Monthly Archives: June 2016

Germany to UK

Finally arriving at Knoph Tours at 2300hrs we unload our kit and head to our room. We get distracted on the way and stop in the common area and meet a couple from Alaska, part of the pterodactyls that do D2D, that we went to a couple years ago described in our book, “Two Up with a Pup”. A couple other people were in there also drinking some very good Scotch, which they were kind enough to share.
We woke in the morning to a bike that wouldn’t start, a problem that would plague and delay us for a couple of days. But, that was OK as it made us slow down and enjoy a day in the beautiful town of Canterbury.
We got the bike finally started and headed to camp on the Mosel river and camped beside a couple German kids pedal biking around on holiday.
Our next day of riding was fantastic as we zigged and zagged through Belgium and the French countryside on our way to catch the auto-train at Calais to the UK. Our roads consisted mainly of unmarked, narrow, exposed, curvy roads that I believe were built by a motorbike rider. The smells in the air were of fresh cut grasses, harvested crops and flowers of spring in the air. Melanie’s allergies were on full alert, but it was a wonderful day.
After another couple days riding the back curvy roads thru France with smells of fresh baked croissants in the villages as we weaved along the narrow roads, we made it to Calais and boarded the tunnel train to the UK. The 35 minute ride aboard the double decker rail car, crossing at speeds around 80mph, was a breeze as we never even felt much movement starting and stopping. I could have probably left the motorbike unattended and it would have been OK.
Arriving in the UK, with Melanie reminding me to look right and stay left we started exploring the English countryside as we sped north to Dover to see the white cliffs and the castle. After a couple quick stops we headed out and started to look for a campsite near Canterbury and a breakdown that would prove to be quite timely.
Walking up in the morning the Triumph would not start again. After several tries the battery was spent so it was placed on a charger for the day and we wandered into Canterbury for a wonderful day exploring a beautiful town, full of historic sites and interesting people.



We met a nice couple from Scotland, a guy celebrating his 50th birthday, walking their puggle, a pup with look and personality like Gypsy. We chatted about their country and walked on along the river that winds through town, stopping at a sidewalk café for a moccachino and a strawberry/chocolate crepe, a favorite since the first one we shared in Venice.


We sat in the warm sun and talked and just watched the people passing by, some rushing to a late meeting and others, just hand on hand, a wonderful afternoon.

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Back to Germany

Four bins later, my MoskoMoto 40 litre Backcountry carry on full of clothes and other kit, my Andy Strapz messenger bag with electronics and Ukulele and we are ready to leave.
Our driver to the airport is a very interesting guy. As we are chatting, Melanie asked him where he was from. He grew up in Latvia at the end of WW2 and his mother left Russia under the cover of darkness and defected to Germany, living on a bench in a stationary, non-running train car before they were sponsored to come to the US. He was 6 years old at the time and still vividly remembered the details of their struggling for survival. With tears in his eyes, he recalled for us how his father got him, his mother and his grandmother safely out of the country, but before his father left, he was captured and declared a Spy by the Russian government and sentenced to 25 years hard labor in Siberia. His mother did not know this and hence declared him dead, a casualty of the war before they could come to the US. After many years he found his father was still alive and had been looking for them since his release from Siberia. He met his father in Latvia, but then his father died within the year, content to have finally met his son again. A very sad and gripping story.
The rest of our day was great, ironically, flying Aeroflot airlines into Moscow and on to Frankfurt, about 16 hours of fly time. Aeroflot is inexpensive to fly and the treatment and meals are always great. This time we had lamb, salmon, chicken, great desserts and FREE wine.
After landing in Frankfurt, we were picked up by the shuttle and whisked away to Stefan Knopf’s place in Heidelberg, where our room was waiting and our bike was parked out front.

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