DAY 22 – CALAIS TO ??

We were late setting off from Tilbury and even at 02.00 there was minor traffic jams on the M25 London Circular, once on the M20 to Folkestone it was a 140KPH all the way to the Channel Tunnel.

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By the time we all finished posing for photos we were in France, the Tunnel only takes 30 minutes.

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The plan today was to either hit Paris in the Morning or get very close to Paris and camp for the night, however as with many plans they are subject to change, Jaq had no money, he forgot to get some while he was in England for a week, we made it a mission to find him a cash machine, the nearest place was the town of Calais itself, nobody normally goes here, everyone just blasts by on the motorways heading either in or out of the ports.

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After some time dashing around Calais we found a cash machine for Jaq and Linda, they now had Euros, the next stop was a petrol station so Jaq could buy a map (See, we are not the only ones who travel without a map) and plan a route to Paris. the distance to Paris was only 250Km, about 3 hours on the motorway, we started off on the motorway but after the first Toll of 3.90 Euro for 100KM, Jaq refused to use motorways from then on, 3.90 Euro is a lot of money in Australia, apparently you could buy a 100 acres of farmland and a 1000 sheep with that kind of money!

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The remaining 150KM to Paris was now to be on French “B” roads, having some experience of this before I kept out of it and left the nightmare of French B roads to Jaq. These B roads are so poorly sign posted you have to see it to believe it!!

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In Northern France it was still bloody cold, I had on just three jackets, it was not enough. Some hours later Jaq had to resort to his compass to navigate the B roads, by mid afternoon we stopped in a country town for lunch and to wander around an old Church.

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I’ve forgotten the name of the French town, I was starting to get very tired from the lack of sleep the past two days, it took me all my time and available concentration not to crash in to the back of Jaq every time we stopped for a compass reading.

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After lunch it was back on the bikes.

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Jaq does an excellent Wallace and Grommet impression, onwards to the next town, again I have forgotten what its called but it was now around five and time to look for a campsite for the night.

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We chased around the outskirts of the town looking for a campsite but were turned away because they were closed or not there any more, we then asked a biker for help, he was fantastic, zooming around the town and lanes trying to find us a camp for the night, he was riding a Yamaha Venture Royal, a very large cruiser but he rode it like a racing bike. We found out later when we were talking to him that he was no stranger to the race track in his younger days, I have never seen anyone handle such a large bike like he did, fantastic riding ability.

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After much tearing around Tierre offered that we could camp in his garden, we even tried the rouse that I was unwell on one camp owner. Because I had only had four hours sleep in the past few days I looked like shit, so Jaq said to the camp owner that I needed to sleep because I had a Migraine, the camp owner went back in to his office and returned with a glass of water and a very large red and yellow pill, I had to take it for the team!!

The camp site owner was not swayed however and after taking the pill we rode off to Tierre’s house.

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After putting up the tent I promptly went to sleep at 18.00, the others went off in search of food, I was woken at around 21.00 to eat then I fell asleep again until 07.00 the following morning, Linda told me of the evenings events. Food was found and heated up on Tierre’s BBQ.

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Jaq did an excellent job as gruel chef, after supper Jaq and the two Linda’s discussed tomorrow agenda while I was sleeping soundly, they said they wanted an early start and to be on the road by 08.00 to head for Paris via the “B” roads.

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~ by travelswithmymotorbike on May 25, 2009.

7 Responses to “DAY 22 – CALAIS TO ??”

  1. The motorways suck. You don’t see anything or pass through the little French villages…and by Aussie standards the tolls are too high.
    If we had stuck to the motorway we wouldn’t have met Teirry and his family. Great people. Lin and I stayed there with them for another day. Explored the main town and walked/rode the country lanes.
    The compass and map system got us to Paris via the smaller roads the next day.
    We met other local riders and ended up with a hotel room in the Latin Quarter for E:42 a night. Could have gone for E:24 a night with shared shower and toilet.
    Rode and walked around Paris for the next two days.
    Left Paris for the ADV Rider Rally at Florac when the shaft vibration got a whole lot worse.
    Turned around and headed north. Jaq knew it was going to break, eventually.
    Managed to reach England and were almost home when the shaft disintergrated.
    Now trying to source a re-conditioned shaft.
    Could be up to ten days looks like.
    We’ll now borrow our hosts bicycles and go explore the parkland, train to London and wander around, train to Portsmouth and check out my old home town.
    When the bike is fixed we’ll decide what else we’re going to do.
    Adios: Jaq and Lin.

  2. I’m with you on this one Dave, the wife and I have toured Europe many times, you will get nowhere fast (as your friend found out) on the country roads without GPS. I use GPS now, but even that will still have you lost once or twice in France and Italy.

    Fuel,fags and food are all expensive in France, we use the motorways to join up the places we want to visit, its the only way, every day going round in circles is money out of your pocket.

    Shame your bike broke Jaq, I had an 1150 GS briefly, it was nothing but trouble, only kept it 7 months cost me a bloody fortune at the dealers, electrics and shaft.

    • Hi James,

      Compromise is a what one has to do when you team up with other people, I did it for the whole day, I knew we could have been in Paris by 9am that first day, but I went along wth it. The next day we suggested they tried our way of a quick blast down the motorway to Paris, but they rufused, so we went ahead on our own, an hour later we were in Paris!

      It’s a fair point about scenery, but after 12 hours of fields and trees, one field does tend to look rather like another, and its the cash burn, every day going nowhere is money, one day does not matter much but a couple of days and it starts to be noticed when your in a high cost country like France.

      Cheers

      Dave..

  3. Hmmm…riding with other people always brings some problems unless you’ve been friends for years, you did great on your own, why change it !

    Stan

    • Yeah…Like minded is one of the keys to a good team mate.

      Cheers

      Dave..

  4. I would have cut that knob loose in a heart beat, road tolls are a normal part of riding in Europe, just deal with it.

    Ride on……….

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