...a gentle 4,380 mile bimble around Europe over 14 days, 3 of which were spent at the famous Faro Rally in Faro, Portugal (http://www.motoclubefaro.pt
The trip started and finished at home in Carmarthen, in Wales. On the way it took me via Paul Minton's excellent Moto-Gite in Normandy (http://www.jthebs.com
), and then through the magic of Priority Club reward points, I bounced from one Holiday Inn chain hotel to another all across the continent, first Lyon, then into the Alps and down the famous Route Napoleon to Cannes (and the ridiculously expensive Carlton on the seafront, where I was sharing with the glitterati - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlton_Hotel,_Cannes
, for no money at all), then along the Coast Road to St Tropez, basking in the sun of the French Riviera, and then across to Marseille on the fabulous D98, then up into Andorra via some simply epic mountain passes in the Pyrenees, then down to Barcelona in Spain via the even more epic Collada de Tosas, which is now my favourite ever stretch of road, full stop...
N152 Collada de Tosas (Part 1) from Ken Haylock on Vimeo.
The N152 is an awesome road between Andorra and Barcelona. Well, the mountain pass called the Collada de Tosas is, anyway. It has been superceded by a very efficient tunnel through the mountain range, and then south of the tunnel it becomes a dual carriageway. A very twisty dual carriageway but a dual carriageway nonetheless. A few years ago I took the tunnel from Andorra and then had fun thrashing a 1200GS flat out down the entirely empty crazy twisty dual carriageway at around midnight on a Sunday night. Seeing the road in daylight, err... eeep! Anyway, the Col itself is a thing of beauty. Watch and enjoy as I take the K1200GT SE over the pass. Note that I could be going a fair bit faster, but if you see the drops involved if it goes wrong you'll understand why I wasn't...
N152 Collada de Tosas (Part 2) from Ken Haylock on Vimeo.
See Part 1 for description...
And then I had a couple of hot, hard, long days on the Autopista pushing across Spain, with the external thermometer on my BMW telling me it was 42.5 degrees C at times (that's 109F in old money) it was like riding into an open blast furnace, and then I was in Faro for three days of mild debauchery and the hospitality of my good friend Louis Dobson and his girlfriend Eva, after which I headed back to the UK, starting with another 650 mile day to get to the Spanish-French border, and then a 400 miler and a 200 miler respectively to get back on the ferry at le Havre and head for home.
Now, normally I'd tell you about it and maybe offer a few snaps and a ride report, but these days I can do better. I used a nifty smartphone app called Trip-Journal (http://www.trip-journal.com
) to record the entire 4,380 mile odyssey, and then used one of its many export functions to generate a Google Earth .kmz file, with all of my ride report sections and all of the photos and YouTube videos on it in the correct place, along with my track log. And arguably the best thing about Google Earth is that you can set up my trip as a 'Tour' and then fly through the entire thing. I suggest skipping some of the less interesting motorway/autoroute/autopista sections, but some of the stuff in the mountains looks just awesome flying through in 'tour mode' on Google Earth... this takes ride reports and holiday snaps to a whole new level of insidious scariness!!!
Oh, the Google Earth file can be found here...http://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0BzhLvX8hOXqZNmU1ZmY5NWMtZTZiZC00MWFiLWJjZDEtMDM1YzgwNWE5YjUw&authkey=CPCS99EP&hl=en_GB
Hope this interests somebody :-).
X-Posted to my journal, uk_bikers