Old Gits Logo 3.gif (12598 bytes)2007 Write-Up

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2007 Write-up

Home Up 2007 Write-Up 2007 Map 2007 Photos

Trip Notes by David Mc  ---

 

Thursday.

Left home at about 15:30 and met with Nick P, who didn’t turn up by the designated time, so set off down the A12 to the Dartford crossing and on to Dover via the M2. Chris S and Nick P already at the docks – Nick P had taken the M20 route! On to the ferry once Richard S arrived then the 50 mile blast down to Bethune where we meet Barry S. We managed to arrive just after the bar had closed and had to do another beer free first evening. D’oh!

Friday

Up at about 08:00 for breakfast before the run to Vittel. (Actually, Chris S had misunderstood the agreement on times and was up ready by 07:00!) The first part of the route was on the autoroute but after Reims we got off on to the N roads which were slightly more fun. There were a lot of dead straight roads which did limit the enjoyment but the run to Vittel was done without incident. (Unless you count the stop for a lunch of pizza.) The GPS fitted to the Firestorm and was doing a good job of directing the group.

We arrived at Vittel and checked into our hotel then took a stroll around the town before having a dinner in one of the local restaurants.

Saturday

A nice breakfast was had while we discussed the options of where to go. We quickly agreed on Hackenberg Fort on the Maginot Line and set off for the 110 mile run to the fort. As expected, the roads were excellent and the Tom-tom route option of shortest route with no motorways was proving to be a good choice.

We arrived at the fort to be told that the next guided tour in English was at 14:30 so we went back to the nearby town and had lunch. When we arrived back at the fort just before 14:30 we were told that the tour in English had left at 14:00 (Doh!) so we tagged onto the end of a tour in German.

The fort was extremely interesting and took the best part of 3 hours to see so we left at about 18:00 and headed back to the Hotel. Again, the Tom-tom gave us a good route back with some very interesting roads which lived up to expectations. About half way back, the sky went very black and within about 15 minutes we were stopping to put on the waterproofs just as the heavens opened. We then made for the fastest rout back to the hotel and arrived very wet!

Sunday

At breakfast the previous day Nick P had stated an interest in seeing the Inclined Plane at Saint-Louis / Arzviller. The route was again planed on the Tom-tom, but this time Chris S decided to have a day in Vittel so 4 of us set off. After about 35 miles Barry S pulled us into a rest area as he was getting strange vibrations in his handlebars. It turns out that one of the front wheel bearings on his Ducati was falling apart so the recovery truck was called and Barry S said goodbye to his bike and took up pillion seat with Nick P on the ST1100.

Another 10 to 15 miles further on and we were into some really nice sweeping bends when we came across a real nasty double radius right hander. I made it round with some effort but caught sight of Richard S crossing my mirrors. I pulled over at which point Nick P arrived, wondering where Richard S was! It turns out that Richard S had decided the corner was just too tight and the better option was to ride the GS into a small drainage ditch on the other side of the road. This had been done with only minimal damage (slight scratches to a small area on the tank and a broken indicator) so the bike was pulled back out of the ditch and we continued our journey.

After a very nice lunch, we set of for the last 20 or so miles along some superb twisties that were full of French bikes travelling at various speeds from positively pedestrian to downright ballistic. We blended in very well with at least one end of the speed spectrum!

The Inclined Plane was very interesting but after a stop of an hour or so, we were on the return route, again enjoying the wonderful roads.  We had a good ride back then went for a meal in the town once the bikes were safely stowed at the hotel.

Monday

It was agreed that a slightly shorter trip would be a good idea so as not to over do things before the run back the next day. This was a good call as again the skies went very overcast and just as we got back to the hotel after about 80 miles, the rain came.

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing with a few beers in the hotel then heading into town for the last meal.

Tuesday

Breakfast was eaten at 07:00 and by 08:00 we were all on the road. Barry S had his hire car (courtesy of his breakdown cover) so agreed to carry all the luggage. This freed the bikes up to choose a slightly less direct route back where motorways were again avoided until we reached Reims.

The very strong head/cross wind made some of the journey hard work and we were certainly getting through the fuel quicker than the journey down but there were no incidents and even though the rain fell hard on us for the last 30 miles, we arrived at Calais almost 2 hours ahead of schedule. This allowed us to load all the luggage from the car onto the bikes then get on an earlier ferry.

We all parted company at Dover and headed off up the M20. The traffic and roadwork’s on the M25 served as a strong reminder of just how much fun travelling in France was and just how bad it was in the UK.

3 hours and 120 miles after leaving Dover I arrived home. In that time I would have expected to cover almost double that distance in France, and that would be without really trying!

Another successful Old Gits trip with everyone keen to get involved in next years trip, especially as it will be the 10th year of Old Gits trips. Many thanks to all those who came.