Thursday, 14 September 2017

Just an update..

Dear reader,

It has been a little while since I update my blog so I though I has better get back in the habit before my next trip.   Next week I am flying to Krakow Poland with my wife for a few days, and then at the start of October I am riding down through Spain and into Morocco.  After riding around for a while we (David Charlton and I) will return to Spain and then David will return home and I will continue back to the UK via France.

As usual, too much thought is being expended on what to pack and where to to pack it.   I am still trying to pack light but, as usual, I fail at the last post.   All appears well until I grab the last minute things, camera, laptop, chargers, books, maps etc etc.    So on my return from Poland I will have to do a full packing dry run..  I have just read an article in the Adventure Rider magazine written by Nick Sanders entitled "Is less really more?"   Interesting!!  If I get away with a pair of panniers, and very small top box, and tank bag and a 40 ltr Ortlieb back across the pillion seat I will be happy (ish).  Unfortunately my favourite aluminium top box will not fit between the pannier rails of this bike, and I really not happy about mounting it sideways on.   Ah well, once I return from Poland I will pack the bike and then lay everything out of the garage floor and try to lose about a 3rd of it...  but which 3rd!!

I have looked at a route, which David always says is always a good basis for change, but I need to judge the time as David will need to get back to the UK for work.  The good news is that this time I have a proper Garmin map of Morocco.... last time the screen looked like a sheet of sandpaper with an icon in the middle....  thank good for a paper map and a compass..

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Overland Event 2017

I spent a great weekend at the Overland Event in Oxford. I helped with the setting up on the Thursday and Friday. On the Saturday I spent most of my time meeting with some wonderful old friends and making new ones. The picture is with a great couple from the USA, I first met them at the HU event in Virginia USA in 2016 and then again at the Overland Expo in Flagstaff Arizona a month later.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Spot Nav tracking. Via a DeLorme In-Reach

Just setting things up ready for the season  -  I have now switched on the SpotNav and a track is now available:  try it - if you zoom into the markers you should switch over to google earth - go on give it  go....  I see that USA, Australia, France, Spain and Morocco are still visible...


https://share.delorme.com/nigelgrace


Password    Madiba

Thursday, 27 July 2017

West Country - Day 3

Off to the Theatre
It was a reasonable camp site last night - just too many excited children playing football, screaming and shouting.   Once they were in bed it was the turn of the Mum's and Dad's - I think the Dads won at football but the Mums were good at the shouting and screaming - but they were all done by 1.30am !

I did not want to witness the start off their day so I was up early, showered, tea made, packed and on the road for 8.30am.   We had a very quiet bimble through the lanes to the Minark Theatre and once they had open I had a good look around and a very pleasant pot of tea.   I meet a very nice couple in the car park - he was from South Africa and he also owns an Africa Twin...  He was at the HU meeting too - such a small world.

By now the sun was almost shining... NFC (normal for Cornwall).   So back on the bike and off the Liskard to have yet another cup of tea with a relative - they run the Adrenaline Quarry just off the A38 and if you haven't been then you should... it used to be the longest zip wire in the U.K. - I have done it twice and we even got my 80 plus Mother in Law on it..... Thank you for the cuppa Jessie.....

So off again before and I decided to head back to Bundu Camping at Okehampton as the site is reasonably quiet and a good starting point to venture across Dartmoor in the morning towards Exeter to meet up with Sam Manicom and Birgit, and then home.  Having arrived and pitched the tent - yes, down came the rain - but it has passed through and I believe another band of poor weather is on it way.












Wednesday, 26 July 2017

West County - Day 2

Dear reader,

Last nights campsite is a good one (Bundu Campsite) but it also had the added advantage of having a pub next door.   I got sorted on the site, all tidied up, cooked pasta and something with chicken, and off I went only to find that the pub has been closed down - Bugger.     So it was back to the tent, put on the kettle and had an early night.

As forecast the rain started about 3am and continued until about 1.30pm.   I had a breakfast at the local little chef, and rode the back roads to Bude and then South West try to avoid the A30 and A39 where possible.   Lot of very narrow lanes, and loads of traffic coming the other way - even a huge German coach which meant that at least 8 cars and lane motorcycle had to back up 50 yards to let it through....

