Old 15th April 2016, 09:50 PM #1
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Day 1 – Oireland to Antwerp

Trip Log
Day 1 – Oireland to Antwerp.
Rats, Prayers, Sunshine, lost hotels, and motorways.

Well lads, here is an update for you on how the trip is going. I am on the way from Oireland to Lithuania. Riding my new CRF1000L. The bike is great. I just love the engine. The first day or two, I kept accidentally red lining it in first or second gear but now that I am used to it, I change up earlier and all is ok. Loads of torque, totally reliable, no drama ever from it. This bike is manual, I suppose it would be nice to try a DCT but for now, I am totally happy with the manual. I think the thing I like the most of the sound it makes about about 3200 rpm. Just love it. Sort of feels like an old Translap but better at everything.

Link to Photo (2338 kB)

I had the first service done before I left home, and had the touring screen fitted, initially I thought I did not notice it but sitting here in Germany, I realise that I can ride most of the time with the visor open, so the touring screen must be doing something.

Left home on Wed morning and the goal was to reach Antwerp as I was meeting me bird there. I told her I would try to get there by 22:30. She said she would bring the Sunday night nightdress so I was motivated to get there. I have the channel tunnel booked for 18:20 but would love to get there by 17:00 or 17:20. The distance is 590 KMs.

Link to Photo (1907 kB)

Had a smile on my face after speaking to the aul’ lad directing the cars in the port. He looked like he was on his last legs. When I pulled up, I could see the Ulysses but I told him I was booked for the fast one. He says “what de ye mean the fast one”. I said again the quick one, the small ship. Then he cops and point to my right and sure enough the Jonathan Swift was there waiting. Just to yank his chain then, I asked him about the Ulysses and asked him is that yoke no good, considering it is slow and all. I thought he was going to give me a dig, and with a bit of a stammer he assured me that it was the best ship in the whole world. I replied, “yes, but isn’t it slow, that yoke over there is much faster”. He looks me straight in the eye and says “it is not all about speed”. He was on his last legs but when you see those two ships, the Ulysses is enormous and majestic and obviously gave him a bit of fire in the belly to defend it. Fair play.

Link to Photo (2335 kB)

Link to Photo (1608 kB)

The drive down through england is miserable, the only thing worse then two lane motoways is three lane motorways. On the english motorways, the trucks hog the inside lane, the grandmothers hog the middle lane so the only choice you have is to barrel along the outside getting buffeted around or else sit at 80 KMph in the middle lane. I hate it.

Link to Photo (3526 kB)

I stopped after about 60 mins just for a wee and then stopped again for lunch after another 90 mins, I was disappointed to see I was behind schedule a little already. I barely stopped for 30 mins to eat the brown bread and ham and cheese she gave me when I was leaving.

Link to Photo (4841 kB)

Had to stop for a coffee an hour later as I was falling asleep on the bike; did not sleep so well the previous night because too excited, I think. Just drank the coffee and straight back on the road. When I was stopped a guy on a SX1000R was interested in asking about the CRF. He was dying to talk but I was anxious to get to the hotel in Antwerp so I could not sit and shoot the breeze, which I usually am happy to do. Felt a little guilty about that.

Rode on and eventually got to the M25. I have been around that more then one hundred times but it is still shite. Heavy traffic crawling along at 30 KMph. It was getting cold so around junction 13 (A30), I stopped to put back on my jumper. While sitting on the hard shoulder, who pulls up only ‘yer man on the SX. He thought I was broke down. Felt like shite altogether now because I would not stand and chat earlier. Time now was 5 pm and still only on the M25. No chance to make the tunnel by 17:00 anyway.

Kept plodding away on the motorway, not really making fast progress, traffic very heavy but each 30 mins gets me closer. I have a new Garmin 590LM and that is working great, it tells me how far to the destination and also to the next turn I have to make, so it gives you a sense of progress as the day moves along. Thank you Barry in M50 Honda for rushing the installation and fitting it hooked into the switched 12 volts, I like when it turns off with the ignition. One hassle is having to take the unit off when I stop and will be buying the Touratech lockable bracket when I get home.

