Baby and I rolled onto the ferry at Roscoff in beautiful sunshine. Yes I was a little tired, but happy. I smiled contentedly at the deck hands as they carefully secured my travelling companion for the six-hour sea crossing; I know that they know what they are doing, but I always check!
So off to my cabin, ping off the morning post, hit the shower and then sleep for a few hours.
When I awoke the sun was streaming through the window, the ship moved with a lazy motion on the rolling, yet gentle, swell. Actually, I don’t like this particular ship, the MV Armorique, compared to others in the fleet, it’s that lazy motion, but it’s the one on duty so it’s that or swim!
I got up and made a cup of tea, well we were heading back to England, and pondered the trip now nearing its conclusion. By the time we got home we would have covered a snatch over 3000 miles, not bad for a “Getting to Know You” trip for both bike and rider I guess! I have lots more photos and stuff to post about the trip, but that’s for the future and yes I know I’m a tease!
Sitting and looking out at the Western English Channel as the sun began to drop towards it, gave me time to reflect on our experience. As always with anything there were highs and not so highs.
Lets start with basics, The Bike.
Largely only highs to report, except for the concerns about her suitability for the mountains. OK, now I need to come clean a bit; for a few days she was a complete pain in the backside, especially in the wet! Fortunately, as reported earlier, my new friends at Alba Harley Davidson were able to put their finger on the problem. It’s fair to say that she is a heavy maid to throw about on the narrow winding stuff, but by taking my time and understanding her, we both did the job.
On the open road, however, it was a totally different matter. This is where she is in her element, effortlessly mile munching and putting a big comfortable smile on my face. Luggage capacity is pretty fantastic too, plenty of room to bring back a nice selection of French and Italian goodies whilst being able to carry everything that I needed (and to be honest some that I didn’t!) securely shut away in the hard panniers and TourPak box.
Places we visited.
We certainly cut a cross-section this time out. I’ve never included a museum visit in a trip before and will definitely do so again, mind you the Cité du Train was pretty special and there’s more about that to come in future! At times it seemed a bit of a tick list for the great rivers of Western Europe, but hey, that’s geography baby! The mountains, as regular Blogonaughts will know, hold the strings of my heart and I can’t do without them, at least a little bit, on any trip; though you have to accept that mountain weather is at best, unpredictable!
Just simply great, everywhere! Yes I know all societies have good and bad, but honestly I really believe that there are more good ‘uns. It’s amazing what a smile and at least an effort to speak another language will achieve. Obviously the more you can integrate with language and culture the more you get out of your visit; I am thankful to be able to do OK with languages and have the brass to “car crash’ my way through things whatever!
Oh yeah, there was food OK! It can get to be a bit of a gastronomic tour when Dookes hits the road, but on the plus side this time I didn’t put on any weight at all!
Firstly, to Mrs Dookes for yet again understanding her husband’s need to keep rolling and giving me the freedom to express myself through travel. Not only does she keep Dookes H.Q. running in my absence, but the lady has a pretty high-powered job as well! Je toi remercie de votre soutien et de compréhension amour, je t’aime beaucoup!
I’m also very lucky to have such a nice spread of friends across France, people who accept me for who I am and only ask that I do the same with them; but best of all are always pleased to see me. Merci mon amis!
Next, thank you to everyone who reads these random thoughts and gibber, those who I call my “Blogonaughts!” It’s great to have you along for the ride, thanks for the comments and emails, it means a lot, ta!
If you like the blog, please tell others about it and I’m always open to suggestions to make it better.
Did I say that there were some “Not so highs?” D’ya know, I really can’t remember any at all, even when it rained or snowed (just a little on the Arlberg Pass!) or got plain roasting, life was always pretty good!
I finished my cup of tea and took a stroll around the ship, time for a last flourish of the French language with some of the crew, then to get ready for arrival back in the UK.
We disembarked in the Port of Plymouth and took the relatively short ride back home, pleased with the first trip on the New Girl. I couldn’t resist stopping to grab this photo of the cloudy sunset over the hills on the edge of Bodmin Moor, just two miles from H.Q.. They may not be as big as the Alps or the Dolomites, but hey, they’re the hills of home and when you go off on a motorcycle road trip that’s often the sweetest thing to see!
“Take it easy, don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy!”
Catch you all soon. There’s more to come!