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Old 03-20-2013, 07:16 PM   #91
Krime OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natnewt View Post
Can I have he original res?
To make a long story short... eventually! I only have this resolution at the moment, I'll need to redo the original res images so they look the same. Just PM me the shot you'd like and I'll send it through when I get the original shots done.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:20 PM   #92
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Day 9

Day 9: Bouillon, Belgium to Calais, France



Our second last day of the trip, and the end is nearing far too fast.



Our morning view from the hotel room window.



Starting the morning visiting the 10th century castle across the way.



Inside.



Looking from one end to the other.



The view of Bouillon from the castle.



The start of a nice forest run in Mirwart - heading towards La Roche-en-Ardenne.



Arriving in La Roche-en-Ardenne, we stop at a restaurant for some familiar Belgium beer and lunch.



We walk over to our bike which is now surrounded by 3 beautiful vintage bikes.... the oldest of which is a FN (Fabrique Nationale) from 1910!



Country names are plated on the gas tank.



The saying that it's not about the journey, but the people you meet along the way, has never rang truer than this moment. As I'm admiring this beautiful machine, an older gentleman approaches me, introduces himself as Ron and hands me a torn piece of paper with the handwritten note 'oldblokeonabike.com'. We'd chat for a while as a crowd begins to surround us. He's a 69 year old Aussie that's nearing the end of his journey from Nepal to Belgium on his 103 year old machine! He explains the countries plated on the gas tank were the original countries visited, starting in Belgium where the bike was built. He was doing the same trip, on the same bike, MANY years later… but this time in reverse! I'll never forget his energy for life as we conversed... it was contagious - the stories of his riding adventures over the years were inspirational.



Still in complete awe by this point, we say farewell. Push starting his bike, he runs alongside it throwing his leg over the saddle as the engine fires up with a loud bang.



He passes between his two awaiting 'guardians' who follow suit behind, making an incredibly beautiful and memorable exit that will stick with me for a very long time… Moments like this explain why I love to ride better than any words ever could. Cheers Ron!



Arriving in Namur, the last Belgium town before we hit the highway for a 250km ride to Calais, France for the night.

We'd arrive at our hotel in Calais at 10pm. 450km of riding today, and what an experience it had been. We'd be off the next morning to catch the train to Folkestone, UK.


Day 9 riding video:


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Old 03-20-2013, 10:37 PM   #93
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yo' Krime

Loving the RR and pics and video

awesome

R E S P E C T
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:40 PM   #94
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PS dont forget to update vid music list please
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:01 PM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krime View Post
We walk over to our bike which is now surrounded by 3 beautiful vintage bikes.... the oldest of which is a FN (Fabrique Nationale) from 1910!


That's a pretty amazing trip considering the age if the bike. Many of us with modern classics fret over taking an older bike on all but the shortest of trips!

Great rider report!
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:04 PM   #96
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Day 10

Day 10: Calais, France to Bournemouth, UK



It was hard to except that the trip was coming to an end. Today would be our last day... The very next morning Megan would be flying home to Canada and I'd be back at work.

After breakfast, we'd set out to visit the Calais market just up the street from our hotel. We'd get back and I'd hook up our loaded top and side cases to the bike for the last time.



A 15 minute ride to the Euro Tunnel. As we're waiting in line for the go ahead to approach the train, we meet a few other riders who are returning home to the UK from their own adventures.



A very cool experience riding inside the train. The travel time was incredibly fast at 30 minutes and I was far less sea sick.



Riding through the typical roads along the coast from Hastings towards Brighton. Soon after getting off the train I exit the first roundabout as usual. An approaching oncoming car starts to frantically flash its headlights... I'm on the wrong side of the road! A very tricky thing to get used to after 3000km on the right side of the road.



Doing the honours of reaching the 50,000 mile mark on the bike. Could have fooled me, it was running like new.



A short stop to walk along the beach on our way to Brighton.



Stopping for lunch in Brighton. Greek beer in England? Sure why not, I'd had my fill of English beer over the last 2 and a half months.



Entering the New Forest on our way to Bournemouth. I very cool place where wild horses, cows, etc. freely roam the land (and streets at time).



Stopping by the cows that had casually blocked off traffic as they crossed the road - definitely not the roads to travel too fast on, you never know what could be around the next bend.

Soon after we'd arrive in Bournemouth on time at 7pm. Paul (owner of Bournemouth Motorcycle hire) was great to drop us off at the train station. We'd grab a gas station dinner (wine and ham sandwiches) for the 2+ hour train ride back to London.

We were exhausted… but in a really good kind of way. As I reached into my pocket I pulled out the torn sheet of paper from the day before...



...reminding me of the many incredible experiences along the way. This had, without a doubt, been the best ride of my life so far.

Until next time...


Day 10 riding video:
The last day of an incredible ride.


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Old 03-21-2013, 07:41 PM   #97
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Hope you've all enjoyed the ride. Looking back on the trip, I thought I'd put together a list of the top things I learned from this experience:

- My heart is still in the Alps, and I have to go back and get it.

- I loved the Stelvio pass, but I LOVED (even more) the unexpected passes noone was talking about.

- When you're on a trip like this, don't worry too much about the weather - Going into it I was worried about the rain… by the end of it I realized it made the experience that much more memorable.

- You don't feel the cold the same way when you're having fun.

- In terms of a vacation, it's demanding at times with not much downtime for rest, but the rewards are far greater than any traditional vacation.

