Weeks 14 & 15 – S’th’n England & Home

Sunday 30th June to Friday 12th July

Roscoff France, Plymouth England, Plymouth Loop, Burton Bradstock, Ryde IoW, Findon, Forrest Hill, Felixstowe, Gatwick and Home

Sunday 30/06/19 – Ferry; Roscoff France to Plymouth UK

Today we’re up, packed and loaded, and down at the Brittany Ferry terminal by 8am. We’re hoping there’s a cafe there for breakfast, and there is, but alas it’s closed 😦 We bid Europe farewell and thank you for the enormous pleasure. England is on the horizon.


We disembark and do customs with the minimum of fuss. Our accomodation is at McBrides Hotel in the old town of Plymouth. It’s directly opposite where the Mayflower left for the new world all those years ago.


We do our normal wander of the local area, and a very famous area it is too. This is where Sir Francis Drake deferred from immediately engaging the Spanish Armada to finish his game of bowls. Never mind that the tide was against him anyway, so it seemed a good thing to do at the time.


You know you’re in Blighty because there’s a Fish and Chip shop on every corner. We had mushy peas with ours.

Monday 01/07/19 – Ride Day; Plymouth Loop

Day 56 175k

It’s looking like perfect riding weather as we head off on a loop of northern Cornwall and all is going well until I feel a slight vagueness in the front while going around one of the million roundabouts we encountered in England. A quick check of the Tyre Pressure Monitoring screen shows that the front tyre is down to 28psi. That’s not good. We pull into a convenient servo and 15 minutes later we’re on our way after inserting a plug.

Our first stop is Port Isaac after a delightful jaunt through Cornwall’s countryside. It seems everyone else in the world thinks Port Isaac is a good place to visit today as well. I can certainly understand that though as there’s something very appealing about these old harbours. I think the TV show ‘Doc Martin’ is filmed around here as well. We cheekily park in a nook beside the footpath.


We turn north and ride through the hedge lined lanes to Boscastle via Tintagel. We walk out to the harbour mouth and I marvel at the work that’s gone into building these walls.


Of course no visit to Cornwall would be complete without sampling a traditional Cornish Pasty. OK, so I’ve now done that.

Crackington Haven is next on the plan and then home via secondary roads. The thing about riding through these areas is that the countryside looks absolutely stunning in it’s patchwork quilt of paddocks and soon to be harvested fields. The trouble is that you rarely get to see it because of the way they built the roads back in mists of history. It seems that their plan of attack was to dig down to find a solid base on which to build the road itself while piling the overfall on the sides of the roads, and then planting a hedge on top of that. So needless to say you can’t see a thing while you’re riding along.


Tuesday 02/07/19 – Ride Day; Plymouth to Burton Bradstock


Day 57 185k

We have our normal ‘in the room’ breakfast which consists of yogurt and a banana purchased the previous evening (in this case from the local Post Office would you believe), with muesli. A quick stop to wash the bike and we say goodbye to Plymouth and its history and mushy peas; we head east. The reason for the bike wash is that today we’re going to visit my sister Jill and her husband Phil. Phil rides a Triumph Sprint, so I have to be sure that the Guzzi will outshine Britain’s best. Easy peasy 🙂

Another delightful days ride as we pass through one English village after another. We stop at Dartmouth for morning tea and then catch the little ferry across the typical harbour.


On to Brixham and by-passing Exeter we continue to Sidmouth for lunch. Seems like all those tourists that were at Port Isaac yesterday are here today. Who am I to say anything?


We take to the road again, the Guzzi is loving these roads as we pass through Seaton and Lyme Regis before pulling in to Charmouth Beach where we take a nap under a tree.


We arrive at Burton Bradstock in the mid afternoon and it’s great to see Phil and Jill again after last seeing them at the end of our 2016 trip.

Wednesday 03/07/19 to Friday 05/07/19 – Lay Days; Burton Bradstock

We enjoyed perfect weather as we lazed around in perfect company and lovely surrounds.


Saturday 06/07/19 – Ride Day; Burton Bradstock to Ryde IoW

Day 58 170k

Time to move on, thanks for the wonderful hospitality Phil and Jill. Phil accompanies us for a ways along the route as we continue east through the beautiful surrounds and little villages with their narrow streets and too many parked cars.

Lulworth Castle was closed


And Corfe Castle was in disarray


The day was heating up as we pulled in to the world’s most popular chain of restaurants for our first Maccas in 3 and a half months. Still a feeding frenzy.


Then south through The New Forrest with its abundance of free roaming horses.


Further south to Lymington where we caught the ferry across the Solent to Yarmouth on The Isle of White


To Osborne Castle of Queen Victoria fame. It is beautiful.