Had to stop again on the M25 services around junction 7 for another slash. Amazing how resentful I am of the time the toilet breaks take. Thinking that if I had a little tube I could run it down the leg of my trousers and out the back of the bike, then I would not have to keep stopping. I wonder do Touratech do those, must give them a ring and ask. Probably called a Pisspipe or RTWPisser, something like that anyway.

Rode on, and about 18:00 had to stop on the M20 near Maidstone to put on my rain gear. The rain was heavy for about 20 mins. Apart from that one 20 mins, it had been sunny all day long. The weather forecast had been giving scattered showers. I do not believe in an almighty being that controls the universe or the weather, but me Ma had offered to say a prayer so I agreed and suggested perhaps she might ask for good weather while she was at it. I have to admit the ‘aul candle she lit really did the business, twenty mins rain was grand for April. Ye can’t beat the mammy when it comes to a handy prayer.

When riding down the M20, was sad also because my sister and my cousin and fellow biker all live in Maidstone, was the first time to ride past there without stopping in for a visit. I am hoping I will get to call on the way back home.

Eventually I got to the bleedin’ channel tunnel at 18:40. The next train I could take was 19:20, so while happy enough, I was still one hour behind schedule.

This was my first and last time to travel like a rat. Yes, the tunnel is convenient but a ship where you can park and go upstairs and travel like a human being and even drink a coffee is better. On the bike, you are not allowed to go upstairs so you sit it a dirty carriage with a low ceiling and hope to jaysus there isn't a fire. The open seas, with the wind in my hair is the only way for me in future. I will leave the tunnel to the rats.

Link to Photo (3006 kB)

She had made me the lunch with enough to last for the tunnel also so had the rest of the brown bread and ham and cheese and pondered the rest of the journey to Antwerp. Remember, I had a hotel room and a bird waiting so eager to get there. The train takes 35 mins so it was 9pm by the time I got out of the station.

I rode to Antwerp with no drama, just seems like every truck ever made decided to come out that evening. The choice is sit behind the trucks at 80 – 88 KMph or else barrel along the outside in the dark getting blown around. A bit of both is what I find myself constantly doing. I sit behind the trucks for a rest for 10 – 15 mins then get bored so pull out and get blown around like a bleedin’ Honda 50 at 110 or 120KMph for a while, then after one too many cross winds, I fall back in behind a truck and have a rest and them repeat the whole thing again.

I do not know if it is the bike or maybe I am older but I do not remember the cross wind being so bad on my old BMW K1200LT or other past bikes like R1100RT or VFR750 even. Must ask around about the CRF.

Eventually got to Antwerp and found an underground car park to put the bike. Due to a mix up with the hotel that I booked, I could not f***in find my hotel and was walking around Antwerp carrying two rucksacks for about 40 mins before I eventually found it. She was ready to go out so at 00:30, we went out, had a bit of a food and a couple of beers. A long day but satisfied when I eventually hit the scratcher.

PS.
I do not want to be boring the shite out of yis so if you want more, let me know. If this is too bleedin' long say so.
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Old 15th April 2016, 09:56 PM #2
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Re: Day 1 – Oireland to Antwerp

No its an excellent write up .I look forward to more
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Old 15th April 2016, 10:27 PM #3
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Re: Day 1 – Oireland to Antwerp

Great write up. Not boring at all. The bike is lovely looking too
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Old 15th April 2016, 10:31 PM #4
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Re: Day 1 – Oireland to Antwerp

Keep it comin, great read, fair play
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Old 15th April 2016, 10:36 PM #5
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Re: Day 1 – Oireland to Antwerp

Great to hear someone's doing what I can currently only dream about (Wife, kids, dog etc)
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Old 15th April 2016, 10:46 PM #6
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Re: Day 1 – Oireland to Antwerp

Good read and great tips.
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Old 15th April 2016, 10:59 PM #7
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Re: Day 1 – Oireland to Antwerp

Interesting read, keep going.
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Old 15th April 2016, 11:22 PM #8
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Re: Day 1 – Oireland to Antwerp

keep her lit lad

i know the lad at the irish ferrys terminal quite well sound fella but always looks fucked he calls the swift the "vomit comet"
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Old 15th April 2016, 11:54 PM #9
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Re: Day 1 – Oireland to Antwerp

Love it .nothin like bein on a ferry with the bike headin for lands unknown. Something cool about seein a new country in the distance.you just wouldnt get thst in a tunnel lol .great write up keep it comin .
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Old 16th April 2016, 12:13 AM #10
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Re: Day 1 – Oireland to Antwerp

Great write up lad, fair play, looking forward to the next one..








