Thursday 29th June at just gone 9 pm – because I am on the Stenna ship to Harwich and we have just gone back into British time. I’ve just been up on the deck. When the ship left the dock at the Hook of Holland I watched all the way as it sailed out of the harbour. It was amazing because I think of Hook of Holland as a small place, little more than the ferry terminal and its infrastructure but as the ship sails up towards the spit, I suppose, there is a beach at the end which is rather beautiful and what look like apartments in a small semi-circle facing out to the sea, right on the sand. They must be amazing places to stay in. And there is a spit, a road that goes out further and, after that, a wall made of rocks. I have no idea how they would have built this. The wall goes out for half a kilometre, or a full kilometre maybe. And at the very end of that is a small light house and after that you are in the open sea. All of this with the sun setting though it was freezing cold in the wind. After seeing the ship away from land I went back into my cabin to, again, get my head down early to not be too tired for the morning.
(On my recording, I did neglect to mention my enjoyable ritual of having fish chips and mushy peas and a small bottle of chilled white wine in the restaurant. After a couple of weeks of cooking by my tent, I really appreciate this kind of meal.
Once at Harwich, I have to ride back home to deal with all the domestic things awaiting, needing sorting out. I think it is about two hours to ride home. Who knows? Certainly on the way out from central London to Harwich the traffic was terrible. It’s a bit of a heartsink journey going back into London. Its much nicer leaving London.
Now, earlier today: The crossing from Kristiansand to Emden was calm. I had one coffee and a croissant and then another coffee before packing everything up in my cabin and sitting on deck for the last half hour or so of the sailing. We got off the boat about half past ten in the morning. There was a huge number of motorcyclists that people seemed to stand in crowds to watch (even a German policeman waved at us all). There was a line of maybe 100 or more motorcyclists all taking this turn and then that turn. Eventually once we got on the the autobahn – A31 I think – this large group dispersed. I rode down that long road for a while and then turned right into Holland. I stopped for a snack, then carried on heading towards Utrecht and Rotterdam, stopped again for petrol and a drink and then headed off. I don’t know whether it is getting worse or I am more nervous but the big ring roads around Utrecht and Rotterdam have so many lanes and most drivers are really wanting to drive as fast as possible. It was really crazy. By the time I got to the A20 and then the A12 and then the smaller roads to the Hook of Holland there is not so much traffic but it is crazy before that. It’s a nasty bit of riding for any journey to Europe that involves landing at Hook of Holland you have to run that gauntlet before you can get very far.
That is the end of my recording of that day and of the whole trip. The ride down into London was not too bad though when I arrived home I found that my bedroom had been flooded because someone staying here (my sister in law) had left the Velux window over my bed open all night (she went off to stay elsewhere) in torrential rain. The water even ran through the floorboards and down into the next floor. My mattress was soaked. Then there was less than a week before I set off on a family holiday to the outer Hebrides so I had little time to reflect on the trip immediately afterwards. But now (in mid-September) is a chance.
First – its such a shame about the Holland Norway line going bust and leaving, I read, 75,000 people out of pocket and another group stranded. It is a useful route, not cheap but not terribly pricey either.
Norway as a m/c destination: its beautiful obviously with a varied terrain and also offers the challenge of a ride all the way to Nordkap. Camping sites are plentiful and many have cabins which are brilliant alternatives to camping or hotelling (expensive). Its not too expensive if you don’t eat out or buy wine or spirits. It’s a long way to go to get there – and now there’s one less ferry route.
GoPro 11 and helmet set up: I captured some good footage but forgot the short adapter cable that joins my helmet mic to the camera so no running commentaries. This has made putting together a series of videos about the trip a bit less interesting – though I have lots of footage.
Mosko Moto luggage. I’m reluctantly getting used to the Revolver luggage and took a much larger Shad roll top bag instead of the standard MM roll top – more than twice the volume I think. Stashing shopping was a pain and I lost my home made cake and bread from the back of the bike on the way to Harwich.
The Garmin Zumo XT GPS behaved strangely and often stopped charging for no reason. If it breaks down I’m tempted to try something completely different- an Android approach here.
The bike was good. At the ports I could see I was the smallest bike amid loads of big GSs.
More to come on this post plus pics…..