BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Calais. Ferry to Dover, then onto Wales.

Friday 10/5/13

Excellent. Blue sky at last. Well, that's what I saw when I woke up. Unfortunately the weather wasn't going to be kind by staying that way. Yup, it was another dark and gloomy, wet day.

Off to the ferry. After a few questions at the English border crossing, the guard kept our passports and sent us over to another building for someone "to check out what you've got". Oh no. I thought we were going to have to unpack everything from the bike. If we had to do that there was no way we would make the ferry on time. After lots of questions, aimed at ensuring we were not going to bludge off the UK welfare system, we were asked if we had flights booked to go home to Australia. Once we produced the booking confirmation and proof of payment, we were free to proceed to the ferry. These guys were just doing their job, looking after the UK's interests. I have no problem with that.

I managed to ride onto the ferry, without hitting anything this time, and the crew tied the bike down. Have a look at the cradle they had on this ferry.

 The most secure ferry trip the bike has enjoyed.

After the crew untangled a rope that was wrapped around the propeller, we sailed out of the harbour about half an hour late. Wales, here we come.

The ferry trip took about an hour, and it was one of those trips where people couldn't walk around on the boat because it was so rough. Suzanne took a quick liquid sleeping pill and slept most of the way across. She didn't even see the white cliffs of Dover.

Obligatory white cliffs photo.

Last time we were here we rode past the battle of Britain Memorial because it was raining. This time I was going to stop for a look, I didn't care what the weather was like. So in we went.

The Battle of Britain Memorial is a large memorial laid out like a giant propeller. At the centre is a pilot looking out over the English Channel. Waiting. It's a moving tribute. 

B.O.B. represents all the dogs that lived at R.A.F. airfields during the war.

Memorial wall.


Another loss.

A waiting pilot.

Our timing was bad because normally there is a Spitfire and a Hurricane on display, but they were away being repainted. Really guys, both at once. I would have loved to see the Hurricane. Oh well. After a coffee and a snack we made tracks for Wales.

After fighting heavy traffic for miles and miles and for far to many hours we arrived in Wales. I'd forgotten how cool the little back lanes were. Luckily as we left the ferry there was a sign reading "Keep to the left side of the road" otherwise I would have forgotten.

I love these little back roads.

Around six o'clock we parked the bike in Leigh and Annmarie's garage. It was so good to catch up with Leigh and Annmarie, another wonderful couple of people we've met on this trip, and of course Floyd and Leo.

The boys were happy to see us, but then they're happy to see anyone.

Floyd getting cuddles from Suzanne.

OK, I have to make a public admission. I think Floyd is the coolest dog I've ever met. 

After a few drinks we sat down to a terrific chilli Leigh had put together. Well, three of us did. I think the gin and tonics that Leigh was mixing for Suzanne may have been a little strong as she was off to bed very early.

We stayed up chatting for hours and enjoyed a couple more drinks or three.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, great people are what has made this trip what it is. Leigh and Annmarie are up there with the best. It's really good to be here.

And, the decision has been made, the bike has to be sold. It's a bloody brilliant bike and is listed on ebay here:

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