We dropped in to Fishbourne to check out tomorrow’s ferry departure point before finalizing the very pleasant days ride at Ryde in what would once have been a fairly grand hotel. We took a wander around town as is our wont.


Sunday 07/07/19 – Ride Day; Ryde IoW to Findon via Goring by Sea

Mmmm, that noise outside is rain so it’s on with our, what Norma has come to call, Panda Bear Wear and we head for Fishbourne and the 8am ferry which means we forfeit our included breakfast at our hotel, not happy about that. The crossing to Portsmouth is uneventful if wet and we stop and grab a pic of the Victory of Nelson fame


before taking to the congested freeways to Bruce and Sheila Martin’s place at Goring by Sea. I boarded with Bruce and Sheila when I was in England some 49 years ago. Needless to say we have all aged. We enjoyed a lovely meal at a typical English pub and talked about old times. We then rode the 15klms to a tiny out of the way village called Findon.

Monday 08/07/19 – Ride Day; Findon to Forrest Hill

Day 60 135k

Via Arundel and it’s perfect castle


Petworth and East Grinstead where we stopped at the local Moto Guzzi shop in the hope of seeing the latest V85TT, but they didn’t have any on the floor.

We then headed north towards London. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to this section of the days ride and I thought we’d be engulfed by traffic. But by sticking to the lesser roads we had what was our final day of solitude and wandering enjoyable roads and lanes before the last 10klms to my Uncle Albert’s.

98 years old, lives by himself and still has all his marbles and a huge store of experiences. We’re all claiming his genes 🙂


We had a thoroughly enjoyable lay day with Uncle Albert and took the opportunity to get to better know my cousin Tristan and his family. We hope to be back.

This pic of Norma and myself in Albert’s garden. Looking pretty relaxed, you can see all those cakes and icecreams have caught up with me.


Wednesday 10/07/19 – Ride Day; Forrest Hill to Felixstowe

Day 61 150k 11905k

Today is the final day’s ride of this wonderful adventure and was predominantly a freeways day as we negotiated the constant traffic. We stopped at Ipswich and washed the bike for its return to Aus and to hopefully please our picky quarantine inspectors.


We booked into the grand old Orwell Hotel which had seen better days but was still not too bad. We celebrated our blessings and each other with a fine meal in the fine old dining room before retiring and sorting our gear for the return of ourselves and bike to Australia.


Orwell Dining

Thursday 11/07/19 – Felixstowe to Gatwick

A bitter sweet day as we left the life of fantasy behind and faced the prospect of reality as we dropped the bike off at the shippers


and caught the train to Gatwick airport.

A quick glimpse of the Shard Tower from the train window was as near as we got to London on the way through.


Friday 12/07/19 to Saturday 13/07/19 – Gatwick to Melbourne

A final glimpse of England’s perfect patchwork landscape as we head east and we’re done.


Some stats:

We did 11,903klms on 66 ride days and had 40 lay days.
I fitted new Michelin PR4 GT tyres prior to leaving which have worn exceptionally well with probably 60-70% wear and one puncture.
We used mainly 95 E5-10 fuel, or whatever we could get and I don’t think it matters what fuel I run through this Guzzi because I can’t tell the difference in performance or fuel consumption.
The bike used about 250mm of engine oil but I think most of this was seepage from the leaky oil pressure sensor switch.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to undertake the second trip of a lifetime. This wouldn’t have happened without the encouragement and support from such an amazing lady as Norma, not to mention the fact that she was there for every kilometre, every laughing moment and also the few tense moments we encountered with hardly a murmur, although goodness knows what she was thinking on a couple of occasions – thank you so much my love.

We are also both thankful of the fact that we didn’t have one incident of any real concern with the bike nor any problems with our health. One cannot ask for any more than that. The weather was also very kind by in large.

So until next time, if there is a next time, thank you for following us and participating in our journey. God Bless.


Week 13 – France West Coast

Sunday 23rd to Saturday 29th June

Royan, Saint-Navarei, Lorient, Roscoff.

SUNDAY & Monday 23&24/06/19 – LAY DAYS; Royan

The plan for Royan was to relax and possibly laze on the beach for a couple of days, but alas the weather once again conspired to protect the public from confusing me with a beached whale. It didn’t rain a lot but it did blow a lot, so we contented ourselves with taking some long walks along the long waterfront where we took some pics of some of the few remaining grand homes.

And also a few other landmarks.



It was an easy and pleasant 2 days.

Tuesday 25/06/19 – Ride Day; Royan to Near Avrillé

Today was a circuitous route to visit some aged friends of my Mum and Dad’s whom they first met in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand many years ago, when they were sailing their 34′ Bowman sloop on a 12 year circumnavigation – now that’s the way to do it.

We tootled up the coast through some lovely seaside towns with their grand homes and past what seemed like a never ending stream of camping grounds.

