|09-09-2012, 05:19 AM||#1|
Joined: Mar 2008
The Ardennes and Germany
I've been riding alone the past 20 years. Sometimes with a girlfriend, and the last couple of years with my son Nikolai.
After seeing a thread on the danish bike-site www.motorcykelforum.dk where a guy looked for somebody to explore parts of Europe with, I thought it was worth a try. We ended up beeing 4 guys with a loose plan of what to do.
We started out with a planning meeting at my place.
It's Charles on the left and Kox on the right.
We got the grill started and sat down with a beer. Conversation flows better with good food and a beer
My son Nikolai participated jealously. He knew he wasn't in for this ride, as he had school to attend.
It's Tom P you see on the right.
We had a great evening, where we got to know each other and found out that we all clicked together. Before we'd only know each other in the virtual world. Kox quickly nicknamed us team rrr, rigtig rare røvhuller. It translates into real nice assholes....hm! From here on I'll just use the name team rrr
Charles, Kox and I took of from Copenhagen at the departure date at 04:30 in the morning. We all turned up 10 minutes before agreed, on the rendevouz point. This looked promising.
We horsed down the motorway to meet Tom at the ferry to Germany at 05::45.
Waiting for the ferry.
It turned out that Tom had picked up a passenger along the way, a partridge. It's head had gone clean through the fairing. Tom's mood understandably sank several degrees as he cut the bird loose and inspected the damages on the bike. The hole was fixed with gaffa-tape, but it looked like Tom had to buy a new piece of fairing later on.
I'd planned a route for us through Germany. Autobahn to Lübeck and then on the small country-roads the rest of the way. All in all 800 km's as we counted on beeing able to do in 2 days. On the ferry we had breakfast, and Tom who also had a Garmin, got the route from my pc.
Out on the country-roads we slowly moved south-west.
Kox's bladder wasn't as big as the rest of him, he had to stop for a piss every 1½ hour, something that suited the smokers well.
Here's one of our brakes.
We continued through the german country-side,
and stopped here for lunch.
Team rrr enjoying the sun, after a - for some of us - nice lunch. Kox wanted a stew that looked nice on the menu-card, and drew Charles with him in the fall. They were very jealous on Tom's and my schnitzel with pommes
We went on towards the next goal of the day,
a Louis giga-store in Hannover.
I'd been so bloody stupid drinking a beer for lunch. Not that it made me drunk, but it made me a bit sleepy. So when the rest of team rrr went in to explore the giga-store, I took a 15 minute power-nap out at the bikes, followed by a cup of coffee. That made wonders. Lesson learned, don't drink even a single beer for lunch.
Coming out of the store, Kox had to listen to us for 5 minutes, because the shop assistent had problems finding a rainsuit big enough for him
Soon after we entered the Wesergebirge, and the sourroundings started to look more interesting.
We started looking for a hotel in the afternoon, and at the third attempt we had luck in the town Bad Wünnenberg, where we checked into the hotel Tannenhof.
Unpacked, and in shorts and t-shirt's, we celebrated the first day on the road with a glass of 12 year old Glenfiddich single malt in the hotelroom.
Then it was down to get the belly filled up.
Sitting out on the veranda we had this view.
This time Kox and Charles went for what they thought was the sure thing, schnitzel and pommes, while Tom and I ordered a steak.
This time the schnitzel wasn't excatly interesting... But Tom's and my steak was excellent
Team rrr enjoying a few beers after dinner.
The service had been very slow throughout the dinner, often to a point where we thought the waitress had forgotten us, and after waiting 15 minutes to pay, we went into the bar, where I asked the waitress if it was possible to get the bill the same night. That didn't go down very well, the waitress said a lot very fast, so fast that I din't have a clue to what she said. At least we got the bill right after
Up in the hotelrooms we had another Glenfiddich to celebrate a succesful day, before going to sleep.
This with succes was to change dramatically the next day.
panzerrocket screwed with this post 09-09-2012 at 05:25 AM
|09-09-2012, 06:40 AM||#2|
Joined: Mar 2008
Next morning we started on the second day to reach our goal of the trip, the biker-motel Baton Rouge in the Ardennes in Belgium. Tom had booked rooms for us there, and we planned on getting there around 16-17:00.
The landscape was a feast for the eye.
As I had planned the route through Germany, I was leading the pack. Suddently i noticed that Charles was missing. We all stopped and waited a couple of minutes, untill Kox turned around to look for him. Soon Tom and I followed with worried minds, turned around and rode back to look for him.
At a soft lefthander curve he was standing beside the road, no bike visibly
The bike was in the ditch beside the road. Fuck! Are you all right Charles, anything broken, and so on. He seemed to be fairly okay, of course shaken, but able to walk and talk.
Getting the bike out of the ditch was a different story. 200 kg's of Honda CBR 600 is even for 3 men a bit of a handful.
In the end we decided on Kox to try and ride the bastard heavy thing out of the ditch. Simply because he was by far the biggest, strongest and had the longest legs. Well done Kox.
