BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

We're heading south, but it's not getting any warmer. Metz to Dijon, France.


OK first up, let's talk about F1 budget motels. Yes, they are very cheap, and I can cope with the small room, very low quality furnishings, cigarette burn holes in the sheets, minimal facilities, and the less than desirable location if you are holidaying. No problems so far. What I can't cope with is, being a non smoker, having a room that reeks of cigarette smoke. Or the amount of noise that you hear from your room. The walls must be made of paper. The toilets are pretty ordinary as well, and I didn't even bother to check out the showers. After what Suzanne said about them (she just took a quick look) I'll wait til tonight for a shower thanks. So, sorry F1, ten out of ten for the idea, but only about a two for execution. 

It was time to hit the road and we finally made an early start. We were on the road by about 9.30 and the net told me the temperature was minus two degrees. That's OK because it warmed up to zero in no time. When does heading south start to get warmer?

I got a bit of a clue that it was cold because there was a good covering of snow on both sides of the road for as far as we could see. There were also visible patches of ice off to the side and in the centre of the road. I stuck in the wheel tracks  left by the trucks because the road was actually dry there.

We rode past one village, complete with church, that was set in the middle of farm fields. The whole scene was covered in snow and you couldn't make a prettier picture if you tried. That's the down side to travelling by bike. It's just too much trouble, and too damn cold to stop and take photos sometimes. I'm also under strict instructions from Suzanne that I'm not allowed to stop on the freeway to take photos any more. So, sorry, no photos.

We made good distance before our first stop and were on the bike for nearly two hours. I don't think I'll push it like that again because my thumbs felt like someone had hit them really hard with a hammer. It took a good two minutes to get the feeling back into them under the toilet hand dryer, but even then they were still sore. (it's 5.30 pm as I write this and they still hurt.) We had a good rest, a feed, and a warm up, then headed out again.

We rode for exactly one hour to our next stop. It was surreal to be riding in brilliant sunshine under a bright blue sky, on a wet road, with snow covering the ground for miles either side. The coverage was heaver here as well. If it was on hills I'm sure you could ski on it.

We struck gold at the next stop. A larger radiator (heater). We laid all our gloves and balaclavas on top of it. Then we took our boots off, positioned our chairs carefully, and placed our feet against the radiator while we drank our tea and coffee.

Toasty warm toes courtesy of a large radiator.

It was heaven. I think we stayed there for about an hour. Then it was back outside into the cold.

A quick half hour ride and we were in Dijon sat outside our chosen hotel. Oh boy, talk about going from one extreme to the other. 

The interior court yard of the Wilson Hotel.

Our iron horse gets tucked up in it's
nice, warm stable for the night.

The Wilson Hotel is a converted 17th Century "Coaching Inn" right in the middle of town. It is very plush, and our room is spacious and extremely comfortable. Our bike had it's own stable, and the bathroom lived up to it's name, by actually having a bath in it. After 280 km of zero and one degree riding I thought Suzanne deserved at least that. 

She puts up with a lot. 

Every day.

Tomorrow we'll have a look around town. We might have to leave the bike in the stable though as we may be tempted to partake of some wine tasting. After all, we've just ridden through the Champagne district, and are now in the Burgundy district. I think it has to be done.

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