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Trip Notes by David Mc ---
Miles travelled: 2183
Wednesday 26th May
Distance: 477 Miles
Roads: AutoRoutes (mainly toll roads) - Tolls 22 Euros
As is becoming normal for
Old Gits trips the day started at 4am when my alarm went off. The bike had been packed the
night before and was sat in the garage waiting. It was cold and overcast but dry. I had a
good run down to the port at
Everyone turned up over the next 20 minutes although Mark was having some problems with the Aprilia. It would take several attempts to start then would suddenly cut out when running. Additionally, his dip beam headlight bulb had died.
We all managed to get on the ferry and had a traditional Old Gits ferry breakfast while everyone introduced themselves to everyone else.
Mark and I tracked the
fault to the side stand switch. We managed to remove the switch and join the wires
together which had the bike running sweetly but made us over an hour behind everyone else.
It was now raining very hard but we pushed on and rode down towards
The rest of the run down was pretty uneventful other than the closing of the motorway for a short distance causing an extra half hour diversion but we arrived at our hotel at around 19:00 where we met up with the others and went for a beer and a meal at the nearby Buffalo Grill.
Thursday 27th May
Distance: 278 Miles
Roads: A mixture of N and D roads
Thursday started with a
light breakfast at the hotel where our plans for the day were discussed. We agreed to do
the first 40 miles or so on motorway then take a non-motorway route to
Lunch was a menu de
jour at a small restaurant en route with a couple of petrol stops required to get us
The ride over the pass
Peter and Steve Mi were already at the hotel when we arrived and opened up the nice secure garage so that we could park our bikes and unload the luggage.
It was agreed to try one of the local restaurants as our hotel did not do evening meals. Unfortunately, we discovered that Encamp didnt have many open restaurants and as we were looking for somewhere to eat the Mother of All Thunderstorms arrived and proceeded to soak us. This caused the party to split as some went on looking for a restaurant while others decided that eating was not that important and went back to the hotel.
Friday 28th May
The day started grey and
overcast. Everyone agreed to give the bikes a miss today and instead we all decided to go
to Naturlandia to try out the Tobotronc. (A
5.3km bob sled roller coaster). 3 taxis were summoned to deliver us from our
hotel to the other side of
A taxi ride back to the hotel later that afternoon followed (and the taxi rides were scarier than the Tobotronc ride!) and then down into the town on Encamp to find an open restaurant. This time we were successful and we all had a nice meal.
Saturday 29th May
Distance: 279 Miles
Roads: A mixture of N and D roads
It was warm and dry and
we all agreed to meet at the local petrol station after breakfast where we would fuel up,
separate into groups and head off for lunch at the Med. 5 of us made up one group, Nick,
Steve Me, Steve Mi, Peter and I all headed out on some back roads roughly in the direction
of Perpignan. The roads were superb and the
weather got better and better. After a coffee break on the way and some serious fun on the
mountain bends we eventually arrived at a great little beach restaurant on the north coast
The run back was even better with the roads warmed by the afternoon sun. Bend after bend was taken with foot pegs almost kissing the tarmac and gearboxes getting lots of work in 2nd and 3rd. A number of stops were made to admire some of the many spectacular views and the grins on the faces of all the Old Gits showed that everyone was having great fun.
Although we had split into separate groups when we left the restaurant, we kept crossing each others paths and people moved from group to group as they fancied.
By the end of the
afternoon, another coffee stop had us agreeing to find a restaurant somewhere in
Sunday 30th May
Distance: 144 Miles
Roads: A mixture of N and D roads
The sun was out and again
the breakfast conversation was about possible destinations for the day. Roger wanted to go
After a stop for a cold drink we were riding along a nice open stretch of road past a lake when we got pulled over to the side of the road by a couple of Spanish police. We had been riding carefully (a number of headlight flashes from traffic coming the other way had pre-warned us) so were slightly confused as t why wed been stopped. The police handed us a bike safety leaflet (in Spanish naturally) then simply waved us on our way.
When we returned to the hotel and met up with the rest of the group, we discovered that we had not been the only Old Gits pulled over by the law, and that we had been the lucky ones. Roger had been pulled over for crossing a solid white line and had to part with 90 in cash! Still, after 13 years of Old Gits trips, this was the first ticket any of us had received.
Monday 31st May
Distance 400 Miles
Roads : A mixture of N roads and Autoroutes (including toll roads) - Tolls 12 Euros
Arrive at Vierzon and stay at the Arche Hotel
The hotel didnt
serve breakfast until 08:00 so we all had our bikes packed before breakfast and hit the
dining room at exactly 08:00. After breakfast there the final opportunity for a group
photo shoot was taken and the debate started as to do we or dont we wear
waterproofs? Finally, we decided that it wasnt going to be too wet so we set off
without waterproofs only to stop a couple of miles up the road to put them on. At this
pint, the decision was made not to go over the
There were only 8 of us
heading north at this point as Nick, Ron and Richard were going to take a few ore days
The customs at the border decided we looked suspicious so pulled us over and proceeded to get us to open up all the panniers and tank backs to check for cigarettes and alcohol. This took a good 30 minutes.
Finally, on the move again we started the run north. As we had 400 miles to cover we stuck to motorways. Boring but an efficient way to cover lots of miles. The highlight of the afternoon was doing a top gear roll on test between the Hayabusa and the K1200S. From 60mph to 150mph there was nothing in it with both bikes literally staying side by side. The Busa was slightly higher geared than standard (for better fuel consumption) so a standard Busa would slightly have the edge, but it would only be slightly.
We arrived at our hotel in Vierzon, had a meal in the hotel restaurant and bedded down for the night.
Tuesday 1st June
Distance 310 Miles
Roads : Autoroutes (including toll roads) - Tolls 22 Euros
Breakfast at the hotel was nice and early and we were back on the road by 08:00. Guy was now a complete convert to the Airhawk seat cushion and was frantically watching one for sale on eBay via his iPhone.
The run around
The bikes were loaded
onto the ferry and we all headed up for the food court. The final meal together was eaten
then we all said our farewells and headed off in different directions from the port. It
was raining in the
Another Old Gits trip finished but again it was a great trip with great roads and, of course, superb company. Everyone had enjoyed themselves and no one had fallen out with anyone else. We had had only one minor mechanical incident with the Aprilia at the start. The weather had been reasonable but even the rain couldnt dampen our spirits. Now to start planning the next trip!