Nashville, Memphis and Graceland

I’m now in the Heartbreak Hotel, yes, at the end of Lonely Street at Graceland, just off Elvis Presley Boulevard!DSC00873

As an Elvis fan from 1955 it was quite a trip down memory lane and I just had to “lash out” by staying here!

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Lobby

Lobby

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Back to the story

I left Asheville at 7.00 and had covered the 465k by lunchtime. It was a beautiful drive through the Great Smokey Mountains

Nashville Tennessee

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Azulo meets some friends

I did the Hop on Bus which I always do as its a great way to get a perspective of a City

State Parliament Building

In Nashville are many famous recording studios. RCA Studio B is where Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers and more made records!

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RCA Studio B Many stars recorded here

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They call this the Batman Building!

One thing about Nashville….Did you know there is a FULL SIZE replica of the Parthenon (Athens)…It’s most impressive although the effect is slightly reduced by the fact its NOT built in white stone marble…its done in a beige colour pebblecrete.

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I then walked around Broadway soaking up the music. I went to the Johnny Cash museum which was interesting.

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Johnny Cash's boots

Johnny Cash’s boots

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Now…. I regret to say…. I’m not a great fan of Downtown Nashville although it was fun walking around and soaking up the atmosphere.

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Boots in shop window. I took this photo for my daughter Lucy

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I expect there is fabulous music if you know where to go but I didn’t…. Just walking around Broadway there are dozens of bars playing mediocre music as loud as they can. They must buy the biggest speakers they can, so they can  bellow it out into the street. Each bar is doing the same thing trying to drown out its neighbour. You can imagine the din

There was a massive crowd milling around all “having a great time” You know the drill…I think this place would appeal to someone a little younger than me!

Memphis, Tennessee

This is a highlight for me! At 14 I was a devoted Elvis fan. I even bought his singles the moment they were released and some I ordered before release. I was only a fan of the early Rocking Elvis not the fat Elvis in white suits as he is nearly always remembered today. Actually I was very pleased to see that at Graceland, more attention is made of the early Elvis and his whole career is put into proper perspective

Graceland is a lovely old mansion and surprisingly modest and some of the rooms are even more surprisingly nice! Somewhat of a contrast to the Biltmore!

Elvis bought Graceland when he was just 22. Today, Graceland is owned by his daughter Lisa Marie who now lives in England, in Rotherfield Sussex,

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Parents Bedroom

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Elvis played his last song at the piano…went upstairs to rest and died. He was just 42

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It really is a very nice home and I can see why Elvis loved it there.

I saw Elvis’ two airplanes and some of his cars and motorbikes.

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He, his parents and grandmother are all buried here. Elvis was just 42 when he died of probably a reaction to too many prescription drugs. What a waste

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 Memphis Downtown

I went into Memphis to see the sites

Beale Street

Beale Street

Beale Street

Beale Street

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Mississippi River

Mississippi River

I then visited Sun Studios,where Sam Philips discovered Elvis. It’s amazing how many super stars recorded here…Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Howling Wolfe and on and on.

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DSC00883It from this very Radio Booth that Elvis first record, “That’s all right” was played. The response was instantaneous and Sam signed Elvis up immediately

Tomorrow I head South.

My first stop will be Tupolo, Elvis birth place. That’s the end of my Elvis pilgrimage! (I can practically hear Merry saying…Thank heavens for that)

After that I head for Vicksburg, Natchez Trace Parkway and New Orleans.

By the way….after my whinging last post that few people seem interested in Azulo, I have met some friendly people who have shown much interest!….. Joe and Irene Bennet shared a seat next to me at the Biltmore Winery…They have put a comment on the blog as has Kristan who served the wines! 

Also Donald and Linda originally from Illinois

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14 thoughts on “Nashville, Memphis and Graceland

  1. Graceland isn’t at all what I expected – it looks lovely – the garden style room looks fun! Glad you got to indulge in some Elvis fan mania! Karen x

  2. Beautiful Graceland. I liked also Elvis, hardly a fan like you….
    I’m thinking now that maybe for you a Harley to travel across United States hahahha,,,,Azulo better for central asia, but she is realy a Queen.

    greatings from spain

  3. The exterior of Gracelands really appeals to me, but most of the rooms leave me cold! Sorry!
    I certainly can remember Elvis’ first hits – I can recall where I was when I first heard HeartBreak Hotel. I also know where I was when JFK was assassinated – but that’s another story. The link is, of course, that both events where hugely significant.