- You can't put a dollar amount on this kind of experience - rentals… accommodations... food… Switzerland… Sure it adds up quick, but you never look back in regret of having spent too much money on an adventure like this. Well, at least I didn't.

- The people you meet and the stories shared along the way make for incredible memories.



Ron and I in La-Roche-en-Ardenne on Day 9

- Traveling alone is awesome in its own right, but being able to share the experience with someone was amazing. I'm a lucky guy to have a women that gets just about as excited as I do when doing a bike adventure like this.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:43 PM   #98
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Amazing RR. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:56 PM   #99
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Awesome report. Thanks so much for sharing. I showed your pics to Mrs Stain and she's even more jazzed about a European Adventure of our own.

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Old 03-22-2013, 12:27 AM   #100
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thank`s for this RR.
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Old 03-22-2013, 02:09 AM   #101
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A really nice trip, but especially beautiful photos.
Davvero un bel viaggio , ma sopratutto bellissime foto .
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Old 03-22-2013, 02:44 AM   #102
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Thanks for this RR
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Old 03-22-2013, 05:31 AM   #103
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BRAVO!!! OLÉ, OLÉ Y OLÉ!!!!

Fantastic ride, I love the pics and the soft and not forced HDR on them... and the places, the kilometers, the feelings of such a trip!!!

My longest trip was 3500 kms in 5 days through Morocco with my brother last year, and was beautiful and epic too, but this is much far away from mine, in all senses!!!

The ride report is great too, so as more than one said, you have taken us with both of you on that trip, and I JUST WANT TO THANK YOU FOR IT!!!!!

I wish and I guess you have enjoyed your time in the old, beautiful and economically ruined Europe, and I invite you to share more rides with us, because they are powerful!!!!!

FANTÁSTICO, AMIGO!!! Good luck, and see you on the road!!

P.S. (I love the french way to salute too, indeed I have adopted it too....as it is said, "when in Rome, do as romans do..."

Regards from Spain/France (I live near the mountains....just in the frontieeeeeeer!!!!)
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Old 03-22-2013, 05:55 AM   #104
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Thanks for the kind words and to everyone who followed along, it's been my pleasure!

Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Stain View Post
Awesome report. Thanks so much for sharing. I showed your pics to Mrs Stain and she's even more jazzed about a European Adventure of our own.

Excellent! Look forward to your future ride report.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:01 AM   #105
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Krime, really great stuff, enjoying the hell out of it. Before you sign off on this finally, would you be put out by posting some of the costs involved (bike rental), how you got the gear (helmets, rain gear, etc.), if it was acquired there, did you bring it over with you, that kind of thing? I'm in the planning stage of a Scotland to Sicily trip and any info will be helpful. hp
Sounds like it will be a great ride! Here's the details from our trip:

Bike Rental:

The GS was rented from Bournemouth Motorcycle Hire. For 10 days it ran us 780 UK pounds so around $1200 CDN all in - insurance, green card (for travellng through Europe), BMW roadside assistance, GPS, and unlimited mileage. This was a great rate considering! It was a super small business, literally run out of the guys home, but it was far cheaper than central London based rentals that wouldn't offer unlimited mileage. The bike I had, had 50,000 miles on it by the time I was done, but it ran super strong.

The port at Poole (to take the ferry to France) was a 15 minute ride away, so very convenient that way.

Gear:

We brought our jackets, waterproof gloves, rain suits, rain boot covers from home. The helmets were provided with the rental, as well as jackets (which we hadn't known and brought our own). The rain covers were Frog Toggs, which held up pretty well… although the cut outs to allow for access to the jacket pockets underneath wasn't smart, as it let the rain in at times (not sure how the newer models hold up, I'm imagining they would have addressed this issue by now).

As I mentioned in a previous post, the gloves were fine, but not all that waterproof at the end of the day. Wearing wet gloves going into the next day was never enjoyable, especially when you're traveling through the Alps - I'd be sure to bring a second pair. Next time, I'd also be sure to bring along boots… dropping a bike of this weight on our ankles would have been devastating, and there's no way I would risk that again.

Accessories:

We brought along headsets, a video camera, 2 iPhones, multi port USB wall chargers, and power adapters all from home (there was a massive bag of wires for all the technology) . The headsets used were Sena's SMH10 bluetooths. Replacing our old Chatterbox set, We ordered them just for the trip and absolutely loved them. After the first 4 straight days of rain, they held up incredibly well. Battery life got us through every day without issues, including listening to our iPods the majority of the day.

The video camera is a Contour HD 720p (I've had now for a good few years now). It's a great camera although I did find it frustrating on two counts:
1) You have no idea what the camera is seeing until you get home and review it on a computer. At the end of Day 6 I dropped my helmet and had to readjust the view, which ended up being slightly too high.
2) The battery life was brutal… I'd go through 2 batteries easy on long days which was frustrating when it came to charging both every night.

The Garmin Zumo GPS was rented with the bike. This was a life saver although the one I had was definitely buggy and would involuntarily power off at times, causing past routes to be lost in the process. In the future, it would have been great to download the routes post trip… it would have saved a lot of Google Maps searching to retrace our steps.

Costs:

As mentioned above, the bike rental was around $1200 all in. One thing that's easy to forget about is the cost of gas - we spent around 400 pounds (~$600) for the 3000+km put on. Hotels ran us on average 90 euro (~$120) depending on our stay. Our most expensive was about $200 in Meringen Switzerland, although we purposely treated ourselves that day. Food adds up! Especially in Switzerland, the prices will surprise you if you haven't been before.
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