I stopped for a tea break at the McD just outside Hale... still raining and then discovered that the messenger bag I was carrying had lost it waterproofness..  so I had to unload the contents into the panniers, I thought Andy Straps Stuff was waterproof - oh well.

So having taken some very twisty back roads I passed through Port Isaac - so narrow and full that I could not even stop... then St Ives, Zennor, Pendeen, St Just and finally arrived at Lands end.    I remember visiting here some 24 years ago and it was a quiet place, now it's a noisy, brash theme park.  All that was missing was beach donkeys and kiss-me-quick hats.  I had a cold drink (cup of tea was £2), took a couple of photos and left.

I asked Gertie Garmin for a local campsite and I am now set up at Trevvervan Camp Site.  Tomorrow I will visit the Telegraph Museum, the Minack Theatre and The Lizard Point and then ride up the coast towards Plymouth.

I think I am having Rice and something horrid tonight..... I blame the chef......





Tuesday, 25 July 2017

West Country - Day 1

QI have been debating this trip  for days - I know the weather is forecast to be crap: so do I still go....  I don't mind riding in the rain, it's the putting up the tent etc in the rain that I don't like.  I knew that I just had to go.. being retired is not easy... eventually you run out of things that need doing, things that you have to do and even things that you don't want to do. The less you do, the more you don't want to do anything.   There is a limit to the number of times I can walk into town, buy a newspaper, have a cup of tea at one of the many coffee shops that now infest Ringwood.

So... get off your arse Nigel and get on the bike.... Lands end here we come...

Rode as far as Okehampton today, very relaxed pace, stopped for a tea at a road side burger van,  then bypassed Exeter in favour of riding over the moors via Bovey Tracey.  I think I was getting in the way has much as the lorrys and the caravans. 

I had a bait of a scare on the Dorchester by pass as the truck in front lost one of its big plastic bags off its load (by big I mean about half the size of a car) and I was overtaking at the time.... Bugger I thought as it inflated and presented itself in front of the bike.... then wrapped itself around the screen and headlights...   fortunately above the front wheel... I managed to grab it and wrapped it around my left arm until it was all on board.... I stuffed in under my crutch and too a deep breath ; now what.  

It was no stopping on the carriage way and I was sure that the driver did not want it back, even if I could stop him, then the decision was made for me as the plastic bag took the opportunity to break for freedom again, it flew into the air and the wind took it over the fence and into a field.  I hate to think what would have happened if it had become tangled in my front wheel ....

Arrived at the campsite at Okehampton and pitched the tent. And the weather is still sunny and there is a bit of a breeze blowing.  Tomorrow morning is forecast to be awful !!!! Ah well I should be at Lands end by tomorrow afternoon.



Now for some tea and supper - compliments of H M Government ( I still have some 24 hour ration packs left - circa 2006 ).


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

HUBB UK - Baskerville Hall Hay-on-Wye




Me with Graham Field and his daughter

Me and the unstoppable and Tiffany Coates 




Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Always fascinated by other riders' luggage

Always fascinated with bikes that carry more luggage than I do.....

My XRV750 at the end of my ride across the USA 2017


Especially another XRV750 Africa Twin



I just don't know what to say about this one..








Elsbeth Beard - The first woman to ride around the world on a motorcycle..
Filtering with added caution....
... and this machine has just clocked up 200,000 miles


Friday, 19 May 2017

France Day 4 - 19 May 17


Dear Reader,

We had a real cracker of a thunder storm overnight and consequently an extremely poor nights sleep.   So it was up early, a single cup of tea and on the road by 8am.  We visited a few memorials and cemeteries in the Arras area and then hit the road to Calais.   I did stop at a McD near Arras for a cup of Earl Grey and a bun..  Then Gertie threw another hissy fit and put us on the A1 and then in the blink on an eye we missed the direct road to Calais and went via Lille in the North along the A26 to Dunkirk and back down to the Chunnel.   Ah well we did manage to avoid Belgium !! But rode through constant drizzly all the way...

I am now lounging in the Chunnel Terminal await my turn to be called forward to board.....   I am keeping myself amused by watching the amount of wine and beer being loaded into cars and vans.....  


Thursday, 18 May 2017

France Day 3 - 18 May 17

Dear reader,

All good things come to an end and yesterday's hot weather turned into a storm during the night - lots of high winds and driving rain... on top of all that disappoint I found out that the bar and restaurant aren't open until June...... but at least the owner had the presence of mind to stock up his fridge with some local Le Blonde at 6.5% proof, and what a good night cap that was...... storm huh what storm....