Kox went out on a ride to try the bike. Damn, he looked funny on such a small bike, but then again even the VFR 800 looks small under him...
I always carry a first aid kit and some dry ice under my seat, so while Kox did the test ride, I tried to fix up Charles with some bandages and dry ice on his sour arm.
The test-ride turned out negative, the bike was wobbling quite a lot.
Even worse, Charles complained about increasing pain in his arm and knee.
Time to find a hospital.
Through the help of a friendly german guy who'd stopped and my Garmin, we located the nearest hospital. Kox stayed behind at Charles's bike while Tom and I went to the hospital, me with Charles on the back. The plan was to leave Toms bike at the hospital, then him on the back of me to go and fetch Charles's bike.
As Charles didn't speak german I went in with him and got arranged for a doctor to look at him.
While he was examined we went back to Kox and got everything with us back to the hospital.
Waiting at the hospital we discussed the possibilities of the outcome. Could Charles continue riding, could we get the bike fixed in the area, and so on.
Charles came out with a broken arm, so it was time to come up with a rescue plan.
Considering the situation, Charles was in excellent mood.
We stayed with him, and helped arranging transport home for the bike and himself of course.
A very sad end for Charles on this trip, as he was the originator for.
Team rrr was now reduced to 3 men, and we briefly discussed the options for the rest of the day. We had the reservation on Baton Rouge, and would like to get there the same evening. But since 4 hours had gone by I doubted that we could get there before nightfall. I made it clear to the others that I wouldn't ride in the dark. Call me a pussy, but experience has taught me that you can't see shit lying on the road, and wild animals also tend to be more active on the roads in the dark.
We went for it and would stop at nightfall.
Of course the riding speed went up, but I still managed to shoot a few pic's along the way.
Around 16:00 we reached the Rhine river and followed it for a good half hour.
Waiting on the ferry to take us across the Rhine.
We blasted through the Eifel area, to reach the Belgium border.
Finally just before dusk we arrived at Baton Rouge in the town Vielsalm.
There was a party of some 20 riders celebrating that they had just come back from India on Royal Enfields.
One of the Royal Enfields. That must have been a rough ride. A couple in their 50-60'es even rode 2 up from India. Respect!!!
After som good food and a few belgium beers, it was time to hit the sack.
|09-09-2012, 12:48 PM||#3|
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: A Brit behind the Siegfried Line in the Eifel
Thats kool. I lived only a few Km's from Baton Rouge until December 2010. Ben and Het are very nice. Did you get to meet Bob the resident Englishman (a friend of ours).
It will be interesting to see the area through someone else's eyes. We lived there for 3 years and hopped over the border into the German Eifel now for almost 2 years.
|09-09-2012, 01:54 PM||#4|
Joined: Mar 2008
Yes Ben and Hetty are fantastic hosts, and Bob was there as well. We all went out on my last night there and had a great evening. More about that later on.
|09-09-2012, 02:28 PM||#5|
Joined: Sep 2007
Great report and tour (except the accident of course),will wait for the rest.
Next weekend me and a friend will do a round in the eifel also,hope for fair weather
I don´t like mondays...
|09-10-2012, 01:09 AM||#8|
Joined: May 2012
Great RR. To bad that you had to rush trough Germany. And not really fun to lose a guy on the trip. Do you know what went wrong in the turn.
I hope you have a great time here in Belgium :).
Fuck YOLO, love life.
|09-10-2012, 03:23 AM||#9|
Joined: Mar 2008
Mikjogg, Koof and JMead11 thanks for your comments.
Nteractive, I think Charles panicked for a split second, when he realized he was going too fast into the corner.
We had a great time in Belgium, the Ardennes is a wonderful area.
I made up for the rushing through Germany, when I went home. Spent 4 days riding up through Germany, that'll com in the report later on.
|09-10-2012, 04:59 AM||#10|
Joined: Mar 2008
Next morning after breakfast it was time for a coffee and a ziggy in Baton Rouge's backgarden.
The days ride was to be the tank-route. During the 2. world war there was a big battle in the Ardennes in 1944, the battle of the bulge. The area is packed with war memorials and as a curiosity there's several tanks from the battle placed around in the area. Tom was to be the guide today, and we sat out riding through small villages.
We stopped here for a coffee,
to the sound of a small waterfall right next to us.
We arrived at the first tank,
with this war memorial placed next to it.
Unfortunately Tom had forgotten to turn off gravel- and dirtroads on his GPS, so suddently we found ourselves on a forest-track.
Team rrr, Tom to the left, Kox in the middle and me to the right.
We looked at the beautiful views here,
before we continued.
The track got worse and worse, a gravel-track with fistfull size loose gravel, and continious ascends/descends on 10-15%. None of us took any pic's as we were far too occupied with the riding. Near the end it got really bad with a very slippery muddy section still with ascends/descends. It was contra-steering every 5 meters or so to keep the bikes going. Stopping was not an option. My traction control really worked overtime with red and yellow lights flashing on my dashboard
I was soaked right through with sweat from battling 240 kg's of a 1200RT, treating it like an off roader. Same story for the 2 other guys. Out on the tarmac again we rode in at the first tank-station to get out of the riding gear, cool off and drink some much needed coca cola.
