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Bogger's Brilliant Day Out

By Bogger

Thursday Day 9

This is our last day with Ronan as we head for home tomorrow. Boo Hoo. So today we are going to do a fair few miles down to Saint Nazaire, Ronan's home town. We are going to the dock area to visit the submarine museum and the WW2 U-Boat pens.

We again met at Ronan's place. Just the four of us today, we’ll meet up with Franck later on. Ronan asks if he can have a go on my C125 Super Cub. Certainly mon ami, no problem. I didn’t quite realise that in France a "go of" means literally all day. I never got the Cub back until that evening.

Again Ronan is leading, this time on the mighty Cub. Saint Nazaire, brace yourself, here we come. 

The journey to Saint Nazaire takes us through the stunning scenery of Parc naturel de Briere. Taking in the villages of Saint-Joachim and Saint-Malo-de-Guersac. The villages within the Parc are basically tiny islands surrounded by marshes and water courses. It was only when we stopped in a village and this was pointed out to us could we see the expanse of reed beds and water for miles in every direction.

Soon the roads are starting to get bigger, we must be getting close to Saint Nazaire. It’s busy, but not mad type busy and soon we are into the vast dock area heading towards the U-Boat pens. Sometimes it’s nice having someone in front who actually knows the area. It gives you time to take it all in and have a nosey whilst riding. We pull into a car park right opposite to the WW2 U-Boat pens. 

Hmm, I wondered, which poor buggers had to build that lot for the German cause? They were still very impressive though. The dock that we were at, Basin de Saint Nazaire, also housed the French Museum submarine Sous-marin Espadon. We had a tour of the Espadon aided by English audio headphones. I have no idea what modern Subs are like but I can tell you, those from the 1960’s are blimmin awful places to live and work. My God they are so cramped. Not for me thanks. However it was very interesting and informative.

Before too long we are out in the hot midday sun. Ronan said that we should take lunch at his cousins’ restaurant, not more than ten minutes away in the dock complex. We all agree it’s a splendid idea. And what a lunch it was. Five courses including wine for less than twenty euros each. We obviously met some more of Ronan's family. It was like a scene out of the Godfather, minus the horses’ heads. We spent a very pleasant couple of hours there, eating and drinking (a little) and chatting away without a care in the world. How very cosmopolitan.

Time to head for our new home of Malestroit. I’ve not got me bike back! I can’t prise it out of Ronan's Gallic paws.

Head for home? Well via the Plage de La Baule. A very upmarket French holiday destination just a few miles North of Saint Nazaire. Then onto the salt marshes of Marais Oellets Blancs de Guerande. There are few roads that traverse the salt marshes. It’s devoid of houses and very beautiful. We then head inland to the Walled town of Guerande. We park the bikes up just outside the town walls and spend an hour taking in the inner town itself. It was touristy, but also quintessentially French medieval. In fact it was a lovely place.

The motorcycles and rider are parked in front of swathes of rushes, grasses and shallow rivers
A vintage BMW boxer parked by the wall in Guerande

Time to go…again. Back to Malestroit? No, further North to Port Azal on the Vilaine River. We pull into the car park and are confronted by Franck's BMW and a Norton Commando. We sidle over to the onsite café bar to meet up again with Franck and another new mate Brian. Brian is French and a local to the area. We have a quick coffee and are soon on our way with Brian leading.

Brian, Franck, and Ronan sitting at a table drinking and chattingBrain, Franck, and Ronan.
Norton 850 Command in pristine condition and golden yellow colour

We are following the river inland and cross one of the bridges into the town of La Roche Bernard. We do a lap of the town and are then heading along deserted roads to who knows where? The further we go the faster we go. Brian is giving the Commando some stick, but Nige on his 125 Cub is never more than thirty meters behind. I really don’t know how he’s keeping up, but I’ve known Nige a long time and know what a good rider he is.

Brian keeps checking behind to see if he’s left us. Sorry mate. No.

Soon we are pulling off the road to be greeted by a ginormous property and garden. Yup, it’s Brian's place and very nice and large it was too. Ronan was waxing lyrical about my Super Cub and how good it was. I’ve had seventy four out of it coming here. Thanks Ronan I’m sure it’s run in by now. 

Looking down we see several motorcycles as well as a van and trailer in the large garden at Brian's house

We have a look at Brian's Ducatis, then he wheels out a 1970’s Suzuki GT125. OMG I was in love. I’ve always liked this model along with the GT185. Proper nostalgic and it started up first kick and sat there idling away. I obviously had to tweak the throttle a few times. There was, in my opinion, better to come as he ushered us inside his workshops to the inner sanctum to show us his tiddly 50cc racer. It had a really nice finish to it and it was a fantastic restoration. He was justifiably very proud of it.

A mint condition Ducati 350 Desmo in vivid yellow

Time for Malestroit. Really, are you really sure this time? We were all a bit knackered it was past six o’clock. Ronan said we must be at his house for 8pm for Crepes and drinks. Oh it wasn’t negotiable again either. So our last night was spent with Ronan and his family along with Franck and his wife, eating and drinking in splendid company A perfect end to a perfect holiday. 