    I agree with Colin’s remark about speeding. However there may be mitigating circumstances if you are talking kilometres!

    Hope Azulo isn’t intimidated by all those big Harleys.

    Great travelogue – keep them coming.

    Vic

  4. Gillian sent me the link to your Elvis blog. Great photos and a lasting memory of that part of your trip. I will never forget the first time that I heard ‘Heartbreak”, aged 14. Just stunning and so original.

    Are there any speed limits in USA?
    “I left Asheville at 7.00 and had covered the 465k by lunchtime.”

    Keep going ‘old bloke’ All the best for the future Geoff.
    Do you sing Elvis songs to Merry then?

    Colin & Stephanie Cooper

  5. Hi Geoff, loved the photo visit to Memphis ,almost good as actually being there. Isn’t the sign for Heartbreak Hotel marvellous. Did you feel any Elvis vibes while you were seeing around Gracelands I wonder, it all looks just as if the people could walk right back in. Looking forward to your next post, best V and N

  6. Hi Geoff
    Great pictures and story telling – just as we have come to expect. We’re wrestling with the comparisons between this trip and Vladivostok to London – in one you’re outside your comfort zone, existing on Plov, and communicating in a foreign language; now, everyone speaks the same language (well, you know what I mean!), you’re well inside your comfort zone, great quality of life, great places to visit, and the weather’s much warmer than Siberia. What’s not to like!
    Keep up the good work, and we’ll raise a glass to you at our 50th Wedding Anniversary this weekend.

  7. Hi Geoff,
    Enjoying going back through your blog. We’ve been through a lot of the small towns in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Tennessee that you recently posted photos from; but it’s nice to get the perspective of someone new to the area. Interesting to hear others views on our Civil War and Jefferson’s ownership of slaves – latter are hot political topics here in US even today.
    Have fun in New Orleans (“Big Easy”). Hope you can get your bike close enough to Bourbon Street to get a good picture. Might also want to check Jackson Square, Superdome, cemeteries, riverfront and streetcars – sure those are already on your list.
    Regards, Joe & Irene Bennett

  8. Finally. Get to see what Graceland is really like. Elvis fan too, Geoff.

    Still doesn’t seem to be many people in your pics. What’s going on? Does Azulo have wind?
    Shirley

  9. Graceland looks amazing, Geoff, much nicer than I thought it would be,
    wonderful to see it so well cared for . Terrific photos yet again. Freezing cold and wet here in Melbourne, I feel envious of you being able to travel around in warm , sunny weather….enjoy every minute!!!
    Love,
    Wendy.

  10. Hi Geoff – Not sure that I had heard much of Howling Wolfe but the others ring a bell or two. Great photos of Memphis. You’ll be in cowboy territory with Fort Smith, Wichita etc.
    You might need to purchase a fancy holster and a shiny sixgun to blend in with the locals.
    Rod

  11. What a lovely retreat for Elvis in the mad, mad world he lived in.
    Sorry, haven’t got any cheeky or rude comments today. Just keep those blogs and pics coming. They are great reading.
    Love, Merry

  12. Love the exterior of Graceland. Its larger inside than it looks….. great tour.
    Elvis certainly churned out many fabulous songs…….hard to believe he would have been 80!!
    Great photography always….thanks. Safe travelling.

  13. Interesting stuff. You’ll find Elvis started poor. “Shotgun house”…. believe they call it that as from the front door you can see out the back (or a shotgun fired in the front will go out the back?). He was an unusual talent. The life as a superstar chews up most people.
    In some ways he kept a connection to the world of his youth… unfortunately not enough. Col. Parker was responsible for a lot of his troubles, IMHO.

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4th – 9th July – Azulo goes “marching on”

Battlefields, history and more as we head south

I’m now in Asheville, North Carolina in the middle of the Appalachians and the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s very beautiful here.

I’m finding it hard to make the blog interesting this time. Everything is so 1st world here, (as you would expect). There is petrol, food, people speak English….The roads are amazing. No potholes here! Things work!

Frankly it’s not nearly such an “adventure” as the trips through Russia/Mongolia/Stan’s etc. and South America!….. I’m enjoying the country but it’s not as much fun…I’m not meeting so many people. Very few people stop to talk to me here….Ahhhh…

So, I’m sorry if the blog is more of a travelogue than before. I hope you stick with me though!

