Monday, November 20, 2017

Riding France From Ouisterham to Spain With Friends

Finally, I have got around to writing about our journey!

For those of you that follow my blog you know that it has taken me sometime to get motivated into getting started and I apologise for that, especially to our friends Mike & Jackie and Jeff who have been waiting patiently.

I have had to break it up into sections as there are so many piccies to choose from, this is from Ouisterham to our first stop in Spain.

So here it goes, let the journey begin.



Bikes all loaded, Jeff has spent many hours planning this trip and his maps and routes are ready, (I'll add the route at the end of the trip) we are both really excited at what this next chapter in our riding experiences has to offer.

Me, well my camera is ready, phone has been emptied of data and I just hope I have enough storage for the pictures.

I've got my little bag with all my essentials over my shoulder and one pannier with all my gear in for the fortnight.

We set off in the dry from home which is a blessing as last years trip was a different kettle of fish with the rain pouring down until we got off the ferry at Ouisterham.

First stop Portsmouth to join Jackie and Mike who are ready and waiting to start our holiday, all smiles, loaded up and raring to go.


Seemed to take for ever waiting to get on the ferry, didn't seem to matter though....

We had a really good trip across to Ouisterham, you wouldn't have known that we were on a Ferry, the sea was so calm and after having a night cap or two at the bar we all slept really soundly.

After having coffee it was time to go and get the bikes and start our onward journey.

I really don't like the way they secure the cushion on the seat of the bike, they pull those levers so tight that it squashes the seat. I know they have to do it so the bike doesn't move during the sailing but I wish they wouldn't squash the seat down.


Riding off the ferry we were greeted with an absolutely beautiful morning. The sun was just rising and me, well, I was just overcome with total love for France and we had only just got off the ferry!



The sunrise followed us for miles, it was beautiful it took my breathe away.

We were travelling from Ouisterham to Alencon.


First petrol stop after approximately an hour and a half riding and well due a cafe aulait and leg stretch. We did stop at the peage's and get off the bike for a mo but not for very long so this stop we were all ready for.



It was great, the sun was shining, we were all relaxed and enjoying the ride.


Love this piccie of me and Jeff, your see as the trip progresses there aren't many!


The grapevines are looking gorgeous, lots of lovely grapes to make lots of lovely wine for me to drink :)

Shame that the sunflowers have gone over all ready, I've yet to see them in full bloom, we always seem to be in France when they have finished blooming due to it being to hot to ride the bike between June and August, note to self take the car in June one year so as to see these beautiful flowers in full bloom.



We had been riding for sometime and I just had to get off the bike, my right knee which I have problems with after riding down to the Charente to visit Hayley & John my sister and brother in law many years ago and not getting off the bike enough was suffering. The pain was excrutiating, all I needed was to walk up and down for a few minutes and then it would be ok. I new though that the rest of the journey I would be taking painkillers.




Glad we stopped here as I had always wondered how the pods of the sun flowers were harvested and when I looked closely I could see that the heads are chopped off  with the harvester, what they do with the rest of the plant I don't know but having an allotment and knowing how long it takes to clear up the mess it must take them hours. 

That said I would much rather be doing that for a day job than sitting at a desk!



So the road was long, hardly any traffic, the sun was shining, it was warm and the riding was pure pleasure.


we stopped for lunch in a little patisserie where we had a light lunch, and a  good old chinwag before we set off again on our merry way.


I love the architecture and the old buildings in France, they have such character, look so strong and none of the buildings look the same. Makes life so much more interesting.



There they are, just remembered they were behind us!




Last leg stretch before we reach our first B&B. 

So we have arrived. After a full days riding and lots of wonderful sights this is our first B&B. Maison Schuler.

All of the B&B's for this trip were booked through Booking.com who I would recommend.

I think at this point I should just say that I took many more pictures but I had to cut it down, choosing was extremely difficult.

I wanted to add more of the pictures of the trip once we reached the Pyreenes and through into Spain because they are truly beautiful hence cutting back on the piccies at the start of the journey.


Look at this beautiful place, I'm in love, so french, I love the shutters, gorgeous.

Jackie didn't take long to find her seat!




And our room, which we called my princess room was stunning. Felt a little odd being in motorcycle gear and having such a lovely, pretty room to sleep in. Didn't take me long to adjust to the atmosphere of this place though.




After we had settled into our rooms we all went outside for a glass or two of vino and chatted about the day. Jackie found her place, I'm sure if we had left her there she would of dropped off to sleep.



It amazed Jackie and I how much talking about bikes Jeff and Mike can do, I can honestly say they didn't run out of conversation the whole trip!!!