Now this is where I’m coming unstuck in so much as when I started the blog back at the end of March, I used to do it daily which eventually became a bit of a burden, but at least I could remember where we’d been, stopped and done. In the last four weeks I’ve taken to relying on my memory to do it once a week which is proving to be problematic in terms of my memory.

Enough to say that today was another beautiful day for a ride and that we stopped at a couple of lovely places and saw some great sights.



We arrived at Paul and Pierrette’s lovely secluded bush surrounded home in the mid afternoon and availed ourselves of their perfect hospitality.


It was great to talk small ocean going sailing boats again with people who, like myself, have never lost the passion or the dream even if age and circumstance have limited the actuality.

day 52 200k1237807281..jpg

200klms for the day.

Wednesday 26/06/19 – Ride Day; Near Avrillé to Saint-Nazaire

With the weather promising to get hot, and after a lovely breakfast, we said fond farewells to Paul and Pierrette and set ourselves west and north through continuous rolling farmlands rich for harvest. We had a break at Saint-Gilles-Croix-De-Vie (pronounced entirely differently from how it’s spelt, as are all French place names).

We called into the tiny inlet of Port Du Bec.



And then even smaller Les Champs


As well as Les Brochets before finding lunch in Pornic. It was getting very hot by now so we pushed through to Saint-Nazaire where we took a rest before looking around the old WW2 submarine base and the rest of the town.

A 180klm day in trying 30c+ conditions.

day 53 190k55968068..jpg

Thursday 27/06/19 – Ride Day; Saint-Nazaire to Lorient

With temps in the mid 30c this would be our most uncomfortable days riding of the entire trip, although a couple of days in Greece were hard as well . I’d rather ride in rain than in those temps sucking every little bit of moisture out of you in full riding kit, even though we hydrated extensively throughout the day.

But it must be said that the scenery certainly compensated for the discomfort. We took a break at La Baule-Escoublac before moving along to Vannes where we happened upon a passing out ceremony of some type. We also stopped for lunch overlooking the packed boat basin.


On through Auray to the prehistoric Alignements de Carnac. These are pretty amazing, hundreds of rocks, big and small, all precisely arranged with some age old superstitious reasoning. We passed some 5 or 6 fields of them and then 10klms further on another field.  I wondered if they’d imported them from the Croatian coast.


We continued on to a pleasant interlude at Etel.


And so onto Lorient where we’d scored a room without air-con which is quite normal for these parts, but a cheap fan would have scored them points on booking.com. They couldn’t have cared less, so they didn’t score well.

A difficult 175klms today.

day 54 175k919512964..jpg

Friday 28/06/19 – Lay Day; Lorient

In spite of the heat we ventured forth like good little tourists to visit La Base,


where we visited the Cité de la Voile Eric Tabarly, a tribute to Eric Tabarly who was a Frenchman and a sailing superstar in my days of sailing for his incredible feats of singlehanded sailing and sailboat design. His line of Pen Duick boats continue to hold fame in the world of sailing.

Taberly 1Taberly 2

We also saw a couple of modern day short handed ocean racers as well as Gitana 17, which currently holds the record for the fastest trans Atlantic crossing for a sailboat of any type. An amazing speed machine.


We then visited the submarine museum and got to look through a submarine. It’s hard to believe just how complicated those things are, nor to comprehend how confined they are. Maximum height is 1.8m so I don’t need to volunteer.


Saturday 29/06/19 – Ride Day; Lorient to Roskoff

A cool change had come in so it would be a much more comfortable day. We called into Moelan-Sur-Mer which proved to be less than captivating so we moved onto the fortress in the middle of the harbour at Concarneau. Neat place. We indulged and a had a milkshake although I hadn’t intended in paying for the entire cow.



Past Quimper and on to Chateaulin. What a delightful place. We took some pics and moved on.


Further up the road.


Next on route was Sizun, a little town sitting on a cross roads that attracts quite a number of causal travelers including us.  We ran into Stephane who was riding a 90s Moto Guzzi Centauro which was in immaculate condition and also the proper color, red and white of course. We spent a pleasant half hour together.

Stephan suggested we make a detour to Huelgoat and so we enjoyed some of the days best riding and visited the days cutest town.


Morlaix was next and desperately needed as we were running perilously close to pushing the bike when finally found a fuel station. Nice bridge.


And so onto our final destination on the continent for this trip. The road to Roskoff (pronounced Rosko) was a delight as we chased the estuary to the sea then curved our way along the coast road to this point of departure to the UK and eventually home.


A 230klm day, which had come to be quite cool as we scouted out a place to celebrate au-revoir to Europe. Thanks for the pleasure.

day 55 225k2008329632..jpg

And so onto the final phase.