Seeing as no one else asked, any pics of said bird?
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Old 16th April 2016, 12:38 AM #11
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Re: Day 1 – Oireland to Antwerp

fair play,rtwpisser lol,sandwiches keep u alive,good woman u got there
but what happened after u got there?and did she wear the sunday nighty?
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Old 16th April 2016, 07:16 AM #12
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Re: Day 1 – Oireland to Antwerp

WTF is that Cat doing on the Bike?

I fucking Hate Cats!


Good write up though! Bike looks Savage. Apparently there is back order on them!
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Old 16th April 2016, 04:58 PM #13
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Re: Day 1 – Oireland to Antwerp

Great write-up.....keep posting your progress.
Reminds me of my trip to Switzerland a few years ago on the auld reliable 400/4. Went Rosslare to Pembrooke and onto the Chunnel.
Keep it going, enjoy the trip and keep safe
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Old 16th April 2016, 07:16 PM #14
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Re: Day 1 – Oireland to Antwerp

Great write up so far....fell like i'm on the journey myself. More pics too please. Good man. Safe journey!
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Old 16th April 2016, 10:36 PM #15
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Re: Day 1 – Oireland to Antwerp

If you're still around Antwerp check out Molly Blooms.
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Old 17th April 2016, 12:56 PM #16
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Day 2 and 3 – Antwerp to Poland

Trip Log
Day 2 and 3 – Antwerp to Poland.
Diamonds, Lunch, Rain and Gear

Such a f***up with the hotel last night. I have stayed in Antwerp previously and last time, I stayed in a clean and pleasant hotel. I thought I booked the same hotel but when I parked and walked to where I stayed previously it was shutdown and gone. What the hell do you do when you think you have a booking and a girl in the room and no f***ing hotel exists. I had ridden for almost eleven hours the previous day but the final forty mins looking for the hotel and carrying the two heavy bags were the least pleasant. Of course her mobile was not working either so no idea where she was. Anyway, I eventually I found the actual hotel I booked. It was just outside the train station and was a very plain hotel. Having said that, we stayed in it for about 6 hours so it was ok. No medals for impressing the girl with a 5 star, more like 1 star. Not my finest hour.

We looked around at some of the diamond shops, lads if you want to buy a ring for a young one, this is place to come. Antwerp is a wonderful city. It is sort of New York of Europe. It has the best bits of France – good coffee and style, and the best bits of Holland, sexy looking women and 80’s faded denim and backcombed blonde hair, think of Bonnie Tyler. It feels like the ideological soul of modern Europe. One of the things l like about it is that there is no such thing as an Antwerpen looking person. He might be blonde and blue eyed, black or olive skinned Mediterranean, he might be Jewish, even ascetic Jewish, or Asian. All are welcome here, even Irish. I like that.

Had lunch in a small café named DelRey, very nice place if you are there. Have a look at the following photos.

Lunch


Not quite a cup of scald


Put the mot on the bus at 18:00, she headed back to the airport and I got my gear all loaded up. Some Belgian guy was salivating over the CRF in the car park. He was telling me he has a Cross Tourer but he really wanted a Twin. I thought he as going to ask me for a spin on it there and then. I put on all my gear, including the rain gear because it was wet out. As you know by the time I had it all on, I was sweating. When I got to the barrier, I realised that I could not pay there. I would have had to go back up stairs to pay. With a little trepidation, I jammed the bike through the gap in the barrier and rode off (sorry Robrecht). About 30 KMs up the road I heard an police siren and for a moment thought “aah s*** they can’t have chased me to here for one bleedin’ car park”. Needless to say, it was not me they were after.

