Europe Trip Day 1

As I write this I am laying down in my tent listening to ‘Feel Good Lost’ by BSS.
So far ETD -1 has been full of surprises and much fun!

I have surpassed my expectations for the day and have made it to a campsite called Nord Elm around 80k past Hanover,16km south from the autobahn in the deep dark national park Elm-LappwaldI left London a little later than planned around 6.30 am and made it to Dover for 8.00am, 15 mins before the ferry was due to leave (country #1). I strapped the bike down and went up to the passenger decks to relax.
The ship dropped anchor and we started the ‘cruise’ to France. After lining my jacket with the (so called) ‘waterproof inner’ i went outside to the deck and started talking to two fellow bikers, Matt & Justin. We talked bikes and journeys, and then I made a short film with them about what they are doing, what bikes they are riding, how long they are away for and their reasons! Great guys!
That got me thinking, so I scouted the ship for more bikers and talked with all of them about their journeys and made a short film with each 5 in total! Start the theme for the bike trip 🙂
The ferry docked in Calais, I saddled up my iron horse and rolled off the ship into France! (country #2)
Driving on the right is pretty good on a bike. Great vision all round! I motored on up through France & into Belgium (country #3) (completely forgetting to stop in Bruge) and stops for fuel. Pre pay! I met a couple of bikers there, talked to them on film about there journeys and wished them well. One couple were from Scotland! Dude was riding a Bandit 1250 customised to the nuts with Touring equipment. Nice!
As I left the petrol station, no more than a minute into the journey I noticed a car in lane two (the overtaking lane for those of you that don’t know which one) of the dual carriageway ( I was in lane 1 behind it) slow down drastically. It slowed down so much that I was traveling past it in the inside lane unintentionally, as I did because the car had slowed down so much the car behind it walloped it up the back and the one behind that too!
There was an almighty bang. The car just slowed down and stopped causing a pile up for some unknown reason. Engine management system failure or run out of fuel? Anyway a good lesson learnt there. Expect the unexpected.
So I carried on, not stopping for the accident! And made my way toward Eindhoven, my first planned stop. The weather was looking like it was about to take a turn for the worst and after an hour or so of riding it did. The heavens just opened and let down an almighty burst of rain. The spray on the road Was awful, visibility was getting towards zero, and then in the distance I noticed a biker taking refuge under a motorway bridge. I also decided it was the best course of action to take and duly pulled up along side him and sheltered from the torrential rain.
The biker was called Hanz (my highlight of ETD -1) and he was 78 years old & was riding back from Paris to Eindhoven on a Honda 250 custom. He was interested in WW1 history and had been to Paris to visit places connected with it. Amazing guy. I filmed him also!!
After the rain stopped we made our way Eindhoven parting eventually around the outskirts of the city. I made my way into town and stopped at a cafe called the ‘grasshopper’ had lunch and dried off for a while & then made my way to Germany.
I stopped for some motion potion & hit the highway bound north east for the next 100km’s or so. I then took a turning off into Germany (country #4). The rain came down again just as the rolling wind from the road had semi dried me off, so once again I was soaked to my socks and pants mmmmmmm pants! I had to pull in to refuel the silver machine and I needed the wc badly.

Rolling on through the twist, turns and straights of the beautiful German autobahn I had a dilemma. I had two campsites programmed into tom-tom. One was 20km west of Hanover, the other 100km or so east of Hanover. I was wet. Feeling the cold and getting a bit tired. So I chose the one 100km east of Hanover. That’s right! I puckered up and went for it! It meant another hour in the road. Another cold wet hour, but worth it.

The campsite is lush. Set in a forest within beautiful green tree lined grounds. It also has private wooden houses/holiday homes where people live. Neat. One of the residents came out and said hello and started speaking in his mother tongue which left me with the classic Brit abroad look on my face of complete confusion, followed by ‘do you speak English?’ to which I received no reply !

Eventually I found out what I needed to know and started to sort out my tent & dry clothes!
As I pulled in I noticed a huge canvass covered tunnel type thing.
The campsite dudes have let me pitch my tent under it so the ground is nice and dry and my bike is underneath too! Big big bonus.

I asked him if he had any beer for sale, he said, yes! bonus, I asked for 3 and he gave them to me gratis- free- no charge!
After I pitched then tent it was time for a warm shower and back to lay down and drink beer!
So it’s been a great day all round!
good night!

571 Miles -919km

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