Six days TET France on two old Honda V-Twins

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DunkingBird, Oct 13, 2021.

  1. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Switzerland, Bern
    For years, AdventureRider has given me a lot of pleasure. It is time for me to say thank you with a first small report.

    My name is Peter and I have always lived in Switzerland. In tiny Switzerland, there are four official languages: German, French, Italian and Rhaeto-Romanic. My mother tongue is German.

    After my grandfather ceased the farming, I transformed the haystack into a privat workshop for small mopeds.
    I allways loved to decompose engines, but my first passion was connected with numbers (My grandmother teached me to check the change in a shop when I was 5 year old).

    30 years ago, I bought my first Honda XRV 650 AfricaTwin (RD03) by chance from a student who had left for Canada after graduating from a Swiss engineering school (EPFL).

    Over time, I discovered that even with a heavy enduro, you can try out a lot of things off-road. In the meantime, I have destroyed 5 XRV 650s in winter and off-road use. I currently have 2 working examples and an XRV 750 (RD04).

    Unfortunately, I judge my own country to be enduro hell. I lump the neighbouring German-speaking countries into the same category. France and Italy, on the other hand, are enduro heaven for me.

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    So there are always trips to the enduro-friendly countries. I am often accompanied by my long-time buddy Volker, who has been riding Honda Transalp 600V for about 30 years.

    But now, after my chatter, it's time for the report.
    #1
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  2. Toe

    Toe Grab your gear

    Joined:
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    Location:
    W London/Kent, UK
    Looking forward to seeing what you got up to!
    #2
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  3. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    536
    Location:
    Switzerland, Bern
    First Day, 7. October 2021: Arrival and first contact with TET France.

    distance: 353 km, travel time: 12 h 44 min, average speed: 28 km/h

    A low average speed speaks for difficult driving situations.

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    I plan my trips with MapSource and BaseCamp. I often calculate connecting stages with Kurviger.de. On the journey I use a Garmin Montana 600 (terribly slow) and am supported by Volker's mobile phone with the app OsmaAnd+ (wonderfully fast).

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    Volker on his Transalp.

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    As a Catholic, I know my duties :hide

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    It has rained hard in the last few days and so we received a dignified welcome from the first TET section.

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    Sometimes you have to retreat.

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    Time for a wash.

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    We were travelling parallel to a train track on a gravel road when we met a service car of the French railway company SNCF at around 21.15. Volker enquired if there was a problem. We were told that service work was being carried out on the track bed during the night. Just then, Voker's Transalp broke down completely. The next day we replaced a totally dead battery. We set up camp on the spot in the dark and were able to follow the service work.

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    The machine made a caving noise. When one of the workers spotted us, he gave us a friendly wave. We had many friendly encounters with the French on our trip.

    The machine was a bonandrini 108-32/4s. This is a track tamping machine.

    This one is similar:

    #3
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  4. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    536
    Location:
    Switzerland, Bern
    Second Day, 8. October 2021: New Batterie and Continuation of the journey according to plan

    distance: 305 km, travel time: 13 h 27 min, average speed: 23 km/h

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    The already quite long October nights allowed us a restful sleep.

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    I admire Volker's sunny disposition. The small breakdown does not upset him.

    The helpful service technician gave us the address of a motorbike shop, which was only 500 m away. Unfortunately, the shop was closed because the owner was attending a motorbike race. We had already prepared a tow by rope (we didn't know at the beginning that it was just a short-circuited battery). We always carry a rope including wheels to be able to build a pulley in difficult situations. Since the Transalp could be brought back to life by pushing it, it was no problem to continue the journey and the problem was assumed to be in the battery or the rectifier.

    So, with support from OsmAnd+, we drove to another shop about 20 km away.

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    The helpful shop owner immediately gave us a hand. He replaced the battery and the defective rear light bulb for 58 euros. We were served coffee and our tip was categorically refused. They had been heartily pleased with the crazy chaps.

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    Let's go back to the TET.

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    A visit to France is also about culinary delights.

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    Did I mention the long October nights :D
    #4
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  5. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    The land of the Dutchmen
    Great report so far. Quite daring to ride in October on those rear tires :clap
    #5
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  6. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    After 10'000 km, my mitas E07 was indeed overdue.

    #6
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  7. Critic

    Critic More or less!