The plan for today was just to ride up to a place named Valkenswaard. In 1997, after my Dad died, I was chatting to the doctor and I told him I was pissed off and thinking of taking out a loan and buying a bike and f***king off to Europe for a few weeks. He just said “do it”. So I did, I bought a one year old red VFR750 and what a great bike. In ’97, I rode it to Germany and stopped half way in a hostel in a small village named Valkenswaard.

For this trip, I booked a bed in the hostel again, €25 for a night including breakfast. It was strangely emotional riding along and then turning off the highway, the same way I did 19 years ago.

It was raining most of the time but I had Hein Gerike waterproof jacket and trousers on. They are a bit uncomfortable after four or five hours because they are not breathable but I have to say, it is great to just know you are bone dry when you take off all your gear. Ninky Nonk suggested to bring a spare pair of gloves and I have to say that is a nice idea. I have my summer gloves and also the heavy winter gloves. It is nice to ride in the day time with the summer gloves and then switch in the evening time when it gets cold.


First Beer of many


I checked into the hostel and left everything in the room. I rode the bike back down the town for dinner. Had a beer or two in a four or five different pubs and eventually made my way back to the hostel. I was riding gingerly on the way back, not because I was nervous of dropping the bike but because if I did, it would cock up the rest of the trip.

I was wondering why I felt a little hung over the next morning but then I remembered that I had also had a large beer when I arrived in the hostel, and also when I returned at 23:30. The bar man gave me the late one on the house. Nice guy, thank you Vincent.



Day 3

On Friday morning, I had to work a little and had emails and a skype call to do. This meant that I was late leaving Valkenswaard and after the beers the previous night, I did not feel too hectic. Was nodding off on the bike while riding along. Eventually I could take it no more, so around 14:00 I turned off the highway and just hit the Garmin button to find lodgings. It asked did I want BnB or hotels or just any option. I was so pissed off with being sleepy, I just picked anything will do. There was a hotel 3 KMs from where I stopped. I rode to the hotel and checked in, a bit embarrassed by the fact that I only rode for an hour or two. When the pretty girl asked had I come far I mumbled yes, from Ireland and left it at that. Well she did not ask for a breakdown so it was not really a lie.

German Hotel


Turns out the hotel was a class place with a sauna and steam room and not a sinner around. Food was great, some kind of a buffet for lunch and not sure why but they never charged me for the lunch. There was a conference of some sort and a crowd of aul’ ones and aul’ lads, so perhaps they thought I was with them. Anyway, grand lunch, thank you Hotel Mecure.


Dessert with dinner.


I was a bit gutted when I landed into the hotel today because I planned on doing 600 KMs but hopefully tomorrow will go better.
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Old 17th April 2016, 01:07 PM #17
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Day 4 – Germany to Poland – for real this time

Trip Log
Day 4 – Germany to Poland – for real this time
Swatting Elephants, Humility and Rain.


Because I was so disgusted with my miserable 100KMs yesterday I set my alarm for 6:00 to try to get a good run at the day. I was determined to make up for being a big girls shirt. I checked out, and was on the road by 07:30. It was absolutely glorious to be on the Africa Twin, early and feeling like I was ahead of the rest of the world.

Bike Ready to go – 07:30
Link to Photo (930 kB)

The goal for the day was to get to Poland. That is 676 KMs to cover. Should be no problem. It was raining from almost the moment I hit the road until I reached Poland.

The German Autobahn is just truck after truck after truck. They trundle along like a wagon-train of elephants, plodding, plodding, plodding. The only reaction they have to me on my tiny bike in the rain is to throw up spray and create even more buffeting than the regular wind is giving me. What is so disheartening is that you pass ten or twenty of these dammed elephants, and it feels a little like swatting flies, each one you pass is a success, each time I ride pass one safely I say ‘yes, I am still alive’, the spray, the buffeting, the blindness and the high pitched whine did not take me this time. Then eventually after an hour or two, you have to stop for a toilet or fuel and you come back out ten to thirty minutes later and you have to swat the same dammed elephants all over again.

