Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Diary of a Goldwinger Part 2 - Wales 2007

Plan A. Leave home Monday mid morning take a steady ride up through Spain, France to Calais, take Euro Tunnel to Folkestone, hotel in Folkestone and ride to Camarthan on Wednesday. So I rang Tony Perkins (Treffen site manager) on Monday morning only to be told that half the showground in Camarthan was flooded and it was raining heavily, so our choice was, stay around the pool with approx 100 degrees or ride up to a flooded campsite at approx 12 degrees. Obvious choice, get the suntan lotion out.

So I rang Tony and told him the sunshine had won and we wouldn't be going To The British Treffen. Out of curiosity I rang Tony Tuesday evening to see how many had drowned on site. No problem here he says, sun is out site is drying very quickly and forecast is good. Ah well you cant win em all. Wednesday I am thinking , bugger we should have gone.

Plan B. Lunchtime Wednesday, I wish we had gone now says Lorna, OK ring the cattery and see if they can take the cat, I rang euro tunnel and we set off at 7.15 Wednesday night. Lets see how far we can get before stopping, was the agreed decision, we got through Spain very quickly and I thought we can make it well into France before we need to stop, we hit rain just after leaving Spain , not heavy but enough to slow us down, it rained more or less all the way through France but we kept going , stopping for fuel and black coffee every 300 or so kilometres, much to my surprise and I guess the adrenalin kicked in we arrived at Calais at 4pm on the Thursday. Straight onto the 4.50 train and 35 minutes later we arrived in Folkestone and yes it was raining, but this was cold English rain.

Ok Lorna says where are we going to stop tonight? Camarthan I replied so lets go. What followed was 6 hours of typical English crap, the M25 was at a standstill for miles and miles due to roadwork's, 4 narrow lanes, so white lining was out of the question, (not that the English drivers would not move over to help us along). We arrived the Treffen site at 11.15 pm, 2548ks in 28hrs non stop. A good ride out by anyone's standards, tiring but enjoyable. We then spent the next 5 days in Camarthan meeting up with old friends and making new ones. We helped out where we could and enjoyed 5 days yes 5 days in Wales without rain (must be a first).

On the Saturday we joined in the Parade of Nations and were delighted and honoured to be asked to fly the Spanish flag, 500 wings rode around the town of Camarthan much to the delight of the towns population as half of them must have been out to see the Goldwings.

Sunday night we watched as the light parade went out to the town, approx 150 bikes and trikes left with their lights on, and what a sight they were, they must spend 1000s of pounds and hours fitting the lights onto their machines and like it or not they are a credit to the owners.

We were amazed that during the 6 years we have been out of the winging scene in England just how many trikes are in the club, out of the 800 Goldwings on site I would say that 300 of them were trikes. Not everybody's cup of tea but a lot of riders trike the bikes to stay on the road and in the Goldwing club. A mate of mine triked his due to a back problem others because of the weight of the bike, one guy who I know from Milton Keynes still rides his Trike at a sprightly 82 year old. Good on ya Sid.

On the Saturday night at the awards they award trophies for many things. I thought we may have a chance of furthest distance travelled but that went to a winger from the Ukraine. I bet he didn't do that in one hit. 17 countries attended the Treffen and Spain came in 9th. We have the trophy proudly sitting in our lounge. Regarding the ride home that was taken at a more leisurely pace, down to Folkestone into France. The first night in a nice hotel about an hour south of Calais, second night due to bad weather we stopped at Brive then over to Andorra in a very nice hotel in the centre of Andorra. The final leg was 8 hours down to home in good sunny warm Spanish weather. All in all we covered 5600ks over 8 days, in all sorts of weather. As normal the bikes performance was exceptional as we have learned to expect over the years of Goldwinging. Next year the Treffen is in Yorkshire, we are booked in but hope to do the journey up at an easier pace (maybe).