A motorcycle parked in front of a tent on a pleasant green campsite

Home Travel StoriesLa France!

La France Day 1

By Bogger

First of all, an apology. I can’t seem to do short and concise travel reports. So for those that don’t want to trawl through the complete trip I’ll do a short version for you.

Short Version:-  
Went to France with some mates. Met some fantastic people. Saw some ace stuff. Had a brill time. Came home.

Now For The Full Version:-
I should be writing about the Alps and Croatia. But I’m not. It’s a trip to France. I did think of another title - "B*****s to Covid" but I didn't think would sit too well and might offend some genteel folk. So "La France" it is. Not that adventurous I know, but to be honest I was just happy to get away somewhere foreign on a bike.

About seven years ago me and the biking pals had travelled to the Dordogne region on C90s. We had a brilliant time/trip and I promised Mrs Bogger that next year I would take her to the same tiny campsite in Bouzic. I kept my promise to Mrs Bogger and whilst at the Bouzic site I met, befriended and kept in touch with a French chap and his family. 4 years ago myself and Mrs Bogger visited them in their home village of Malestroit in Brittany and had a brilliant time.

I’d promised over the past couple of years to visit again, but as I said earlier something got it the way. 

So France it was, instead of Croatia mainly due to it being just post C****. All of us were astride mighty 125s. Firstly to the Normandy region, then down to Brittany to visit my French friend and family and to tour the local area. There should have been five of us, but sadly one of the team had to back out sometime before all the arrangements were made. My French pal said he would take the week off work to show us around when we got to Malestroit.

The four of us who went are not from the same area, we are literally hundreds of miles apart. Nige and Jason, brothers, are from South Wales, Mark (Fat Boy) is near Royal Wooton Basset and I’m near Wigan.

Dates were set and I did a bit of research on the Normandy area, WW2 sites and other places of interest that we had not visited before. We were to cross from Newhaven to Dieppe and it was to be a ten day trip in total. Three of us had booked the ferry in good time. Nige due to circumstances beyond his control had to book much later and as a result could not catch the same ferry as ourselves. He had to catch the overnight ferry the evening before us.

Our ferry was fairly early in the morning on the Thursday, so the three of us elected to stay at a Travel Lodge on the Wednesday night, so as to be not completely knackered at the start of the trip. We chose Dorking for our overnight stay for no other reason other than it broke the back of the journey South. Then the trip to Newhaven should be a relaxed bimble the next morning.

I was pleasantly surprised that we chose Dorking. I have to say it was quite a pleasant small town.

I had the furthest to travel and Dorking was 226 miles from my starting point which unfortunately was work. I’d managed to wangle a very early finish at midday on the Wednesday to try to get to Dorking at a reasonable hour. I duly set off from home, fully loaded, for work on the Wednesday morning with everything I needed for a ten day camping trip.

Thankfully I set off from work dead on 12.00pm, but almost as soon as I hit the M6 south at Thelwall there were long queues. Oh Lord, what time am I going to reach Dorking? It took me an hour to get to Stoke on Trent and I was behind my schedule. 

Not to worry the traffic had mainly cleared and I wound the C125 to a 60mph cruising speed. A bloke came past on a large Kawasaki sports tourer and proceeded to shake his head as he came past me. I’m still not sure if it was in disbelief or anger. Possibly both?

The miles trundled by and I kept an eye on the fuel gauge. The Cub only holds 3.7ltr in total. I opted for the Birmingham toll road so as to keep the average speed up. Once on the toll I pulled into the first service station and topped up the tank from my 3ltr spare can. Within five minutes I was on my way again. Motorways are boring, but when clear you can make decent progress. Just before the M25 I refilled the tank and topped up my container. I haven't got a sat nav and knew the way by memorising the route from google maps. Obviously the M25 was chocca as it was now 4.30pm. I did a bit of cautious filtering and was soon turning off for Leatherhead/Dorking. Oh by the way my arse was killing me.

It was now 5.30 pm and out of the three of us I was the first to arrive. Right next to the Travelodge was a Tesco express and they both shared the same car park. It was very busy. In fact it was so busy I moved the bike twice for fear of it being knocked over. Once happy, I unloaded and booked in. I’d had a shower and got a meal deal from Tesco before Fat boy hoves into sight. As I’m helping him in with his luggage he confesses to a little mishap. Apparently whilst fuelling up, just half a mile down the road, his C125 topples over into the petrol pump and smashes the top off his expensive screen. Tit.

A modern C125 screen, broken with an addon screen extender
Fatboys Snapped screen, Tit.

