Last Updated: 19th August 2019
Exploring the Alps on two wheels
Duration: 10 days
Countries: FR, DE, AT, CH, IT
Two friends, now living in separate European countries, agree to take a motor biking trip through the Alpine mountains. With approximately 40 years riding experience between them, and good planning tools, the winter was used to research biking sites and a route was agreed on, hotels booked in advance, bike2bike communications tried and tested, and the mood was set for what turned out to be a great adventure.
Alarm sounds at 0400hrs. It’s still dark, haven’t slept much such is the anticipation of my epic journey. I’ve been preparing for this trip for months since I was persuaded to join ‘Wob’ a veteran alpine explorer and old ex courier buddy to throw my bike around some hairpins. Not having taken a bike abroad before there were certain items I needed to add to the Pan to enable me to undertake such a journey. First I would need to be able to communicate with ‘Wob’ so items such as leads, radio, PTT handlebar button were needed to be purchased and a sat nav to guide accurately around europe. A couple of weeks before departure the bike was serviced, a new front tyre fitted and some new rear brake pads slotted into place. Thankfully the bike passed it’s MOT test a week before the trip which was a good omen. Back to Day 1, it’s a very dark morning with not a hint of a sunrise, I clip my tank-bag into place, lock the garage door, clamber on-board the green machine and set off towards Folkestone to catch my channel tunnel train which is due to leave at 0730hrs. I arrive at 0615 and I’m able to get an earlier departure… result! Channel tunnel is extremely efficient and I’m in Calais in only 35 minutes and hitting the auto-routes in no time. After hours and hours of monotonous autoroutes I finally make my destination by late afternoon. I had plenty of stops on the way for food and fuel and I was looking forward to settling down in my room at the Hotel Balladins in Macon for a well earned rest after 600 miles in the saddle. The sat nav however had a problem finding the hotel as the address from the internet was not as accurate as I had hoped. I managed to find someone which spoke some ‘anglais’ who pointed me in the right direction and bugger me if I had not passed the bloody hotel earlier but had not noticed it’s sign…. Still I’m in a foreign country and these things will happen, it’s all part of the learning curve I kept telling myself rather than calling myself a wally for not noticing it before! Physically I’m in pretty good shape. I’m surprised. It’s been 8 years since I last rode 600 miles in a day and I have not suffered like I thought I was going to do. On reflection I wish I had a Pan European when I was riding as a courier all those years ago but they were very expensive to buy way back then. My seat modifications seems to have made quite a difference to the comfort levels so all in all a very good start to the trip.
Back to Day 1, it’s a very dark morning with not a hint of a sunrise, I clip my tank-bag into place, lock the garage door, clamber on-board the green machine and set off towards Folkestone to catch my channel tunnel train which is due to leave at 0730hrs. I arrive at 0615 and I’m able to get an earlier departure… result! Channel tunnel is extremely efficient and I’m in Calais in only 35 minutes and hitting the auto-routes in no time. After hours and hours of monotonous autoroutes I
finally make my destination by late afternoon. I had plenty of stops on the way for food and fuel and I was looking forward to settling down in my room at the Hotel Balladins in Macon for a well earned rest after 600 miles in the saddle. The sat nav however had a problem finding the hotel as the address from the internet was not as accurate as I had hoped. I managed to find someone which spoke some ‘anglais’ who pointed me in the right direction and bugger me if I had not passed the bloody hotel earlier but had not noticed it’s sign…. Still I’m in a foreign country and these things will happen, it’s all part of the learning curve I kept telling myself rather than calling myself a wally for not noticing it before! Physically I’m in pretty good shape. I’m surprised. It’s been 8 years since I last rode 600 miles in a day and I have not suffered like I thought I was going to do. On reflection I wish I had a Pan European when I was riding as a courier all those years ago but they were very expensive to buy way back then. My seat modifications seems to have made quite a difference to the comfort levels so all in all a very good start to the trip.
