1st JULY 2007
29th June | Sunday
1st July | Tuesday
3rd July | Thursday
5th July | Sunday
8th July | Tuesday
10th July | Friday
13th July | Sunday
The next morning was a different
story Mike rustled up a full English with French
bangers (pork and paprika). It didn't touch
the sides. Even the fried eggs were well received!
We attended to the bikes. Oil, tappets, tyre
pressures etc. Only two problems turned up.
Bill was now getting almost 85 m.p.g. However,
he thinks if he switches to a thicker grade
of oil, this figure should begin to rise a little.
There was not much that could be done about
Bill's oil consumption en route, except to keep
a close eye on it to make sure it didn't run
dry and to make sure that Bill rode at the back.
I thought he'd left the smoke machine in Worcester?
The other problem was that Henry's bike was
leaking oil from the inlet oil banjo connector.
We managed to develop our first fault and it
needed a copper washer which none of us had!
Heads were being scratched to come up with a
French translation for "copper washer".
Henry tightened things down as much as he could
safely do and we all set off with Mike leading
the way towards Bordeaux. This being Sunday
and the fact that we were in France meant that
we had almost as much chance of finding a free
lunch as finding a copper washer shop. The same
applies to Petrol! Strange country, France.
If it's Sunday, then it's shut. Saying that,
we did manage to find an unattended petrol station
that had an automatic pump that took Visa.
We continued on through several sleepy towns
and villages, most of which were made up of
narrow streets with blocks of houses, four or
five stories high that opened out right onto
the narrow pavementWe were making our way through
one such "Ville"......
That's when it happened.......
Bill was riding number two as we were coming
up to a set of traffic lights. All of a sudden,
Bill's bike let out a thunderous backfire and
the whole scene in front of me disappeared in
a cloud of blue / black smoke! The volume seemed
to be amplified by the proximity of the buildings.
When the smoke cleared, Bill's carb was hanging
like a severed head, Several people on the pavement
had their hands over their hearts. One woman
had her hand over her arse. An old fellow on
the other side of the road was checking his
fob watch. I can only assume that he thought
that the noon day gun had gone off early? Two
minutes later, the carb was re-attached and
we were underway again.
We rode on as we had agreed, two hours or so,
followed by a ten minute break. After a while,
we found a converted petrol station that sold
filled baguettes. That was lunch sorted. Oil
levels were checked and we topped up Bill's
bike, again. It had earned the nick-name "Amoco
Cadiz" due to the amount of black stuff
it was losing.
We rode through the French countryside with
fields of sunflowers watching over us. Before
we reached Bordeaux, Mike waved us off and headed
back for Perignac.
We missed our turning as we approached Bordeaux
and ended up riding right through the centre
of the city. What a nice mistake to make. A
lovely place. We hooked up the Sat Nav and we
were soon winging our way out of Bordeaux, going
south towards Biarritz.
The weather was getting warmer and the countryside
was getting more rural. We were riding on a
Motorway class road (the N10) through beautiful
pine forests with mile upon mile of fragrant
yellow flowered Broom.
We took a break at one of the many picnic areas
that are to be found along the road. Henry sparked
up his petrol primus time-bomb and we soon had
a cuppa in our hands. After a leak and another
check of the bikes, we started to put our coats
and helmets back on.
We decided that, as time was marching
on, we would ride for about another hour and
then look for a camp site. As I was sorting
out my Ipod, Bill started his bike and started
to tootle off. Henry and I discussed the pros
and cons of music and riding for a minute and
then we started up and made for the slip road
to find Bill.
Thats's when it happened......
Bill was nowhere to be seen. Henry and I couldn't
believe that he'd just blasted off down the
motorway without us? I did a quick tour of the
picnic area to see if he was about. Still no
Bill. So we set off blindly down the motorway
to see if we could find him.
