux, book into the residence for the night, quick change then into town. Only 1.5 miles, but Mrs O.G.blisters are still not suitably healed, so park the bike in the middle of the square with lots of other scooters bikes etc. then the search for food.
    Again, seek out where the locals are, we see a Q of about 70-80 people at 'L'entrecote', but decide to move on (it looks expensive!!!!)
    See a little Italian resturant, Peppon & go in, its only about 3 tables wide at the very small veranda out front, but lots of people in their despite the relativly
    early hour (6pm'ish)
    We go inside for a table and the building goes back forever until a very small open kitchen can be seen in the distance, the place is packed & we have nabbed the last table in the place.
    Broken French again (everyone is very patient with my bad language skills) and we have a meal ordered, ask for some red wine & am told to 'go downstairs'.
    Down in the sellar is a vast selection of wines & champagnes from £20 - £200+ pick what you want, take it to the table & they open it for you !
    I have only been downstairs about 10 mins, but there is now a Q out the door & down the street waiting for a table!, seems we have struck resturant gold again.
    Fantastic meal, little conversation with the table next to us & some photos, we are nearly 9.30pm and finally give-up our table to someone from the stream still waiting for dinner.
    Its still early & the lights of the bars & resturants still entice us to have a mooch around. Down one lane I see a sign which looks much like the old bub signs from back home, a 50 yd walk & we enter the 'Sherlock Homes' in a side lane off the main Bordeaux square.
    UK Warm hand pulled flat beer in the middle of Bordeaux with a eclectic mix of people, mostly drinking warm beer - Vive Le Difference, we sit for another 90 mins people watching & suchlike, then a quick zoom back to the room & to bed for a good day allround.
    Mrs.O.G. despite the application of much medical alchohol has a heavy cold/flu & is suffering bad, but putting a brave face on it overall.

  5. #20
    apriliaforum Junkie old git's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Worcester, UK
    Posts
    464
    Day 3 dawns & after a night of severe coughing and phelm hawking, its clear the old girl is in a bad way.
    Today we are due to ride up the middle of Charente & Poitou-Charentes to a small village N.west of Vienne called Montcontour where we have 2 night booked intending to ride around & see the area.
    The day dawns dark & overcast, within 10 mins the rain starts again & mrs. O.G. is allready cold. Becasue of this & the piss poor weather we decide to bang up the E606 & N10 before peeling off onto the local roads to our rooms.
    Rain, rain & more rain all day for the whole 178 miles travelled, despite a earlyish start & only stoping once for fuel & once for McDonalds, we arrive at Montcontour at 3.30pm dripping wet, cold & tired from a mentally & physically demanding day in the saddle.
    We get off the bike, Mrs.O.G. breaks down in tears yet again & I pat + kiss the wet bike for not missing a beat all day long riding 2-up in a headwind with panniers on.
    I have no idea really if other bike brands / models encourage such belief, but it seems as though this one could run forever, it almost seems to have a soul & know that you need it to be strong, stable & reliable in bad conditions.
    It is covered in road grime, water bird crap & yet still it looks beautiful.
    We stand in the courtyard looking at each other, Anji comes out to welcome us in & the FCUKin sun comes out!!!!!!!!!
    We dry-off, change & go down for coffee, looking out of the window to see sporadic showers every 10 mins-15 mins but at least we are in the dry.
    During one of the intervals I go out & push the old girl (bike not mrs.O.G.) into the garage & look again at a freindly face that has excelled in adversity.
    Down to the local resturant, only 1 in the village, fed, watered & into be by 9pm
    Sweats & coughing all night, Day 4 (the rest day) is spent with Mrs.O.G. mostly wrapped up in bed with heavy cold/flu like symptoms.
    Weather today is varied, but a walk in the woods & along by the river for me in the afternoon is enough to convince me once again that one-day I must return for good to live in France.

