Louisiana MC Instructors VERY unofficial European tour (Swampland to the Alps)
This is it! Here it is folks! The culmination of over a year's planning is about to become reality (well, over a year's talk and about a day's planning really)
Following last year's Round-and-Round and End-to-End (Swampland to the Highlands) tour, where DewNMoon and myself wasted two perfectly good weeks riding the length of Britain and back, we're off to do something else on "the other side of the pond!"
This time we'll have more company - Who will no doubt introduce themselves as the thread unfolds.
I'm leaving for Britain in a week and the rest of the group a few days later. There'll be a few days of riding in England then we're off across the Channel, headed for the high passes and snowy peaks of the Alps.
Details to follow!
Oh ya!! Did you say ALPS?? :super
Way to go! Heck, since retirement, I found that I have more time than money. Quite a reversal of when I was in the oil field. ;-(. Be looking for your report experiencing the European countries. I'll have to settle for Canada next month. :deal :lol3
The basic plan
The latest idea for a possible route:
Confined only by ferry bookings, we are free to go wherever we want on the continent for ten whole days and so far have not committed to being in any particular place at any particular time.
The tall tales and photos of the last "over the pond" excursion was toooo much for some of our sometimes "co-workers", spouses, sidekicks, whatever MC Instructor brethren to handle. "I wanna go" was universally heard when I returned.
The scheming to go every started looking at possible ways to coordinate having the same time off and picking up pennies off the sidewalk to cover costs.
Undaunted by some of the other shorter "excursions" they have followed us on this crew is not a bunch to worry too much about where we might end up.
(Maybe one will chime in about the "Off to Oz" run:eek1 or the "goat trail":lol3 escapade that had them talking "how did we do that?"
Looking forward to the reports! Post as often as possible. Any & all pics most welcome!
And thanks again for your help in Alabama this week!!!! :thumb
See you again in May!
I'm in. Here's to a great trip!:beer
I'm in England now - Doing some minor servicing and adjustments on The Duchess and adding a few extra little farkles. Will be riding up to meet the rest of the team at the bike retal place in Bournemouth on Saturday morning.
Apart from today ,which has been gorgeous so far but forecast for heavy rain coming soon, the rest of the week through the weekend is supposed to be warm with occasional showers. This is SW England however, so there could be anything really.
As if to prove my point from the last post, the weather forecast was totally wrong - there was no rain yesterday but it has drizzled steadily all day today.
While waiting for the rest of the group to get here, I have been spending some time in the village pub and working on The Duchess.
The major works were replacing the front brake pads with Ferodo Platimum (as recommended for maximum braking power by Michael "Mercury" Morse of Vintage Brake), and adjusting the steering head bearings to try and cure a bit of low speed wobble.
Also made some minor tweaks such as installing light throttle springs from Tony Heyman
I added the topbox (tail trunk for those in the colonies) recently and decided to enhance rear visibility with some reflective tape and another auxilliary brake light - wired to a gizmo inside the tail-light which causes it to strobe when the brakes are applied - but that can be bypassed in seconds if someone takes exception.
The biggest chore was to cut holes in the windshield and install a couple of aircraft Snap Vents - They'd better bloody well work (improve ventilation, reduce back-pressure) because installing them was an almighty pain in the arse - cutting the holes and getting them exactly round and exactly the right size was much harder and took much longer than anticipated. Also visible in the following pic are GPS mounts and the platform for mouting a rear-facing camera above my right hand.
Last year, we had some success shooting video clips with our digital cameras. As an experiment, I have knocked up a mount to put a camera low-down in a forward-facing position. The acrylic is supposed to shield the camera lens from road debris and is arranged so that the camera will be screwed down tight against the "glass" (masking tape will be removed of course :D) Suggestions for improvement from anyone having tried something like this before will be gratefully received.
The mount needs some details like a place to attach a tether in case the plastic tripod screw hole in the camera breaks loose. It has two screw-down holes located so a different camera can be used - but the Fuji in the first pic is the sacrificial camera as it's rear screen crapped-out after getting soaked on last year's End-to-End ride.
Saturday June 13
Met the rest of the group in Bournemouth and rode to Rattery. It was a perfect day for riding, although a lot of time was spent getting from the airport and sorting out paperwork, riding gear and luggage, etc. The couple who run the rental place did a great job of making sure everyone was fully versed in the unique features of each bike and luggage system. Each bike also came with an alarmed disk lock and we got a huge security chain for the 1200RT. In addition to the 1200, we picked up an F800GS (The Dewnmoonmobile), a V-strom 650 and an SV650S. I have The Duchess of Hamilton (1985 R80RT) of course. Finally, as well as the bikes, we have a car with us - due to one of our group having recently had surgery and advised not to ride.
