Day 1

The beginning!

My trip didnt get off to the greatest of starts. I got up later than i wanted to then rushed around in a stress all morning doing the packing that i should have done the previous night.

I was in a bit of a daze when i was finally finished loading everything onto the bike and saying goodbye to my family. It hadnt really dawned on me that i might not see them again for 3 months and i wasnt feeling as emotional as i thought i might. Give me another few days and im sure the lonliness and being away will kick in.
So i pootle off to Dover, filling up with petrol on the way. I wanted to be there an hour before i actually got there to get my international driving licence, being late i didnt get a chance to get one. Ill either have to skip the countries that need it (eastern europe) or get one made at home and sent out.

I queue up for the ferry with the rest of the bikers, hugely conscious that my bike seemed to be carrying everything including the kitchen sink (left pannier… naaat!). A group pull up behind me, they are on their way to Barcelona for the GP, and wish me luck with the trip.

We all board first, slot our bikes into the holders and they are lashed down. I get up onto the outdoor deck and watch Dover slip into the distance. It didnt actually ever go i could still see it from Calais but i felt the trip proper had begun now i was in strange new lands all on my own.

Good-bye England!

My mood was elated as i took a few back roads to St Omer where i had one of many first milestones, i got lost. Id bought a pocket map of Europe on the ferry which showed main roads and most towns, but not enough detail in the towns. The map i had of France i was following had more detail but again not enough in the towns. I resorted to trying various roads and checking with my compass they were going the right way.

This first day, to Vernon where i was to stay with a relative of ben my sailing buddy, was supposed to be about 4 hours. Plus stops and getting lost it took me 7 though i was loving every minute of the freedom and the open road. I eventually got to the house at about 10 where a very kind Fiona cooked for me and i talked with her and her daughter Claire for a bit before falling asleep on their sofa bed.

Day one fini.

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