  6. #21
    apriliaforum Junkie old git's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Worcester, UK
    Posts
    464
    Day 5 - During yesterday it is clear that my passenger is not going to make it all the way through to the Sunday ferry, so I took a strategic call & re-booked the ferry crossing back from Caen making the trip Friday afternoon instread of Sunday.
    This gives us 48 hours to get upto Caen & the ferry home.
    We have 1 more ride planned upto JUgon-du-Lacs, but if we go its 198 miles before we reach a bed for the night.
    The day starts bright & sunny, we hope for the best & set off for Jugon.
    Down onto the N149, N249 blast to Nantes, then a right up onto the N137, its all dual carriageway and not what we had intended, but a means to an end.
    The weather holds, we make good time & mrs.O.G. is holding up surprisingly well on a diet of coffee and paracetamol, so once at Rennes we peel off onto D27 / D7 and associated back roads making a very indirect route through the lanes to Jugon.
    Once again the bike runs like a top, slipping between walls, fields & hills joining the corners together like a childs pencil doing a dot-to-dot drawing, with the sunshine on our backs its all to easy to forget the graft its been earlier in the week.
    Once again, traffic is very light, we glide from village to village with the bikes torque I ride almost like an automatic, moving up & down the rev range no need for the gears.
    We enter Jugon and again a lovely small village with people who seem to look as through they have never seen mad English motorcyclists before.
    Captain ill is still looking rough, don't tell her I said that, & the B&B is about 5 miles or so back into the village, so I ask Peter to order us a taxi to take us for dinner to save the old girls blisters and another bought of helmet hair.
    Dinner is good, and we return again by taxi to spend a pleasant nights rest before the final push back to Caen.

  7. #22
    apriliaforum Junkie old git's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Worcester, UK
    Posts
    464
    Day 6 & its cold but dry. After a light B'fast we head-off along the D794 & D796 before turning upto the coast for Mont-St.Michel.
    Very impressive area with many local hotels & businesses that obviously welcome many tourists from around the world to this famous site.
    After a brief video & picture session, we peel onto another backroad & head towards D5 Avaranches road & cut some moves across the area towards Caen.
    sweeping lanes & villages come & go as we head along the D911 & then onto the D562, again looking for fuel, working our way to the port for the evening sailing.
    Weather is very cold today & despite many layers it seeps in & destroys us. Then the ever present threat of rain comes to roost & we once again have to don the waterproofs.
    Water like stair-rods coming down, roads awash with rain, mud from farmers tractors all mix to make it an interesting afternoon, we bypass Caen & head for the port (Ouisterham) McDonalds directly for a warm & food.
    Mrs.O.G. is leaking again, but looking forward to ending the trial that the day has become.
    4pm comes, we are on the boat & heading home.
    FRIDAY 13th, 100 years since TITANIC and we have changed sailings, do they get iceburgs in the channel.........no.

    So we reach Portsmouth on time without incident, they have obviously had rain here as well, the harbour is showing damp patches & its now 9.30pm, a packed car deck is keen to get on with the last leg of their journey.
    Seemingly we are the only bike on-board, at the back of the first line of cars, we follow down the length of the boat to dis-enbark, slowly we come upto the off-ramp & then it happend....................
    Very slowly & carefully we trvel down the boat, front wheel hits the wet steel deck joint between the boats off-ramp & ports in ramp & the front end goes & despite a fight with the bars we go down on the left side.
    Could not have been doing 5mph, but now I am laying face down with my left leg pinned to the deck.
    4 sailors quickly to our side & the bike is up on its stand, mrs.O.G is down but not out, hit her hip on the landing, but no broken bones.
    Bike has scratches to the LH side top & mid fairing, broken front indicater & badly bent gear lever.
    The home-made pannier rails & case has saved the back end although it has pushed the exhaust strap & bent it round slightly.
    Once we are on our feet, assess the damage & fill in the forms, we check the bike proper to see what & whats not working.
    Starts.......all lights work (including the broken indicator hanging on its wires), try the gear lever (clutch lever is fully intact) & it seems to select 1st, 2nd,3rd although obviously only standing with the clutch in.
    So approx 1 hour later than planned we set-off very slowly for a once round the port to test brakes, gears lights etc.
    The bike with a soul still singing from below the airbox is ready, so we set-off.
    Slowly at first, then faster.....faster....faster until within an hour we are nearly upto the M4 and our first coffee stop of the 4 hour trip home.
    We make it home at 1.15am Saturday park the bike, remove the bags, apply the locks & fall into bed.

