Sunday, September 14, 2008
Because it was Sunday, the restaurant did not open until eight AM for
breakfast. By that time, my luggage was on the bike and I was ready to
go. I payed my room and breakfast and got the coffee I had last night
for free. Nice !
After breakfast I left for Paris. Just outside Lagny sur Marne, the
freeway in the direction of Paris was closed because of an serious
accident. The police told me there was no other way to get to Paris
so I had to wait but a French cardriver told me I could get on the
next exit, turn around and get on the road to Paris from the other
side. He was right and a few minutes later I was on my way to Paris
I am so happy I have a GPS. The last time in Paris, in
July 2005 we had to use the map and ask for
directions and now I just typed in my destination and was guided
to it by the Tomtom.
On my way to the Eifel tower where I wanted to take a picture, I passed
the Notre Dame so I had to stop for a picture. This is so much easier
when you are on a motorcycle. Just park it on the sidewalk and get
the picture. The BMW, having good ground clearance because it is
an all-road bike, is ideal. Even some higher curbs on the sidewalks
are no problem.
The Notre Dame in Paris
On Saturday, the Pope had been in Paris so a lot of roads were closed
but with the Tomtom it was no problem and soon I parked the bike
near the Eifeltower.
The Eifel tower
First I had parked the bike close to the Eifeltower but then a gendarme
(French policeman) told me I had to move the bike away because there
could be a bomb in one of my panniers......OK....Jan the biking terrorist....
No problem, he was doing his
job. I already made the picture I wanted so I parked the bike a bloack away
from the Eifeltower.
The gendarme was afraid for bombs in my panniers......
Here a souvenir stand was just opening so I could buy some presents for my
wife and children and after I payed, the lady gave me a miniature
Eifeltower keyring as a present.
The souvenir shop
So now it is time to let the Tomtom guide me to "Home". From the Eifeltower
to my garage at home is 405 km according to my Tomtom.
At a quarter past ten, I left Paris on my way home. The first kilometers
on the freeway but because I programmed the Tomtom NOT to use toll-roads
(péage in French) I left the freeway after I was outside the suburbs of Paris
and continued on the route N2.
Northern France is very flat and wide
65 Kilometers after I left the Eifeltower, I stopped at the side of the N2
to drink some water, eat the chocolat bread I took from the hotel and to
adjust and lubricate my chain again. It is in very bad condition so I had
to take it easy on my way home to avoid putting to much stress on the chain.
I had to adjust my chain again
When my tripmeter showed almost 200 km, I wanted to refuel becasue I knew that
it may be hard to find an open gasstation in Belgium on a Sunday afternoon but
the only gasstations I saw were only usable with a French debitcard.
Finally, at Laon, I found a Carrefour shop with a gasstation that accepted
my VISA card. Again the Tomtom proved how usefull it is.
Finally I could refuel using my VISA card
After being on the N2 for a while, the road was blocked becasue of road
reconstruction works. TheTomtom has a function to avoid obstacles and I used
that to calculate another route home. With this diversion I ended up on
the D946, a very quiet road through some nice small villages.
The Northern French countryside
I was on the D946 until the village Guise. Then I came on the D934 going North.
At a quarter to two, I stopped in a small village Faubourg-Soyéres near
Landrecies to have lunch.
It was nice small café. I had a hot cheese sandwich and a coffee and tried to
read a French newspaper. While I was there, the whole family came from upstairs
to have their lunch in the café. It is a pity I only speak so little French.....
Here I had a very nice "sandwich frommage"
Soon after lunch, I arrived in Belgium again. Now it was time to get back
on the freeway and ride home.
Back in Belgium. The rest of the trip is riding
boring freeway to the Netherlands
Soon after I crossed the Belgian border and was on the freeway again, I
came at a big gasstation. I stopped to drink some water from the bottle in
my tankbag and then I wanted to refuel but they said something in French
through a speaker at the pump and it did not work. Someone explained to me
I first had to pay and then I could fill my tank.......What nonsense. If they
don't trust me, I go somewhere else so I left without fiulling my tank.
I should make it home without refueling with what was left in the tank.
Close to the Dutch border, I left the freeway and right after crossing the border I
filled my tank at a Dutch gasstation (10.54 liter / 282.2 km).
At a quarter to five, I parked the bike in my garage again. The whole trip had
been 2801 km in seven days and I enjoyed it very much. Also it was very nice to
spend some time with my old friends.
The BMW worked fine. That a chain is worn out after 20000 km is not strange. The
only real drawbacks are the seat and the windscreen. The seat has not enough room
to move around on a long trip and the windsceen gives to much windnoise on my helmet.
Fuel consumption was good. I did more then 25 km on a liter. The bike has used no
oil on this trip.
After I returned home, I bought a new rear tire and new chain and sprockets
because the old were very worn out.
New rear tire, chain and sprockets
I have been checking the internet for other windscreens to reduce the wind
noise around my head but have not decided what I will do.