Our ace Moto France Guru (code name MRM4IE but we call him MF) organised a little foray into Belgium and France.
Mr MF - Moto France Guru
He invited some of his bessie mates and could get only 18 to sign up. In order to make sure that there would be no shirkers and that everyone understood the 'rules' he hosted a BBQ Briefing a few weeks prior to departure. Reiterating the rules included: 1.) Don't frighten Citroen 2CVs by suddenly appearing in their windscreens on the brow of a blind rise 2.) Handshake to all and sundry first thing in the mornings (but only one - otherwise diplomatic incident) 3.) Two kisses not three (otherwise further d.i.) 4.) Three kisses for girls 5.) DAM Double Helix DNA stagger system 6.) Second man drop-off HAB system 7.) Petrol emergency procedures etc.
Dr JK kindly invited us for tea and biccies (and scones and cream as it turned out) at his very convenient RV near to the ferry port. We arrived in dribs and quite a few drabs. The "shafties" were allocated parking next door away from the "chains" in case the former got sprayed with Scotties Oil by the latter.
J-M D made the RV with pinpoint accuracy.
This isn't Herringbone parking.
"What's he doing parked here?" "Err I think I should be over there!"
As it was only a few hours until an 8 course P&O dinner (well 2x four courses) we stuffed ourselves on tea, biccies, scones, cream and jam. I'll try and get a picture to insert here. Maybe someone can send me a pic of scones and jam?
We left Dr JK to do the washing up and headed for the Ferry Terminal. Dr JK is fast at both washing up and motorcycling.
Leaving Dr JK's
We all arrived together in perfect formation. But they didn't want us at the Freight Terminal so we executed magnificent synchronised U-turns and headed for the Vehicle Terminal.
At this point - having just switched on our phones - we learnt that our two scouts (well one Scout and a Brownie) of the advanced recce troop had had a skirmish with the enemy. Not ideal. However, our dauntless pair were not phased and reported to base camp the next day with only a slightly bent moto. The French will be paying for this one!
We boarded the Pride of York skidding only slightly on the slippery ramp and snaking artistically on the oily deck, admiring each others helmets reflecting their brand new 3M tape stickers magnificently in the headlight beams in the suffused lighting of the car/motorcycle deck.
I believe that we can recommend P&O. The cabins are a tad small, and you have to go out into the passage (gangway?) to change or turn around - a bit inconvenient when you have been relegated to the top bunk - but otherwise the ship, the staff, the food, the bars etc, are magnificent.
My shipmate, Dr AM, went straight to the bar on boarding and came back to the cabin with four beers for the price of five. "A bargain" he said, 'especially for Russian beer!"
Click here for a link to P&O Ferry
The ship had a lot of manoeuvering to do. The gap between ship and lock was kind of small......
........ maybe 12" each side?
We made the decision to let the pilot do the navigation. We repaired to the bar hoping that Sub-Lieutenant Phillips wasn't in charge. Over a drink or three we started the bonding process with our new Yorkshire and IOM friends - Mr JA. Mrs SA and Ms J-MD. It is a pleasure to have you with us.
After a few drinks we had dinner.
This is definitely the way to travel. Mr PG I appreciate that you could not provide a pic of Dr JK's scones and jam but I could do with that picture of cones and jams, that you promised, here!!
After a non-eventful crossing, but a restless night on the top bunk wrestling my postage stamp duvet and listening to Dr AM's rythmnic breathing, we arrived at Zeebrugge docks at about 09:00 Belgium time.
Breakfast was desperately needed as rations on this vessel are pretty meagre. THIS is not my breakfast. I went for the full English.
Soon it was time to head for the car deck and get sorted for departure. Ride-on-the-right, Ride-on-the-right was going through my head. We decided to RV at the first convenient place after riding off the ferry for general adjustments before launching off towards the land of Asterix and Obelix.
Note 1: All maps and photos can be resized by clicking.