Dark Dog Moto-Tour in France

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by fredgilb, Jan 26, 2013.

?

If there was an inexpensive way to get your bike there and back would you enter?

  1. Yes, In a heartbeat

  2. Looks to dangerous, no thanks

  3. Sure, but only if the roadbooks list McDonalds too.

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Oddometer:
    213
    Location:
    Rockland county, NY
    This time I was going to have to ride with the [​IMG]
    really BIG back pack across southern France to my friends place. I decided to take the "autoroute". This was going to my first big trip off the back roads. Smooth as glass and BORING> but I thought I'd had enough back road adventures to last me a while.

    Did I mention what a PITA it is to not have a chipped credit card? So many tolls, so annoying each time and expensive too. With lots of speed cameras. In all fairness, they actually remind you in a not too obvious way that there is one coming up. I guess the thinking is, if you can't heed the warning and are speeding you deserve the fine.
    Here's where I'm going
    [​IMG]

    After a whole day of rallying I had another 450km. to cover, so I was planning to stop over night somewhere. What ensued was one of my most harrowing M/C experiences to date.
    Cruising along on the Autoroute I see way off in the distance a huge wall of black clouds. Hmm, that looks, really menacing. Garmin is telling me it's only 12km. to Aix-en Provence. Gotta try and make it...then.....whoa...........who turned out the lights! It's raining so hard I can barely see the cars lights. I'm thinking "wow, this is so, so dangerous. If I can't see them you know they sure as hell can't see me". I've gotta find an underpass but it's raining so hard that I can't see them. I only know I've been under one because the rain lets off momentarily! But I don't want to slow down too much as I'm afraid of getting hit from behind. Finally, I find an underpass, but the rain is coming down sideways so it's still not much better! If you've ever tried to set up a tent in a storm you know what I felt like trying to get into my rain suit!
    Another toll! Are you kidding, no way I'm going to fiddle around looking for the right change. The camera will never see my muddy license plate tonight. So I wiggle around the toll gate. It's times like this it pays to have a sick sense of humor! After all I went through in the past weeks weather, now this?
    Finally an exit, now to find a place to stay and eat. Many are closed for the off season or full. I'm starting to get a little desperate. I pull into yet another place and open the door, the proprietor and his wife are standing ankle deep in water. They look at me completely freaked out, like, OK, and now the creature from the black lagoon has arrived too! Oh sorry, I guess this means your closed? Next.... At this point I'm getting tired of pulling off my really BIG pack, soaking wet gloves and helmet off me just to find out the place is full or closed. I walk into a place that's a restaurant and hotel and ask about a room. The ladies at the bar are staring at me with a look of terror. I take off my helmet and one of them realizes I'm not french. "Monsieur, it's not a good idea in France to come into hotels in the night with a helmet on, you've scared us badly. Oh, oops..... well at least I got directions to a place that was open. Well by the time I got to the hotel the only dry clothes I had was a bathing suit and a tee shirt. I'm sitting there eating or rather trying to eat the toughest steak ever and watching the TV announce that what I had just ridden through was a TORNADO!
    #61
  2. Wolf Tohsaka

    Wolf Tohsaka n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Perpignan, Southern France
    Funny fact : since some time now the FFMC (French motocyclist association) negociated the toll fees which are way cheaper than in car.

    Not-so-funny : if you have a Visa Electron or the equivalent with MasterCard, card won't work with highway machines.

    For the speed, if you have a foreign-plated vehicle, automatic speed traps won't work, manualomatic ones (car parked with a speed trap inside) neither. You only have to fear the "Gendarmerie" (military police) which will chase you using FJR 1300 / BMW R1200RT or Megane RS. (if you're over 150kph). Under 180Kph, foreign licence holders will only get a 90 Euros fine, which you have to pay immediatly in cash (y'know finances Pastis and peanuts)

    Fred, you might have seen foreign-plated cars going quite fast on the highway, especially arriving to Toulon, this explaining why (yellow front plate usually)
    #62
  3. IVAN38

    IVAN38 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2013
    Oddometer:
    81
    Location:
    Veyrins , FRANCE
    megane rs / fjr/ supercopter ( french highway patrol)
    [​IMG]


    moto tour 2012 on video:clap

    french version
    1/2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWUxfnjHdkQ

    2/2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sl-_eu9cr1g
    #63
  4. wilmar13

    wilmar13 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,716
    Location:
    90042
    I don't speak french but it is still entertaining to watch those!

