Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Blasting through Europe... At 55mph!

Tuesday 22d April - 274 miles

So we packed up and got ready to go, justas  the rain started. Typical! I could have bet weeks ago it would rain on on departure day!
We got to the eurotunnel in good time, it was fairly quite.
On the other side we started having problems with the automated road tolls.... The sensors don't always detect a bike, or the second one!

At 7 pm we finally arrived, under more rain, to our destination for the day: the beautiful house of my school friend Christine, in Normandy. We had a quiet evening.

Weds. 23rd April - 147 miles
We got up early to say goodbye to Christine who was leaving early and left soon after her. Our second planned stop in France was in Angers, at my brother house. Once again the weather was wet and cold.
We arrived early afternoon and went shopping at the local outdoor shop, for some additional thermal layers with Mimi, my sister in law.
After an evening of too much food an drinks we went to bed late a a bit tipsy!

Thurs 24th April - 361 miles
So far our little bikes have been going incredibly well. The only issue we had was the slow speed,e specially of Alistair's bike. He could barely push up beyond 55 mph, until we devised a new plan!
Tagging behind a lorry would protect us from the wind and keep up at 55 to 60 mph, sometime even peeking at 65 or 70! Result. So we kept picking trucks to follow!
Despite this game we had a long tiring day, punctuated by fuel stops and rest stops every 60 to 70 miles.

It is also becoming urgent to buy some sheepskins as we end up with very sore bottoms!

We kept having problems with the automated tolls.
By 7 pm we  got off the motorway and found a   nice and cheap hotel. We got the bikes locked in the patio restaurant,and after a quick meal went straight to sleep, exhausted.

Friday 25th april - 300 miles

After a massive breakfast we left alter than planned.
We set off to go round Lyon, but with bad signals and stupid Gps,we  ended up going straight across the town centre, losing over an hour!

After unwillingly visiting Lyon, we got back on the motorway and climbed into the Alps. Beautiful views but very low clouds! We went through the tunnel du Frejus, at 28€ per bike for the pleasure!

We were then in Italy! We passed turin and by end of the day, despite wasting lots of time in Lyon we got near piacenza where we got off the motorway to find a hotel. We found a hotel by a petrol station but the place look deserted. Alistair went to  investigate but it was locked. As we started putting back our helmets an old lady came out. We parked the bikes in an enclosed yard, guarded by 2 very savage looking dogs!

After a quick shower we went to investigate the area and found a pizzeria! Dinner!

Saturday 26th April - 292 miles

We got up early, packed and left.we  rode about a mile before we saw a bakery / coffeeshop and   we stopped for breakfast.

We continued then on the motorway, with the same annoying tolls problems! We saw some other local bikers having the same problems...

As it was saturday, and for once the weather was actually rather sunny, there were lots of stylish italian bikers out for a ride. A big gang of Harley riders passed us. The last one had an open face helmet  and was smoking a huge cigar! Italians!

During one of our stops we discussed wether to get a ferry from Ancona to Patras, or ride further south and   catch a ferry from brindisi. That would mean a further 600 km to do... The choice was simple and we got to Ancona.

We arrived mid afternoon and went straight to the ferry terminal to buy our tickets for the next day.
After that we decided to find a nice little hotel in village by the coast. Without a map that did not go down well and ended up lost in various shopping or industrial zones! After an hour we gave up,cam e back to the town centre and just picked a hotel with garage!

To be continued.....

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