We hit the road at about 8.30 this morning and took in the sights at the South African Memorial, the Tank Memorial, The Poziers Memorial, the Arras underground Museum, the New Zealand Memorial and the Lochnagar Crater..... most of it in the rain..

I did manage some real food at a McDonalds at Arras... don't sigh... it was good food, the room was warm and dry, I managed to charge my iPad, use the free WiFi and finally use the toilet facilities - all the cost of a Big Mac and chips.... can't be bad..

It's now 3pm and it has finally stopped raining and I am back at the campsite. Just checking the route back to Calais avoiding the Motorways. Then onto the metal rabbit and across to Folkestone....... I will take the scenic route home as I am in no hurry to get home and unpack. I will have the house to myself until Sunday, but I do have to visit my late Mum's Cottage as the grass will need cutting and thing need to be sorted before it goes onto the market..

So far a good trip and you just can't help but feel stunned by the scale of the dead and wounded in the 'Great War' of 1914 - 18. I was good to see so many bus-loads of school children at these locations - I hope they appreciate what was done by so many - they sacrificed their tomorrows for our today's...... Black Adder 4 - Over the Top had got the madness just right.....









Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Strange goings on.....

There I was just sitting at a bench/table by the shower block (the best place for WiFi) and reading Lois Pryce's latest book when I was approached - no other way to describe it really. He was wearing a pale blue pair of mini speedos or even micro ones... clutching a pair of raybans and a pink iPhone and proceeded to sit at the same bench. He said "good evening" and asked how I was, and where I am from etc and then openly dialled up 'Grinder' on his phone - muttering no, no, maybe and yes as I packed up my book and prepared to move on..... "Are you staying long" he said" with a Dutch accent.... What steps should I take? f******* big ones says I... I am now hiding in my tent.....LOL. I shall shower later .....

Vimy Ridge, Thiepval and Newfoundland Memorials

France Day 2 - 17 May 17

After a good night sleep, only woken by the pouring rain during the night, I was having my first cup on tea at 6am.   I have decided to stay and the same camp site for all three night as it is so peaceful here.   

We set off at 8.30 this morning ( I should explain that 'we' are Madiba and I) I know that my last bike was Madiba and that this one was Herman (coz it comes from Germany) but I just can't ride a bike called Herman-the-German.....

Out first destination was the Canadian memorial at Vimy Ridge, and very impressive it is to.  Then we moved on to the memorial to the Somme at Thiepval and lastly to the Newfoundland memorial at Beaumont-Hemel.   All were very impressive.  The numbers are just staggering 57,000 casualties including 19,000 killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme!!

Tomorrow we are going to the Somme Museum in Albert, the Lochnagar Crater of La Boisselle and the South African Memorial of Longueval.   Let his hope the weather stays fair.

I will a try to post some photos when I get a good WiFi signal.....

Nite




Tuesday, 16 May 2017

France Day 1 - 16 May 17

Dear reader,
Started out this morning at silly o'clock and made good progress to Folkestone. The train was delayed 25 minutes due to a technical hitch but I am in no hurry. Had a quiet read on the train whilst the other 3 bikers talked broken biscuits about bhp, torque and performance of their BMWs. I had a relaxing ride down to the first camp site just outside Arras, although a closed road did send Gertie Garmin into a spin for a moment. I stopped at a couple of British Cemetery's Ian the area of Vimy Ridge (which I will visit again tomorrow).

It was cool and overcast when I left home this morning, abut riding through Northern France the temperature started to rise and I wished I hadn't put on two layers this morning. Having said that there were some brisk side winds on the exposed hills - having opted to void all motorways this weekend.

This campsite is nice and quiet and only €10 for the night.

Nite nite

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Let's get back on the road....

Right lets do it.... the weather is OK, my chest infection appears to be clearing up, I can't get to the OX 2017 in the USA this year, so I have decided to take a short 4 day trip the battlefields of The Somme in France. I need to get the tent aired and the packing list checked!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

That's better....

Motorcycle Maintenance Course

I had a nice ride up from the New Forest to Haywards Heath to attend a 2 day course.  Had a good day - very informative.  Then a quick ride up to the Hotel !!

