Tag Archives: road trip

Christmas in Andalusia, Spain

Christmas road trip planned…Its going to b a little fresh I know but hopefully once I get to southern Spain things should warm up a little. Was planning to take the Portsmouth to Santander ferry but this takes so long I think it’ll be quicker to ride down via the Poole-Cherbouge ferry,  more fun too.

I’ll spend a couple of days in Malaga hopefully with a visit to Gibraltar  on Christmas day a before I join a guided bike tour with Hispania Tours around Andulusia for 8 days and then returning home via Barcelona.

The outward route looks to be just over 1300 miles

The return route is just over 1550 miles

The organised tour is about 850 miles, so with a trip to Gibraltar and getting lost once or twice it’ll be a trip length of just under 4,000 miles.

Obviously this is a trip on the Thunderbird, the bikes pretty much ready to go, I’ll put the screen on so that should keep the worst of the weather off, I may need a new rear tyre (no surprise there) it would probably have been ok but as I’m sure there will be rain at some point it makes sense to have some decent tread depth.

The riding kit needs to be adjusted a little, a set of textiles for sure with some decent waterproof liners and waterproof gloves, if such a thing exists.

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…‚ā¨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….

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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 Booking.com 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 !

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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 !

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Road Trip 2015, Day 9 Titignano & Lake Bolsena

Sun shining as usual, nice to be able to say that, not blisteringly hot, high twenties low thirties but more importantly it say warm through the evening…
Anyway, deciding to visit a small village or hamlet called Titignano, apparently owned buy a Italian Prince, not surew if its true, maybe just a story for the tourists ! seemed to be mainly used for weddings, pretty, cracking views but just as well for us it’s not just about the destination its just as much about the journey ūüôā this was on a road between Todi and Orvieto, not the main road, a road we had travelled many times but a kind of back road, a road that went over the hills, a road that if you straightened it out would be twice as long as the destination, because of this little traffic used it and the road surface was in remarkably good condition for an Italian road !

  
¬†As Titignano was only about halfway along we decided to carry on down the road to Orvieto, a place we’d been before but the road was to good to be ignored. Once reaching Orvieto…


…..and having no plan on a destination, thinking on the hoof we headed down to Lake Bolsena again somewhere we’d been once before but not had time to look around.


Lovely down by the lake, cool breeze blowing, water lapping as we sat under the trees eating a light lunch and watching the world go by.

  
¬†Back on the bike we followed the shoreline round as far as we could before heading back to Todi, along the normal roads we would of taken between Todi and Orvieto, if that makes sense ! great roads all day, twisting and winding through the countryside, not superfast riding by any means but sometimes getting a series of corners right is even better, if you own a bike you’ll understand !

Lovely plate of pasta and a fine glass of Montifalco red this evening……along with a glass of lemoncello !

About 125 miles today…

Road Trip 2015, Day 7 Spello

Day 7
Ok going to be honest here, slept in big time this morning, Paula brought me in a coffee at 9.45 and woke me up ! well, I am on holiday…..needless to say the day didn’t move on as quick as we’d hoped, by the time we got up, breakfast etc its was heading for midday, the clear blue skies of first thing had gone and were starting to look a tad threatening..

Gathering our bike gear we headed down to get on our way, the hillside town of Spello we thought but alas the downside of our secret parking spot is that you can easily get blocked in, clipping the panniers, sat nav and camera onto the bike the first few spots of rain started to fall, we’ll pop back up to the apartment and wait it out we thought….what a storm, sitting out on the covered balcony we watched the storm close in, the hills disappeared, the thunder rumbled, a few flashes of lightening then the biggest flash of lightening followed instantaneously by viscous crack of thunder, my drink shot out of my glass, the power went out…..and Paula was laughing as I ended up covered in orange juice and scared of the lightning…..did that ever come down, the worse yet….and yes, forgot to film it again….

after a couple of hours it started to brighten up, as these storms tend to disappear as fast as they start….so back to the bike….

