Tucker and I left home on the bikes – in rain – and headed down Oxford way, to meet up with Big (sic) Al. From there it was an uneventful (but now dry) onward journey to Portsmouth and a bar meal before heading on the overnighter to Le Havre.
Being one of the first on board, we managed to get great reclining seats and sleeping space, so all tucked into sleeping bags (and Al in his very ghey blindfold) to sleep.
Next Morning, we set off on the wrong side of the road thru some lovely picturesque villages and towns until we reached Pegasus Bridge where we stopped at the very famous cafe for breakfast of coffee and croissants
After a little sightseeing, we headed onwards until we reaached our new base of Bayeux – which turned into a lovely old town with fab cathedral and narrow streets.
The campsite (municipal) was also great – nice sites with good ablutions and an Aldi and MacD across the street.
After pitching camp, we headed to the seaside and Arromanche where we found a lovely little town with enormous concrete relics of the Mulberry Harbour, littering the beach and which had such a pivotal role in the D-Day invasion[caption id="attachment_347" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="D day beach"][/caption]
The next few days were spent visiting so many of the D-Dy beaches, memorials and cemeteries – very atmospheric, interesting AND fun!
Our last full day together was spent at the fabulous island of Mont St. Michel, with its amazing cathedral, shops and winding streets – and of course coffee shops [caption id="attachment_349" align="alignright" width="214" caption="mont st. Michel"][/caption]
On the way there we had stopped at William the Conqueror’s home town – and discovered that until he changed his name, he was known as William the Bastard!!
That night we had a great meal in yet another great little restaurant in Bayeux (we ate sooo well for the whole trip -including snails and Creme Brulee …tho not at the same time)
Next day we headed to Utah beach and memorial before saying farewell to Al who had to return home for the W word. Tucker and I returned to Bayeux via some more fortifications that had only recently been rediscovered (I also let Tuck ride my bike as I knew he would be bored on the Panzer by now)
Next day and I had done some research and found a real Panzer to go and visit (all we had seen so far were US or GB tanks) so we headed south by 100km or so and eventually found it got a nice photo of Tuck on his Panzer in front of a very similar (in terms of looks and performance) 1940′s version. We then headed back to Bayeux and visited the Tapestry museum and the British War Cemetery (not as grand as the US Omaha site, but also very atmospheric)
We packed and took our leave from Bayeux next day and headed south on some very non-touristy route roads down to Le Mans
MOTOGP!!! we arrived at Le Mans Bleu camping on Thursday afternoon – thinking we were going to be early …apparently not! …the campsite was already a scene from Armageddon with bikes banging ff the rev limiter, wheelies everywhere and general mayhem and carnage ensuing! We got in and made camp in a patch of grass, completely shocked by the noise and goings on ….some nice new bikes arrived next to us and Tuck spoke the immortal line ” well, they’ll not be revving the bikes” ….just after dark that night, they too stood chatting amogst themselves while holding the bikes on the rev limiter and flicking the kill switch to get flames out of the zorst!!….absolutely crazy!
speaking of which there was a group of bikers on site wh were VERY professional in their set up: one guy (at least) would sit burning up a tyre till it popped at which point someone would give him another bike while the previous one had a new tyre fitted to start all over again! ….and these bikes had home made exhaust cans of various designs, but mainly megaphone type with the open end being a foot wide, no silencer, but with a little funnel attched to the top of the ‘phone …. this was to allow oil to be dripped in, while the engine sits on teh rev limiter, producing 10ft long flames out the back!!
sheer unadulterated carnage!!!!! and with bikes wheelying around and accidents requiring a constant stream of ambulances into the place!
We had a great time walking around and taking in the atmosphere – tho Tuck was a little worried about his bike disappearing. I got up on the first morning at about 6 and walked off to find a coffee stall …there was no queue there, but the BEER stall next door had a HUGE queue – one guy actually tipped over and fell unconscious in it!
We had a night in Le Mans, taking the Metro there and back (and getting in some trouble for not using the tickets properly ) nice cathedral and streets andd a beer in the town square
By now the rain had appeared so the racing was a bit of a damp affair, though we had found a good viewing point, so sat there for race day along with some french guys we had met up with in the campsite. All the races were great, but the best part was Rossi overtaking Stoner on the bend in front of us to the delight of the fans too
We left straight after the race and headed north on the peage – which were free to bikers for the day!!! and eventually arrived at Boulogne where we fell exhausted into a cheap hotel /tuck new and then had a burger and beer before hitting the sack
Unfortunately the next morning – the ONLY morning we had to be up early as we had the Chunnel booked – we slept in! … A dash along the coast got us there in time for the next one, with no penalties, so that was ok. Safely on board, Tuck changed his number plate back to a proper sized version, then we disembarked, stopped for brekkie at a services then headed north and home.
A very fabulous trip