If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

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.


  1. Welcome home and congratulations on the apparent success of it all (except staying in the ethnic quarter of Wiesbaden!).

    I'm looking forward to the detailed postings including your prediction on the € interest rates.


  2. Sounds like heaven! Looking forward to the follow-ups

  3. fantastic! looking forward to more...

  4. Glad it all went so well also awaiting further tales with bated breath..

  5. Richard;

    Looks like a successful trip with D2. Glad you had fun & lots of bonding time. can't wait for further details

    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

  6. Wow it has been a week already. I am glad you had a great trip and good times with D2. Looking forward to the detailed report.

    I am glad you made it home safe and sound.

  7. Excellent! Glad you two had fun and there were a complete lack of mechanical defects involved. Some drama (or at least dramatically presentable events) involved, one hopes. Look forward to reading the detailed reports...

    Nice to see a future bike purchase worked into the narrative, as well. Big, two-up tourer, maybe? You're not thinking about buying one of Nikos' many BMWs are you?!

  8. Thanks all - humbling to realise there were so many out there rooting for me :) I'll post more when the pictures come back from Boots (UK readers only)/can be downloaded (RoW).

    Endo - yes, there were a couple of 'incidents', but nothing to cause undue concern. The Sprint was awesome in many ways, and didn't let me down, but I was growing increasingly aware that if I were to do this again, it might be easier/comfier/less stressy on something different. Certainly not bigger/heavier (quite the reverse) but maybe more laid back. D2 and I inspected a full-dress GoldWing in the F1 car park and we both rejected it as waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay OTT. A Beemer may be a possibility, if can find one that addresses the weight/ugliness issues. I'm told you need to test ride one for at least a month before you 'get' them, and I can't see anyone lending me one for that length of time. We shall see. The Sprint isn't on the transfer list by any means - just thinking aloud, which I know you will understand.


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