Day 2 -
After a comfortable nights kip and breakfast, I set off for Avignon about 300 miles south. I keep clear of the auto-routes today so I can enjoy some of the scenic French countryside and acclimatize myself to the French roads etc. Rural France is very picturesque with traffic free roads
for most of the cross country routes, it’s only when I hit the main ‘N’ roads do things start getting busier but not as busy as the British equivalents. I avoid the autoroutes not only to save a few quid in toll charges but to allow me to see some proper countryside rather than the blank canvas of autoroute existence.
My Garmin Nuvi 350 sat nav is invaluable in keeping me pointing in the right direction and safely guides me to my hotel in Avignon for my rendezvous with ‘Wob’ tomorrow. The Fasthotel in Avignon is basic but comfortable and has air conditioning which works very well especially as the outside temperature is probably around 30 degrees C. Tomorrow the real adventure starts, can’t wait!
Day 3 - 385 km
I have an early breakfast this morning awaiting a SMS from Wob to let me know his ETA at the Fasthotel. Wob makes contact and I make my way to the main road to flag him down just in case he rides past as the hotel is quite difficult to spot. Finally he appears and we are having a ‘man hug’ before we know it. It’s been a couple of years since I’d seen the ‘bearded one’ and all the
months of preparation has finally come to fruition and we are together at last! I give Wob a quick tour of my room and a spell under the air conditioning to cool down before we set off into the mountains before long we are packed up and away heading towards the Gorge De Verdon, which in the words of Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson, “is the most challenging road in Europe”.
We stop for lunch a few miles from the gorge and enjoy our first meal together. (how romantic that sounds you may think but we are just good friends if you know what I mean) It starts to spot with rain which is not a good sign but we are in a mountainous region me thinks so it’s hardly surprising!… so onwards and upwards. As I lead up a hill towards a roundabout, I’m flagged down by a couple of policemen one of which is holding a large shotgun! It dawns on me that I had not switched on my headlight and I quickly
turn it on but the damage is already done. The policeman who’s not holding a bloody great big shotgun asks for my documents in a rather direct manner and I’m fearing at least an on the spot fine and a trip to the local ATM to pay, bollocks! After producing registration, insurance, MOT documentation I’m free to go! No on the spot fine! Result! Then rather than making our escape Wob strolls up to the policeman who’s just let us off and asks if he can take their photograph. Now that’s taking the piss me thinks but they agree and Wob produces his camera and takes their photograph. Not to be outdone by that and considering that I’m now in the clear, I gave Wob my camera and I stand between the two policemen giving a double-thumbs up looking very pleased for myself! I detect that our welcome was wearing thin so we quickly remount our bikes and we set off towards the gorge only for it to rain on us and the traffic to build up quite quickly, bloody tourists!! Although the traffic was quite heavy and awkward to pass it didn’t matter too much as it very wet and quite slippery. We stopped several times for photographs as the views were quite stunning and before we knew it the roads were drying out and we were able to stretch the throttle cables a bit more and get in some lean angles, brilliant fun! I can’t remember at any time in my life where I’ve had to change direction so many times in so few miles. The roads were smooth with positive camber in and out of most corners which built
up my confidence quickly and our pace quickened. We stopped on a bridge where some nutters were drawing crowds by bungee jumping off into the gorge. After a few photo’s we set off again quickly passing slower traffic to keep up our momentum and enjoyment factor. Wob had been using his posh Sat Nav to navigate so far with each of us taking it in turn to take ‘point’. The bike to bike radio communications are working brilliantly and we were able to keep in touch even if not ‘visual’ with the other rider. After a fuel and water stop, we set off again towards a town (don’t ask me the name – it’s all a bit of a blur really!) and began a loop around the surrounding countryside eventually leading us back to our starting point. This road in particular was so fast, smooth and twisty if we had had the time I’m sure we would have ridden it again at least twice more as it was absolutely stunning! Totally awesome! On our lap we stopped by a very large lake