    I can't get my head around how a sport bike can be competitive in this event. It looks like the Duke 690 is the ideal weapon with its mix of Supermotoish ergos with decent weight. Courses look too tight for anything with more than 70HP anyway.
    #64
  5. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Oddometer:
    213
    Location:
    Rockland county, NY
    #65
  6. JethroDog

    JethroDog dogs bark

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    213
    Location:
    Mainz, Germany
    Not to rehash this, but I too quickly learned that having a chipped card was a necessity. When my US based bank offered a chipped card, I jumped on the opportunity. The problem that I ran into was that it was a Visa debit card (all that they offered). Worked at Avia and BP, but not at Carrefour or Repsol. Cash is a backup, but swipe type cards would work also......unless you are in Val d'Isere heading for Col de l'Iseran and the only gas station in town is automated. Travel with a friend or find a Euro based chipped card or at least one that is tied to a credit card.
    #66
  7. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Oddometer:
    213
    Location:
    Rockland county, NY
    After dinner as I walked back to my room and noticed that an other rider from the Moto-Tour had also bailed and sought refuge from the storm. The next morning we had breakfast together. We compared our horrors of how deep the water was we had ridden through. Mine was almost up to my pegs! The riders name is Eric Langelotti. If my memory serves me right he placed second in the vintage class. His ride was a sweet 1986 VFR750 Honda. He won in 2003 which was the event's first year with a Ducati. We set off together, as it turned out we we're heading to the same area.

    [​IMG]

    This was my destination,

    [​IMG]

    I had worked as the assistant to this photographer back in the "Ra-Ra" or was it "Go-Go" 80's.
    My plan was to visit, rest and relax before heading north to Paris. A very nice place to unwind, n'est pas? I slept well! Thanks Elaine!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Padi├Ęs
    #67
  8. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Oddometer:
    213
    Location:
    Rockland county, NY
    A detail of the murals in the billiards room.....

    [​IMG]

    The small doorway leads to the bar in the tower/turret.

    [​IMG]

    The paintings depict the property in it's heyday.
    #68
  9. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Oddometer:
    213
    Location:
    Rockland county, NY
    Yes, it's true......... I'm entered for 2013........... 2nd day is going to be 760km! Hope it's not raining...........first riders leave @ 3:00 in the morning
    #69
  10. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Oddometer:
    213
    Location:
    Rockland county, NY
    I made this video from several sources (who we're kind enough to give me permission) including my own. Merci Moto-Journal!
    #70
  11. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Oddometer:
    213
    Location:
    Rockland county, NY
    From New York area.......... ocean is $1K delivered from Bremenhaven to Heidelberg which is not too far from the start. We'd be using Scuhmacher shipping which is RO - RO. No crating. The delivery from Bremenhaven is actually more than the shipping from NY! But the advantage is huge convenience and Stefan Knopf takes care of all the customs crap which I've heard from multiple sources is worth avoiding in Bremenhaven. His place is also a B&B.
    Disadvantage is you're bikeless for a month and a half.
    Return, last year was $2300 from Paris to NY by air. That's including a 500 euro crate. Problem is nothing comes into NY uncrated. Flew direct on Air France. That's better than I did for myself! I had a layover in Amsterdam. Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics can handle the return from Zeebrugge, Belgium for$900 also Ro-Ro. You have to figure fuel and train back to Paris is going to set you back another $120.
    #71
  12. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Oddometer:
    213
    Location:
    Rockland county, NY
    Berklay CARGO Services can now ship on Lufthansa uncrated out of New York to Frankfurt for $2000.


