The last day started early, awake before the alarm clock went off at 06.00am. I was not feeling great for some reason, I had felt a bit rough the night before but put it down to the bad flavour of the Leffe the waiter had brought over. I grabbed a shower and packed the final bits away before loading them on the bike.
Headed for breakfast still feeling a little rough, a coffee, croissant and a glass of orange juice didn’t go down too well. That didn’t make me feel any better so I left early for a last lay down before meeting up and getting off for 08.00am. We met up and said our goodbyes to Ginge, as he was aiming for Emsdetten in Germany for his final leg.
After our goodbye hug, we all got going and it was not long before we navigated our way to the motorway and were heading straight for Calais. We were directed straight to the toll road by the satnav and rode at a steady 85 all the way.
Stopping once for fuel we were confronted with a card payment only at the petrol pump. On looking around, they were all like this! Second attempt we managed to use a credit card and not the cash passport card I’d taken for fuel. First one declined and the next card worked. On looking at the Total Garage transaction, it had taken €150 from the card, even though it stated it had declined on the receipt!
I made a sharp exit from the garage as I was feeling pretty shitty by this stage. Trying but failing to be sick made me feel even worse and a 10 minute break was a relief before getting underway again.
The next 60 odd miles passed very quickly and I don’t remember much about the journey, holding back the sick feeling and trying to guide the bike in the right direction. Laura took the lead to help out until we got to the toll booth and we paid up the €15 before making our way to the Tunnel.
On arrival we all checked in and opted for the earlier train, customs seemed to take an age and we were going to miss the train at the pace! But as we had resigned ourselves to catching the next one, the customs guys got a wriggle on and we were heading for the train. We managed to catch the 12.09pm train, which was over 2 hours earlier than the one we booked and planned to catch months ago.
Onto the train, loaded and parked up, the doors closed and we were off. We were the last ones on, the doors shut behind us and off we went into the dark tunnel. We chatted and discussed the journey and talked about what next and where we could be heading. Time flew by and before we knew it, it was light outside and it wouldn’t be long before we would be stopping to disembark.
Once off the train, it was straight for the M20 and we were once again underway. This was the final leg of the trip but we still needed fuel. We stopped before the M25 and found it had a McDonalds, so we made a joke of it as we’d refused to stop at the fast food chain throughout Europe. It’s Ginge’s first port of call when he’s on tour on his bike, it’s because he says he knows what he is getting.
When it was time to get going and brave the traffic, the M25 did not disappoint. It was congested and hard going, still not feeling 100% I led to control the speed. Before long we caught up with the two Nigels who’d taken a quicker route, as we passed we said our goodbyes again as we had already done so at the last stop. Ian also left us too which meant just the 3 of us finished the rest of the journey. Laura, her dad Dave and I, which is how we had started.
It was pretty good riding for the rest of the journey, for a Friday afternoon. I arrived home to an empty house, where I got my kit off and into shorts before sorting out the luggage and bike. We had all said we’d post our home return on the forum we had set up and it was just a case of waiting for everyone to post they had got home okay.
All the riders have been accounted for, 7 bikes were ridden back and two were still on European shores being collected and returned at some point in the near future. Only one injury from the trip as one guy unfortunately fell off his stationary bike! The rest of the group have sore arms, legs and some other body parts as it’s a testing trip and not to be taken lightly.
It’s been a fab trip, the routes were big and demanding. The weather has been extreme from snow and ice, to high winds and then to very hot and uncomfortable temperatures.
The roads were superb and the craic was excellent, everyone got on and supported each other and the individual riding was exceptional.
Until next time, ride safely and keep it on the black stuff…