We elect to park the bikes round the back of the Hotel next to the bins. It’s out of sight and there are no other vehicles there. We effect a repair to his screen and walk back round to the front to be greeted by Jason astride his CG125. He’s also dropped his bike the previous day and snapped half of the brake lever off and bent the rear brake pedal. I’m blessed with idiots. Good mates though!

A chap stands by his CG125 and Bogger's C125 in a car park.
Dorks in Dorking.

What to do then? Well off to the pub, or should I say pubs. We saunter into Dorking and at the first pub Fat Boy says he will get the first round in.  I dunno how, but he pleads poverty and actually gets a discount off his round?? How's that work? Further into town and in the next pub, it’s Karaoke. Good Lord, get us out of here. Why oh why do people think they can sing?

The next and last pub is really nice and as it’s such a warm evening we decide to go to the beer garden. It’s probably the best beer garden I’ve ever been in. All around the perimeter are brightly coloured and lit, open drinking/socialising booths. Really, really, nice. 

Booth lit with lights in all colours around a small square at the bar in Dorking
Probably the best beer garden in the world!

Ok it’s getting late. Time for a curry then time for bed, we’ve got a fairly busy day tomorrow.

Once back in the hotel room we're lying in bed (no, not the same bed) and Fat Boy says "I wonder if the bikes are ok?" Jason replies "I can’t see them but they sound ok to me".

Good grief. Good night.

La France Day 1 Bogger provides an acceptable excuse for going to France but the first day of this adventure sees them in Dorking. Dorking is not in France but it does have the best beer garden ever. Apparently.
The Ferry and France There's a ferry then there's some getting lost then there's some drinking. It seems there's an ongoing theme to this tale that involves alcohol. This time beautiful Bayeux hosts the liver apocalypse.
Normandy Beaches And Booze Bogger and his entourage might have been to the D-Day beaches before but there's still more to see and do. They might have been tipsy before too but that won't stop them joining the locals for a round or 6.
Dead Man's Corner (And Less Beer) Bogger and the crew take in a WW2 museum but have to curtail the rest of the day due to unforeseen circumstances. Not to worry, there will surely be more alcohol to soften the blow.
Friends With Food The group temporarily fragments while Bogger and Fatboy visit Bogger's French friend. Food abounds all around and of course there's a beer or two to wash it all down.

Reader's Comments

Bogger said :-
Ooh no images?

Bogger
15/08/2022 16:52:47 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I'm working on it! People keep on interrupting me.
15/08/2022 18:21:32 UTC
nab301 said :-
@ Bogger , think positive , at least there were no melted dipticks reported..... yet!
Nigel
15/08/2022 20:14:48 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I've barely started editing this missive nab301 and I can tell already there are many shenanigans to come.
15/08/2022 20:22:32 UTC
Mark (Fatboy) said :-
Bogger, great start, looking forward to the rest. No doubt there will be explanation of my little accident after the special shots
16/08/2022 13:44:48 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
It'd be better with upright bikes. But you already knew that. Plus Dorking isn't in France, with or without GPS.
Upt'North.
16/08/2022 17:02:43 UTC
Bogger said :-
Upt you are correct. Dorking is not in France. However it's a lot closer to it than Wigan is. I think?

Bogger
16/08/2022 20:21:51 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I cannot believe 4 old motorcyclists STOPPED in Dorking without making the all-too-short trip to Rykas. Fancy not knowing about it.
Posted Image
17/08/2022 22:30:25 UTC
Bogger said :-
I did clock that on Google maps when researching for some where to stay. But to be honest there was beer to be drunk and curry to be consumed. One has to get ones priorities right.

Bogger
18/08/2022 08:07:34 UTC
Fatboy said :-
Glyn is right, we had beer on our minds, not coffee and by the time we'd have got there it would have been closed. But noted for the next time if there is one, in that neck of the woods
24/08/2022 14:28:17 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I'm only just starting to publish this missive Fatboy and I'm sensing a theme. Perhaps it ought not be called "La France", rather "La Bière". La Bière - a tale of 4 English blokes on 125s imbibing their way around Northern France.
25/08/2022 08:23:05 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Ed, I have a problem in this new, woke, modern environment, in that I can't bring myself to call someone FatBoy. It's just so 20th Century, don't you think.
So I will refer to him as the Large And Rotund Dude, or LARD for short.
That's better.
Upt'North.
25/08/2022 09:07:37 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
And Ed, we are still very much a part of Europe, some would say the best part. What we are not is a member of the EU social experiment.
Upt'North.
25/08/2022 09:10:13 UTC
said :-

25/08/2022 12:30:15 UTC

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