with a dam for a photo opportunity and then made our way to our hotel in La Gaude situated in the hills above Nice. After some difficulty finding Hotel Du Baou we finally make it and try to find a parking space. Unfortunately the hotel is sited on a mountainside (not surprising really!) and there is not any level parking spaces, they all seem to be on a 1 in 3 slope! Parking the bikes proves very difficult but after a few attempts we eventually find a spot in the top corner and park up. We check in to what looks like a ghost town hotel There’s only a receptionist on duty and not another soul in sight. There’s very few lights on and I think it’s quite strange that as we are in the peak summer months we seem to be the only guests. Does not augur well. We were told on check-in that the restaurant was to close at 2130 and as it was almost 2100 we just dropped our bags into the room and headed off back into the lift to find the restaurant. Once back downstairs the whole place was now in total darkness, everybody had buggered off! Where’s the restaurant? On our way up to the hotel we had passed an eatery on our way through the car park so we decided to walk down there to eat only to find that it was the Hotel’s restaurant all along. Doh! We again were the only non staff people in the restaurant and I got the impression that we were keeping them from going home so we didn’t hang about and after paying the bill we retired to our room for a welcome shower ( not together! ) and a very welcome nights kip…. Sorted!
Day 4 - 377 km
I was surprised though that I had slept so well but as it had been a very long day in the saddle yesterday so I must have been very tired and was able to sleep relatively disturbance free!
We popped down to the breakfast bar and had a very pleasant meal outside on the veranda looking out at the surrounding mountains with the sun blazing down, it was going to be another brilliant day I thought, totally unaware of what was to unfold in less that an hours time.
Both bikes packed, hotel bill paid, radio check completed, off rolled Wob down the car park hill and I slipped the Pan into gear and let out the clutch…. CRUNCH! I was off within a foot of moving, laying trapped under the right hand side of my bike, unable to get out as my 800lb barge was pinning my foot to the ground, I radioed Wob to return and a couple of men came out from an industrial business adjacent to the hotel car park to assist me up from underneath the bike. On picking up the Pan I inspected the damage to the right hand wing mirror, mirror pod, crash cover and pannier I was not best pleased with myself. Guess who had left his disc lock in? Yep, ME! Oh how I was not best pleased with myself. Why oh why was I using a f**king disc lock when I never normally use one at all, it was obvious that at some point throughout the trip that I may leave it in accidently, so why bother at all…bollocks! There was worse to come. Unfortunately the disc lock had damaged my left hand caliper carrier which meant I was going no further that day or at all. A new part was needed and I instantly thought that my trip was over even before it had properly began. A huge mixture of anger and disappointment set in. A nightmare was unfolding very quickly before my eyes and I so furious with myself for doing something
so stupid, Wob, (bless him) decided to withdraw from the vicinity to make a few phone calls and find out where the nearest Honda main dealer was and try to order the part needed to get me back on the road. I in the meantime, was still fuming. I had remembered to remove the lock at my last two hotel stops but the excitement of the day ahead meant that I was so keen to get going I forgot to unlock the lock – triple BOLLOCKS! I will never ever ever use one of those contraptions again as long as I live EVER! AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHH!
