Friday. Work done. Bike panniers packed. Coffee by Princes Quay it is then!
Our secretary Chris Hood and Chair, John Wright, joined a motley crew of five other riders on an annual trip to Europe...cultural? Mmmm, jury out on that one!
John and Chris joined Lee, Howard, Robin, Patrick and Dale at Leonardo's for a pre-ride briefing and general introduction to one another.
Their steeds included two BMW R1200RT's, a Honda Superblackbird, a Triumph Explorer, a Ducati Monster, Chris' BMW K1600GT and John's Moto Guzzi Norge.
The novelty of the Norge quickly manifested itself as being the chosen name for John for the whole trip - feel free to refer to the chair as 'Norge' from now on!
The group rode en mass to King George dock where everyone boarded the Pride of Rotterdam, battened down the machines and retired to the restaurant for a feast mainly comprising BBQ Ribs!
Departing the ship the following morning after a hearty breakfast and having secured entry through the authorities to enter Holland (OK - waved through by a bored border guard) the magnificent seven made their way south under cloudy but dry skies.
Now Rotterdam is approximately 20km from the Europoort. A kilometre too far to keep the group together!
At 19km it became a group of three and four when Chris, John and Howard made a set of traffic lights but the others didn't, following the wrong group of three riders when the lights changed!
Thank goodness for Sat - Nav!
The group of four then further split into two-by-two! with Patrick and Dale getting to the Hotel Ochsen in Kehl, Kork on the outskirts of Strasbourg first, and more importantly, dry!
Chris, Howard and 'Norge' watched a huge black cloud swing in as they approached Strasbourg (just 10k from the hotel) and as they entered the city so did the Storm!
The sky turned black and the streets were flooded within about 10 minutes. Torrential was not the word!
Lee and Robin were half an hour later and also resembled drown rats!
Schnitzel was the order of the evening washed down with a litre or so of Deutschlands best Pils!
Sunday blessed the group with somewhat brighter weather and after breakfast Chris led them onto the B500 - the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse - reputedly one of the top ten motorcycling roads in the world.