Thursday, 14 August 2014

Post 9 - The final lot of nonsense

So in Vesoul I mentioned it was noisy.  That's wasn't the half of it. There were four or five couples together and they decided to party late. Now I love a party but this was so loud it was unbelievable. There was almost an Airplane like queue of people to tell them to be quiet and after apologies and assurances it reverted to nuclear loud again within minutes. Earplugs were no use and every time it settled down and I almost fell asleep the buggers kicked off again. More complaints, more assurances, more ceasefire then off it goes.....

Eventually went quiet at 2am which gave a huge four hours before people started to rise, pack and play the drums, or so it seemed.

Got out of that madhouse and camped up at Freiburg Tunisee after some great roads.  Great pitch, great site, multo activities inc one of those automated wakeboard/ski-ing thingamees. Watched this for ages, drinking beer, absolutely ignoring all the bikinis. (Not the hairy buggers I expected either btw), all was good in the world.

Toilets seem to be a favourite subject in this blog so let me tell you about the warning I received from our Cornish friends..

They advised that the German campsites were very cramped, dirty and unfriendly. I can say thus far that they have been absolutely spotless, even have bog roll and even have toilet seats. No need for your sweaty arse to scoot around the porcelain trying to gain grip....

So anyways, not a single complaint from me re the German campsites so far and I was even given a pride of place in the restaurant, I think the term was "zis man wis no friends needz ein table for ein"

So sweating like a rapist in the tent once more with my winter sleeping back rated to -27 degrees when it's 20 plus degrees outside when the music starts.

The campsite I'm in is nice and quiet but the one attached has some sort of band on. I can't comment on the music as it wasn't music but it lasted yet again til 2am

As per normal the locals get up at 6am and make all sorts of noise and I'm starting to get a bit pissed now.

So I pack up and get tae..........

Here's a nice picture of that morning

Arrived in Waldshut, pretty much as far south as you can get and have camped in the Rhein Camping site, I can see Switzerland from here as it's the other side of the "watter" Had a great day on the famous B500 even though it rained in parts. Camped up, got fed, got beered but..
Somehow I managed to damage my neck, most likely using the beanie thing I brought which was supposed to be a pillow substitute. Sure enough all those nights camping have brought a neck problem and I can't move my neck without it going into spasm.

In the tent that night it was quiet as a mouse all around, apart from a big eejit squealing like a pig every time he tried to get comfortable. I kid you not when I say it was excruciating pain. One more night without sleep and nobody else to blame this time.

Slow start next day and the pain was pretty bad even after the drugs but anyhow, jumped on the bike and drove the full B500 from Switzerland to Baden Baden and turned round to head back to Seebach for my two nights B&B that I'd seen often advertised in MCN

I asked them prior to arrival to turn the sun down a bit and sure enough they did.. 

Absolutely perfect weather for the road. I can understand people's excitement with rollercoasters and less so, those who think video games a real thrill but for me it's all about fast roads. I'm never going to be any good on a bike but it's a thoroughly satisfying experience knowing you've got from one end to another with no damage. There's no safety net but that just makes it all the gooder in my opinion. I know most won't understand. 

Great reception from the guys in Seebach who had just moved there from the Isle of Skye. Lots of bikes parked outside so I knew it was gonna be good. 

Bizarre fact. Germany is way behind when it comes to rural internet. Years behind. The majority are still on "dial up" and prefer to use fax rather than email. Strange eh?

So to allow me to contact Gina and Heather (Cullen isn't contactable, his choice I think) I had to drive to the next town, buy a meal and some drinks and for this they sat me at the only table in the restaurant that would get a signal. Handy though.

Had to do the same next night too but it only cost me beer this time as they don't serve food on a Tuesday!!! But they are still open to sell beer!!

Angela from the pension actually rang all the hotels in the area for me to see if she could find me some inter web to use. Many thanks to her for this. Over and above...

Jumped onto the b500 again next day and I'm tempted to buy a house here just to play all day on it. It's that good. Seebach to Freudenstadt is absolutely amazing and I know I could improve on it every time. 

Got back. Had some Pringles. Got the gear on and did it again. It's addictive.

Sadly after a great night out with Julie, Ritchie and a nice couple from the Sheffield area (sorry I didn't get/remember your naames) it was time to move on with a nice hangover. 

Couldn't resist driving the road one more time then off to Belgium via Luxembourg.