So much for planning - I booked the hotel in advance, arrived in good time only to find out they did not have a booking 💩💩bugger.  I went online to find another hotel nearby and finally managed to book a room - I get a confirmation email stating that I had booked two rooms - cancel one I thought - cancellation fee £50 - bugger again - finally got through on the phone (10 minutes on hold) and managed to cancel one free of charge - computers are bollocks...... 

Now staying at the pompously named Europa Gatwick Hotel near Crawley....  update to follow after food and a pint.....🥃🥃


Friday, 24 March 2017

All change....


Dear Readers,

Sadly I have had to postpone my trip to Morocco in April until October 2017, as my 90 year old Mother has been admitted to hospital with terminal lung cancer. I am visiting daily and doing what I can. So sad she is such a lovely lady.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Nigel was off to Morocco

Just getting ready - just two weeks to go..
New tyres tomorrow, and then just the packing to sort aarrgghhhhh.  If you want to follow the route taken, I will try to remember to switch the Spot Nav on every day - it will ping the location every moving 4 hours!!

Spot nav link is:


And the password is Madiba and hopefully  you can filter out all the other trips and just see the current one...

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Bugger it's Storm Doris.....

A quick ride into Southampton today to meet David to go through the possible itinerary for our trip to Morocco in April. The ride in was fine and dry and a little gusty but the ride home was Crap... oh how I hate high cross winds... especially gusting winds of 50mph plus. I tried to keep off the M27 and A31 as they are quite exposed in places, so I took the forest route via Brook but I forgot that it is even more exposed over the heath by the High Corner Inn. I did not enjoy that at all but at least there was not much traffic on that route.

It reminded me of scary myself fartless riding through Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle last year..

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Whoops



It has been pointed out to me that I have not blogged in a while - sorry about that but I have been mainly busy with home projects : as laid down by management !!! Painting, Decorating, Gardening, fix this, repair that etc etc.

I have had a few days out on the bike just to keep it warm... I also visited the Motorcycle Live at the NEC Birmingham although I did chicken out of taking the bike as there was a storm running and riding for 6 hours in the rain was not a good idea so I took a car ; but had to pay the £12 parking fee?

I also tried to see one of the bikes on EBay - lots of views (934), 2 enquiries, 1 visit but no bids... ah well it owes me nothing so I still have the twins..

Planning has started for Morocco 2017... I just want to get warm again...

Friday, 4 November 2016

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Another day in 4x4 heaven!!!

Good evening dear readers,
I spent another restless night at this event, in spite of having a couple of cans with John from Felixstowe.   I was in bed by 10pm but I was awoken during the night by the wind blowing through the barrier tape at the other side of the hedge, and then again when the f******** Exped Air bed deflated ( I had it returned and repaired just 3 weeks ago)... Into the bin with that later....

I spent the day wandering through the the endless lines of Landrovers (Landys), Discoverys (Disco's), 110 and even some 101's.  !!!   Everything you can think of the to fix up and bling your vehicle ready to drive it down to the supermarket and back.   Not very much for the biker I fear.   I will not bother next year.   I suppose the next event will be the Motorcycle Show at the NEC in November. 

I met up with Nathan Millward at lunch time and then walked around again...  I have just had supper and another brew so an ready for another sleepless night.   The weather has been grey and overcast all day and the forecast is overnight rain.   I will make an early and hasty departure after breakfast and ride back home the long way, again taking the back roads.






Friday, 23 September 2016

September - Adventure Overland Show Stratford-upon-Avon


I have just arrived at the show and it starts tomorrow for 2 days.
The ride up was good as I had taken to the back roads where possible.  Lots of traffic in the popular towns in the Cotswolds and a few idiots but that is to be expected of car drivers....

I brought the Khyam Biker tent as it hasn't had a trip out for some time - I had forgotten just how spacious it is... about twice the size of my usual tent.

Not too many bikers here yet... I can see just 5 from here....

The bike ran very well.  I had issues yesterday as I was trying to fit pannier fixings (Supplied by Zen Overland)...  The problem was that I mounted the left side first.. But when I came to fit the right side it would have been too low and therefore touching the exhaust!!!  Bugger.   The only way out was to either re-drill the holes and re site the left one or....... change the exhaust for one that I happen to have in the garage.   It was a it do a fight but it is now in place.  It is not a quiet as the original but it works.

Now to get the kettle on and get supper ready...