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FRIDAY 29th JUNE 2007

Friday 29th June | Sunday 1st July | Tuesday 3rd July | Thursday 5th July | Sunday 8th July | Tuesday 10th July | Friday 13th July | Sunday 15th July

WE'RE OFF!

I woke early (no surprise) and set off from Chepstow to meet up with Bill and Henry at Price Parts U.K. Headquarters at Rockhampton, Thornbury.
I got as far as the Severn Bridge and decided that I didn't have my mobile!
Back to base, only to discover that I had it all along! Too many pockets.

I MAKE IT TO HENRY'S

I arrived at Henry's at 8 o'clock. Ric was there and was going to accompany us to the Ferry at Poole and make sure that we really went.


RIC REFUELING

BILL CAN'T GET OFF

Bill arrived 10 minutes later and couldn't dismount unaided. Good job he wasn't going on his own.
After a passport and ticket check, we set off in the direction of Poole via Bath and the A350. We got as far as Bathampton, south of Bath when we ran into one of the many monsoon-like storms that this summer has brought us. Despite stopping to don waterproofs, I was soaked through to the skin within two miles. The rain lasted for almost an hour and then, brilliant sunshine started to dry us out.
What a site we must have made, four steaming Herberts heading for the coast!We arrived at the Ferry Terminal at Poole at 11 o'clock. I changed out of my "shower proof" coat and Kevlar lined strides and hung them both out to dry on the bike.

THE THREE AMIGOS

After a cup of tea and a cheese sandwich, we boarded the Sea Cat Ferry and, with a wave to Ric we were off!
MY SHIP'S COME IN AT LAST

We parked the bikes on the car deck and stewards arrived to lash them down with ratchet straps. Perhaps they anticipated bad weather? We had booked reclining seats for the trip and, made our way from the car deck to the stern cabin where the recliners were. We were shown to our seats by another steward.
He returned a few minutes later and asked an elderly Gent and his Thai Bride for their tickets. They'd tried to blag two spare recliners and had no intention of paying any extra and told the steward so. Off went the steward and returned with a very hard faced officer. He explained without any emotion, that if the Gent didn't either (a) move or (b) pay the surcharge for the seats, he, and his wife, would be forcibly removed by members of the crew and his car would be off-loaded when the Ferry returned from France. Tomorrow!

I've rarely seen a wallet open so fast.

After a long blast on the ship's horn, we were off. Out of the harbour, past Brownsea Island and out into the channel.

That's when it happened.....
First the cold sweats, then the churning of the stomach. Five minutes at the toilet sink told me that this wasn't going to be a five minute thing!
I made it out onto the deck and, after carefully testing the wind direction (once a boy scout.....), spent the next five hours making a fine effort to try and turn myself inside-out. I became soaked from head to toe in sea spray but was welded to the ship's rail.

The steward came out onto the deck. "Sir,… sir… are you OK?"
I muttered a reply through a mouthful of drool and, of course, he couldn't make out my reply and so repeated his question. "Sir,… sir… are you OK sir?"

I turned to him and, mid hurl, tried again to make myself clear "Look mate, just F*** OFF and leave me alone to die. There's a good chap!"
Bill told me that, when he came back inside, the Officer asked the steward "How's the passenger on the deck?"

"I don't think he feels very well at all sir. I think he's rather ill." came the reply. Bill nearly split his sides when I told him the other side of the story later.
We stopped at Guernsey on the way which offered some respite. Then the last lap to St Malo. Back to the rail and situation normal. The steward came out again and forced a coat on me. Apparently the Captain could see me from the bridge and was concerned about hypothermia!

Then I spotted it.

" LAND HO!" I managed to mumble waving a shaky finger at the horizon. Just how must real sailors feel after weeks at sea?
Back inside to find that almost everyone had been ill. The waste bins were full of sick bags. At least I'd recycled mine to the fish. Cod anyone?
Down to the car deck on legs of jelly. I managed to get underway on the bike.

That's when it happened…..

I fell straight over on the greasy car deck. So glad I bought the Crash Bars from Price Parts! Got the bike back up and made it out of the ship, only to find that Bill was lying on his side behind me down on the car deck. They wouldn't let Henry or me back onto the boat to help him, even though we protested that he was our Granddad!

With help from the stewards he emerged with only a bent footrest to show for his trouble. Henry jumped on it several times and un-bent it. I'm so glad we brought a skilled mechanic with us!

Formula 1 Hotel
We decided that, given the way we (I) felt, camping tonight was out of the question. Henry looked up the address of a local "Formula 1" lodge. I hooked up the Sat Nav and Ozzy Ozbourne took us "straight F***ing" there.

SATURDAY 30th JUNE 2007

The plan was to make an early start. That's what I like about plans, they change! We checked the bikes over and got underway around 9.30. It was overcast and spitting with rain so Rubber Knickers were the order of the day. We made our way past Rennes and generally south via dual carriageways and Motorway standard roads. This let us keep good average speeds (for Enfields).Fuel ran low so we pulled off the main drag and searched out a filling station. Refueled, got a replacement stop and tail lamp for Henry and off we went.

MR. GRUMPY?

That's when it happened..
I led off from the petrol station and went back up the hill towards the dual carriageway. The look on the face of the poor little girl on her moped coming down the hill and round the bend on the same side of the road as me was epic!
Oops!A quick swerve and a look in the mirrors told me that Bill and Henry were too close for me to be able to deny that one.
'Pas de Problem!
The further south we got, the more the weather improved. Rubber Knickers were gone and we looked out a spot for lunch. We found a Spar Shop and loaded up on bread cheese and ham. We dined like Kings. Henry and Bill both crashed out on the grass and were snoring in unison!

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Half an hour later, we resumed towards Angoleme and from there, turned off towards Perignac and Mike Scott's palace. We turned on the Sat Nav and, after it sent us on two wild goose chases, we ended up on the right road.
I had no actual address for Mike's place, only a picture of the village church taken from his place. So we parked the bikes in the square and revved them up for a minute or two. That soon brought Mike out. It reminded me of the Tiger Tank scene from Kelly's Heroes!

MIKE'S PLACE IN PERIGNAC

We parked the bike in one of Mike's Barns and headed for the "fsst" sound of beer being opened.Mike's place was very welcoming after a day in the saddle. I felt like crap, especially after the trip on the ferry and then the ride down to Mikes. Those who know me will know how bad I must have felt when I went to bed without eating any of the fine chilli that Mike had laid on.For anyone planning a motorcycle trip in this region, I know that Mike is looking to provide accommodation at Perignac in the near future. It comes well recommended.


MIKE'S BARN


FIELD REPAIRS

STATSISTICS DAY 2
;

248 miles from St. Malo to Perignac
343 miles in total
Average 171.5 miles per day

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