We’ve taken a lot of trips, but this one’s had the most contrasts. We’ve partied on the French Riviera with the One Percenters (OK, we were in the same town:) and drank beer with hard-core motorcyclists on the roads of the Isle of Man. We’ve stayed in tiny towns in France, Switzerland and England and visited one of the world’s great (big) cities — Paris. We’ve seen the rolling countrysides of England and France; the mountains of Switzerland/Italy/France/Germany; and the ocean cliffs and pastures of the IOM. We’ve been on autobahns at 90+mph and tiny tiny mountain roads at 9 mph. All in all, a jammed-packed 30 odd days.
Here are the basic facts & stats:
- NY II shipped to & from: Zeebrugge via RORO on Wallenius lines
- 36 days, 19 travel days on the bike
- 3500 miles (<100 miles per day total and > 180 miles per travel day)
- Methods of transportation: plane, train, bus, ferry, taxi, subway, m/c
- Countries (9): Belgium, France, Monaco, Italy, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Germany, England, Isle of Man
- Problems with the bike: 0
- Tip-overs: 1 (while packing him up one night)
- Electronics: two computers, two iPads, two cameras, one GPS, one video camera, two phones, two helmet intercoms, and one mobile Wi-Fi hot spot
- Longest # of nights in any one city: 4 – Nice
- No. of pubs/bars slept above: 2
- No. of rain storms encountered while riding: 3
- No. of Westies sighted: 12+
- No. of “old” churches visited: too many to count:)
- Best hotel: La Mirande, Avignon France
- Worst experience: Iberia airlines — 12+ hours in one of the last analog planes + lost bags
We spent the last week of the trip meandering from the IOM through England, staying a couple of nights in Canterbury. We then crossed the Channel and spent two nights in Normandy on the French coast, wandered through the French countryside and spent another day/night in Brugge. I rode NVII back to Zeebrugge and put him on the boat. KR and I then took a train to Brussels airport and caught a flight to LA via Madrid. Simple:)
Net Take Aways:
- The Little Woman no longer likes 500 mile long days on the m/c. Go figure.
- Too much space allocated for tools, not enough for personal electronics. NV II is rock solid, so I don’t need to carry a mini tool chest. You can never have enough electronic toys, however.
- There are no hotels in Europe for less than $100 that the Little Woman wants to stay in.
- BMW rain suits suck
- We need a bigger “junk drawer” (top box:)
- RORO (roll on, roll off) is still the best way of shipping a motorcycle. But, one needs to make sure not to put any small value items where freight handlers/shippers can steal them as they will.
- God bless Garmin and GPS. How did we ever travel before them?
- Ditto for Schuberth helmets with intercom/radio/phone. They’re expensive, but flawless.
- Wolfman water proof bags are the best. When you combine them with separate, shaped mesh containers for clothes it creates an easy to pack/unpack clothing system.
- BMW’s electronic suspension pretty much solved the short guy problem of putting two feet on the ground. System can be used as an instantaneous lowering system when in traffic by putting system in “Soft” mode, “Hard” mode when on the highway. Technology can be your friend:)
- Contrary to going-in perceptions, motorcycle parts/accessories in Europe (not England) are cheaper than here. The devaluation of the Euro is probably the main driver of this short term bonus.
Thanks for keeping in touch with us.