To cut a very long and distressing day short, Wob ‘my hero’ was able to find a main dealer and was able to order the caliper mount for a next day delivery, he could snore all night and day now and I’d still sleep with him albeit in separate beds you understand! I in the meantime was hobbling around the Hotel Du Baou feeling totally miserable. I wandered back to the hotel bar and asked whether I could purchase a bottle of water as it was getting hot outside. The receptionist sauntered over to the bar area and opened a bottle of water and produced a glass to which he then asked for three euros fifty! How much! THREE F***ING EUROS FIFTY FOR GAWDS SAKE! And he’d bloody opened the bottle before I had chance to say politely “you must be joking, no thank you!” Could he not see I was not having the best of mornings and that just about capped the morning off! I was determined not to stay another night at Hotel Du Baou and said as much to Wob on the phone so on his way back from Cannes he thankfully found a much nicer hotel near Cannes where we could stay. ( yet another heroic act! ) As I had ‘Deluxe’ breakdown cover with Britannia Rescue, I phoned the number in England and arranged for my bike to be transferred to the other hotel to await the part the next morning (fingers crossed). Excellent communications from their agent in France. Getting the bike on and off the recovery lorry was nearly as much as I could bear as it was not the vehicle I thought was going to turn up but nevertheless the non english speaking driver got it there driving an average of 15mph all the way! I followed behind on the back of Wobs bike because all the bike luggage was stowed in the cabin of the truck and there was no room for a passenger. To save money the driver didn’t take the autoroute towards Cannes which would have been so much quicker so we had to endure a bumpy across town route to our destination. Oh how I didn’t want to see the bike fall off the back of the lorry! The bike arrives eventually at the ‘Media Garden Hotel’ after a fraught couple
of hours and it wasn’t long before we were settling into our room and making the most of the hotel swimming pool to cool off. A very nice evening meal followed and a few beers consumed to drown my sorrows, I was still not confident the part would arrive the next day (a Saturday) so a difficult night sleep was ahead and not only from my hero.
Note from Rob: When returning to Hotel Du Baou from Cannes, I noticed an Intermarche on the main road just outside the hotel. A bottle of 1,5 liter water cost 40 cents, so Phil enjoyed being the butt of water jokes for the rest of the trip ;)
Day 5 - 368 km
Another sunshine filled day awaited us as Wob and I popped down for breakfast. The weather forecast was for cloud free skies and temperatures in the 30’s. With our meal despatched, Wob left for the Honda main dealer to hopefully collect the part for my Pan to get me rolling again. I advised Wob not to phone me up with ‘bad news’ as I’d know it would be a wind-up, but me thinks that fell on deaf ears. At about 1015hrs my mobile rang and it was Wob phoning to tell me the part had arrived but they’d sent the wrong one. I knew by the sound of his voice that this was a thinly disguised wind-up so I asked him politely (yeah right!) to stop being a knob-head and tell me the correct part was in his possession. He then said that they had supplied a silver one and not a black one. Oh how my sides ached from laughing so much !@*! After a few choice expletives he confessed he had the part and was on his way back – fantastic! I’ll try to resist giving him a big fat kiss when he gets back just in case he receives the wrong signals takes it the wrong way!
On Wobs arrival back at the hotel, the part is fitted in only fifteen minutes and our luggage loaded onto the bikes and we are ready to roll again much to my relief. (Phew!) We had
lost a day and a half by that time and we had already agreed the night before that we could not do two days riding in the mountains in half a day, so to get to our hotel at the Great St. Bernhards pass, we had to utilise the Italian motorways. It was a bit of a boring day to say the least but we averaged good speeds and made it to our hotel before it got dark and we were now back on track. We did however on our way up St. Bernhards pass stop at the scene of Wob’s 2005 ‘get-off’.
I didn’t ask Wob to re-enact the accident but we did pay homage to the concrete pillar which mashed his fuel tank. The pillar stopped his bike from following him into a water filled ditch but the damage was still quite extensive. So impressed with the scene we eve took pictures of the red paint still clinging onto the pillar after two years!
Our overnight stay at the Hotel-Restaurant du Cret was again very comfortable. We had a lovely meal that evening with a german R1200 Sport rider who ironically was making his way down to Avignon to meet his girlfriend.
Day 6 - 429 km
We woke again to another cloud free sky. Packed up our bags and headed off to the restaurant for breakfast with our new German friend who’s name unfortunately I’ve now forgotten. We paid up our bill, Wob topped up his bike with fuel and we’re off again in search for some more fantastic views and awesome twisting, hairpin infested, mountain roads… Cool!