  8. #23
    apriliaforum Junkie old git's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Worcester, UK
    Posts
    464
    Morning light comes & the daylight examination of the damage shows mainly front fairing cosmetic damage. Bike still seems to be smiling like it wants to be taken out for a ride, people say these things seem bullet proof and I know as falls go it was very slow but onto a steel boat deck, I expected the worst.
    Think the pannier on the back took the brunt of the fall, held the bike up enough that my leg was not hammers to the deck & saved the gear lever from a brake rather than just a sever bending.
    Had a look at the price of the new plastics and its not cheap, but it will be sorted out one way or another.
    Freezing cold ride back over 4 hours & 138 miles in the UK, but in reality i had absolute confidence that although I had thrown the bike on the floor it would start, ride & get us all the way home.
    It never really occurred to me that it would whimp-out & not start or ride as it should.

    So in conclusion, 2011 easter in France was hot & sunny, easter 2012 was wet and we have dubbed it 'En France Terriblé'
    The bike is down, but guaranteed not to be out, will be a few weeks being repaired, but after such service what else could anyone do but clean it up & ride it like you stole it!
    See you all on the flip side, stay safe.......O.G. (&Mrs.O.G.)

  9. #24
    apriliaforum expert Aladinsaneuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Blighty
    Posts
    3,973
    good write up and sorry that the Mrs had a cold/chest infection - if i may suggest next time go talk to a french pharmacist - you can buy antibiotics over the counter there and most pharmacists are very helpful

    and sorry about the bike
    www.ridersite.com - UK home of the Falco Community

    witty banter and sarcasm available for all....

  10. #25
    apriliaforum Junkie Chabby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Tyneside , UK
    Posts
    293
    There's no bad trips if you make it back but it's a pity the missus was ill.
    Me and a couple of mates did Santander and back through France last June and took the same San Sebastian to Bordeaux route.
    We had fantastic weather but as we got closer to Bordeaux the temperature spooled up to stupid levels and the last few miles were amongst the most uncomfortable I've been on a bike - lifting the visor for a bit of air was like someone blowing a heat gun in your face. Instant dry eyes.
    The bike never missed a beat but my mate (on a Futura) also had a ferry mishap when he failed to put the sidestand down fully as he parked it. Fortunately it fell onto a BMW GS to the nearside which cushioned the impact somewhat but slightly marked the round the world style pannier the Beemer was sporting. The Teutonic pilot was less than impressed but we all just shouted at him and he eventually slouched off...Already booked up again for this June..Happy Days!

  11. #26
    apriliaforum expert FALCOnry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lenoir City, TN
    Posts
    2,979
    Sorry to hear about Mrs. OG getting ill & the accident with the bike..........but at least you both made it back in one piece. Good luck in getting the Falco repaired.
    '03 Black/Silver
    ARROW CF slip-ons & chip
    Genuine Aprilia Falco Luggage (panniers)
    Puig Dark Smoke touring screen (thanks Mfed)
    Ohlins shock....not installed (yet)


    “An intelligent person can rationalize anything, a wise person doesn't try.”
    ― Jen Knox

  12. #27
    apriliaforum expert go_modem_go's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Yurop
    Posts
    10,385
    Sorry to hear of the ferry incident and glad everything is ok!