Tiny CRF1000L


Even though the rain was incessant, I was determined not to get sleepy like the previous day and to make Poland before it was too late. Now we all know that performance-enhancing drugs are to be frowned on but I learnt a trick to the shoulder ache I was starting to have and the bit of sleepiness. I took one soluble Solpadine. We all know, most of the young Mammies in Ireland can empty a box load of Solpadine in the course of a single coffee morning, so me with my one tablet should probably be ok. Well guess what, it works. About 15 mins after taking it, my speed picked up and my judgement felt razor sharp. I attacked a few more of those trucks with glee and felt that I could conquer the German Autobahn. Riding one, slowly but surely the autobahn wins though, it just seems to never, ever end. Eventually the Solpadine wears off and you feel humble again and you know you had five minutes of conquering but the autobahn is the champion.

What is nice to see when you drive across Germany is the long haul to get to Hanover; it feels like you are riding up hill for hundreds of KMs. Eventually you start seeing signs for Berlin and you start to descend again and the whole place changes. You come across new roads only built since 1990 and you realise you are entering former East Germany. It is a relief after the crowded cities earlier in the journey.


Then finally, when you get past Berlin, you start to see forest and it feels like the air changes, you can almost sense Poland is in shooting distance.

Rain, Rain, Rain
Link to Photo (774 kB)

I crossed into Poland in plenty of time and went looking for a hotel. I did a bike trip on this route ten years ago, so I had a go at finding the same hotel as last time. I remembered it as a big marble, luxurious affair. It took about an hour or so to find it, still all the time driving in the rain. Seems my memory is over generous, it is a small tiled hotel, no marble and definitely not luxurious. I checked in and got a room up two flights of stairs (happy not). I had a Polish Goulash for dinner and a single pint of beer. I was in bed by 20:30 and set my alarm for 05:00 this time.

Poland Eventually


My father had an expression that he said when he saw something interesting, it went
“The quare things you’d see when you’re out and your wouldn’t have your gun with you”.

Of course it originated with men walking in the forest and seeing birds or game and being disappointed you could not take it home. He used to sometimes mutter that also when driving along and seeing a pretty girl. As a young teenager I used to be embarrassed and disgusted but as I grew older I knew that it is a great expression and apt in the right situation.

Last edited by custom900; 17th April 2016 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 17th April 2016, 01:28 PM #18
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Re: Day 2 and 3 – Antwerp to Poland

Quote:
Originally Posted by irishtwin View Post
Trip Log
Day 2 and 3 – Antwerp to Poland.
Diamonds, Lunch, Rain and Gear

Such a f***up with the hotel last night. I have stayed in Antwerp previously and last time, I stayed in a clean and pleasant hotel. I thought I booked the same hotel but when I parked and walked to where I stayed previously it was shutdown and gone. What the hell do you do when you think you have a booking and a girl in the room and no f***ing hotel exists. I had ridden for almost eleven hours the previous day but the final forty mins looking for the hotel and carrying the two heavy bags were the least pleasant. Of course her mobile was not working either so no idea where she was. Anyway, I eventually I found the actual hotel I booked. It was just outside the train station and was a very plain hotel. Having said that, we stayed in it for about 6 hours so it was ok. No medals for impressing the girl with a 5 star, more like 1 star. Not my finest hour.

We looked around at some of the diamond shops, lads if you want to buy a ring for a young one, this is place to come. Antwerp is a wonderful city. It is sort of New York of Europe. It has the best bits of France – good coffee and style, and the best bits of Holland, sexy looking women and 80’s faded denim and backcombed blonde hair, think of Bonnie Tyler. It feels like the ideological soul of modern Europe. One of the things l like about it is that there is no such thing as an Antwerpen looking person. He might be blonde and blue eyed, black or olive skinned Mediterranean, he might be Jewish, even ascetic Jewish, or Asian. All are welcome here, even Irish. I like that.

Had lunch in a small café named DelRey, very nice place if you are there. Have a look at the following photos.

Lunch


Not quite a cup of scald


Put the mot on the bus at 18:00, she headed back to the airport and I got my gear all loaded up. Some Belgian guy was salivating over the CRF in the car park. He was telling me he has a Cross Tourer but he really wanted a Twin. I thought he as going to ask me for a spin on it there and then. I put on all my gear, including the rain gear because it was wet out. As you know by the time I had it all on, I was sweating. When I got to the barrier, I realised that I could not pay there. I would have had to go back up stairs to pay. With a little trepidation, I jammed the bike through the gap in the barrier and rode off (sorry Robrecht). About 30 KMs up the road I heard an police siren and for a moment thought “aah s*** they can’t have chased me to here for one bleedin’ car park”. Needless to say, it was not me they were after.

The plan for today was just to ride up to a place named Valkenswaard. In 1997, after my Dad died, I was chatting to the doctor and I told him I was pissed off and thinking of taking out a loan and buying a bike and f***king off to Europe for a few weeks. He just said “do it”. So I did, I bought a one year old red VFR750 and what a great bike. In ’97, I rode it to Germany and stopped half way in a hostel in a small village named Valkenswaard.

For this trip, I booked a bed in the hostel again, €25 for a night including breakfast. It was strangely emotional riding along and then turning off the highway, the same way I did 19 years ago.

It was raining most of the time but I had Hein Gerike waterproof jacket and trousers on. They are a bit uncomfortable after four or five hours because they are not breathable but I have to say, it is great to just know you are bone dry when you take off all your gear. Ninky Nonk suggested to bring a spare pair of gloves and I have to say that is a nice idea. I have my summer gloves and also the heavy winter gloves. It is nice to ride in the day time with the summer gloves and then switch in the evening time when it gets cold.


First Beer of many


I checked into the hostel and left everything in the room. I rode the bike back down the town for dinner. Had a beer or two in a four or five different pubs and eventually made my way back to the hostel. I was riding gingerly on the way back, not because I was nervous of dropping the bike but because if I did, it would cock up the rest of the trip.

I was wondering why I felt a little hung over the next morning but then I remembered that I had also had a large beer when I arrived in the hostel, and also when I returned at 23:30. The bar man gave me the late one on the house. Nice guy, thank you Vincent.



Day 3

On Friday morning, I had to work a little and had emails and a skype call to do. This meant that I was late leaving Valkenswaard and after the beers the previous night, I did not feel too hectic. Was nodding off on the bike while riding along. Eventually I could take it no more, so around 14:00 I turned off the highway and just hit the Garmin button to find lodgings. It asked did I want BnB or hotels or just any option. I was so pissed off with being sleepy, I just picked anything will do. There was a hotel 3 KMs from where I stopped. I rode to the hotel and checked in, a bit embarrassed by the fact that I only rode for an hour or two. When the pretty girl asked had I come far I mumbled yes, from Ireland and left it at that. Well she did not ask for a breakdown so it was not really a lie.

German Hotel


Turns out the hotel was a class place with a sauna and steam room and not a sinner around. Food was great, some kind of a buffet for lunch and not sure why but they never charged me for the lunch. There was a conference of some sort and a crowd of aul’ ones and aul’ lads, so perhaps they thought I was with them. Anyway, grand lunch, thank you Hotel Mecure.


Dessert with dinner.


I was a bit gutted when I landed into the hotel today because I planned on doing 600 KMs but hopefully tomorrow will go better.
Looks like ye are havin' a blast, post some pics of the bike
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Old 17th April 2016, 02:21 PM #19
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Re: Day 1 – Oireland to Antwerp

Great stuff....
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Old 17th April 2016, 02:56 PM #20
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Re: Day 4 – Germany to Poland – for real this time

Admin - forgive the cage talk, just this once! Please! I'm really enjoying these posts!

OP - "cage" talk on this forum isn't really accepted by admin.

Keep the posts & pics coming.
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Old 17th April 2016, 05:47 PM #21
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Re: Day 4 – Germany to Poland – for real this time

hoping the weather in poland is improving for you ,,safe travels
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Old 17th April 2016, 08:35 PM #22
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Re: Day 4 – Germany to Poland – for real this time

Well done, keep us posted :)
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Old 17th April 2016, 08:46 PM #23
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Re: Day 2 and 3 – Antwerp to Poland

Great stuff :)
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Old 17th April 2016, 09:20 PM #24
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Re: Day 2 and 3 – Antwerp to Poland

Enjoying this trip write up
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Old 17th April 2016, 09:24 PM #25
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Re: Day 4 – Germany to Poland – for real this time

:thumbsu p2:
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Old 20th April 2016, 08:13 AM #26
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Day 5 – Crossing Poland West to East

Trip Log
Day 5 – Crossing Poland West to East
Rain, and Wind and water logged feet

I hate my Dainese boots.

