Monday, October 1, 2012

Belgium, France And Switzerland

September 14 Rushden, UK to Alveringem, Belgium 370km and the EuroTunnel
I had to stop at Martin and Donna's house to get Martin's passport. I volunteered to take it to Paris to bring it to the Mauritania embassy. We had some coffee and I was on the road again by noon. I sopped in a nearby town to get a big "fook off lock and chain" as the Irish would call it. Motorway around London and about 6:30 I made it to the EuroTunnel. There were some other guys on bikes in the tunnel with me and we had a good chat. It takes about 20 minutes and 80 pounds to cross under the channel with a moto on the train. When I got to France, my GPS maps of France were not working correctly and they had holes in them. I went east into Belgium and found a hotel in a small little town. The local bar had some amazing people and a pretty good party. The Belgium people kept apologizing for their English and I had to keep reminding them that it was way better than any of my languages.

Martin of
Going on the EuroTunnel

Old British Iron

September 15 Belgium to Auberville (Normandy ). 439 km
Ludwig let me store the moto in his garage over night and his mother owns the hotel I stayed at so I thought he was a great choice to sign Belgium. I had a quick stop at the a near by town to see some of the last remaining WW1 trenches. Then I continued on, back into France. I took a combination of motorway and small roads. Mostly navigating blind because the GPS was still not working and the map of France I had was not detailed enough. I found a pay campsite near the Normandy coast and slept as much as possible.

Mr. Belgium

Ludwig and his mother

Fishing: Belgium style. 

WW1 German machine gunner.

This is a picture of a picture. The guy on the left looks 16?

Trenches near Diksmuide

I love the buildings in Norther France. 

This RZR made me feel at home.  

September 16 Normandy to Poissy (almost Paris). 326 km
Breakfast of cous cous, left over pastry from Belgium and coffee before starting toward the Normandy landing beaches. I find it quite interesting that there are houses build right on the beaches and battle fields where so many people died. There are still very many reminders of the Normandy landing so it seems like it would be hard to forget. I found the engineering for the harbor very interesting. Churchill had the idea to build a harbor because Hitler would destroy a harbor before he gave it up. I am not sure how they kept it safe for so long and it didn't get bombed. I took motorway to Poissy (15 km west of Paris) because I knew there was a hostel there that was 21 euro a night. Plus, it was on an island in the Seine river so I thought the bike would be safe. Turns out they were full when I got there so I had to hotel it for a night.

German WW2 gun turret. 

The ocean view of the turret. It could fire on the beach or at the streets but couldn't be attacked from sea. 

Getting the camel-back filled with water. 

This was at the Canadian beach. I saw these all over Canada but never knew what they were. 

Radio chips for different frequencies. 

Parts of the floating harbor

Parts of the break wall 

Messed up French TV.

September 17 Poissy and Paris
I dropped all my stuff off in the Hostel and took a train into Paris to go to the embassy. I don't speak french, they didn't speak English. With my shitty Spanish and the help of John Mitchenson's french, we were able to get the passport sorted. I just have to return the next day at 2:00. Much of the afternoon I walked around Paris doing the tourist thing. I caught a few small fish in the Seine that night but nothing major. Beers and bed.

Lots of graffiti in Paris

Better in English?

From Metro 6. Best view I had of it. 

Plastic Redbull "can"?

Little dude was falling in this pic.. 

Smaller then a Garbage can?

No. I won't be putting a lap blanket thing on my KTM.

Nice retro Kawi

Floating houses in Poissey

The hostel. 

September 18 Poissy and Paris
Instead of taking the train this time I decided to ride the moto into Paris. The crazy ladies at the Hostel were drinking wine and whiskey at 10:00 when I finally made it down stairs. Its very hard to decline alcohol when it is offered by a beautiful Spanish or eastern European girl. But, I was on a mission. The ride into Paris took me through some long tunnels and by the end of the tunnel you feel like you will passout. In a car, you probably don't notice the lack of oxygen but on a bike, its like breathing into a bag for a few minutes. I went to the embassy and got the stamped passport and sent it back to the UK. Mission accomplished. Back at the hostel I was told if I help cook for the 30 or so German high school kids, I could stay that night for free. That sounds like a deal to me. I even got some fishing in that evening and caught a pretty nice White Bream (i think). It was about 2 pounds, it hit top water and fought like a bass. I threw it back because I'm not sure what kind of crap is in the water that close to Paris. We had a good night of beers with the people at the hostel.

Christelle. I helped her cook.


Myriam and Katriana :)

White Bream I think. 

September 19 Poissy to Monsauche in the Avallon Forest. 361 km
Bitter sweet about leaving this place. This is the best and worst part about travel. You meet amazing people but you have to leave at some point. I found a KTM dealer on google and put it in my (now fixed) GPS. I needed a DID xring chain for a spare and some chain lube. By the time I got to the dealer, it was 12:15 and the place was closed for lunch. From 12 to 2. Every moto shop I stopped by was closed form 12 till 2. Onward. I camped near a lake in the Avallon forest after a dinner of sausage, zucchini, french bread, cheese and beer. It got colder that night so I slept amazing.

2 hour lunch break? WTF

September 20 Avallon Forest, France to Pleujouse Switzerland. 253 km
Breakfast of sausage and zucchini and coffee. The ride toward Switzerland was nice. Rolling hills of forest and farm fields. Avoided the motorway for most of it. I stayed at my friend Andrea's house who you may remember from earlier in the trip. She was one of the Swiss girls who I met in Alaska who were touring in an F350 with a camper. To bed earlier because there is a long day "tomorrow".

Tomatoes on the ground?

September 21 Pleujouse Switzerland to Rüfenach Switzerland Via the Swiss alps. 388 km
On the road by 9:00. The mist over hills in northern Switzerland is quite beautiful. I realize later that some of it is smog and some of it is from the wood smoke. By 11:00 I can see mountains and by 1:00 I am climbing the first pass. I can not count the number of switchbacks, tunnels and bridges I rode. Some roads are tunnel, bridge, tunnel, bridge, tunnel, bridge.. It is quite crazy. The view from Furka pass was very worth it. Lots of bikes and neat old cars out. Once I got back down I took motorway up north of Zurich. I had to be at Andrea's parents house by 7 for dinner. The dinner was the Swiss equivalent of Korean BBQ. There is a hotplate/fryer thing in the middle of the table and you have all sorts of raw meat to cook on it. There are trays underneath for melting cheese for the potatos, bread, veggies etc. I fully enjoyed it. Thanks to the Willi family for letting me stay 2 nights!

Northern Switzerland

No one was home. I wanted to take a closer look at the rally car in back..

Looking North at Furka Pass

On top of Furka Pass

My GPS track

Best Red Bull ever. Tastes like cranberries. 

September 22
I worked on the moto all day. Put the stock airbox back on because my fuel mileage was suffering with the Universal foam filter on the intake. With the stock airbox on, I was able to remap the ECU back to nearly stock. My mileage is no longer suffering 20% like it had been. I don't need the extra power but 20% more fuel around the world adds up to a few thousand dollars. (5 or 6 depending on fuel prices). Into Germany on the 23rd.. I promise it won't take me another 3 weeks to post again. Thanks for reading!

Willi Family. 

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