    This mishap on the ferry ramp after thousands of kms re-confirms my decision never to live on an island again - especially one that is often very rainy and cold, half way out in the Northern Atlantic...

    I HATE using ferries with a bike:

    Inappropriate tie-down by ferry staff has already damaged my Belgarda SZR660 before (bent sidestand, later developed into a broken lower frame), on a short ferry trip across Lake Constance to Switzerland.

    I also once broke the rear subframe of my trusty old Austin Mini Clubman Estate on the off-ramp in Portsmouth, due to a way too sharp angle of the ramp (and 4 blokes with hectoliters of beer & wine on board of the Mini, I must add...). The Leyland had to be scrapped after we drove all the way to Brighton, "dragging" the collapsed rear of the car with us (lots of sparks & exhaust fell off after 10mls...)

    Hence, the only ferries I'll ever take again are barges across rivers, without tie-downs or big ship slippery ramps...

    Yeah, the weather wasn't good here last week - typical of April, especially the Atlantic side of France, and Gulf of Biskay. But also Provence can be risky over Easter (it's usually the bad weather time at our house in Provence - Christmas has always been much better - in the past 40 years!)

    4 weeks ago we had an early summer period for two weeks, over 20° & sun in Eastern France & Alsace, we did two excellent weekend trips across the Vosges mountains!

  13. #28
    apriliaforum expert anzacinexile's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    UK South Coast
    Posts
    5,456
    Quote Originally Posted by go_modem_go View Post
    we did two excellent weekend trips across the Vosges mountains!
    GIT - our favorite bit of the world so much so if all goes according to plan, we're going to retire there
    Chris
    Probability factor now 1:1, normality has been returned. Anything you can’t deal with now is your own problem

  14. #29
    apriliaforum expert go_modem_go's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Yurop
    Posts
    10,385
    Quote Originally Posted by anzacinexile View Post
    GIT
    Yep, it's just a 1 hours fast ride from here on the Autobahn via Karlsruhe / Wörth border.

    However, usually on the bike its ~4 hours taking the scenic routes along the Palatinate mountains into France, via Bitche - Lutzelbourg up the Dabo to Schirmeck and beyond.

    Sort of my local spontaneous weekend trip with friends. We often stay in the small village of Saales (Alsatian ex-border town on the hill top, just a few kms up the Serpentines from St. Dié), or in a nice place in the little village of Pierre-Percée (border of Dépt. Vosges with Dépt. de Moselle).

    Quote Originally Posted by anzacinexile View Post
    our favorite bit of the world so much so if all goes according to plan, we're going to retire there
    Really? I would have thought you'd prefer going back Down Under, New Zealand perhaps (beautiful place!)...

    Personally, I'd move much further down to South in France, for my liking it's far too cold in the Vosges and generally "here up North"...

    But I guess everything depends on your perspective. I'd also rather have clear snowed-in winters in the Vosges mountains, than the cold and miserably drizzly as well as foggy season like in England or at home here in the lower Rhine Valley...

  15. #30
    apriliaforum expert anzacinexile's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    UK South Coast
    Posts
    5,456
    Quote Originally Posted by go_modem_go View Post
    Really? I would have thought you'd prefer going back Down Under, New Zealand perhaps (beautiful place!)...

    Personally, I'd move much further down to South in France, for my liking it's far too cold in the Vosges and generally "here up North"...

    But I guess everything depends on your perspective. I'd also rather have clear snowed-in winters in the Vosges mountains, than the cold and miserably drizzly as well as foggy season like in England or at home here in the lower Rhine Valley...
    Although I would sell a kidney to go home the better half would be miserable living on the the other side of the world although she loves Aus and NZ.

    South of France is just to damn hot in the summer even for an Aussie and although I suffer with the cold, bright crisp winter days beats drizzly, overcast and downright miserable any day
    Chris
    Probability factor now 1:1, normality has been returned. Anything you can’t deal with now is your own problem

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •