Day 2. Gatwick via the Channel Tunnel to St Dizier. 515 Kms, 320 miles.
After a late night and a long ride yesterday, we only had about 6 hours sleep. We had to get up to get down to Folkestone for the train ride under the English Channel, and so the alarm was peeping way to early for humans. We got dressed, loaded up the Bandit, and went to tesco to get a couple of last minute things. Tesco also had a Costa Coffee, so we had a breakfast and coffee or peppermint tea as well.
We rode through sporadic drizzle for just over an hour, and got to the tunnel about 2 minutes before they called our train, following which we rode up various ramps, through sets of cones, down more ramps, and finally in to the train itself. This was my first crossing via the train, so it was rather unfamiliar to me. I have crossed to Calais and Rotterdam fairly often, and once even went on the ferry to Harwich, but have never been under the sea to the continent.
The loading was very well managed, and we ended up with another couple of bikers. The train ride was very smooth, and took about 35 minutes. Again, the dismount was very slick and ran smoothly, and there we were, lost in France. The satnav got a bit confused- maybe it is English at heart, and tried to take us back to Canterbury via the tunnel, but a bit of cursing and re-programming later, and we were on our way to our French journey.
When we planned this trip, we couldn’t decide between leisurely days and easy riding in the north and centre of France, or a battering down to the south coast. The cote d’azure won, so today was part of the price of that decision- over 300 miles of riding rather than taking the scenic route and bimbling through picturesque villages.
We stopped twice for fuel, a couple of times for wee’s, and had a nice salad at one of the services. We stuck to the motorway and paid a couple of tolls, and arrived around five thirty this evening in St Dizier at our hotel. Well, it is a restaurant with a couple of rooms above it, in a town that looks like it has seen better days. The buildings are lovely, but the people look like the kind who appear on daytime television screaming at their brother because he sleep with his girlfriends father. Never mind, we are warm, comfortable, enjoying a beer and very happy.
The restaurant looks interesting, so we are going to attempt a meal here, a bottle of French wine, and plan a glorious night of sleep.
Be good, mes ami.