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,352
    Location:
    West of the Illinois, heart of the state!
    Ah, the Mitas touch! I can tell, you guys are having a great time on your adventure; thanks for taking us along.
    Cheers my friends
    #7
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  8. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    536
    Location:
    Switzerland, Bern
    Third Day, 9. October 2021: Gymnastics and narrow paths

    distance: 231 km, travel time: 13 h 22 min, average speed: 17km/h

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    After our beauty sleep we could go one better. After all, we are ambassadors of our country and well-bred citizens. Volker's mirror suffered a little during the previous night, but it was still usable.


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    Volker's wife is a gymnastics teacher and taught him that after getting up comes early morning exercise.

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    Volker has had to struggle quite a bit with the roots. So I decided that this problem could be avoided.It can be assumed that after the bushes at the edge, the path will play out its reserve ...

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    There are many advantages to travelling in pairs.
    Now I was allowed to catch up on my morning exercises. My luggage system is pleasantly stable and spares the indicators. Volker has mounted an old broomstick to protect his turning instruments. The whole thing is also helpful when straightening up.

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    Howdy

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    We both have a weakness for sweets. This is especially true for the famous mille feuilles. I often use Nop's riding & walking map. Among other things, it reliably lists all drinking water sources and bakeries.

    https://www.wanderreitkarte.de/index.php?lang=en


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    Howdy again.

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    Many kilometres followed on wonderful paths with magnificent views.

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    In order to provide a safe passage for the esteemed enduro hikers, a main road has been tunnelled here.
    #8
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  9. mtnbikeboy

    mtnbikeboy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2011
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    Location:
    Longview, TX
    Being an owner of an abused '89 PD06 Transalp myself, my conclusion is that the issue is not the size of the bikes, but the condition of the tires. I am a big fan of the Kenda K760 Trakmaster II for the rear of my Transalp paired with a motocross tire on the front (usually racing cast offs). It wears very quickly on pavement, but essentially turns my TA into a 450lb (220kg) dirtbike.
    #9
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  10. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2016
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    536
    Location:
    Switzerland, Bern
    Day four, 10. October 2021: Mud and how to get rid of it

    distance: 213 km, travel time: 13 h 39 min, average speed: 16km/h

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    Volker has a strong passion for collecting. This seems to have transferred to his Transalp. When we discovered this little guest in the morning, we decided to observe it and not to remove it.
    Possibly his companion wanted to arm himself for the coming with a better grip.


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    We were happy to see the field paths drying out and could understand that here and there in a deep place some mud still remained.

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    After a little more than an hour, we had successfully transferred the principle of wet-sump lubrication to our chains.
    At the end of the trail we met an elderly couple who tried to understand our motives in a conversation.
    In the meantime, my wife had sent a few impressions to my parents. The reaction was something like.
    Father: When will they finally grow up?
    Mother: It's nice that they're having fun.


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    A few easy kilometres followed.


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    As darkness approached, we descended steeply and came to a first stream. With the help of my centre stand, I had a wash available in no time.
    A second stream followed, which was much deeper and flooded our boots.


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    Then we went steeply back to a road, where we took the first drying measures. We got into our shoes barefoot and tied our socks to our luggage. We had planned to use the airstream for drying, but at about 8°C it didn't quite work out. When going up and down, the residual water flowed alternately from the heel to the toes and vice versa.


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    We had reached our camp for the night after a steep descent to the Dordogne. The water of the past few days had made deep furrows in the gravel road. During an overturn, Volker's Transalp tore a stone under its nail, which we only noticed when we got to our sleeping place.


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    This time we took action.


    While setting up our night's camp, Volker noticed the loss of a valuable accessory. We had to take care of that the following day.
    #10
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  11. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    536
    Location:
    Switzerland, Bern
    Thank you very much for your participation and your helpful experiences.

    #11
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  12. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    536
    Location:
    Switzerland, Bern
    Day five, 11. October 2021: Recovery of a valuable object and start of the return journey

    distance: 386 km, travel time: 13 h 42 min, average speed: 28 km/h

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    Applied physics: The rising warm air from the engine supports the drying process


    Yesterday evening, Volker discovered the loss of his toilet bag. Since it was made by his elder daughter (he is the father of two daughters), it has a high non-material value. As I also carry a handmade toilet bag of one of my daughters (I am the father of 4 daughters), I suddenly realised the seriousness of the situation. We would first follow the path along the Dordogne and then return to the spot where we put our boots under water.