The alarm went off at 05:00 and I was up and at ‘em. Excited about the day and thrilled that the radiator in the room had dried out my Dainese touring boots. I have these boots for ten years and I always thought they were waterproof or at least water resistant. For some reason on day 4, they let some water in. I should have suspected something but stupidly thought that won’t happen again. Wrong, wrong, wrong.



It was lashing rain when I left the hotel about 06:15, it was absolutely teaming down. Within five minutes, my boots were full of water. They stayed like that until I took them off that night. I hate those boots now, absolutely hate them. Twelve hours sloshing around on the bike. Not just damp but water rolling around inside both feet.

I know now what Stockholm Syndrome feels like. I hate the water in the boots, but after riding for a while, I tip my heel back and feel some affection for the water as it rolls from my toes to my heel. Dainese, I paid a fortune for these boots and I am resentful they have become as waterproof as a pair of crocs.

Actually they are behaving a little like gortex, but in reverse. They allow the water in but f***ked if they will allow it to seep back out. Except of course when I get petrol and then all the ladies in the shop look at me as I make a mess of their clean floor. Everytime I stand at a counter there is a little wet spot where the boots have been. Happy, happy not.

In summary, I hate these boots now, they are dead to me.


Breakfast


I stopped about 8:30 for breakfast and ordered some soup. Until now, I have no idea what it was. Could have been strips of cows stomach or perhaps mushrooms, but honestly no idea. Does anyone from Poland know what this stuff is? Ate it all anyway.


Rain and sunshine, and dammed wind

I was riding in lashing rain, and the weather forecast had said that Poznan was heavy rain but it also said that it was sunshine in Warsaw. All I could do was keep going and hope the forecast was accurate. There is a brand new tolled motorway built in Poland and perhaps because it was a Sunday, there was hardly a truck on the that road.



Even in the rain, it was a joy to ride. Have no idea how much the tolls were, but would have paid twice to ride that road. I rode from the border of Germany to Warsaw in lashing rain, limited visibility and all the time loving the bike and hating the boots. The waterproof jack and trousers were doing their job so I was warm and dry except the feet.


Reaching Warsaw


Once I got to Warsaw, the sun came out. I stopped for lunch and the temperature was 23 degrees. When I got back on the bike, it was so warm that I had to take the liner out of my jacket. Very nice.





I took off the dammed boots and got a few funny looks from the locals walking around in the restaurant in my bare feet.


Race Leathers
In the same restaurant, I saw a guy in white full race leathers. Looked like a serious dude. Then his daughter joined him and she was wearing elbow protectors and strap on knee protectors in pink. Not sure what mode of transport they took but it was cool to see anyway.




Windy, bleedin' windy
Once I passed Warsaw and started heading north, the wind decided to come out and really play. A friend told me once that he tries to just “trust the tyres”. IOW, he feels like he will surely come off but he has to remind himself to trust the tyres. I found myself yesterday saying “Trust the Physics”. But I do not know the physics. What force is required to cause the wind to knock a motorbike over. Anyone know? It was not likely to knock me off but every now and then, when passing a truck you feel this bang of wind, relaxing it is not.


Some of Poland old barns




I rode two hours yesterday in sixth gear. Then stopped and rode again for another hour or more again without changing gear. I love that, it gives you time to review your life in your head without distraction. I know this long distance riding boring to some guys but always liked it.


Chicken
Being Sunday evening, the traffic was light leaving Warsaw but look the pic below with the line of traffic heading back into the capital. It was just a constant line of cars, with regular maniac’s overtaking in the face of on-coming trucks. This was the only section of the trip so far that I turned on the full beam on the bike. It was needed, when they see it is only a bike they just pull out and head straight for me.


Playing chicken, look at yer man up ahead, giving it a lash.


The bike
The Honda is going absolutely super. It does not break a sweat, and seems happy to run along at 40 Km/h in lashing rain in a small polish village, and also happy to cruise the polish highway at a GPS indicated speed of 164 Km/h for nearly two hours. BTW, the speed would be showing about 180 or so. It is ten percent over optimistic compared to actual speed at all speeds, even when going slow.


