Road Trip 2015, Day 22, Laon to Chipping Sodbury

Warm, then very wet, then warm again
Our final day.
A decent breakfast followed a good nights sleep at the B&B before leaving for Calais and the tunnel back to the UK.
Looking a bit cloudy but with blue sky with the occasional sunny bit we set off, only about 130 miles to Calais, a stop for fuel and with I must say a little anticipation we approached the Terminal, after all the press about we expected to see some signs of increased security, a few migrants trying to grab hold of moving trucks….nope, nothing…no sign that there was a problem….although I was chatting to a fellow biker that said he had come across country on the A roads and there were plenty of people hiding under bridges etc….
If your not familiar with the Euro Tunnel on the French side you go through French border control first, then 100 metres down the road you go through UK border control, It was at this moment the heavens opened, thunder, lightening, it was lashing it down, of course we’re still in 40 degree mode, jeans, t shirt under a mesh summer jacket, stuck in a queue we couldn’t get out of.
After showing our passports we head over to the terminal building, the roads were like rivers, we were absolutely drowned !
More or less throwing the bike into the nearest car parking space we legged it into the terminal building ready to use the old hand dryer trick in the toilets but alas, the wrong type of dryer…..
So, just time to grab a coffee and watch the rain as a group of touring BMW’s came in….and promptly parked in front of the doors so everyone had to walk round them because it was the only dry place, I think they needed to get their hairdryers and hair nets out or something, but at least all their Rukka suits matched…..(Tom & Allan anytime you want to chime in…:))
Anyway, manning up we jumped back on the bike in the now normal rain and headed for the train, we got into the terminal a bit early so we got bumped onto a earlier train..
40 minutes later we’re back in the UK with just a 3 hour blast down a series of the UK finest motorways, always an uninspiring way to finish a trip but with time constraints and the threat of rain, which we managed to avoid bar a quick shower, it seemed the best option…
So there it is, this years road trip complete, 3,725 miles in 22 days….fantastic…


Road Trip 2015, Day 21, Bourg en Bresse to Laon

Hot and then a tad cooler..
Woke up this morning, suns out but at least theres a breeze blowing, we didn’t worry about the breakfast, we grabbed a cold drink from the vending machine and sat outside on the benches while we got all our gear together.
Once loaded we were only minutes away from the main road, toll roads all the way today as we had some miles to do…although that not helped by me promptly getting on the wrong slip road so had to do 13K’s up one side only to come back 13 K’s the other side !
Sat on the motorways, rarely dropping below 130kph, nudging 140 more often than not, even with regular stops to fuel up and for drinks it does take its toll on your neck on a cruiser with out a screen, it the 3rd day of high speed riding and I can certainly feel it now.

The weather forecast was for it to be cooler the further north we went and they were right, although when I say cooler as we rolled into Laon at 4.30, just missing rush hour for once, it was still 31 degrees, but it felt a whole lot cooler than that to us..
The B&B is great, very ‘French’….good meal out too in the shadow of the cathedral, really nice to eat outside all the time, can’t remember when we last ate inside…
Home tomorrow night, we have got to run the gauntlet with the migrants at Calais though, seems there has been a bit of trouble there these last few days, hopefully we won’t be delayed..
About 275 miles today I think, although it felt like a lot more, the heat certainly takes it out of you…


Road Trip 2015, Day 20, Alessandria to Bourg en Bresse.

Hot…..then just right…..then bloody hot !
Leaving Alessandria, means leaving Italy, thats a bad thing in our books, but leave we must after a healthy breakfast and getting out to the bike just in time as the side stand was sinking in to the tarmac again…oops !image
Belting up the autostrada in a world of my own, missed the turn off again, not the first time this trip, think I’ve taken more wrong turns this trip than ever before !
A quick drink a a top up with fuel would see us to Mont Blanc and France…..The most expensive fuel we have ever seen in Italy…€2.09 per litre but if you need it you gotta have it.
On to our lunch stop, seems to have become a bit of a regular stop now, La Palud at the foot of Mont Blanc, The food is ok, probably not the best but its a nice place with great views and either the first or last restaurant in Italy, depends which way your going….

So into France, some light relief with the scorching temperatures, even at this altitude as we rode through the tunnel, all 11km of it, last year we were glad of the warmth as we were plagued with rain on the way down, this year we were just glad to be out of the sun for a while.
Once out the other side the roads are quite impressive, yes you pay to use them but you can see where the money was spent…
Once at the foot of the mountains the mercury was rising again, coming into Bourg en Bresse the Temperature was 37 degrees at 6 o’clock at night.
Arriving at the Campanile we went to check in only to find we booked the hotel for tomorrow night not tonight and they had no spare rooms !
Luckly to to the rescue, manage to cancel the booking we made incorrectly with a full refund and found a new one for the same kind of money just down the road, a Etap type of hotel, brand new, called Premier Classe, would recommend for sure, more helmet storage !

Next door is a Pizza place so with a little irony we had Italian food for our first night in France.
Hoping the weather is a little cooler tomorrow as we head north to Laon, somewhere we’ve not been before.

About 200 miles today but there was a lot of up and down as well, and the tracker worked, apart from the tunnels, but thats to be expected !


Road Trip 2015, Day 19, Todi to Alessandria

Hotter than the face of the sun today, or so it seemed..

Leaving Todi today, all packed up and ready to go when Carlo came round to the apartment to collect the keys and give us the security deposit back, surprisingly we hadn’t broken anything, nice chap Carlo, we had a job to get away from him…
So off we headed for Alessandria in the north of Italy about 550 kilometres to do today in 35 degree heat !
It was like riding in an oven, it comes to a point when it makes no difference how fast you go the wind doesn’t cool you down it just seems to suck any moisture from you.
On the A1 through Italy, not the most inspiring road but it does allow you to sit at 130kph all day, just stopping for fuel, food & water. Even hooning it along we still didn’t arrive at our hotel until 4.30, great hotel though, stayed here a few times now and most importantly really effective air conditioning !
Dinner tonight in the restaurant next door.
Even the track behaved, well, more than most days anyway !

About 350 hot miles today..


Road Trip 2015, Day 18, Orvieto

Still hot…

Our last full day in Umbria so getting up reasonably early we headed off to Orvieto, typical Umbrian hillside town, most noted for its impressive Duomo, and of course shops, Handbag shops to be precise, I suppose it was inevitable, I think the guy in the shop had every bag off the shelf at one point trying to find the right one, she did, in the end, a nice spot of lunch, meat & cheese followed by some gelato…..tonight we ate at what we thought was the best restaurant of our stay, the one we gave a 30% tip to by accident a few days ago ! yep we got a great table and great service…great memories of Todi and Umbriaimage image image image

not to many miles today, less than 50 I’d have thought

Starting to pack for the trip home tonight, first stop Alessandria in northern Italy, then Boug en Bresse,just over the Alps in France, trying a new hotel this time and finally Laon, northern France..Temperatures supposed to be hitting 40 degrees these next few days….phew..