At about 1200ish, we head up into some hills and it’s almost time for lunch. When we get
to the top of the climb we pass through a beautiful picturesque town with a lovely café bar/ restaurant and Wob gets on the radio and suggests that we go back. I honestly thought there would be another equally picturesque town not too far away so to wind-up Wob up, I carried on and he had to follow. The joke backfired though as we had to travel for another couple of hours before we finally found somewhere decent to eat…oops! The roads made up for it though and we had a thoroughly enjoyable day riding and we eventually arrived at the Hotel Sole on Lake Como our rest stop for the night. Our room was very comfortable with nice views onto thelake and surrounding countryside. We ate very well that night in the restaurant and toasted our days ride with a couple of beers. The fact we’d made it this far and had not remained stranded in the south of France with a broken bike still played on my mind and subconsciously I’d felt that I’d not ridden as well as I could have done that day and was holding back so as not to have any more unwelcome occurrences which would further delay or curtail our adventure. On reflection though I think that was probably a good thing as I’d freely admit that I can oh so easily get carried away when riding challenging roads such as the ones we’d enjoyed so far and treat the Pan like it was my Fireblade which it is so clearly not, and perhaps push it a bit too far. (Must be getting sensible in my old age!)
Day 7 - 444 km
We’re off again heading south along Lake Como. The traffic levels are heavy as it’s a very popular holiday destination and progress is quite slow. We stop to fill up and as there are no demanding roads to negotiate, we agree to swop bikes for an hour or so. As I lift my leg over the saddle of Wob’s VFR and tip it upright off the side-stand it feels so so light and
agile in comparison to my hefty Pan I very quickly became concerned about how Wob was going to get on with the barge like Pan and the difference in weight etc. Not to worry, Wob found the bike easy to ride and after about an hour we swop back over again. Now for the next few hours having just ridden Wobs bike, all I was thinking about was how good my Fireblade would be on these roads! Madness!! I soon saw sense and realised logistically I couldn’t take half the luggage I had on the Pan and my ageing wrists definitely couldn’t last the distances we had covered on the Pan so a quick reality check soon brought me to my senses!
We finally arrive in Alleghe early evening and easily find Hotel La Maison which conveniently had a Italian restaurant next door so we would not have far to go for dinner.
What a lovely hotel! Rooms are superbly appointed, very spacious and so very new. An underground garage was available should we need it and the receptionist couldn’t have been more helpful. We did have one little incident at the hotel to report. Whilst in the lift
going back to our room, Wob unexpectedly let go a rather loud fart on entering the lift which echoed around the corridors of the hotel. The schoolboy in Wob found it so hilarious that he he almost lost control of a tray of cups and hot water he was carrying from giggling so much, there were tears in his eyes! I’d swear he’d stopped breathing at one point as he was turning a shade of purple! The thought of mouth to mouth resuscitation in a FART filled lift did not appeal! The doors finally opened (thank god!) and Wob started breathing again and wiped the tears from his eyes and regained control of the tray once more. That evening I was acutely aware that he could be ‘snoring’ from both ends …. now where are those earplugs again? I may have to put some up my nose as well if there’s reverberations from both ends of Wobs body!
Day 8 - 423 km
Another morning breaks and it’s dry again! We soon set off again having had a very pleasant stay at Hotel La Maison which I’m sure we’ll be visiting again next year.
Our objective today is to ride to the top of the Grossglockner pass. Before leaving the hotel
we attached Wob’s video camera to the back of his bike pointing backwards and a fresh tape was inserted. Wob was to ride point and I was determined to get some good shots of the Pan in the twisties as we progress towards Grossglockner. An extremely good mornings ride was had and I had had loads of fun following Wob’s VFR keeping as close as possible through the hairpin bends etc. We were both ‘on-it’ that morning and we were riding quite a bit quicker than previously having a wail of a time and hopefully recording a good account of our riding on camera. We arrived at Grossglockner and parked up by the toll booths. Wob checked the camera was okay but found that it had only taped six minutes of our ride. On further investigation the ‘new’ tape Wob had placed into the camera that morning wasn’t any normal tape, it was in fact only a CLEANING TAPE so all our efforts that morning had come to nothing and bugger-all was captured. ( WOB’S HERO STATUS IS BROUGHT INTO QUESTION AT THIS POINT. ) Oh never mind……………. Bollocks!@*?!