We had, up to now, kept our speeds to around
50 or so. I set off at around 75 / 80 for 20
minutes to catch him up. Still no Bill. I had
passed several services and Pit-Stops and slowed
down as I passed each one to have a good look
out for him. After 20 minutes, I stopped on
the hard shoulder, just before an exit and waited
for Henry. We decided that I'd wait on the motorway
bridge and Henry would retrace our steps checking
each Pit-Stop and junction along the road to
see if he could flush him out. I got my bike
up onto the bridge and Henry set off North bound.
I managed to get my bike up onto the narrow
pavement on the bridge, to get it off the road
and to let it act as a beacon to Bill.
Then, as I tried to dismount, I lost balance
and both me and the bike were lying in the road!
I managed to crawl clear and some kind soul
stopped and helped me get it back upright again.
Time was passing and I had doubts that we would
ever regain contact with Bill this side of home.
Bill had a mobile phone but didn't have any
credit on it, let alone have it configured to
work in France. The only logical thing I could
think that he might do is to do the E.T. thing
and phone home!
I decided to call Naomi, Bill's wife, and see
if he had called.
"Hello Naomi, It's Tim"
"Oh - I'm fine thanks, and you?"
The weather, oh it's wonderfull
"Oh yes, were all OK thanks........except......"
"We seem to have lost Bill,..... a little
Everything considered, I think she was very
calm. She promised to call me if he called her
and I told her I'd let her know when (meaning
if) we found him. Henry returned about an hour
later and we decided that there was little more
we could do so we said that we would carry on
down the motorway and look for a camp site.
We were both glum, the three were now two.
All-in-all, it had now been some 90 minutes
since we'd last seen Bill. We set off south
and after about 20 minutes I saw an exit which
said fuel (I was getting low) and camping. I
indicated right and checked behind to make sure
Henry saw it.
Then, just as I was running up
the slip road, there he was. The silly old sod!
Bike parked on the edge of the slip road, Bill
was sat on the armco barrier like a Garden Gnome!
As we came to a halt and got off, Bill proceeded
to bollock us.
"Where the blazes have you two been, I've
been waiting here for ages?"
I didn't know whether to hug him or just kick
him off the armco and down into the ditch! We
got back on our bikes and set about following
the signs for "Camping Lou Payou"
The site was less than a mile from the junction
and was a small family run site that was almost
empty. The unforeseen problem was that they
had used sand to make up the tracks on the site
and the top-heavy bikes didn't like it one bit.
Once we allowed for it we managed without dropping
any of the bikes.
We decided that the tents could wait a bit.
We set about making Bill fluent in the necessary
Bill approached the shop / reception / cafe.
"Trois beers s'il vouz plait mamoiselle.......
por favour, thank you"
Well he came back with three cold ones so -
success. We were about to down in one when Bill
stopped us. "Toast!" he cried.
Beer always tastes better when the sun's out.
After a couple more, we set about making camp
and getting some nosh underway.
We phoned Naomi and put her mind at rest. She
made me promise that we would make sure that
Bill was "the meat in the sandwich"
from now on.
The tents went up without too
much trouble and we dined on Bully Beef and
Beans from our supplies with French bread from
the shop along with a bottle or two of red stuff.
STATISTICS DAY 3;
201 miles from Perignac to Camplig
MONDAY 2nd AUGUST
544 miles in total
Average 181 miles per day
We awoke to rain on the tents.
Depressing. Wet tents to put away and wet roads
to ride on. But, by the time we were up and
dressed, the rain had passed and the tents were
dry enough after a good shake.
More beans for breakfast. That should help to
keep the fuel bill down for the bikes! We packed
away and paid our bill at the site and headed
for the local garage to fill up.
Bugger me if Monsieur Price didn't disappear
into the garage with the French mechanic and
reappear with une rondelle de cuivre' in his
hand and a big beaming smile on his face (Copper
Washer to you). Ten minutes later and it was
fitted. We set off for the Spanish border and
After an hour of steady riding, we turned off
the N10 and headed for DAX. We began to climb
into the Pyrenees. We had turned off from the
main drag to cross via the mountains rather
than skirt around the side. The scenery was
spectacular. Little did we know that, on a scale
of 1 to 10 for scenery we would see on this
holiday, this would score around only 3.