Never seen rain like it. With a waterproof jacket under a waterproof suit I was soaked. Eventually after what seemed like days I got to the hotel in Belgium I was supposed to visit on the first night in Europe

Stupidly as I was just desperate to get off the bike I just asked for a single room and when they put me into a double I never queried the price. Big mistake. It cost me more than the previous three nights combined but hey ho, you live, you sometimes learn.

A thirteen hour ride home the next day had me questioning my sanity, especially as Hussain had offered another night in old landan town but I was keen to get the pain over with and hit my bed. 

I'd like to say everyone got a surprise on my return but all i got was "Is something wrong?" and "Why are you home?" Well worth all the pain

Final wee bits

I apologise for the lack of photos but I didn't take many when on the bike. Gina however has 550 Peru pictures on her facetube so if you have insomnia you know where to go. 

So, all done. Time to get back to real life. 

If you've read this, I thank you. I thoroughly recommend getting out there and doing it, whatever "it" may be. If it's scary or takes you out of your comfort zone then all the better. 

As that famous philosopher Guy Martin says 

"You're not here for a long time, you're here for a good time" 

Bear this in mind

All the best


PS. To those that have taken up collecting, here's some links to assist, thanks to Bob for the links


Friday, 1 August 2014

Post 8 - Conquer Europe, unlike some notable failures

Mission - Channel Tunnel, Belgium Germany

Ended up in France


Last September, a few of us had grand plans to tour some of the best biking roads in Germany, particularly around the Black Forest area. Unfortunately at that time the forecast showed a full week of torrential rain so we chose to spend our time on the west coast of France.

This week was my chance to right this wrong and find out if the roads were as good as made out. Sure enough though, the day before the Tunnel adventure I checked the forecast and lo and behold we have torrential rain, thunderstorms and lightning over Belgium and Germany so as France wasn't as badly affected I chose to go to the area with the goodest looking weather namely the Le Havre area.

Around 200 miles, I thought that this could be done in 3 hours tops and I'd be at wherever it's called by 6pm for a quick tent up, a beer and some grub.

Unfortunately three things happened. One, the train under the channel ran late, two, I went north rather than south and three, it's very hard to get anywhere fast in France if you're not on the motorway.

The satnav calculated arrival at the camp sir at 00.30 which was a bit of a surprise but sure enough there's a wee town every few miles where you have to slow down to 30 so rather than averaging 60-70mph it was down to 20-30-40 hence the 6-7 hour calculation.  I should also mention the kamikaze tractor drivers too.....

So to recap, I was late, i went the wrong way, I miscalculated how fast u can get about and as I write, I'm sitting in the tent, under torrential rain and heavy wind, nowhere near where I want to be or intended to be

To celebrate this multitude of cockups I figured that I should stay somewhere special, so tonight I have camped in the town of Berck. I think it's apt.

A lovely young lady helped with my tent erection. I promise this will be the last mention of this too easy joke.

Prior to leaving Folkestone I made the laborious journey down to London which I naively thought would be my longest day the whole trip. Today was nine hours riding so so much for that assumption. My backsides like a shrivelled prune. I'll need to iron it before I go anywhere tomorrow..

Anyways, back to London. I used to work with an old fella called Hussain in RBS and after I asked to pitch my tent in his garden he grudgingly allowed me to stay at his house..

Met his beautiful wife and daughter and then Hussain and I went for some beer and food. Turned out I'd intruded in time for EID which is a big Muslim celebration but they graciously fed, watered and sheltered me and couldn't have made me feel any more welcome. Top class guys, I thank you..

I didn't actually know that Hussain was Muslim and driving through London to the tunnel I noticed loads of different people types, much more than you would ever see in Scotland. Indeed we only really have two religions in Scotland, Rangers and Celtic.

So from Berck I travelled for ever down the coast, over the 'grand canal' and then the Point de Normandie and for once I could see the point.

So, ended up in wee town next to St Lo. Both restaurants had shut down so not much of a happening place.  The campsite owner, a wee bearded fat Irishman that reminded me of Rory Nangle, was very quick to tell me he has lots of alcohol, all the Scotch spelt properly ie with an 'e'. (Whiskey rather than Whisky for those of you trying to work out where the e went in Scotch).  He also reminded me that the Irish invented Scotch. Now work that one out......