Next to the tank-station there was a car repair shop, and we borrowed his steam-cleaner to wash the bikes. A 1200 GS or a KTM might look tough all covered in mud, but defenitly not a RT or one of the other road bikes.
We went on to the next tank.
On through this nice landscape.
We had lunch here. 5 minutes after we sat down they started the bastard yellow machine to the right, and that accompanied us for the rest of the lunch
On through green gently rolling hills with cows. That's got to be one of my lasting impressions of the Ardennes, rolling green hills with cows. That was everywhere, nice!
Reaching the next tank.
In the town La roche-en-Ardenne there was an impressive medieval castle,
and also a tank.
Afterwards we sat down at the river you see here, watching life go by and drinking some water.
Enjoyed the ride,
untill we reached the last tank of the day.
My riding buddies, here Tom,
There was 2 things left to see on the route, and that turned out to be cannons.
Another war memorial,
with a cannon behind it.
Back home at Baton Rouge, Ben the owner sitting to the right, sat out on the veranda with us drinking a beer, while his wife Hetty made a wonderful dinner for us. We were the only 3 staying there at the time, it was cozy.
And then a good dinner.
When dinner was over it was time for a few beers more to accompany our smalltalk, before we went to bed after a good exciting day.
panzerrocket screwed with this post 09-10-2012 at 05:07 AM
|09-10-2012, 05:52 AM||#12|
Joined: Mar 2003
Location: Jennings, Louisiana
Thanks for the pictures and sharing your journey.
An '00 KLR 650, An '07 1250S, An '03 5.3L Chevy Truck + '43 style dude , Simper Fi ;-)
|09-10-2012, 07:57 AM||#14|
Joined: Mar 2008
The night before, we'd been sitting with our noses buried i maps for 2 hours, planning next day's route. When done and dusted and with several good inputs from Hetty, it was put into my GPS. I was to be the tour-guide for the day, or at least that was the original plan. The ride would go to Grande Duche de Luxembourg, a place that was high on my to do list. I've been visiting all the small principialities in Europe, Andorra, Monaco, Lichenstein and San Marino leaving Luxembourg as the last one on the list. I've also been to Gibraltar, but being a part of UK it doesn't really count on my list, and the Vatican, well no, to much religion for me.
We rode out with the frontwheel pointing south-wards.
And reached Luxembourg.
Not that it looks different from Belgium...
Then, when stopping here for a ziggy and taking in the scenery, shit hit the fan.
Tom noticed that his rear tyre was worn down, like in totally worn down. He'd set out from home not really prepared tyre-wise, hoping that he could just make the trip on his worn down tyres. It was most likely the gravel-tracks from the day before that killed his rear tire.
In the next town we went into a tank-station and asked for a bike-shop or a tyre-shop. We got directions to a tyre-shop just out of town, and went there. They didn't have bike-tyres but was very helpfull and tracked down a bike-shop for us 40 km's away. Away we rode to the bike shop only to find it closed for siesta. We had to sit and wait ½ hour. Bugger!
When they opened, they turned out very friendly, dropped everything in their hands to fix Tom a new set of tyres.
Meanwhile Tom jumped on the back of me and we went into town to grab something to eat.
With a fresh set of tyres on Tom's Suzuki we continued. We'd spent so much time fucking around with this tyre-problem, that we had to shorten down the days route considerably leaving out the town of Luxembourg.
We started riding north again and splitted up after 2 hours. Tom and Kox went on a chase for new ear-plugs and I rode back home to Baton Rouge.
Here I crossed the border to Belgium again.
Looking back at the brilliant road I'd just been riding.
I enjoyed the remaining 30 km's back north-west to Baton Rouge.
Back at the biker-motel I sat down in the bar and bullshitted with Ben over a beer, waiting for Tom and Kox to arrive.
Baton Rouge is an excellent place with a cool biker-atmosphere. A Laverda parked in the dining area.
And another one at the sofa section.
Hetty prepared a lovely dinner for us. She had a friend from Holland visiting, and they all sat down to have dinner with us.
It was my riding-buddies last night there, they had to go home the next day to start at work again. Originally I should have travelled on with Charles, but found myself on my own now. No problem though. I should have left the next day as well, as Baton Rouge was fully booked at the wekend. A cancellation on a double room had come in this thursday afternoon, and I grabbed the opportunity to stay over the weekend.
Ben and Hetty are a lovely couple, keen bikers themselves, and showing a genuine interest in their guests. They make you feel really welcome, and have a fantastic little place with just the right biker-feeling to it. They get the best of my recommondations. If you go to the wonderful riding-area of the Ardennes, don't miss out on the opportunity to stay at their place. Check out their website at www.benhet.be
After a great evening in good company, it was early to bed, as my friends was getting up early to ride home, and I would get up with them to say them goodbye.
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