  
¬†Spello is a pretty town, doesn’t seem to get the tourists like Assisi does, after finding somewhere to park, theres always bike parking somewhere, usually right in the centre of town you just gotta find it..

Being a hillside town, your either walking uphill or downhill, when your doing the latter your always mindful of the fact you have to go back up !


¬†Heading back on the bike all of a sudden things got very loud in my helmet, terrible wind noise, after investigation it turns out that the little pin that holds the pinlock visor in place has fallen out, how bizarre, nothing a bit of sellotape can’t fix for now..

Back in downtown Todi the festival was in full swing, somewhere, there were cars everywhere, but no people…

Tricky finding a table in a restaurant tonight too, although food is so cheap, pizza 5 euros (can’t find my euro sign) all good too….

Weather is set fair now so Sibillini mountains tomorrow…

Maybe about 60 miles today..

Road Trip 2015, Day 5 Monticatini to Todi

After a great night out in Lucca, we packed up for the final time and headed down to a good breakfast, Hotel Reale in Montecatini is a great place to stay, cheap as chips but really nice people, good rooms, a little dated perhaps but what do you want for £40 including breakfast !

Not to many miles today as were heading towards our destination for 2 weeks.

Heading off for San Gimignano (San Gim) great place, but rammed full of tourists, yes I know we’re tourists too !

Having been here a couple of years ago we knew of a secret spot to park the bike so that done we headed off to the Piazza del Duomo to meet up with Tony and his lovely wife Karen, fellow Triumph riders, unfortunately their travelling companions had a few issues with their bike so weren’t able to make it….They didn’t have a Triumph, some foreign machine I think….


Coffee went in to lunch, as it so often does when your chatting but with the time moving on and still having the bulk of our 150 miles to do it was back on the bike and to our apartment in Todi.

Had to hit a few motorways as we had spent too long having lunch so the cross country route was out, a few issues with a loose mirror that kept being pushed back by the wind, why do Triumph use those little crushable washer things ? nothing a few turns of insulating tape couldn’t sort out and we were back on our way, an hour later arriving in Todi.


Carlo, met us at the agreed place and showed us around, luggage unloaded, a few pointers of good restaurants and thats it, home for 2 weeks, I’ll take a few picture of Todi and post them up later…


Pizza tonght…well, when in Rome…..

Road Trip 2015, Day 4 Varazze to Monticatini

Up early to nice bright sunshine, quick shower and down for our “all inclusive breakfast” unfortunately like the rest of the hotel it rather over promised and under delivered, never mind you can’t get them all right !
A quick hoon through the roads of down town Genova we high tailed it down to Lucca, for lunch, only 150 miles ish so an easy day for us.

Vehicles are banned in the middle of Lucca so you have to park on the outside and walk into the town, fantastic place, if you ever get the chance go, you won’t be disappointed.

  
¬†¬†¬†After a rather good lunch in the Amphitheatre in the centre of Lucca we set off to find our Hotel, 20 minutes up the road in Montecatini Terme, or if we had gone the direct route it would have been 20 minutes….an hour later we arrived !

Just chance to check in and change then it was back out to Lucca to meet up with a few friends at the Triumph RAT Lucca & Black Sheep Rude, Great night out, really good to see everyone again along with some new friends……and now we’re members of Black Sheep Rude !


  
    
Food & drink was consumed, tentative plans were made for the flock to visit next years TT & Ace Cafe visit….

Time to go, we shot back up the Autoroute, the quickest way, we tried every other way..

Great day, great night, its good to be back in Tuscany again..
Tracking maps as usual, with a bonus map of our wayward route to Lucca and the quick way back.

About 200 miles in all today.
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Road Trip 2015, Day 3 Annecy to Varazze

After a good nights sleep we left the hotel to cloudy but promising skies, in fact for the first time this trip I put the Drift camera on the front of the bike.