Lube
I am oiling my chain about every two days. Is that enough with these distances? Most of my last ten years have been in BMs so a bit inexperienced with chains.


Fuel
Fuel wise, I have to fill every 330 Kms. The reserve comes on after you have used 15 litres and there is 3.3 litres remaining. The CRF has an strange feature on the computer. It does not show remaining fuel until you are in the reserve and the orange light is on. Once that light comes on, it starts showing you how far you have remaining, e.g. 68 Kms and how much fuel is left e.g. 3.3 litres. So far, I have found this to be accurate and have been brave enough to ride it down to 20 Km’s remaining.

Seat Height Adjustment
It is possible on the CRF to lower the seat from the standard height. When I am running around local, in a city or know for the next few hours I will be getting on and off the bike, I set it to the low position. When I am out on the road and know I will be riding for ten hours or so, I then set it to high. The extra height is a little more tricky for me to manage when manoeuvring but much more comfortable on the road as my legs are more straight. I am 5’ 8” for reference.


Luggage
Hmmm, the Honda luggage is ok. Nice to be able to take it off and have no frames but it is fiddly to open and close, and perhaps it is the locks but I sometimes thing the key will not come out of the lock. I might ask M50 Honda to have a look when I get back. Would TT with frames be nicer?

The GPS is a great assistant on long trips. I am not really using it for navigation, as the signs in most countries are pretty good. However, it is nice to be able to see how far is remaining, what the arrival time is, what the distance covered etc is. This helps a lot in a long trip. It allows you to plan natural breaks, eg, I will go another 120KMs then will need fuel and will be at Warsaw.



Finally almost in Suwalki.


Locals v interested in the Honda

My goal for day 5 was to reach Suwalki and I made it. When I was heading out in the lashing rain yesterday morning at 06:15, I did not know if I would make it but when I got here last night, I was very pleased. The Africa Twin is definitely the best bike I have. Except for lunch yesterday, I was sitting on the bike from 06:30 to 19:30. I could do that on the big K1200LT but the twin is much more fun. It sounds stupid but it feels like it is gagging to go again today. Is that possible?


Too much?
Finally, are these reports too wordy, will I stop, or will I cut them down to just a quick update? If it is shite to read, please say so, no offence if they are crap. Hard to tell from this side of the fence. Feels like I am rambling maybe.

(Admin, sorry about the cage talk yesterday, will not happen again).


For Sale / Wanted
Anyone want to buy a good pair of Dainese Touring Boots, hardly used, well treated, size ten, a little bit stinky at the moment. Actually that is mis-advertising, they stink to the high heavens at the moment.
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Old 20th April 2016, 08:40 AM #27
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Re: Day 5 – Crossing Poland West to East

Keep it coming!
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Old 20th April 2016, 08:47 AM #28
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Re: Day 5 – Crossing Poland West to East

Keep the words pouring. Ooops, no pun intended lol.
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Old 20th April 2016, 08:56 AM #29
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Re: Day 5 – Crossing Poland West to East

Enjoying reading your reports keep it up.

Just a thought but if it starts to rain again could you pull over and put some thin supermarket bags over your socks under the boots? Bound to be sweaty but maybe not as bad. The ones you get at the bread counter! Get a can or two of that water repellant shoe spray too! Good luck
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Old 20th April 2016, 09:59 AM #30
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Re: Day 5 – Crossing Poland West to East

Quote:
Originally Posted by irishtwin View Post
Trip Log
Day 5 – Crossing Poland West to East

Breakfast


I stopped about 8:30 for breakfast and ordered some soup. Until now, I have no idea what it was. Could have been strips of cows stomach or perhaps mushrooms, but honestly no idea. Does anyone from Poland know what this stuff is? Ate it all anyway.
That's 'flaki' or 'flaczki', which in literal translation means 'guts'. So you're spot on there I don't touch it myself but it is a very old, respected dish.

Re people playing chicken: it's almost a national sport. Up until recently there were no motorways at all, just single-lanes like the one you took a photo of, so imagine trying to get anywhere without taking a bit of risk
Head-on collisions are standard
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