The Ardennes September 2015 - A weekend out with the boys.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Don T, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    In March I contacted 10 of my friends - inviting them participate in an extended weekend ride to the Ardennes in September.

    The reason for the early notice was that most of my friends live busy life's with many obligations. Honestly I didn't expect many of them to sign up but I was pleasantly surprised. Within a few days I got 9 positive responses. Only one guy found that a ride like that was more than he could stomach - he rides a KTM 690 Enduro.

    In the weeks up to the trip I received 2 cancellations - one guy had gotten a new job at the Danish embassy in Kabul and would be leaving before the trip - another got his bike stolen and wouldn't have time to work things out with the insurance company before departure.

    Departure was set for Thursday morning the 24th of September when I got off from work.

    4 guys showed up at my work and together we headed for the port in Rødby where we met up with the last guy leaving from Zealand.

    After a 45 minutes ferry crossing we arrived in Germany and hit the Autobahn towards Hamburg to meet up with the last 2 guys. They came from Jutland and showed up as planned.

    The gang was now complete and we continued south east on smaller roads.

    Late in the afternoon we arrived at Tonenburg - a 14 century castle where I had booked accommodation in advance. Tonenburg is known as a biker friendly place and turned out to be just that.

    The rooms were simple but nice, the food plenty and there was a good selection of beers. Some of the guys hadn't met prior to this trip. I like to bring friends from different circles together and have done so several times before. It seemed like everybody enjoyed the company and conversation flowed easily both between old friends and new acquaintances. It was a nice evening.

    The guys picking me up from work - one of my colleges are sending us off.
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    First fuel stop.
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    At the port in Rødby.
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    The two guys from Jutland joins us just south of Hamburg.
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    Coffee break in the afternoon.
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    Tonenburg.
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    Before dinner I introduced the guys to each other.
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    The waiter/bartender had a busy evening.
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    #1
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  2. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    Friday morning we were back on the road early after a good breakfast. We spend the day riding some of the good roads Germany has to offer instead of wasting time on the Autobahn.
    After a good long day’s ride we arrived at Baton Rouge in Belgium. One of the guys - Johs - arrived in a cloud of oil scented smoke. It turn out that the reason was a leak in the oil cooler on his 16 years old Suzuki Bandit.

    Baton Rouge is a Motorcycle Inn run and owned by the Dutch couple Ben and Hetty. It would be our base for the weekend.
    We were accommodated in an 8 bed dorm up under the roof.
    After a change of clothes and a couple of cold beers on the porch it was time for dinner. As always at Baton Rouge the food was really good. Hetty is a brilliant chef. After dinner Ben was put to work behind the bar as several of my friends put in a valiant effort to drain the place for draft beer. We were having a good time.

    Morning view from our room at Tonenburg.

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    One of several stretch legs/pee/smoking breaks during the day.

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    Lunch time.

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    Last break of the day.

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    Arrived at Baton Rouge - some of the guys had never before tried to ride for a whole day and was busted.

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    My corner of the dorm.

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    When everybody had found a bed and changed clothes it was beer time.

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    Delicious dinner.

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    Cheers.

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    #2
  3. TigerTanker

    TigerTanker Husqurducycle

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    Looks like fun!

    I did inter rail in much of that area back in May. Beautiful scenery, and the food, beer.... I did some riding too! Albeit on pedal bike rentals. I especially enjoyed Lubeck and Den Holder on my 10 day trip. I'm a Swede that lives in the USA.
    #3
  4. EzzySurf

    EzzySurf Adventurer

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    Looks like a nice trip just before winter sets in here in Europe. How was the trip on your new SuperTen compared to your previous DL650?
    #4
  5. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    It was fun :)
    For me it was only a short trip (both regarding time and distance) and my main priority was to spend time with my friends. For some of the others it was a real adventure as they have never before used their bikes for "travelling". This trip was an eye opener for those guys. They had a blast and I'm sure they will do similar trips again.

