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Old 10-24-2014, 03:37 AM   #1
SimonUK OP
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Spain/France - August 2014 (picture intensive)

I've done well for bike trips this year but this is the first report I've posted on this forum. I hope its ok. I'll get some others posted later if thats ok with people.

Each year I get to have a week away on my own. My wife Hilary is great when it comes to that and we keep things balanced by doing other things is the rest of our holiday time during the year.

I've had two lots of major spinal surgery and have a collection of titanium holding me together so I unashamedly don't bother with camping any more. I'm just happy riding the bike.

My solo trip this year was over to Spain on the ferry and then ride up through France before getting another ferry home again. Nothing major, and a trip I've done before on many occasions. The only real difference ifs that I am now making a conscious effort to record the trips in one way or another.

The bike is an XR1200X which has been punched out to 1250 with head work and cams and changed the primary gearing for better long haul riding. It makes for a nice sports/tourer with one major flaw - the tank size. I've owned it for several years and completed 10-12 trips on it but sold it earlier this month.

I actually ended up with an extra night away because one of my best mates birthday was the day before sailing and he lived very close to the ferry port in Portsmouth.

A full overview of the trip on my plotter, is here. You can get more details by changing the “Fill” value on the left hand side.

So, without further ado….
First stop - Breakfast on the road


Stupidity after a day and evening drinking beer


Queueing for the ferry at an ungodly 06:45 down at Portsmouth


Sunrise somewhere in the Bay of Biscay


Approaching Santander


Hotel in Santander for the first night


View from the bedroom window in the evening


View at the bar in the evening. Carajico - coffee and cognac.


The following day it was a run up to the Pyrenees. I love the area and the roads. I think this must be around my 20th trip there. Sorry about the quality of the photos but I was just using my phone. Also, heading east, in the morning I had to contend with morning sunshine










Lunch on the road. Simple food


Busy road - not!














My home for the second night


It was very hot (for a UK local!) and the cold beers before dinner didn’t last long.




The following day it was more of the Pyrenees and over the top from Spain to France. Destination Lourdes. Yes, that one
























I had to stop for lunch, as you do. I was near the border but managed to find a nice stop on the lead up to one of the Col’s.

Nice tapas lunch for seven euros. Really can’t go wrong






And onwards…






Then it was time to climb again. Welcome to Col du Soulor. Its been used for the Tour de France a few times


I rode through that cloud


These views really do make it all worth while






Got someone to take a photo of me on the bike whilst I was there. We had some “cloud issues” because they were rising and at one stage we were lost inside one


And onwards again…




The peak of the Col…complete with goats, sheep etc


and the view down the other side




Then a few hours later I arrived in Lourdes. I witnessed my first miracle at the hotel when I managed to get all my gear into the smallest hotel room I have ever been in! After that, it was off to the grotto.








































And as soon as you leave the grotto, you walk straight into a load of tacky garbage for sale…


Broadcast yourself from the grotto


Souvenirs…


Holy train


It all left me needing a drink. Luckily the good lord provided….




And another one late on the evening


To go with my fromage and cognac


Someone kept watching me….


The following day it was time to head north. Up to Limoges. I stopped to pick up some lunch and parked beside this old Renault


And later on stopped for lunch


I didn’t really stop on the roads much. I wanted to crack on. Here are a few shots of Limoges










However…I did manage to find Le Cave au Bierres!
This is a little number from Belgium. Its a Kwak


and a Chouffe


Next day it was time to head to La Rochelle. Packed and ready for the off


On the road






And having arrived in La Rochelle, I get to park outside the hotel again.


Then it was time for an afternoon stroll. Anyone for sardines?


























Ooooo, how did that get there?!
















And lo and behold, I found La Academia de Bierre!




A night time foray






And that wrapped up the trip. The following day was another 300+ miler up to Caen for the ferry. When I arrived, I just had time for a last meal and beer




And that wrapped up the trip. I was on the ferry overnight and back home by 11:00am the following morning.

The bike performed flawlessly. It had been up and down the mountains, carried the gear, had several long days in a row in stupid heat, been wound up to 130mph+ in a few areas and didn't miss a beat. Its a great bike and my new Speed Triple 1050 ABS will have a lot to live up to but i'm sure it will cope admirably.

Hope you like the report
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Old 10-24-2014, 02:26 PM   #2
GB
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You sure get around!! Thanks for another beautiful trip!! It would be awesome to join you on one of your forays on the continent.. if only we didn't have a big pond between us.
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:41 AM   #3
SimonUK OP
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More than welcome to come along if you're ever over here.

SimonUK screwed with this post 10-28-2014 at 08:21 AM
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Old 10-28-2014, 09:11 AM   #4
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I recently heard that Lourdes is the #1 attraction in France

Thanks for taking us along on such a visual treat!
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Old 10-28-2014, 11:52 AM   #5
cvcaelen
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hey Simon,
you realise that that ware all Belgian beers you were drinking,
don't you
if you ever come to Belgium: we have lots more
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Old 10-28-2014, 12:22 PM   #6
SimonUK OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cvcaelen View Post
hey Simon,
you realise that that ware all Belgian beers you were drinking,
don't you
if you ever come to Belgium: we have lots more
I do indeed realise they are Belgian beers! They are some of the best beers available. I go to Bruges at least once a year to drink different beers but I go in the car so I can bring some home. You are very lucky to have so many to choose from.

Apart from motorcycling one of my hobbies is brewing beer at home.
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Old 10-28-2014, 02:00 PM   #7
Blader54
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Outstanding report! Sorry to hear about your spinal troubles, but, as you say, as long as you can still ride! It's also interesting to see an XR set up for long trips. Very cool. Looking forward to your next report!
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Old 10-28-2014, 02:48 PM   #8
SimonUK OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB View Post
I recently heard that Lourdes is the #1 attraction in France
You do surprise me with that. I would have guessed Paris and the Eiffel Tower.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Blader54 View Post
It's also interesting to see an XR set up for long trips.
Apart from very technical roads and restrictive fuel capacity it's been a great bike. Very easy to ride and the torque really does make the mountains a blast to ride.

Glad you guys like the thread
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Old 10-28-2014, 05:02 PM   #9
D.T.
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Thumb

Very nice! I need to get over there...
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Old 10-29-2014, 01:27 AM   #10
airhead_irl
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Unusual choice of tourer and great looking bike. This report brings back memories as it's one I've done in the past !
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Old 10-29-2014, 03:17 AM   #11
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Nice report Simon . That dark beer sure looks nice!
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Old 10-30-2014, 07:11 AM   #12
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nice!

I would like to get further west in the Pyrenees next time
Lourdes looks cool to see as well
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