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    The autumn atmosphere thrilled us once again.


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    Saint Privat: We Swiss know very well how sacred the private is.

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    A secretive notary's office in Saint Privat seems worth considering.


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    We washed our socks here yesterday. Volker guessed his necessaire at a spot after the smaller stream.


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    What the man doesn't wear can't get wet.


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    What a look of determination.


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    Well done


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    His toilet bag was not in the place he thought it was. Then he remembered that he had only put it on his motorbike box yesterday in the dark. It must have fallen off when he was driving off. In fact, he found the treasure in the stream. It was floated down a little and then took a bath overnight.


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    Volker is smart. I would have been screwed with my electric razor.


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    Sock pair number 6 and 7


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    At this cattle show we chatted with the farmer. He casually mentioned that his uncle collects the same AfricaTwin that I ride and what a great bike it is. When Volker asked if he also collected Transalp bikes, he got a negative answer. Similarly, this happened several times on our trip.


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    In some places it got quite steep.


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    Since Volker was wearing his last dry socks, we looked for an alternative.


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    real off-road


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    It was time to leave the TET and start the journey home.

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    As the temperature approached a record 16°C, it was time for a drying session.


    We made unusually fast progress on the N roads. Many stages have been widened to four lanes and limited to 110 km/h.



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    In the dark, it happened several times that a truck behemoth caught up with us from behind with full lights. At 100 km/h, we became a traffic obstacle for them. It reminded me of Duell from Spielberg. This thriller gave me a few sleepless nights as a boy.

    Attached Files:

    #12
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  13. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    536
    Location:
    Switzerland, Bern
    Day 6, 12. October 2021: Our last day

    distance: 330 km, travel time: 10 h 18 min, average speed: 32 km/h



    [​IMG]
    Our last night camp.

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    Our temperature record when we got up: 5.5 °C


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    At this bakery we stocked up on, among other things, a Quiche Lorraine. We were served by a good-humoured young French woman. We answered in the affirmative to her question whether she should heat up the Quiche Lorraine for us. When she spontaneously served us coffee at the bench after a few minutes, Volker thought he was in 7th heaven.



    We realised that we had come astonishingly far. The trucks did their night job thoroughly. Moreover, we were close to the place where we skipped a part of the TET route on day 2 because of the battery replacement.
    So we set an appropriate connection point.


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    When we escaped the fog, we reached the village of Chateau-Chalon. It offered us a fairytale atmosphere and the houses seemed deprived of gravity.




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    The panorama function is a great way to fool around.


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    We zigzagged through the vineyards and suddenly heard loud birdsong.

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    Thousands of birds formed different formations and their wings produced impressive wind sounds. You could see the power lines nanching under the load.


    The flight of the starlings is really impressive. A better camera than my Samsung S10 would have been helpful.
    But that's what the internet is for.




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    When we arrived at the site of our first night's camp, our journey came full circle. From here on, we drove home directly, arriving in daylight.


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    The next day, when refuelling, I noticed that after 533 km there was not too much petrol in the tank of my AfricaTwin.



    That was our trip to France, where we enjoyed 6 rain-free days. The encounters were enriching and warm-hearted throughout. France is truly enduro heaven.

    Attached Files:

    #13
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  14. plumer1kt

    plumer1kt Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2015
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    Location:
    Hellas
    #14
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  15. 8382

    8382 KLR'sKlX"sGSn'stuff

    Joined:
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    Ridin'thaROCK
    #15
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  16. Bommes

    Bommes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
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    241
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    NIce ride!! thanks for your report.
    #16
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  17. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
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    1,112
    Location:
    The land of the Dutchmen
    Great to read that age or bike choice thus not influence the adventure you get, it is all in the head.
    #17
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  18. DantesDame

    DantesDame Ridin' Fool Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,100
    Location:
    Switzerland
    I'm definitely going to have to give this a good read-through. I've been wanting to do some TET riding for years but never got around to it. Your route looks promising - thanks for sharing!
    #18
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  19. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    536
    Location:
    Switzerland, Bern
    I would be happy if my report whets your appetite for TET.
    You will come across a photo inspired by your avatar :lol2

    #19
  20. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
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    10,721
    Location:
    Arkansas near Oklahoma
    Thank you! Now, on to Italy.
    #20
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