Old Gits Logo 3.gif (12598 bytes)2008 Write-Up

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2008 Write-up

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Trip Notes by David Mc  ---


Although the trip didn’t start until Thursday, the fun actually started on the Wednesday with French fishermen blockading the port at Dunkerque and stopping all the ferries. Luckily, the blockade was lifted at about 18:00 and Norfolk Line Ferries assured us all would be OK for the morning.

Up at about 03:45 on Thursday for the run down to Dover. The bike was already packed. It was a good clear run straight to the port. We all met on the docks then caught the 08:00 ferry where a hearty breakfast was eagerly consumed. (This was to set the tone of the whole trip – lots of hearty meals!)

Norfolk Line proved to be a very comfortable and pleasant way to cross the channel and we hit France at 11:00 local time where we eventually filled up with petrol ready for the 430 mile run through to Bad Mergentheim. By 19:00 we were checking in to the hotel for a ready for a meal, some beers and an early night.

Breakfasts at the hotel involved the usual “where shall we go discussion”. Alan Mc decided he needed a new front tyre for his bike so went on a tyre hunt. Paul H also discovered that the bar end on the throttle side had made a big bid for freedom so was on the look-out for a bike dealers to purchase a replacement. Alan Mc got two new tyres (the tyre dealer didn’t have a front to match his three quarters worn rear)

The roads were superb and we all had a number of great rides out though even after a visit to a Kawasaki dealers and a Suzuki dealers we still hadn’t managed to track down a bar end for Paul H.

Evenings were spent exploring the nightlife of Bad Mergenthiem, with meals in various restaurants. The Germans may not have the reputation of the French when it comes to culinary expertise, but all of the meals were great and if you judge a good meal by volume (it has a big influence on most of the Old Gits) then these were great meals!

We said goodbye to Richard S on the Monday evening as he was off to the Berlin area to meet with a group of friends for a week of exploring underground tunnels and bunkers.

The run back on Tuesday was pretty uneventful, with the only thing of note being our first rain of the trip. Arival at the port of Dunkerque (over an hour ahead of schedule) did increase the excitement though as the striking fishermen had returned and were blockading the port. The police were turning all the cars away from the port and parking the lorries in a very large parking area beside the port. They didn’t really know what to do with a group of bikes but pointed us in the direction of the lorry park. We discovered that the lorry park was actually right beside the port front gate so with a little “off roading” managed to get the bikes on the end of the short queue of vehicles that were stuck directly outside the port gate. After about an hour, the 100 or so French riot police eventually became brave enough to move on the 25 or so striking fishermen and then cleared the road of the burning tyres etc. with us as witnesses to all the goings on. (All very exciting.)

We were then let onto the ferry that was sitting waiting in the harbour and left port only about 30 minutes later than we should have. As the ferry was pulling out we discovered that the striking fishermen who we had seen getting moved on by the riot police had simply moved half a mile up the port road and blocked it there, setting tyres etc. alight as they had before. This explained why the ferry was still half empty.

The run home from Dover was the usual slow torturous grind that is motorway driving in the UK. Another trip was over (the best one yet) and thoughts had already started on where we could go for 2009.