Heading for the tunnel at Modane to get into Italy via the shores of Lake Annecy, very pretty indeed, with all the rain we’d had the bike has developed the Thunderbird belt squeak, this only seems to happen after being caught in the rain, it seems to wash the belt clean and make it squeak, nothing a smear of Vaseline can’t fix…when I find some…

The sun came out as we headed up to the tunnel making a stunning ride until the increase in altitude brought in some low cloud…

this route into Italy seems to be a lot quieter than the Mont Blanc route although the Aosta valley on the Italy side of Mont Blanc takes some beating..

Although the sat nav told us to go through Turin and then down through Alessandria as we’re coming back that way we though we’d head down the A6….what a great road that was, on par with the A7 of last year….high speed sweeping bends, not much traffic, perhaps the road wasn’t in as good condition but still a lot of fun to be had, so much I forgot to turn the camera on !

About an hour out from our destination today the skies started to turn black, I mean really black, racing down the road as fast as we dared we knew there was a service station coming up, and just in time, no sooner that we got of the bike the heavens opened, I really must catch one of these storms on camera, they are awesome !

After about an hour it had calmed down enough to get back on the bike, its amazing how quick the roads dry as if there had been no rain at all.


Checked into our hotel, they all seem to have helmet storage in the rooms !


Good pizza out tonight, but more storms and even a tornado ! had to buy an umbrella just to get back to the hotel…..the restaurant owner has assured us that summer is back tomorrow, its sunshine all the way…..just as well as we have a bike meet to go to in Lucca !

As always a dodgy ttracking map, about 250 ¬†miles today…..¬†

    

 

Road Trip 2015, Day 1 Caen to Montlucon

Ok, technically day 2 but as day 1 was just going from our house to the ferry I didn’t think that really counted so day 2 is officially day 1….
After the usual hanging around at the ferry port, loading the bikes, trusting the guys strapping them down that they know what they are doing, still have to glance back and wince a bit as they ratchet the straps down so hard the suspension compresses 3 inches….as long as its still upright in the morning, it was time to find our cabin, fortunately on the same level as the bikes, result !


After a quick unpack it was decided it was probably a good idea to get some sleep ready for tomorrow rather than head up the 5 flights of stairs to the bar.
It seemed only a few minutes later the wake up call that we would be docking in an hour, a really smooth crossing, must be one of the best we’ve had but now it was 5.45 and time to disembark.
A look out the window and fearing the worst as the weather forecast wasn’t good but surprised to see the sun shining !
Bags & boxes back on the bike we were off, in the sunshine, although it was a tad chilling as it was still very early but the bonus was the usual quite french roads were almost empty.
Hour or so of riding and it was time for breakfast, patisserie & coffee, it would be rude not to.
Heading back out to continue our journey the skies were looking a little threatening with the odd spot or two of rain so the waterproofs were put on, just in case…
Luckily this seemed to work as the weather improved, in fact got quite warm and we were glad to follow a couple of Porsches, a Lamborghini and a Mclaren into the service station and stop for lunch to remove a couple of layers…the boring toll roads done for the day, although we suspect that keeping the Peage tickets next to a mobile phone case with a magnetic strip may have caused a few issues with the info stored on the tickets…nothing Paula couldn’t sort out with her ever improving language skills !
With the waterproofs now off and the temperature now climbing it was off across country to our hotel for the night in Montlucon, pretty road and even a short sharp shower didn’t spoil the ride into town.
Friends of ours Tom & Allan are heading this way in a few days time so we thought we’d hide a small gift for Tom as its on his birthday, good luck fella’s the clues are all there….

  

¬†¬†Final thing, I installed a tracker on the bike hoping that I would be able to post an accurate map of our route but it seems to be loosing the signal every now and again for some reason, only just fitted it so it might be my fault, just not working as I hoped, I’ll post a picture up anyway, you can see the approximate route anyway….miles covered today 325 ish…..