Aidan and I had been speaking about a European tour for a while, as had HB and I. Ferry tickets were booked and a rough plan formed. We would be joined by Jamie on his Honda Hornet 600, Euan on his BMW GS800 Adventure and Joe and Wojtek who were in Joe's car.
Near the end of June HB and I set off on the Africa Twin to the ferry at Newcastle, stopping of to collect Euan at his house. Euan had already had a wee hiccup, dropping his bike in his garage which in turn had knocked his crash helmet resulting in some damage to the visor. He only discovered this damage about 20 miles outside Newcastle when his visor came undone at 70mph. Luckily Euan managed to keep his shit together and save the visor, somehow re attaching it while he rode along the dual carriageway. Once aboard the ferry we had an unsuccessful search for some superglue to fix Euan's lid before having the usual buffet meal then beers, and a dodgy cocktail in the bar.
fucking hell, its at 30!
At a water stop. That chemical toilet reeked in the heat.
"Fuck this, lets get a hotel if there is one."
Vianden is a stunning small town and and ideal place to relax after being cooked on the bike all day. We ended up sitting outside Café Du Pont speaking with the locals about the topic of the moment. Brexit. They, like us, thought it was crazy. The vote was being counted as we spoke and we were all hoping that we would still have a future as EU members when we woke up.
A quick scan on the wifi the following morning revealed that 62% of Scotland had voted to remain part of the EU. Unfortunately the majority in England and Wales had voted to leave. Thing were going to be getting interesting back home. After breakfast we set off while it was still cool stopping to brim our tanks with Luxembourg's cheap fuel. We took the pleasant twisty roads through a few towns before joining the auto route and blasting along the Piage into France. We were still toiling to cope with the heat. It was so hot it was making me dizzy. Water was poured over our heads as well as down our throats. Plans to ride the Route des Cretes were scuppered by the heat, with our sights set only on Rick and Andrea's house in Rickenbach, Germany.
HB, Euan and I spend the next day with Rick and Andrea chilling out. I nipped down to the shops to get some flip flops as I'd left my Adventure Sandals (TM) back in Vianden, nightmare! We went over to Todtnau to ride the Luge and eat some currywurst. They all rode in the car while I followed on the bike, getting caught in the rain on the way over. Euan and I got soaked again taking the chairlift up to the luge but it was worth it. The luge is great fun, well worth the 9 euro. If you're in the area don't miss it out.
Andrea, Rick, HB, Euan and Eddy the cat.
Caught in the rain.
Once back at Rick and Andrea's an eye was kept on the phones. Wojtek was giving us updates from the passenger seat of Joe's beemer. I was pretty worried about that lot to be honest. I was concerned that one of them would get lost, or that Jamie and Aidan would be unable to find Joe and Wojtek. We were also hearing that it was pishing doon with rain all over the route they were taking. All my fretting was needless though, Wojtek's updates assured us that they were doing fine.
They all rolled up that evening. Introductions, greeting and cold beers were passed around before the shower ritual. That evening we headed out to Stefan's Pizzaladen. We had a great time at Stefan's place. Full of pizza and proper German schapps we headed back to Rick and Andrea's where we carried on.
The whole crew at Stefan's. Round the table there's Wojtek, Andrea, Rick, HB, me, Joe, Aidan, Euan and Jamie.
Another feast was layed out for breakfast. While we ate we talked about the day's route. We were heading up to visit Wolfgang, only an hour or two's ride north. Because I'd already drank shitloads of the beer I figured it would be good to visit Rothaus Brewery. Bike's were repacked with Joe's car being filled with lots of everyone else's stuff. I jumped aboard the Africa Twin and went to wheel it...
The fucks goin on?
Something's no right here.
Will we make the brewery?
Find out in Part 2.