    Cool official video with highlights from a few different years. <object name="kaltura_player_1370544047" id="kaltura_player_1370544047" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowScriptAccess="always" allowNetworking="all" allowFullScreen="true" height="300" width="533" data="http://video.cedricd.be/index.php/kwidget/wid/0_57k1k7qs/uiconf_id/8700151"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><param name="allowNetworking" value="all" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="bgcolor" value="#000000" /><param name="movie" value="http://video.cedricd.be/index.php/kwidget/wid/0_57k1k7qs/uiconf_id/8700151"/><param name="flashVars" value=""/><a href="http://corp.kaltura.com">video platform</a><a href="http://corp.kaltura.com/video_platform/video_management">video management</a><a href="http://corp.kaltura.com/solutions/video_solution">video solutions</a><a href="http://corp.kaltura.com/video_platform/video_publishing">video player</a></object>
    I couldn't figure out how to stop it from playing automatically. I know, it's annoying.
    #72
  13. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Oddometer:
    213
    Location:
    Rockland county, NY
    [​IMG]
    Market day in Revel. Say Cheese!

    <iframe src="" width="800" height="450" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>


    [​IMG]
    A regional vintage car club visited the chateau

    [​IMG]
    Citroen were the first mass produced front wheel drive cars. These are the very rare six cylinder models. We're talking heavy steering!

    After about a week of bicycle riding and recuperation I started to get the itch to get up to Paris. Shipping the bike back from the south of France seemed a hopeless cause so, away I went at the crack of dawn. I had no particular plan except to enjoy the scenery at my pace instead of rally pace and stay off any main roads even though my GPS tried at ever turn to contradict me. After a while I gave up and would stop and buy maps of the region I was heading through. This part of France is very underpopulated. I could ride for 30 - 40 minutes and see maybe three four cars. And now that the rally was over I had perfect weather too!

    [​IMG]
    The St. Foy abbey-church in Conques was a popular stop for pilgrims around the 11th century. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conques
    #73
  14. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Oddometer:
    213
    Location:
    Rockland county, NY
    [​IMG]
    The problem with traveling by yourself is that your motorcycle ends up being the girl in the picture..........

    [​IMG]
    The carvings over the doors are famous

    Look at the details for a sampling of the fate awaiting "hommes perversi". For instance, we see a poacher being roasted on a spit by the very rabbits he poached rotating the spit!
    [​IMG]
    #74
  15. Z0RR0

    Z0RR0 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    555
    Location:
    Montreal, CA
    #75
  16. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Oddometer:
    213
    Location:
    Rockland county, NY
    Thanks Julien, I drooled over your report when I was planning this extravaganza. Pyrenees are the BEST! I spent a couple of summers near Ceret bicycle riding. The place we rented had an ST2 parked in the garage. I almost fell over when I saw it. Well, a couple of rides latter I was a goner! It's what led to this report. To bad the Moto-Tour has never been down there. I'm actually starting to have second thoughts about riding this year's edition. I mean, 760 km. of back roads in one day best's their previous record of 716! If it rains? Bloodbath and beyond!
    #76
  17. Z0RR0

    Z0RR0 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    555
    Location:
    Montreal, CA
    You drooled over my report? Well, your report started a bunch of flashbacks from my time in France! The circle is complete!:rofl
    I'd lvove to do the DDMT, but don't think I'll have my shit together by this September. 2014 sounds more realistic.

    760km is a lot on those roads. Most of my day trips were ~500km, and I was drained by the end of it.
    #77
  18. LethPhaos

    LethPhaos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    636
    Location:
    Belgistan
    Thanks for the report, I had found it a couple months ago but didn't read it yet. Now that I have, I've gotten more certain I want to try it next year (2014). I have the perfect bike, I'll just have to add lights and a roadbook holder (and learn how to read said roadbook...)
    #78
  19. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Oddometer:
    213
    Location:
    Rockland county, NY
    Go for it..........it is EPIC!
    #79
  20. fredgilb

    fredgilb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Oddometer:
    213
    Location:
    Rockland county, NY
    Cruising on up to Paris the "back way". I started to notice that the symptoms of the loose engine mounts we're back. I was keeping my eye out for a shop to tighten them. But they were all either out to lunch, on vacation, or this or that. On the road out of Bourges a sign caught my eye and I decided to turn around and check it out.
    I'm looking around thinking, hey, this place looks like the real deal..........then I realize that the bike on the bench is Mathieu Gines' who took 2nd place in the Moto Tour. Cool. It's the home of Tecmas Racing. They gave me a tour of their impressive operation including some really radical suspension set ups. In the mean time their mechanics tightened up the mounts and I was soon on my way. Thanks guys!
    [​IMG]
    #80