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by Paul H ---
The trip,as usual, was planned with military precision by David, no detail left to chance, (except that is, my youngest daughter who was due to give birth the week before, but hadn't.)
Looking like the baby would not make an appearance before the Hotel cancellation date, I was forced to cancel my hotel booking and bid the rest of the guys "farewell and have a good trip"
My daughter actually gave birth to a lovely little boy, Henry William, in the small hours of Friday 1st May. After visiting them and making sure that Daughter & Baby were fit and healthy I made the decision to go on the trip, the rest of the group having left Dover on the 06.45 ferry.
After visiting the hospital I got to work sorting things out. The Hotel booking was reinstated, travel insurance taken out and personal packing completed. The bike was loaded up and off I went to Dover where I managed to catch the 12.45 ferry.
Weather conditions were perfect, traffic was light due to the French Bank holiday and I arrived at the Hotel in Limoge 5 3/4 hours after disembarking at Calais, a quick shower and out, meant I could join the Group in the Chinese restaurant before they had started on their dessert.
Although they had set off 6 hours prior to me, they had opted for the scenic route, by passing Paris, which meant various delays encountered due to road closures etc caused by the French May Day celebrations.
Saturday dawned, a cloudless sky, a good breakfast and the Old Gits
were soon planning where next to eat ! Richard discovered that his bike (BMW R1100GS -
name and shame) wouldn't start. Fortunately the Old Gits still had a bit of energy left
after breakfast and a couple of runs up and down the road soon had the Beemer coughing
into life. Fortunately this was the first and only occurrence of this happening. Our
destination that day was Oradour-sur-Glane, (http://www.oradour.info) which was the scene
of the horrific massacre of the town's population by the German SS on the 10th June 1944.
Although some of the Old Gits had visited the town before, it was well worth another
visit, and was only about 15 miles from Limoges.
Assembling in the bar next door, we discussed where to eat, and set off in search of an acceptable venue, which was eventually provided by a local Italian Restaurant. A night cap in the Hotel bar later finished off the day nicely.
Sunday again dawned with a cloudless sky. Breakfast was consumed, with
the more intelligent Old Gits pouring over maps to find a new interesting destination. It
was decided we would head to Rocamadour a town famed for it's buildings built into the
rock face, with the stunning Castle sitting at the top of the "cliff". The
distance to Rocamodour was some 95 miles dependent on whose sat nav you believed. Use and
conversation concerning sat navs was becoming somewhat anal by now, but none the less they
would enable any Old Git who strayed from the pack to find his way home. The roads to
Rocamodour were superb, the weather still brilliant meant that a good time was enjoyed by
all. A more direct route was followed back to the Hotel.
Monday Can you believe it, another lovely day. Breakfast, maps, sat navs later, and we were wending our way to Tulle where we indulged in local steak et frittes at lunchtime. The roads were even better than previous days and everyone was having a ball enjoying the twisties as only bikers can appreciate. Lunch was "proper" we said and therefore would only need a snack in the evening. Wrong! We ended up in a small, "very French" restaurant where we indulged in a not so snackish starter, main and desert. The evening was rounded off with a final nightcap in the bar next to the hotel. Wake up alarms were set and breakfast planned to have us load up and ready to leave the next morning by 07.45
Tuesday. We bade farewell to Limoges and set out again under a
cloudless sky for home.
In conclusion this was an excellent trip, well planned, fantastic weather, good
company, and enjoyable biking.
by David Mc ---
Miles travelled: 1612
The day started at 3am when my alarm went off. The bike had been packed the night before and was sat in the garage ready to roll. It was cold but dry and clear as I headed off through the wilds of Suffolk then down the A12 and A2 to the port. The meet time was set at 06:00 but a good clear run down got me there at 05:20!
I already knew that Paul wasn't going to make it but everyone else turned up by 05:45 so we checked through customs and tickets. I don't know why but for some reason the customs officers pulled us into the shed but then only asked is about 3 questions before letting us all go on.
The ferry was delayed by about 20mins but we all got on safe and sound and were impressed with the Sea France bike parking facilities. The ferry was quiet and we all managed a hearty breakfast although none of us were impressed by the food.
Calais was sunny and the trip down warmed up as we got further into the day. The choice to avoid Paris gave us a slightly longer route but that didn't matter as we were all enjoying the run.
Near Orleans we made the mistake of ignoring the sat nav and navigating by some ancient in-built sense of direction which promptly put us into the middle of a town holding its annual fair! We then spent almost an hour trying to get through the traffic and out of the town which had just about every main road blocked to allow for the street markets. Another 30mins was spent trying to find a route that took us back to the motorway as we had come out of the other side of the town.
We arrived at Limoges slightly later than planned but checked into the hotel and headed out to find a restaurant. That was not as easy as we expected as it was a bank holiday and many restaurants were closed! We ended up at an 'all you can eat' oriental restaurant where Paul joined us, his daughter having given birth the night before.
Saturday 2nd May
Saturday was sunny and got very warm as we went through the day. We had a slow start with the normal "where shall we go today" debate over breakfast. The decision was made to have a look around Oradour-Sur-Glane as it wasn't too far and some of the group had not seen it.
Richards bike then decided not to start (flat battery we think) so there was a short delay as a bunch of Old Gits attempted to push start a BMW R1150GS around Limoges. It did start after a couple of attempts but a mental note was made to ensure Richard parked at the top of a hill anywhere we stopped (As it happens it wasn't a problem again!) The visit to Oradour-Sur-Glane was followed but lunch in the new town of a large sandwich & chips.
After Oradour we headed to Confolens where we had an ice-cream and met Brit biker with a local gites he was doing up. From Confolens we took the long way home (random route) before a couple of beers and a very nice Italian meal.
Sunday 3rd May
Another sunny day! After the usual breakfast discussion we agreed to head for Rocamadour via another random route. The warm tarmac and the lack of traffic meant that fun was had by all as we followed excellent bits of road south from Limoges. We stopped for lunch at a small café that had no bread for sandwiches! Still, lunch was fine even if the waitress did try to drown Barry with a coke! Rocamadour was very pretty, and the source of another ice cream, before we headed back up to Limoges.
The search for an open restaurant took even longer but we ended up at having a Morrocan meal that was very nice.
Monday 4th May
And another sunny day so we got out the maps at breakfast and looked for some twisty roads. This resulted in a run along the very nice D road to a town called Bugeat where we had a coffee in a bar owned by an Irishman who had been brought up in Birmingham. On the bar owners advice we then backtracked slightly before turning down the superb D940 and heading to Tulle where we had a very nice steak and chips lunch in a bar that was a converted chapel
After lunch we headed out Egletons before pointing back towards Limoges on the D16 which was as good as the D940.
The evening meal was had in a nice French restaurant and, for some, was a second helping of steak and chips before we had a nightcap or two!
Tuesday 5th May
Up at 06:45 with everything packed and on the bike before breakfast. While it was sunny, it was cold but I decided to not put on too many layers as I was sure it was going to warm up!! Wrong! Having left the hotel at 07:45 I was reaching for extra layers at the first petrol stop. The Autoroutes are boring but efficient and our run up to Paris and around the Périphérique was uneventful. The rain started just north of Paris but only just enough to cause us to stop and put the waterproofs on. As soon as we'd done that, the rain stopped.
Arrival at the port seriously ahead of schedule resulted in Sea France offering to put is on the next ferry out if we paid an extra £10 (Neither P&O or Norfolk Line have ever asked for extra payment!) We got on the ferry and arrived in Dover before 16:30 where we all said our goodbyes and headed home.