Victory over Spain and France 05
Well, here's the story of the VOC crowd on its way down to Costa Brava and back – we made up half the group the other half was the VRA.
Day 1 - Hotel du lac la Mezelle, Nr Chaumont
Most of us met up in Ashford with full tanks and began our cruise down to the chunnel, meeting Geoff & Carol along the way, except that the last to join was the first to drop out , out of gas!
We organised for a taxi to go sort him (turns out it took two hours!) and promptly boarded the chunnel – whereupon we lost John's Hammer, which decided to fall over when the train braked. No damage, saved by a crash ‘hat and bag'… later replaced under insurance.
Off the train and we waited and waited and waited… for Geoff at the other end. But he was stuck on the train, they having failed to open the doors! Moral: always fill up first and always carry a mobile phone. And a device to open the doors! Sorry Geoff & Carol!
The first day was about doing the miles, but we eventually arrived at Bourbonne les Bains. A quick lift into town where we met Mike Pedler and the Victory Riders Association crowd, similarly gagging for food. But what more could we ask for than a pizza van to our door. And he (the pizza man of course) delivered the invalids (Pete and Richard) back for free – service with a smile! That was the first and last time we met up for a beer
Day 2 – Hotel Ibis, Nimes
The two Johns and Richard left ‘early', and had a great ride. This included a whopper of a bike shop where various sums changed hands care of John's insurance and Richard getting a coat. Big thanks to the Johns for replacing Richard's headlight bulb before it got dark.
Cal's main group (allegedly!) had a groovy time, and after they'd met up with us at a petrol station they headed up off up into the mountains for a sightseeing tour, except they didn't get that far and it was dark…. But, care of a carefully inserted detour, they did get to see a town's fairground going full pelt, several times. Meanwhile Bear lost his headlight and Les lost his shoes, but they found his Victory jacket (major priority!).
Day 3 – Hotel Rosamar, Sant Antoni de Cabonge, Costa Brava
This was a good day's riding – terrific views, sunshine, roads… just what we'd all come for. The highlight was definitely the lunch stop at Les Routieres cafe, where the food was stunning and all for 11 Euros (@£7.50) – a truckers stop every time. But Richard admitted to losing a bet with Pete whom after much cajoling (ok, it was easy! – Ed.) got our waitress Jenny to come out and pose on a Vegas
The hotel was right on the seafront but it was a pain to find – except for a helpful and talented teenager doing wheelies on his bike – that's a bicycle! – who led us right to the door. Just don't ask Rob how he got there down one way streets…
The evening was… and, er, pails into insignificance, er… well lets just say that we all really enjoyed it, especially Pete with his new friend Bunny. Some of us were up early for breakfast, visa vie Monty, Bear, Cal and Annie, some might say they never went to bed and took an early morning dip, others had their hearing in the early morning clouded by too much alcohol.
Day 4 – Day trip to Andorra
This sounded absolutely terrific, but was sadly a no-goer for the trike man. Winding hairpins all the way up (and down!) to Andorra, covering about 350 miles. Being the weekend, you can imagine just how many other tourists were also slowly ploughing their way up. The highlight – snow! So go wrapped up.
Day 5 – Day trip to Barcelona
At the end of our second day's ‘rest', Mike had laid on some Polaris quad bikes – what a hoot! Particularly those used to them, Red and their ‘manoeuvrability'. It was great, tracks to have really gone for it (all I could think of was my son and his trial bike…) and we all got covered in dust. To Mike and the Polaris boys & girls we all say a big ‘thank you'.
The crew in the back garden of the Hotel Rosamar
Day 6 – Novotel, Bordeaux
What a day, the highlight of the trip! Fantastic roads, sunshine and scenery through the Fiox region and the Pyrenies. Some seriously good riding. Even John's trip-up couldn't put a downer on the day. But Richard's postcard took the honours, care of a direct hit from some bird up high.
Day 7 – Hotel Mercure, Le Mans
Pete and Richard took off on a burn up chasing Tony (also on a Vegas), except he flew past the interchange for Le Mans and was eventually (long eventually!) tracked down by the yellow trike. Long and tall of it was that he was headed back to Calais but had neglected to inform the group… but he stayed with us for the remaining blast up to Le Mans.
Day 8 – Homeward bound
We set off mighty early according to Cal's schedule (that's mighty late then), just him, Bear, Pete and Richard. A terrific ride along the ‘B' roads, finished off with a wee blast care of someone or other. Once again at the chunnel we failed to reach our train on time, mais c'est la vie! On the Brit side we promptly stopped to fuel up and guess who we met… yep, that'll be Geoff & Carol with a terminal bike c/o a dead alarm, which had been playing up for days'. I guess by now he's torn it off and ceremonially burnt it.
Who didn't have a terrific time?!!! Roll on next year… and THANKS to Mike x 2, Cal and everyone at Victory for organising and paying for it.