I’ve jerry rigged the hair dryer to dry my gloves so I thought I’d give you a quick update. What a first day. Got wet through on the way down to Portsmouth ferry, no big deal, its what you expect as a biker. Then the ferry was delayed, probably due to the inclement weather, no problem.
I met a lovely couple of bikers on the ferry, Tina and Nick… (Sorry if I got your name wrong Nick, it’s been helluva day) who were spending a couple of days touring around Normandy 2up so I pointed out all the best places to go. We chatted the whole way and they even bought me a couple of beers and offered to buy me lunch, but by the time I was half way through the second Kronenburg the motion sickness was kicking. I’m not normally sea sick but the reams of sweat was an good indicator that I was on defon 1 and that I should leave that beer unfinished. We agreed to meet at Arromanche and then it went downhill.
It’s Bastille day, so that means most little towns are shutdown,alongwith all the petrol stations. I mut have gone to five before I found an Esso. I carry spare fuel so it wasn’t a big deal but I didn’t want to crack that open just yet. All this looking around meant the timewas cracking on so I got my head down and drove onto Bayeux to find my hostel.
Except the hostel had been shutdown for years. No problem I had the names of another so I proceeded into Caen for the second rendezvous with destiny. Except when I got there the guy said it was closed… not proper closed, but check-in was closed. Well thanks for nothing mate! He recommended me a hotel etap near the SNCF. When I got there it was 52euros a night, which being on a budget was too much. However, as it was now well past midnight I was game on if he had secure parking. He did and told me to drive round the back and he would meet me there. I drove round the one way system twice but I couldn’t find it. I gave up, programmed in the novotel into the gps and off I went.
Hre’s where my real problems started. Getting on for 1am all the Bastille day celebrations were coming to a close and all the revellers were trying to get out of town and I got stuck in it. It must have been 30 mins to travel 1 mile. I finally got out, with some dodgey lane splitting, and proceeded to the Novotel. I parked up and noticed my main light still on, an anomally because it switches off on its own, but I switched the electrics on and off and all was fine. I walked into the hotel and was hit over the head with the 139 euro a night room price. No thank you my man.
I decided I’d just drive out of town, find a field and pitch my tent, not ideal as it was already pitch black. I got back to the bike started it up and nothing! Damn it, not again…I’m only in Caen FFS! It must be the heat of all the traffic. The cooling fan cam on as usual and no warning lights so it even handled this no problem. The bike had run beautifully all day. So what the hell was the matter with it? Idecided to go back into the hotel and let the bike cool for a bit. Fifteen minutes or so later I retried it but again nothing. Oh well, this is what happens on big adventures. So I decided to stay overnight on the overpriced hotel and try it in the morning…
I had an inkling that it may be a flat battery as I’d been using the heated grips most of the day and if I leave them on it saps the battery so I thought I’d get a jump start the following day. No problem, I have some bike start cables with a socket wired directly to the battery for such occasions.
I went to the bike the next day and nothing so found a lovely french receptionist to jump start it and BRUUUUUM… the bike fired into life first time! Guess I won’t be making a claim on my breakdown cover and I’ll have to take the cost of the hotel on the chin. Next port of call brekkie, I aint eaten since breakfast the day before. Yet, surprisingly, not hungry?
Onwards to Arromanch
What have I leant from today?
Contact the hostel ahead of arrival and do it soon, before sunset.
What do I need to work on?
More accepting strangers hospitality