Thursday, 21 June 2012
I got back home around 7 pm last night after a blast round the nearer parts of Europe with Daughter No. 2. We were away for a week and covered just short of 1800 miles. We had a great time, saw a lot of things, ate and drank some good stuff, and got aches and pains in places we didn't know we had. I'm going to make some more detailed posts over the next few days about various aspects of the trip (some technical, some general) and post some photos and experiences, but here's the rough outline:
The original plan was to take the Eurotunnel to Calais, then to get as far South as possible (around Nancy or Strasbourg) before crossing into Germany and travelling up through the Black Forest and Rhine Gorge before returning to Calais through Belgium or the Netherlands. However, a satnav-related cockup (embarrassing details later) meant that we decided to reverse the route, and we spent the first night in Aachen. The next day we took in most of the Eifel National Park, after we were sent off our route by some roadworks, and the Rhine Gorge, including a visit to the top of the Loreley and a bikers' caff called Benno's - thank you Nikos. We spent the night in the grottiest part of Wiesbaden - the low point of the trip.
The next day was an autobahn morning followed by a splendid afternoon and evening in Baden Baden (so good they named it twice, har har). The next day we motored through the North end of the Black Forest in some of the heaviest rain I have ever ridden in, and had lunch in Strasbourg. We then hit the autoroute and landed up in Verdun. This was not planned at all (the plan was only 'get as far up the A4 as possible') but in fact it turned out to be one of the highlights. The photo above was taken in the nearby 'village détruit' of Bezonvaux, shelled into oblivion in 1916 and left to return to nature - an awesome (in the truest sense) and humbling experience.
On the final day we thrashed the Sprint's little red buttocks and took the péage all the way to Calais. We took an early Eurotunnel crossing in the morning, I dropped D2 in Oxford at lunchtime, and took the 'old' A40 all the way back home.
We didn't hit anything or fall off. Apart from D2 getting sore eyes from the pollen, we weren't ill, and we had a bed to sleep in each night. The bike ran faultlessly: the tyre I was worried about didn't lose a significant amount of pressure, and apart from using a fair amount of oil through the sustained high speeds of the autobahn bits, caused no concerns at all. I'm not altogether convinced that it was the ideal bike for the trip, though, and next year I would not be at all surprised if I were doing in on a different machine. More on that in another post.
D2 and I had a great time, though. Complaining about anything else is missing the point.
Posted by Richard at 18:31