Day 1: Bournemouth, England to Chablis, France
Up at 5am to catch our ferry to France. It's pitch black and raining out (but it's England so no surprise). Trying to attach 3 fully loaded cases to the bike in the complete dark... for the first time... is not easy. We left the hotel late but the GPS guided us through the confusing winding roads and got us to the ferry port on time.
Tying down the bikes.
It was all good until the boat hit the open water of the English Channel. This was my technique for keeping my food down - look straight to the horizon and try to ignore the smell of breakfast sausage grease coming from the kitchen vents.
We met two other riders on the ferry (on an Aprilia and Ducati) and planned to ride through the D-day beaches to Caen with them. After arriving at the port in Cherbourg France and realizing we had over 500km to cover in one day, we had to go our own way soon after hitting the road.
Arriving at Omaha Beach just as the sun came out.
Eerie scene to see the bunkers embedded in the cliffside and the anti-aircraft guns along the beach.
The Omaha Beach memorial monument.
More rain along the narrow roads towards Caen.
Arriving in Caen for a late lunch.
From Caen, we jumped on the toll highways to cover as much ground as we could. Avoiding Paris we still managed to get stuck in traffic along the nearby highways. Legal lane splitting was a dream, although a bit dicey at times with the extended luggage on both sides.
The camaraderie among riders in France was pretty awesome. I noticed riders kept sticking their right foot out as they passed by... soon clueing in that it's how they acknowledge other riders. You'll see a few riders doing this in my ride video below.
Once the traffic opened up the highways went on and on for hours. The sun had set a good while ago, and less and less cars were coming in the opposite direction. I looked down at the gas and found the bike was consuming way more than it was estimating... It's 10pm with 35 inaccurate miles showing till empty and we were in the middle of the French country side! GPS directed us off the main highway into what turned out to be an old abandoned station... We got back on the highway and juuuuuust made it to an open station to fill up before we were empty. A great way to start the trip!
We arrived at our hotel in Chablis at around 11 that night.
Day 1 riding video: