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Europe Second Visit

jfink

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May 29, 2007
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#51
Thanks for taking us along, have a question, if the ferry was that rough what keeps the bike from tipping? Are they strapped down.
Rob, sorry I missed your question. Most times in the US they run straps just like on a bike trailer. What we are finding here is they put a cushion on your seat and run a strap over it. I don't really like that, because of potential damage to the seat and the chance that it isn't secure enough. But what are you gonna do?
 

StromXTc

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George West
#53
Rob, sorry I missed your question. Most times in the US they run straps just like on a bike trailer. What we are finding here is they put a cushion on your seat and run a strap over it. I don't really like that, because of potential damage to the seat and the chance that it isn't secure enough. But what are you gonna do?
Use your own, in addition?
 

Tourmeister

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Huntsville
#54
Rob, sorry I missed your question. Most times in the US they run straps just like on a bike trailer. What we are finding here is they put a cushion on your seat and run a strap over it. I don't really like that, because of potential damage to the seat and the chance that it isn't secure enough. But what are you gonna do?
IF they are going to run a strap over the seat, better to have a cushion than not. I would think the strap could easily damage your seat without the cushion. Either way, that is not a great way to secure a bike.
 

jfink

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#55
Did I miss isle of man report? Any thing to it? I must be mistaken thought you wore going there. Keep up the reports:thumb:
As is the case with most of our trips we get tidbits of information and find issues with our original plan. In this case, we waited too long to book the ferry before continuing on to Inverness. The round trip ferry cost were almost $200 each. So we adjusted our plan to cross over to IOM on the way back. This saved us about $100 each. Instead, we went to the Triumph factory first, which was actually the last thing we were going to do.

So, after the IOM we are splitting up and heading to our respective storage locations. Chuck in Kinsale, Ireland and me in Heidelberg Germany.
 

jfink

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#56
IF they are going to run a strap over the seat, better to have a cushion than not. I would think the strap could easily damage your seat without the cushion. Either way, that is not a great way to secure a bike.
I was worried about the effects of the strap on the seat, although there were a lot of "more expensive" bikes (BMW's) on the ferry that were secured in the same manner. They had lots of cushions for where the straps contacted the seat. I talked with one of the hands who said they have never lost a bike stowed this way.

I thought it was a little funny though, there were numbers of much lighter bikes which had three or four straps, while my beast only had two? One across the seat and one to the right side crash guard.
 

jfink

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#57
So, we are in for the day. We have reached the apex of our visit and begin our trip home tomorrow. The ride south tomorrow promises to be wet. Today we are again holed up watching it rain.
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If you are coming to Scotland or Northern Ireland, be sure to pack your rain gear.

Yesterday we took a short ride to the east on part of the loop called "A Whiskey Runs Through It." The country is absolutely gorgeous, with rolling green hills and lots of historic buildings. Yesterday promised "very limited" possibility of rain. We only ran into rain three, may be four, times during our 4 hour outing. Here, that is considered limited. We have been told they had an extremely temperate summer, in fact there was possibly two weeks without rain. You may be getting the picture, it rains a lot here.

We stopped at a small cafe/whiskey tasting room, called the Grouse Inn tea room. We enjoyed a bowl of soup and a great dessert. Sort of a caramel, cream and cake, with cream to add to the top.

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I have found that many of the secondary roads are not very well suited for the Wing. They are narrow and not always well paved. That doesn't go well with a half ton motorbike, with very limited suspension. The visit would have probably been more comfortable had I brought the KTM 990. Regardless, there is still some amazing sights to enjoy. This was a two lane road, but we traveled for at least 40 miles on what they refer to as a "single track". A road with turn outs to allow vehicles in the other direction to pass.
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When we returned there was a gay pride parade across the bridge. Most of Inverness must have turned out in support. The parade crossed the bridge and turned left down the river front.
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This guy ended up riding sweep for the parade.
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Tomorrow we take the most direct route to Penrith, a town about an hours ride from the ferry to Isle of Man. The forecast is for rain the entire way. For this reason we have taken out the ride through the country on small back roads and will ride the M system of highways. From Penrith we will ride to Heysham and onto the ferry for IOM. I have created a Basecamp route around the IOM for the TT, 37.7 miles.
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Joined
Apr 28, 2010
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517
Location
Houston
#59
On the upside, it is only 10 hours from London to Heidelberg by Motorcycle. At least on a sport touring motorcycle.
Last May I did that ride from Heathrow to Heidelburg on my Varadero. I left at 7:00 am and got there at 7:00 pm with a one hour time change add on. I didn’t push it but just kept going except for gas and a couple of snacks.
 

jfink

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#60
On the upside, it is only 10 hours from London to Heidelberg by Motorcycle. At least on a sport touring motorcycle.
Well, I will make 3 days out of the trip back from the Tunnel. I am going to go visit the Bastogne war museum tomorrow. It's election day, here in Belgium so they say it will be a slow day.
 

jfink

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#61
We made it to the Isle of Man, after a two day stay in the little town of Penrith. Here are some photos of our visit to Penright.

Downtown Penrith
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Did someone say, "Doctor Who"?
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I really enjoyed this little town, although the hotel we picked was probably the worst one of the trip.
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Generally, I am pretty good at finding the best for the least. I thought I had a winner in this one, great ratings, low cost, good location. It seems someone has been padding the ratings. Only 4 ratings to be sure, but all 5's. I have updated that to add our feedback.

We had a good English breakfast both days at the Cozy Cup in downtown Penrith. Eggs, bacon we guessed pork bellies, baked beans, mushrooms, neither of us took these, toast and tomato.

The staff graciously posed for a picture.
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From Penrith, we rode down to Heysham, to the ferry landing for Steam-Packet, the official line for the Isle of Man. We met a motorcyclist (Dexter) in line from the Island and had a good conversation for the three and a half hours over a couple beers.
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Chuck chatting with Dexter on the topside deck.
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Our digs were a little more impressive on the Island. This was a bargain at around 70 pounds for the night, with a superb breakfast that normally cost about 12 pounds each.
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Ok, I am going to plead guilty here. No pictures from the ride around the island, for two reason. 1) the weather on the top was rather nasty. It got very, VERY foggy and the roads were slightly wet. 2) after the fog cleared somewhat, I was have to much dang fun. I did manage to get the old girl up over 90 in a couple of the straight aways at the top of the hill. I can't imagine how much fun this would be on something a little more sport, like my Superduke.

We made two trips around the course. First Counterclockwise then Clockwise. One of the locals told us that we would only be able to ride 99.9 percent of the course because with left hand, we wouldn't be able to drive the traffic circle right side where we started. We fixed that by riding both ways and got the whole circuit in.

As a reminder, here's what the circuit looks like.
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After the Island, we rode back to Liverpool on the ferry. We scarfed a pretty nice place in Chester for a very good price. It was the last night for Chuck and my trip together. He headed towards Ireland and I headed towards Germany. I will have some more about my adventures under the English channel and on to Heidelberg, Germany. May be Chuck can contribute some wet and soggy stories from his ride to Cork.
 
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jfink

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#66
My favorite picture of both European rides so far. Notice the road gator coming up to take a chunk of the bike. LOL

Somewhere in Luxembourg:
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[dead image link removed - Admin]
[live image link re-added - Me :)]
 
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jfink

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#67
After Chuck and I split up I rode across the entire length of England, the long way, in a day. For those of us who live in Texas it is a little hard to grasp that you can easily ride across an entire country and still have time left over.

When I started it was overcast and cool, comfortable riding weather. Then the rains came. It rained for about two hours. I started on back roads which were crowded and progressed to highways, which were also crowded. Everyplace I went in England, it was crowded. Even with the rain and the crowds there were other riders. No pictures were taken, as I didn't want to get my camera out in the rain.

Finally out of the rain and on the highway, I made good time. My destination was the EuroTunnel the following morning. I had found a place called the Royal Norfolk in Folkestone, near the tunnel departure. I can highly recommend this place if you are traveling and want to stop for the night to wait for the tunnel train. Sorry, no pictures, but the room and bar/restaurant were both very comfortable.

The next morning I was on to the train to take me through the EuroTunnel. I don't know what I was thinking for a number of years, but I guess I believed you drove through the tunnel. No so much! They put trucks, cars, vans, and motorcycles on a train that ferries you across.

Waiting to get on the train. The boarding agent took this picture. I found that they get upset when you try to take a picture of them. The agent at the Isle of Man got on my case about a picture I tried to take there. :nono: I don't really understand this restriction in these days as so many people take movie cameras (GoPros) and film with their phones from their cars when boarding. No state secrets are being shared.
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Picture looking down the train and the entrance to the train. (pssst, that's the agents shoulder there on the left, don't tell!)
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Stowed away comfortably on the train:
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I parked behind this Carrera, but most the passer bys wanted to look at the Wing! ;-)
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Once off the train, it was a pretty unassuming ride to Bastogne, Belgium where I had made a reservation. Because of the easy miles involved, I had decided to take a longer route through the Netherlands, to add that country to countries I had visited. I tried to do backroads but this turned out to be somewhat of a mistake. It put me through a town called Sint Niklaas Belgium. For those of you who ever may decide to ride through this area, avoid Sint Niklaas. Miles of city traffic, traffic lights, pedestrians, etc. Fortunately it wasn't too hot and I just relaxed and enjoyed it. Finally stopping for gas.

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I walked in to pay. In Europe there is almost NO pay at the pump. You have to walk inside to pay. But they trust you, and let you pump first then pay. I left my helmet and jacket on the bike and walked in to pay. Three guys were eating at a table and began talking too me. They speak French in Belgium. I don't speak even a little French. One of the guys spoke a little English, and said they will fine you fifty Euros ($65) if you don't have a moto jacket. I explained I had one, but that was interesting information.

My final destination in Belgium was Bastogne, to visit the war museum and the battle of the bulge. The museum was very, ummm, slick. Lots of information and artifacts, but as I told my wife there was limited emotional evocation. It wasn't like the Vietnam memorial in DC where you are left to yourself in quite to feel the impact. Even so, there were a lot of interesting displays, photos and video.

What would WWII be without a Harley or two?
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101st Airborne, Screaming Eagle memorial:
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Not exactly New York but a good representation. I didn't get anything for perspective but this is about 25 feet tall:
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Thank you, thank you very much! For those of you who don't know the flag on the left is the European Union flag, which is having it's share of struggles right now.
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The WWII War Memorial:
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Texas on the inner ring:
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A view from the top:
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I stayed an extra day in Bastogne and walked around the city. Even for being a little bit touristy, Bastogne was an enjoyable city. The city square had a bust of General McAuliffe, who's famous response to the Germans demand for surrender was "NUTS!".
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A Sherman tank that was disabled during the battle.
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From Bastogne, my last day was through Luxembourg and on to Heidelberg, were I would drop my bike and get the flight back home. Let me tell you about northern Luxembourg though. I was completely surprised. I plotted a course that stayed off the main roads figuring if I got in trouble I could find a highway somewhere. BUT ... the little roads were Immaculate... Perfect... Wonderful...

No traffic at all. I got the impression that any road I chose in that area would have been the same. I could go there and spend days riding these roads, but ... Superduke if you please! :-) Here are a few photos I took, when I decided I needed something to remember this by.
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The roads were SMOOTHHHH! And it wasn't just here that it was smooth. No reducing radius curves, smooth like glass, let me put the wing into a turn and feel the peg make that smooth metal contact with the pavement and hear the swishing sound that gave no impression of danger. Wonderful ...
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Traffic was almost non-existent!
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I spent hours on these roads and probably could have spent days, never duplicating the same road. But I moved on to Heidelberg. Once into the boarder towns in Luxembourg and into Germany, the roads got crowded. It was just a commute at this point. Finally arriving at Stefans. After cleaning the bike and getting things arranged for storage, I walked around taking some pictures.

Lot's of others at Stefans, bedding down for the Winter:
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The KLR on the right in the picture above belongs to Evan Greenlee from Albuquerque. He had already been on the road for three years and done 85,000 miles on that KLR. Evan had his KLR stolen in England, near Manchester. There was plenty of damage done by the thieves and he was spending time repairing it. He was one of the few just starting out again, not storing. Evan was headed down through Spain to Gibraltar then across to Morocco to ride through Africa. Two more years of riding. Good luck Evan!!!

The Wing waiting for it's place in the mix, now with 143,176 miles on the clock:
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Chuck and I plan at least two more visits, probably next year. We are barely in the planning stages for that right now. We may take a ride up to the Hill Country in the next few months for some deep dive strategy sessions that may involve beer!

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After another great month in Europe, the next morning I caught the 10 hour flight home. I am so fortunate and privileged to have the health, time and means to do this. Thanks for following along.
 
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woodsguy

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#69
Hey, I'm headed out in a little while to look at the cheeseburger roads since the floods, might be interesting if you haven't ridden enough yet. lol
 

JMZ

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Gonzales , TX
#70
Hey Joe. I can't help you with the ? but I can help you with the strategy when you go to the Hill country. I have extra days this year to take off. Hint hint. LOL.
 
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jfink

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#72
915 at Waverly Burger King with Terry!
There are a couple things that stopped working while I was gone. My job today is to repair those things which aren't working AND to catch up on some missing sleep. Maybe I can join you guys for breakfast then head out to finish up my chores.
 

woodsguy

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#74
There are a couple things that stopped working while I was gone. My job today is to repair those things which aren't working AND to catch up on some missing sleep. Maybe I can join you guys for breakfast then head out to finish up my chores.
I figured it was a long shot!! But have to include you.
 

jfink

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#75
Hey Joe. I can't help you with the ? but I can help you with the strategy when you go to the Hill country. I have extra days this year to take off. Hint hint. LOL.
Hey JM, you know the deal. Nothing in life is for free! Bring your favorite beverage and come along. I'll post something up.
 
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
451
Location
FBG, TX
#76
Shoot me a note if you are coming down to the hill country to ride and drink beer! Although the forum says Plano, I actually live in Fredericksburg, am retired, and have an FJR that doesn’t get ridden enough. I should figure out how to update that...
 

jfink

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#80
Shoot me a note if you are coming down to the hill country to ride and drink beer! Although the forum says Plano, I actually live in Fredericksburg, am retired, and have an FJR that doesn’t get ridden enough. I should figure out how to update that...
I will probably post something up on here. I love those FJR's.
 

StromXTc

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#81
Those train carriages are surprisingly wide. How long does the crossing take? Was it 20 euros like it said on the side of the train? Thanks all good stuff. I saw your menacing European leaves , it looked dry however :mrgreen:
 

jfink

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3,062
Location
Conroe, Tx
#83
Those train carriages are surprisingly wide. How long does the crossing take? Was it 20 euros like it said on the side of the train? Thanks all good stuff. I saw your menacing European leaves , it looked dry however :mrgreen:
It takes about 35 minutes to cross, but it doesn't feel that long. I was just getting settled in after taking the pictures when we began to slow down. I am not sure what that says on the side of the train, the name is "EuroTunnel" but it cost me about 50 euros for me and my bike. I guess that could be the cost of a walk-on or bicycle.
 

jfink

Forum Supporter
Joined
May 29, 2007
Messages
3,062
Location
Conroe, Tx
#84
I assume the train was smooth, no securing your bike down?
It was smooth .. umm er! There was some jostling around. The tracks weren't completely smooth. Sort of like a light swell on a ferry. Chuck had heard that a rider should stand on the non-kickstand side of the bike when the train comes to a stop, because on occasion the engineer will stop the train suddenly. But that didn't happen to me. The train has windows, you can see one behind my bike. The view during the crossing was absolutely fabulous ... NOT! LOL
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,341
Location
Huntsville
#87
My favorite picture of both European rides so far. Notice the road gator coming up to take a chunk of the bike. LOL

Somewhere in Luxembourg:

[dead image link removed - Admin]
Joe, the link for your favorite image was not working so I pulled it. If you want it to show up in the header image rotation, you need to find a new link for it.
 
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