Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Sardinia Part 1

 We decided to go to Sardinia for a tour this Summer, the second of the large Italian islands we have visited. The plan was to ride down through France and Switzerland into Italy and get the boat from Genoa before returning through Rocchetta Nervina my old home town before running up through France again and home.

The plan changed a few times but the Chunnel was booked months ago and as always it was the detail in between that changed to suit circumstances. I suffered a pretty serious Stroke on March 1st so even though this was all booked early in the year I was keen to get back to some kind of normality. In my opinion there is no point in waiting for life to pass you by, you have to take the opportunities while you can. In the words from a Book by Guy Martin " Live life, it'll kill you in the end anyway"

I already did a mini Euro tour earlier in the year to see if I was up to it, tiredness is the main thing following a stroke and I proved I could overcome it. The other thing that affected me was a total loss of Speech and the ability to read and write, this is slowly coming back although tiredness and stress makes me speak like i'm drunk (those of you who know me will have seen this before I had a Stroke)

The point of the telling of my medical encounter is to make it clear a longish Euro trip is within the bounds of any motorcyclist, take the bull by the horns and enjoy the ride!

We set off early on a Thursday morning for the ride down to Ashford, just over 500 Miles from Perth and the longest mileage I've done in a day this year, it went without incident, breakfast and Fuel at Penrith, then fuel again near Peterborough and then the M25 and that was it , just over 500 miles on day one, the fuel range and comfort on the V85's made it seem easy .

A earlyish start on the Friday for the 20 miles to the train at Folkstone, it was busy but not crazy, the V85's were both struggling to find neutral which was a proper pain in the stop start  of the queue. Passport control was fine on both sides but a reminder the French still insist you have proof of vaccine within the last 270 days! The guy and woman behind us were sporting Indian plates which I thought was unusual, chatting to them they had ridden up from South Africa on a 400 Bajaj, fair play and were now going to Nord Cap to finish their journey before heading back to India. The guy reckoned the fuel prices in Europe were killing them financially. They had been on the road for 8 Months which made us a tad envious.


Sun Coming up
Breakfast
Fuel stop (and water)
Fellow Guzzi rider heading South
Long distance guys
In the train
Our Indian friends

As always when you roll off the Chunnel you are ready to go so we took the toll roads to Chalons-en- Champagne for our first nights stay in France. Chalons is a nice town to stay in and there are Hotels in the square that aren't too expensive.There was a stage in the centre of town which in this case was given over to a terrible band, the cafe we were sitting at lost at least two tables full of people (who had reserved)  due to the noise, so it wasn't just us! Apart from the din it was a pleasant evening. Saturday we headed to a place called Dole , it was starting to heat up and our Mesh Jackets were pushed into service. We had booked into a Campanile on the outskirts of town (in an Industrial estate) but it had beer and food, all that is required. It was also overrun with Harley riders heading to a nearby Rally, None of them seemed particularly friendly, not even to each other.
Sunday got us off the Toll roads and heading up the Alps to wards Switzerland crossing the Border at Valorbe and contributing 40 euros each for the privilege of using the Swiss roads, its high time we started charging them back! We headed down Lake Leman (or Lake Geneva) past Montreux  (There was no smoke on the Water) and up to the San Bernardo pass , we missed the turn off and took the tunnel road instead and got charged another 17 euro each for our mistake. We eventually rolled into Aosta for our stop for the night. Normally a Ski resort it means the Hotels are cheap in the Summer, nice place to stop.

   
Cool
Sitting inside for a cool beer
Chalons
Not my music choice
Dinner Al Fresco
Our digs for the night
Nice old buildings
Ready for another day
Hot Hot Hot
Nice bikes
Fi with her phone mast hat ( I did that on purpose)
Not sure what was going on?
Lady on a Motorcycle
Nice services in Switzerland
Can you feel the heat
No scarves or balaclavas required
Aosta, Hotel parking
Braw view
Braw view 2
7pm, it was cooling down
Mountains
Nice
Nice
Monday was ferry day so we rode down near Turin and headed to Genova, arriving in Genova hours early we found a cafe next to the port for lunch, it seemed to be frequented by office workers so it was a good choice. We then had to find our way into the ferry, it seemed very busy until we realised  the Ferry for Tunisia was leaving soon whereas we had 6 hours to wait but always better early than late for a ferry.
When we eventually got through security we parked up and were left to fend for ourselves for the afternoon, its a bit like an airport, you can leave the secure area and go to the big shopping centre, or in our case the bar. 
We came back to the bikes at 5 o clock and lazed in the sun, Fiona gave me a pedicure whist we waited and eventually we loaded.

Beer
Sugar anyone
Fi praying for good weather
Relaxed
Ready to Rock
Hiding in the Shade
TRUE, any neutral would be good
This Belgian Chap was taking wood over to build a Porch for his Holiday house
Getting organised
Cheeky beggars put their own bed and dog basket up


End of Part one, see you soon for the next exiting episode!

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Vintage Club Cultybraggan

 I decided to give the Commando a run to Comrie tonight to have a look at some of the bikes at the Stirling Castle VMCC annual run. I was late and therefore missed most of the bikes but it was worth the trip if only to give abuse to some of my friends which were there, I believe the run went well which was great, the Commando went well as well which was even better. Many familiar faces as well as familiar bikes. 

The first time I stayed at Cultybraggan was many a year ago when I was in the Army Cadet Force, my claim for having done service to my Queen and Country, strange you can be a Vet as the Americans call them at the ripe old age of 16, I was proud to have served in the Black Watch Cadets for a handful of weeks until I decided that taking orders were not my Forte, alas there was no fast track to a Generals position so I left but only after I learned to clean and shoot a rifle (at 14) ! 

My next visit was as an engineer, trusted with a top level security clearance to gain access to the "Secret Bunker" for a fault on the Telecom's circuit that would keep our country safe from a potential Russian Invasion! ( Even more of a Joke than the Army Cadets) And finally tonight as a Motorcyclist, the only thing I'm almost qualified to do, looking at some ancient bikes. Life is strange isn't it?

I had a Fish supper at Comrie Chippy and thoroughly enjoyed my run home, motorcycling is great!  


Denis admitting he prefers Nortons
Could have been a DR from WW2
Vincent Single has left the building
Great Scott
Denis's AJS
Model 20
Nice Sunbeam
Matchy
Aerial
Norton
My favorite bike
Well apart from my Commando and the BSA