Anyway hopefully he'll get well soon after his visit to hospital to remove that litre bottle from his rectum

Just under 350 miles to Langres. Arse killing me. Passed over the Seine AGAIN, and again, the satnav diverting me right through the middle of Paris. No one will be surprised to hear it was a wee bit busy and filtering was took to a whole new level. Scooters beeping at me to get past as my panniers were too wide to get through bits they could fire through, on the phone eating baguettes, wearing onions, shouting he haw, he haw, ok the last bit was made up but I've never filtered so fast since riding back fae Glasgow one night, on the bikes, with a certain Mr Glen.....

The only downside was my crotch. It was boiling.. The locals had shorts and t shirts. I had kegs, trousers and thick armoured trousers on.. I'm sure I could've cooked an egg on my chookies, if I was better at balancing eggs.

Langres is a nice wee place, tres similar to York, but without all those bloody English people. Walked round the defending walls but unfortunately no one attacked me. Ate in a nice wee restaurant and drink in a nice wee pub and I have a suggestion.

Not one single bloody person understood Scottish or even my Spanglish. Now, Europe is under the union and all use the same currency so for gods sake why can't they all learn one language and get rid of all these crap, hard to learn ones. I know Esperanto didn't work but there's a new country in town.

Scotland is due to become independent in a couple of months so why not, as a welcome present, allow them to introduce the language of choice that would apply across the whole of Europe.

Scottish is the language of Kings. You have to be really clever to understand it but if Russ Abbott can manage it then the rest of a Europe can. Surely

Just a thought

As usual I've digressed. I'm in a municipal campsite in Langres (for those not posh, it means council), so I'm expecting my bike to get nicked during the night. It's a long walk home. At least I can teach Scottish on my way home

Langres 3.30am -

Allegedly rubbing too hard can make it painful. I know this now

Langres 2.45am -

Was woken with a jolt. Massive stomach pain. Quickly threw on the shorts and flip flopped to the toilet block, then remembered French toilettes are BYOBR so had to go back for the loo roll. By this time I was sweating I wouldn't make it but thankfully all went well.

Langres 3.10am -

Tried to ignore the pain but no joy it wasn't going away. Off to perform the flip flop of shame again armed with the evidential loo roll. Small stepped flipping and flopping just in case. The locals must've thought there was two people out and about pre 3am. One with long confident relieved strides and another hurrying with small hurried panicked steps. Weird

So back to topic. Arse red raw and feart to sleep in case it returns when the tent next door, five feet away, starts to make funny noises.

The female had some sort of obsession for glassware. Started off low enough but eventually her "Jar, Jar, Oh Jar Jar" got to be a bit annoying as it got louder. The fella she was with was obviously too busy bouncing on his rubber lilo to get that bloody jar for her.

I had Heinz beans and soup in my top box and was tempted to take the soup over to see if that would do instead of the jar and would she please kindly shut it

So eventually that settles down then the lorries on the next door dual carriageway started off for the day.

Maybe I'll sleep when I get to Vosges

Met a lovely couple from Cornwall the next morning who were on the other side of the Dutch couple. Their main statement was that they'd be glad to get rid of the Scots so that Rosyths work would go to Plymouth. Nice

Drove the short distance to Vesoul and just as well it was a short journey as my head was pounding, I felt sick and had to make a sharp visit to Le toilettes once again

Fortunately things improved during the day to allow me to make a quick 150 mile trip to St Die to check out the mountain roads. I've a number of the roads to get through but the ones completed today were absolutely superb. Long, fast, sweeping with some tight hairpins thrown in. One which caught me out and tested out the ABS. The tourists sitting in their car were a bit alarmed when I skidded to a halt next to them but a quick Guten Tag and I was on my way. I hope they didn't clock the Scottish number plates or my ploy will have been for nothing.

Nipped into McDonald's when in St Die as I was absolutely boiling and needed to get the trousers down for a bit of airing.

Decided to wash my helmet, especially the inside bit as it was absolutely filthy. Covered in dead flies, dirt, you name it. Both visors equally filthy to be honest, maybe time for a new helmet when I get back. It's nice of McDonald's to provide this service though and next time you're having a happy meal think of me cleaning my helmet. I'm performing a public service here putting you off eating there!!

This Vesoul campsite must be the Butlins of the area as it's full of screaming kids. Thankfully I'll be away in the morning up to the mountains. I'll spend tonight counting my many mosquito bites, that'll keep me busy enough