We continued up into the mountains, and stopped
in St. Jean Pied De Port at a small supermarket
to buy some lunch. Bread, cheese, ham and a
fresh cooked pizza.
We also bought some provisions for our evening
meal. Henry almost emptied the charcuterie counter
for tomorrow's breakfast. They say you should
never shop for food when you're hungry. They
must have had Henry in mind when they said that!
Then it was onwards and upwards after checking
the bikes again. Before long we were able to
send a text back to base-camp The Three Amigos
sing Viva Espana. We crossed the border at a
place called Luzaide. Typical French. No marking
of the border, no sign, no nothing. Just a mad
dog barking right in the middle of the road,
right on the border.
We took a few photos with the Welcome to Spain
sign in the background and sent some back to
Frances at base camp. She had agreed to post
pictures and daily reports on the Lonely Bob
Fan Club Forum. A thankless task but apparently
well received. We then carried on towards Pamplona
(where they do the annual bull run). Now, if
it was a Bullet Run.
We started to cut across Spain in a general
south west line and stopped, late in the afternoon,
in a small town to refuel. It was hot, damn
hot! The bikes were glowing. Henry consulted
his Camping Almanac and fond a site in a small
town called Noverette. I put the town name into
the Sat Nav and off we went. Half an hour later,
we were in the town centre and following signs
that said Camping. We ended up on the far side
of the town with no further sign of a camp site.
Henry and I had a huddle to try and make some
sense of the directions in his book and the
layout of the town. With that, I looked up to
see Bill walking across the road to two local
workmen in day-glo (or dago as Bill called it)
Senior, Camping por favour?
Now we didn't have a clue what they said but
the waving hands said Back up the way you came
and first left, old cock.
Who said Bill couldn't speak the lingo?
Ten minutes later we were booking in and five
minutes after that we were making camp. We were
next to the toilet block but at least that would
be a blessing at 3 a.m!
Henry went to the shop and came back with some
wine. No bread, no chips! I cooked up the provisions
that Henry had bought for lunch along with some
Uncle Ben's boil in the bag rice.
That's when it happened……
I turned to tell Henry that dinner would be
in about half an hour and realised he was changing
from his Kevlar jeans into some shorts in the
open air! Now why he decided he had to strip
of his boxers as well, I'll never know.
Suffice to say, I now qualify for the I'VE SEEN
PRICE'S PARTS T shirt. There are times when
you would welcome a little sun blindness, this
was one of them.
We sat about and enjoyed our supper and the
wine. We discussed the bikes and how well they
were holding up. I hoped that this wasn't tempting
fate. They were parked lose by and could clearly
hear us! I'd found that the entire engine and
gearbox assembly was getting so hot that I had
to make sure that my boots made no contact with
the alloy casing or I would get burnt through
the leather! With the higher temperatures we
were experiencing, we were stopping for a cool-down
break every 60 90 minutes. Mucho agua also.
We decided that, at the rate that Bill's bike
was using oil, there would be no need to do
an oil change when we reached southern Spain.
It was more like a total loss system but, apart
from the expense, there was no perceived problem.
The only niggle was that Bill's bike had developed
a habit of not wanting to start for about 10
minutes when it had been stopped. We tried a
new plug and that seemed to help a little.
We had an early night, or at least tried to.
It turned out that the toilet block was more
of a village pump with people congregating to
chew the cud. I unzipped the tent and stuck
my head out….. a few choice words later
and silence prevailed. I knew that we would
be off early in the morning and couldn't wait
to hear the three Enfields bark-up.
STATSISTICS - DAY 4;
198 miles Camping Lou Payou -
742 miles in total
Average 186 miles per day