Sponsor Bikes And Travels -

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.
Miles And Mates Coming And Going There's people leaving, people joining, lots of riding and well wouldn't you know it - some beer! There's a crew change and a location change for Bogger today.
Cars, Motorcycles, Engines, Nap Time And More Beer Bogger and pals (both French and English) take in the splendours of an automobile museum. There's a lot of lovely cars, a few motorcycles and one napping Bogger on display for all to see.
More Of Everything That Bogger Enjoys Guess what? Bogger's et al are riding motorcycles, visiting museums, eating, and drinking all of Brittany's fabulous hospitality. Poor Bogger, it's a hard life.
Bogger's Brilliant Day Out As Bogger's trip draws to a close there's still an awful lot to do, an awful lot of fun to be had, then throw in some delightful motorcycles and Bogger's a happy chappy.
Emotional Endings And Homeward Heartache It's the end of Bogger's Brittany experience and it appears he's rather enjoyed this sojourn. Alas and alack it's back to reality though, all good things must come to an end.

Reader's Comments

Ian Soady¹ said :-
Sounds absolutely super and is strengthening my wish to go to the area next summer - although we won't have the delights of being hosted by so many locals.
12/12/2022 14:30:44 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Bogger, you're a brave lot riding behind a Commando, there'd be bits of lights, nuts and bolts everywhere.
Not to mention the fumes....
Yes Bogger, it's sometimes best to think past the horrors of who got the job to do stuff for the German War Machine. Probably forced labour, using Half Jews or Russians from OT. I can imagine H and S would not have been high on the agenda.
Nice piccies, thanks for posting.
12/12/2022 16:07:13 UTC
ROD¹ said :-
The Commando although it's a roadster and the same colour as my old bike is an 850.
I believe these held together better than my 750. Well they could not be any worse.
Nice write up, and although I have only been to the area once(and not on the bike) I am now dreaming of a return visit.
12/12/2022 16:38:07 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
I had an 850 Commando for 20 years. During that time it took me far and wide including to Greece and back, several times to the Alps and Pyrenees as well as to the north of Scotland. I also did five RAC/ACU national rallies on it, getting a gold or special gold each time (around 500 miles in 24 hours). It only had one problem, when the alternator stator developed an internal short in deepest France which led to an interesting ride back to Cherbourg, stopping to charge the battery a couple of times at helpful garages.

Nothing ever fell off it and it was a superb touring machine. I admit it perhaps required more in the way of maintenance than some machines but that was part of its charm.
12/12/2022 17:24:25 UTC
Bogger said :-
Thanks for the comments kind lads.

Here's a few more images

U Boat Pens
Spiffing lunch at Ronans Cousins
Hmmmm lovely Suzuki


12/12/2022 20:03:44 UTC
Bogger said :-
Oh dear
12/12/2022 20:04:22 UTC
Bogger said :-
I'll have another go tonight....and probably cock it up again.

13/12/2022 09:50:45 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Hi Bogger.

Due to the idiosyncratic (or another word starting with idio) way Ren has designed this, you can't embed pictures the way you can in other forums. Having said that, it's quite easy:

If you have the pic on your computer just use the upload an image function below.

If it's on the web use the link. But if you want the image to appear in your post download it to your computer then use the above option.

It all works quite well but it would be nice to allow multiple images and links wouldn't it Ren?
13/12/2022 10:09:05 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
You do know SOME people are never blimmin satisfied.
13/12/2022 11:22:31 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
There are GOOD technical reasons why I don't allow folks to post "quasi-html". The simple route is to replace the "[...]" with "<...>". That is until someone works out how to post malicious html and javascript onto the page. Then, THEN you'll all be screaming at me that you've been hacked from my web page.

Now of course there are ways around this. But there's ways around that. But then there's ways around that. But then there's ways around that's that.....

Or I could just not allow quasi-html. More piccies? Why, just do multiple posts.
13/12/2022 11:26:34 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
No criticism here Ed. Although.......
Bogger, me o'd Mucka, I find that on here and other chat shows I have to download the image from Google photos to the tablet or they are rejected. I haven't got a clue why, to be honest I don't care, but it works.
On the IT front...update on the HP printer, new large cartridges arrived in the post, not requested, and no charge. Even a postage paid recycle bag to post the others back.
13/12/2022 12:58:51 UTC
nab301 said :-
Great write up and lots of interesting bikes! A great read for the winter months. I still can't figure out how restaurants can provide 5 course meals with wine for less than €20 euro and remain in business....
13/12/2022 13:12:54 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Becuase they aren't part of multinational chains funneling all their profits back to hedge funds. Instead they're family run establishments which are actually part of their community. Most French restaurants do lunchtime menus du jour at more or less cost and make their profits in the evening, although it's still usually possible to get an excellent dinner for far less than in the UK.
13/12/2022 14:12:44 UTC
Bogger said :-
Here we go again

13/12/2022 19:45:32 UTC
Bogger said :-
This is an image of the U-Boat pens at St Nazairre.

Posted Image
22/12/2022 19:53:58 UTC
Bogger said :-
Our rather splendidly inexpensive lunch

Posted Image
22/12/2022 19:55:37 UTC
Bogger said :-
This is Brians 50cc tiddler.
Posted Image
22/12/2022 19:57:27 UTC
Bogger said :-
Last but not least Brians Suzuki GT125.
Posted Image
22/12/2022 19:59:08 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Love little Italian 50's.
Hate Germans trying to kill us.
23/12/2022 08:31:02 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
So Bogger - I see you've mastered the art of uploading images successfully. Well done squire, in another 20 years you might be up to speed with all this tech. This coming from the chap who doesn't like all these fancy new phones and has still to master his Freeview DigiBox. Yes... I'm too tight to buy a Freeview TV that's why I have a Freeview DigiBox.
23/12/2022 09:10:32 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Ed, just bought a Humax Aura Freeview Play 2 TB jobbie.
Great piece of kit. Catch Up which drove me more crackers on the TV is an absolute doddle on the Humax.

23/12/2022 11:21:03 UTC

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