(Please note I was not that disappointed really. It just means we have to come back next year!!)
On paying our 18 euro’s toll, we were soon off up the Grossglockner which was quite a climb with hairpin after hairpin and steep ascents, the bikes were having to work quite hard and at one point whilst Wob was waiting for ‘Phillip - David-bloody-Bailey’ to
take a photograph or two on our way up, his bike spat out some coolant onto the ground in protest in having to wait for so bloody long! All’s well and we get to a rest halt where there’s one more climb up the ‘Bikers Rest’ to reach the summit of 2571 metres above sea level. This last bit of road is quite narrow with some very tight hairpin bends with some quite steep cambers and a cobbled road surface to deal with. On the way up the Pan was at full lock on many of the hairpins and all my concentration was needed to guide the ‘barge’ safely to the top. It then suddenly dawns on me over lunch that I had to ride the bike back down the same road and I became a bit apprehensive and my thoughts turned towards another unwelcome ‘get-off’so I was not looking forward to it to say the least! After my light lunch I left Wob to finish his three courses and went off to take a few photographs of the surrounding mountains. We finally started our way down and I lead off thankfully not meeting any other vehicles coming the other way so allaying my earlier fears about having to stop the Pan and dropping the ‘barge’ as I wouldn’t be able to put my feet down due to the roads camber. At the bottom of the descent we are soon off heading towards a small
black hole in a nearby mountain which turns out to be quite a big hole once we got closer. After quite a challenging descent we eventually reach a town at the bottom and the heavens open so we stop to take cover while I hunt out my waterproofs to change into. The roads were steaming from the daytime heat as rivers of water wash down the hill through the main street, what a deluge! We have had such magnificent weather throughout our tour so far, it was inevitable that we would encounter some precipitation but what a downpour! After about thirty minutes sheltering under some trees, the rain stopped and we set off again towards our final night-stop of our adventure at the Sporthotel Kostmann in a town called Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria. In searching for something more challenging to ride Wob turned off the main road and before long we found ourselves up the side of a mountain on a single track road way off the beaten track with surface resembling a rally stage in parts. Our average speed dropped dramatically and it was ages before we got back to something decent so another valuable lesson learnt. It did rain a few times throughout the day but they were mainly isolated showers and the roads remained mostly dry. The Austrian roads proved very fast, smooth and twisty and we arrive at our hotel early evening in plenty of time to park the bikes in the underground car park and check-in. The 4 star Sporthotel Kostmann Hotel on paper was the most expensive to date but it was half board but to our surprise, free wine and beer thrown in with the evening meal! A very pleasant meal was had and the beer and wine flowed probably more than was necessary but it was free and I was letting my hair down (if I had any!) and it was my last night with Wob before we went our separate ways. The time seems to have rocketed by since our enforced stay in Cannes but I’ve enjoyed the riding and more importantly Wob’s company and leadership. (Hero status restored)
Day 9 - 410km
A quick look out of the window and we were greeted with a rather grey start to the day with a likelihood of some rain in the not too distant future. Breakfast was guzzled and the bikes packed and prepped for the trip to Saltzburg. Rain had started to fall now so we started cautiously as the road conditions looked a little bit slippery. Soon thing dried up and we were back up to a respectable speed and in the hunt for some twisties to brighten up a dull morning. We didn’t have to wait long. We were soon doing 80mph plus on sinuous tarmac climbing and descending valley floors with vigour with very little traffic in our way. Austrian roads are good quality with road surfaces generally smooth although the less popular routes can be a little bit cracked and bumpy but still significantly better than the British equivalents. Cross country jaunts rewarded us with a huge variety of corners and road surface to read making the grey matter work overtime to progress as swiftly and as safely as possible. No matter how many hundreds of thousands of miles you may have completed over a lifetime of biking there is still plenty to take on board even for old motorcycle couriers like me and Wob. The learning process is ongoing and no matter how well you may think you ride, there is always room for improvement and this is what a few thousand miles in the Alps can prove. We did encounter some road works from hell unfortunately and our bikes had to endure some very severe off-road excursions where there was no tarmac at all just a load of hard core to ride across. I was very aware that a puncture was a distinct possibility so took it very carefully, progress was slow though. Time and time again there were more and more road works and one was getting a bit fed up at one point but we knuckled down and rode the rough stuff and soon enough we were back on tarmac…. Thank god!