Much excitement along the way when a car directly in front of Dewnmoon and Mrs. Dewnmoon slammed into another car that failed to stop coming out of a side-street. Of course, Dew was at the back of the pack and we went on a few miles before we realized he wasn't catching up. It made for a very anxious few moments when I went back and saw an ambulance, fire truck and police cars but before I saw them standing unhurt by the side of the road. Dew was doing the right thing and waited around to give a police statement.
We pulled into Rattery at around 4:30pm. After meeting and greeting and getting settled, everyone was obviously jet-lagged so we didn't ride again. Some time was devoted to adding temporary power outlets and accessory mounts to the rental bikes, then my parents put on a grilled dinner for us all and after tidying and washing dishes we finished off with a stroll to the village pub.
The weather was just about perfect today. Quite a lot of photos taken but everyone turned in before getting any of them downloaded. Expect to see them soon.
Hello all, this is my first post, got up at dawn this AM in Rattery I then wiped down the R1200RT,SV650, and the weestrom ( I must take care of my Wife and my Mistress on this trip. then had some black pudding (first time) an't scared we eat gator down home.
Had a great day - Weather was absolutely perfect. Nice lazy start with a cooked breakfast - including helpings of the aforementioned epicurean treat. Took the group into Dartmoor National Park, following a few interesting routes to Princetown for lunch.
There were a couple of "incidents" that resulted in two bikes unrideable by the end of the day. Explanations will no doubt follow.
Well after much debate, packing and repacking were off. The “crew” (minus one who has already left to prep his ride) as planned to meet where “Pimpdaddy” has a vehicle large enough to haul this group with all the appropriate ATGATT, electronics, and paraphernalia to wherever we end up.
Ha, Is this thing big enough, “what no A/C (doesn't anybody know it's 90+ out here! Well there is no AC on my R11S...), windows lifts broken, shocks broken, sardines have it better! But somebody has to drive and a navigator has to sit up front, hew! Well anyway we only have to cram our chauffeur in to drop us off at the airport.
Flight might be long but with this crew, somebody had to supply us with amusement, Pimpdaddy started out by setting off some type of alarms, TSA, yanked his helmet bag aside, and shuffled him into the “plexi-box” for a more extensive search. Grinning “why me”.
Off to Charlotte for our connecting flight to the UK.
Eventually cruising at approx 577 mph at a Garmin indicated 37,000+ ft
Kumar greets us on the other side of customs with his placard “Louisiana Motorcycle Instructors” (whose idea was that?). Waiting for “Tubastew” to rent a mini 4 wheeled contrivance ( due to recent back surgery his doc told him 'No-way!”) and not wanting to be left behind. He soon emerges with some sort of lil Vauxall. Off to get our rides......Kumar of course proceed down the motorway making good progress. Not that any of us are complaining as he passes another Mercedes....
Ahhh one 2 wheels again, yours truly on a new BMW F800GS, Pimp-daddy on a BMW R1200 RT (sorry no “lead-sled”), Kim gets the Suz 650 V-Strom, Ms Bling-bling on the Suz SV650S w/ soft bags., and the “Boss” riding pillion w/ me (she really misses her F650CS but she get photo duties and gets to remind me what side of the road we are supposed to be on.
Kim and Ms Bling quickly wake up after navigating the first few round-abouts and having to detect threats from a different direction.
Out into the English countryside, I'm for a change riding caboose for this ride while Slarto.. leads.
Pretty soon there are the inevitable cars in the mix as we pass but I can see Kim and P-D's neon jackets in the distance, THEN...... while following a little Citroen (3-4 seconds behind him) I spot a blue BMW driven by some woman approaching from the left at the next intersection, what...no....she doesn't stop! Moving to turn right immediately in front of the Citroen in front of us!. Breakkkkk. Smash the Citroen broadsides the Bimmer.......HE careens left over the curb while the Bimmer spins a bit and goes backward across the road. Pull over to check out injuries, The Citr driver has blood on his forehead and looking shocked, others start stopping, Call for an ambulance and police. The women in the Bimmer appear surprised but otherwise un-injured (side airbags deployed in the Bimmer must have done their job well)
Within 5-10 minutes the “colorful” ambulances, fire dept and Devon-Cornwall police are on the scene. Citroen driver is on the stretcher. Slardo has by now realized we were not behind them and has returned looking for us. Description of the crash given to the Devon-Cornwall PD and we are off...What a day and we are just getting started...
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