Bikes all locked up and having a good rest, amazing they look so clean....





The surroundings at this Maison Schuler were truly lovely.




After we had chilled for a while we had a little rest before going down to dinner which we had pre-booked and very grateful we were for it too.



Look at that pudding! (not me the one on the table!)


A good giggle, good food, good wine and great company was had by all!

After dinner we retired to the lounge for more chatter before finally going to that wonderful world of sleep which we were all ready for. Look at that pudding, it was totally lush.




Where these two get their energy I do not know, Jeff and I were ready for bed way before them....



After a good nights sleep, a good breakfast and packing up the bike we set off for our onward journey, truly thankful for a great stay.


Bless, he can't wait to get going...



And neither could Mike and Jackie....



Another amazing road, no traffic, no houses, just countryside.



Bends to get your adrenalin rushing.....



How I hate the motorway, really busy, just like being at home, ok, they get you where you want to be but a lot of miles covered without actually catching the real France.



Another leg stretch and cafe au lait, now this was before Mike had realised that he had lost his ear plugs, not cheap rubbery earplugs but the real deal, Jackie and I walked back to the garage where we refuelled but no sign of them, Mike was not a happy chappy and Jackie and me were amazed at how much earplugs could cost!



Jeff making sure wer'e on the right track....



The picture above almost looks like a picture postcard to me, honestly, I did take it...




I'm quite sure we maybe lost at this point....



Ah, the sand dunes, well I know that Jeff was disappointed when we got to this point, he thought that we would be following the seafront, as the map showed, but the trees had grown, and as you can see you can see how high they are but I imagine that when they produced the map they were tiddlers....




Interesting stop, very laid back, had a drink and a bowl of chips if I remember...


So, Jeff and Mike wonder off to find the loo's, which they did successfully, Jackie and I both need the loo so Jeff walks us up the road to them. Horror, shock, so it's a whole in the ground, not very clean, and I'm not happy to use it, although I do, needs must, if you know what I mean....

It comes to light later when I speak to Jeff about the experience that him and Mike decided not to tell us what to expect as they knew we would create! I would have been quite happy to find a layby and wee behind a tree given the option!



Jackie still smiling after our experience....




I love the churches in France, built with love and can't you see it...









So, we have arrived at our site, huge park, not used to so many children, I have nothing against kids, my grandson Bradley will tell you that, but, there were a lot, everywhere, noise, and people, so crammed in.

We were tired, and ready for our beds, headed to the restaurant, had enough wine to forget about the kids and any other issues that were presented to us, drunk lots of wine and beer and a little water, and we all slept like a log.






Love the piccie above, now, I get the impression they maybe getting a little fed up of me taking pictures, but I'm sure they'll forgive me when they look back at our trip....


Once we arrived at our site we decided to have a couple of days apart, as much as we would have liked to spend the holiday together at all times, a break to chill and do our own thing was appreciated by all of us.



Jeff and I decided to take a walk along to the beach, about 30 minutes walk and a walk worth it's worth.





Bless him above, he so want's to please Mike and Jackie, this is the first time I have seem him truly chill.

Mike is the leader of the Triumph Solent Club and there are many members that he wants to please, so, Jeff and I can feel for him and the work that he and Jackie put in to making sure the members have a great time.

I'm sure that Mike is enjoying the ride and not having to worry about the planning!




This photo below is of where we stayed, for a few days before heading onto to Spain, looks quiet enough I hear you say, but believe me, when the kids came out....




After a short break, (two full days) we decided to get together outside of our accommodation and do our own little supper, we grabbed whatever we had put it on a table and me for one got slowly sloshed!






At this point, Jeff was not playing any longer and refused for me to take his photo!



Trying to take a photo of all the stars and the moon, something that we just don't see here in England unless we have a bad frost I was determined (after a few glasses of vino I must admit).....

We decided to have a meal out and found a restaurant not far from where we were staying, now the back drop of the picture is fabulous, but I'm sure that's Italy!




I can't remember what Jackie and Mike ordered, Moules I think,  yes, it looked pretty impressive, me, well, I tried them, thanks Jackie and Mike but not for me....








Above is more like it, clean plates, no fiddling about with food, whatever takes your fancy I suppose...




Time to move on, leathers on, ready....





And away we go....


Love this picture, we are obviously driving into a town and are high up to get a snap like this.....



Another fuel stop, no cafe au lait..



Checking the route....


Open roads again, no traffic, delight....







The further down to Spain we go the clearer the roads get, I am in absolute heaven, look at those mountains in front of us, on a motorbike it's a sheer delight, nothing in front of you and only our friends Mike and Jackie behind us, pure heaven....





Now you don't see that every day...