    It's not fair to compare the DL650 with the S10. The +2012 DL650 is a really good bike but the 2nd-gen S10 is in another league - as it should be considering the price difference.
    The V-Strom is easier to push around the garage and cheaper to buy/own but besides that the S10 beats it hands down - it's better build/higher quality, it handles better, it's more comfortable and most importantly - it's more fun to ride!
    #5
  6. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    Surprisingly enough everyone seemed fit for fight when they showed up for breakfast the following morning.

    The plan for the day was that Ben would take out his Speedtriple and show us some of the great roads in the area. There is nothing like having a local who knows how to ride leading the way on new roads.
    But before the fun could begin we had a leaking Bandit to attend to. Ben took us to the local motorcycle shop. Not much help there. Ben then decided to stay with Johs and figure out another way to get the Bandit fixed.
    Sadly this meant that we lost our guide and the gang was a member short.

    Now the 6 P's came into play (Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance). In the morning Hetty had provided me with a +200 km route just in case something like this should happen. The remaining 7 of us took off with me as a guide.
    The route was fantastic. It took us through beautiful landscapes and picturesque towns on exciting motorcycle roads in 3 countries (Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg). We arrived back at Baton Rouge several hours later in high spirit.

    While we had been out riding Ben had found a guy who could fix/replace the oil cooler on the Bandit. Johs was sad that he had missed the ride but relieved that his bike was back in working order.

    Saturday night is BBQ night at Baton Rouge. I'm sure that everyone enjoyed the meal - even my friend Rene who managed to get in bad standing with Hetty because he tried to avoid the delicious side dishes she had prepared and gorged only on the meat. She named him The Meat Eater.

    After dinner the attack on the bar was less vicious than the night before. People took it easy because they had in mind the long ride home the next day. It was still a joyous evening.

    Exploring the surroundings on foot in the morning.
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    Getting ready for the days ride.
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    First stop at the local motorcycle shop.
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    Second breakfast at the border between Germany and Luxembourg.
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    We were not the only ones enjoying the roads.
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    Relaxing and enjoying the view.
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    Nice roads.
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    Lunch break.
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    A short video from the days ride.


    BBQ time.
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    Hetty trying to force feed The Meat Eater with something else than meat.
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    #6
  7. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    People were up early Sunday morning. In advance we had agreed that we wouldn't do the ride home as one group. Some was in a hurry to get home. Others wasn't.
    The most anxious one to get home left before breakfast was served. After a quick breakfast 4 other guys hit the road. 1 guy who had decided that he wanted to spend 2 days on the ride home took off next.
    Rene (The Meat Eater) and I was the last ones to leave Baton Rouge. We started out on beautiful small roads through the Ardennes. As we neared the border to Germany we hit the highway. From then on and until we arrived at the ferry in Puttgarden we only stopped twice to stretch our legs, get a snack and fill up the bikes.

    I arrived home just in time for dinner after a nice but uneventful +800 km day in the saddle.

    Besides having a great time with good friends the weekend also gave me an opportunity to try out the touring potential of the brand new XT1200Z I had acquired only a few weeks before the trip. It impressed me in every way. It was very comfortable and handled everything from highway to small twisty roads extremely well. I'm really looking forward to our future adventures together.

    The sun was only just above the horizon when the first guy left.
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    The next 4 guys had time for breakfast before leaving.
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    Billy the charming house dog begging for scraps in the morning... or considering eating a guest?
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    An oil cooler left behind in the garage bin.
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    Beautiful morning in the Ardennes on our way home.
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    One of the few times we got off the bikes that day.
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    At the port in Puttgarden - almost home.
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    #7
  8. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Great report. Beautiful area you rode in. Pics are beautiful. Thanks for taking us along. I also really enjoyed your video.....Dave
    #8
  9. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    Thank you for the kind words Dave - I'm glad that you enjoyed the report :-)
    #9
  10. IslandMonkey

    IslandMonkey inselaffe

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    Very nice. Looks like you had fun.
    #10
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  11. OnTheWay

    OnTheWay Long timer

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    What a band of brothers!Seems you guys have had a lot of fun there.
    #11
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