We finally arrive at the rail station in Salzburg a little bit earlier than planned and after a
few farewell photographs we set out to find a coffee shop to spend our last couple of hours together before we head off in different directions. After a couple of coffee’s we are soon back at the station saying our goodbyes before I remount the Pan to find my hotel for the night and Wob awaits loading of his bike onto the train for his overnight journey to Hamburg.
Back on the road again my Garmin sat-nav is guiding me accurately but slowly out of Salzburg as I seem to have hit the rush hour traffic and it’s raining again with a vengeance. It’s not long before I arrive at Hotel Sonnenbich for a welcome night kip. The weather proofing I had attached to the sat nav was not performing too well so I was quite relieved to have made it to the hotel where I can re-cover it for tomorrows autobahn nightmare. The weather forecast on the television is for torrential rain throughout the day so my waterproof gear is really going to be tested tomorrow. My hotel restaurant is closed on Wednesdays unfortunately so I quiz my sat-nav to find the nearest restaurant to eat and set off in search for somewhere to enjoy a lonely meal for one. I find the restaurant but there are only a couple of tables occupied which makes me think why, but I needn’t have worried as the meal was quite excellent and the beer cool. The only thing missing is Wob, so it’s a little solitary. I make it back to my room and settle down to my mp3 player as there’s not much on TV and soon enough I’m off with the fairies….zzzzzzzzz (It’s a remarkably quiet night!! - Why was that I wondered? )
This trip was just too short. We had to go home already when we were having a blast of a time, so we agreed that next year, we will take a few more days, 12-14 should do the trick. We also agreed that as we were doing 10 hour days (including photo stops, albeit a bit hurried) next year we will drop the daily distance to 180-200 miles.
I do a u-turn and double time it back to Phil, where sure enough he's on his side. There are already two guys trying to lift the barge (Pan euro) of off him, finally he's out and ok. On inspection on the bike it turns out that the front left calliper bracket is busted. A distraught Phil emerges, cussing and cursing. Cutting a long story short, whilst staying out of his way allowing him to cool down, I pop into the Hotel and nearest Honda dealer which happen to be in Cannes.
I came back with the good news that they can order the part and have it in next morning, but I had to ride down there to pay first, and I was off.
There were some issues with the hotel we were at, so on my way back from Cannes, I managed to find a nicer hotel to stay at. Phil just had to get the bike moved to there and we were all set.
When I arrived at the hotel, on the main road I noticed an intermarche. It was about lunchtime so I thought I would pop in and buy some comfort food for Phil. Arriving Phil was still in a pretty fowl mood and I started getting the water out etc. He looks at the 2 x 1,5ltr water bottles I had bought him and pointing at it he asks where I got that from... The intermarche in front of the hotel I explain... Again pointing at the bottle, Phil enquired to the cost... "Oh.. 40 cents per bottle". Phil goes thermal nuclear. Turns out the hotel charged him 3,5€ for a 25cl bottle of water. Phil was the butt of water jokes from then on.
We got to the other hotel and used the rest of the day pampering Phils battered ego ;)
Next day I rode into Cannes again, and picked up the part without problems and once Phil had the part, it was a 10 minute job, and we were back in action.
We needed to make up for time, so we hit the motorway that day, and the rest of the trip from there on seemed to be uneventful compared to the start.
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