Bess still looks clean...



This was a busy little centre that we rode through after stopping for a cafe au lait....





I absolutely love the feeling I'm getting here, peace, nature, I'm not sure what it is but what ever it is it's breathtaking and whilst I'm writing I am breathing in, like I want to be there now....


It's all about the roads for Jeff, the sweeping bends as he so often says to me year upon year, for me, it's the breathe taking scenery, and it's so close to home, hop on the ferry and ride....

Just take in these views....







Now that's a bend, being a biker and glad that I'm a biker, yes, I love to cycle, but no thanks, not on a push bike, that guy must be sooo.... fit...






So, I think we are now at one of the cols....

Jackie and I headed straight up the hill to see the fabulous birds flying in the sky, I tried to capture them on picture, with the eye they were so clear, absolute treat for the eye....







Looking at the pictures now, the trip seems to mean more to me, did we really see these views....


We were riding this.....



With these absolutely outstanding views....


Now I think wer'e doing the Col D'Aubisque....


Really surprised me that none of us got our helmets muddled up!


After a stop.....




I absolutely love going through tunnels in France, you can guarantee that there is something breathtaking when you come out of the tunnel....






And I wasn't disappointed...





I wasn't wrong at all ....



All of a sudden it became really cold I was so glad I had my waterproofs on....



Jackie's still smiling, loving life to the full....




I can't remember it being that misty....


Off we go again.....




The roads are incredible, and the scenery outstanding, I would recommend any bikers to do these cols....




These bridges are amazing, where you can see what your riding through, we have seen these before at Val de Cantobre which I will share with you later, down by Millau....






There they are.....





Next up, Col du Pourtalet.....



Petrol stop....









Oh my goodness, these roads are truly breathtaking....sorry if I keep repeating myself but it's just so true!



Love this piccy, just found that I can take them backwards on my phone!






Wow....


Just can't seem to get rid of these too..... :)






Oh my god, the camera on my phone was playing tricks on me.... Hilarious moment! I was trying to reverse the thing, didn't realise until it took the picture, couldn't stop laughing to myself...(you had to be there situation!)



Now, a twist in the ride, so Jeff having a fabulous ride and a biker in front who obviously new the roads and jeed Jeff on down these beautiful mountainous roads, pulled into the garage at the end of the pass, Jeff continued, and, was met by the Spanish police on motorbikes. Mike and Jackie were in front.

What had we done wrong I asked myself, well, apparently Jeff should have stopped at the stop sign but Jeff gave way instead of stopping, me not being a driver I don't get it, there was no other traffic, they didn't like it, but, after saying sorry and really not knowing what we had done wrong, they let us go, on our merry way, now if that had been in the UK....

Don't be daft Trudy, it wouldn't happen in the UK, too much traffic! Just reminding myself...

We love a bit of a chase!



Lets ride.....






Another tunnel with a breathtaking view when you reach the other side...







Not every day you pass cows in the road....






Believe me or not, these bends were everywhere we rode!




Done it.....



We reach the border through to Spain, really looking forward to the stop although the ride was absolutely amazing....




This little place was amazing, it was a shop where goods including wine were sold at an extremely cheap price, so, people were going into the store and filling up huge canisters with wine! How much cheaper do you want it, Spain and France come to England your see how much more you pay.....


So, Jeff is tired, can't be bothered with the camera, bless him, thank you my love, without you I would never see what I see....




Mike looks totally relaxed, exactly what we have wanted to achieve....

We have made it to Spain, from Ouisterham to Spain on the bikes, amazing, when you look at the map that is quite a feat, ok, for my followers out there that travel Africa, USA, etc, for us that is a challenge well achieved.....

Ole!!







That view.....






I love the tunnels... I think I've said that a few times now...



Such a lovely view when you come out of them....










We followed the blue lake for sometime.....


Mike leading for a while.....







The weather at the moment was definitely on our side, thank goodness, it wouldn't have been the same ride if it had been pouring with rain....








Tunnels everywhere....




Let's just ride.....




















So we have arrived at our second B&B in Broto.....





What a lovely place this was, Jeff was especially pleased with this B&B as it had an underground garage, bikes were locked up safe and sound for the night....



Time for a wander.....










Jeff and Mike reflecting on a great days riding I think....






And a drink or two before dinner.....





The journey so far has been amazing, lots more to see and route to be added at the end, as I'm finding it quite difficult to place where we were at any given time!  For now I'll leave it there, I hope your enjoying seeing our journey so far, it really was a great trip. 

For now though, ride safe.....

Please share....

TO BE CONTINUED.......

p.s. don't forget to check out my other hubs at http://hubpages.com/@tlcs 

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