Back to the story!

My border crossing was uneventful. I wasn’t locked in a cage or shouted at like I was coming through Mexico. It was all very smooth and efficient and only took about 75 minutes…My average is 120 minutes….Then I was away!

I rode through New York State through the “Finger Lakes” near where they held “Woodstock” in the 1960’s…..I stopped eventually at Williamsport.

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It was 4th July and luck was with me. I picked up a Holiday Inn and, low and behold, it was just by the spot where they do the fireworks. There were the usual food stalls and VERY poor Pop Music but the fireworks were fantastic. Possibly the best I’ve ever seen live.

I slept like a log on a fantastic bed and next day headed off to Gettysburg.

The countryside is very beautiful and wooded with rolling hills. I went through many lovely little towns…. I kept off the “Interstate” .. Most houses fly the flag which I love.

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Gettysburg PA

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Gettysburg is fascinating. It was of course, the battle that was the beginning of the end for the South although they could have won it (maybe) if the Generals had followed their orders… It is also where Lincoln made his “Gettysburg Address” after the battle. I saw the house where he stayed the night before giving the address….

House where Lincoln stayed the night before his Gettysburg Address

House where Lincoln stayed the night before his Gettysburg Address

The Americans know how to show off their history. First there is an excellent film then a guided bus around the Battlefield. It was so well done. If you don’t want to do the bus tour you can take a self-guided tour by hiring a 3 wheel car or Segway or your own car of course!

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Site of "Pickett's" Charge. 12,000 southerners died in this charge which wass the defining moment of the 3 day battle

Site of “Pickett’s” Charge. 12,000 southerners died in this charge which was the defining moment of the 3 day battle

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I discovered how the name “sharpshooter”came about

Sharp Rifle...used by snipers...hence the name "sharpshooters"

Sharp Rifle…used by snipers…hence the name “sharpshooters”

They also have a “Cyclorama” This is a circular painting of the battle. It was completed in 1867 and shown in Paris. It has recently been refurbished.

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Apparently “Cycloramas” were relatively common in the 19th Century. There was one of the Battle of Waterloo shown in Melbourne!

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As I left, I nearly bumped into a local resident…

An unhappy "local resident"

An unhappy “local resident”

The next day I rode to nearby Harpers Ferry and Antietam then on to Charlottesville in Virginia

Harpers Ferry

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Harpers Ferry is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, there was a Battle here that General Robert E Lee won for the South capturing 12,000 Union Soldiers.

Secondly and perhaps more interesting is that this is where John Brown (from the Civil War Song) was captured. He was later executed but his “soul goes marching on” He was a champion of the “Abolitionists” in about the 1830’s and is regarded as someone who lit the fire that started the War. Excuse my very poor summation of history.

An unfair painting of John Brown

An unfair painting of John Brown

Harpers Ferry by the way is a really lovely little place at the junction of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers.

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Potomac ZZRiver from Harpers Ferry

Potomac River from Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

This little lady wanted her photo with me…Makes me look very tall!

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Antietam

Antietam was another Battle…It was a “draw” but some 23,000 soldiers died. The largest loss of US Soldiers ever until the 2nd World War

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Major skirmish as Union Troops stormed the bridge

Major skirmish as Union Troops stormed the bridge

This Farm house was site of major skirmish

This Farm house was site of major skirmish

I then moved on to Charlottesville, Virginia.

Charlottesville VA

 

Old Town Charlottesville

Old Town Charlottesville

Old Town Charlottesville

Old Town Charlottesville

Charlottesville is probably most well known as Thomas Jefferson built his home near there at “Monticello”. It was a boiling hot day when I visited…95 degrees and humid!

Thomas Jefferson's Home - Montochello

Thomas Jefferson’s Home – Montochello

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Jeffersons Grave at Montochello. Members of the Family still have the right to be buried here. There are 2000 on the list!

Jeffersons Grave at Montochello. Members of the Family still have the right to be buried here. There are 2000 on the list!

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Thomas Jefferson wrote the “Declaration of Independence” He was also a Lawyer, amateur architect, an amateur clock maker and much more . He spoke 7 languages, He founded and built the University of Virginia. He was President for 2 terms. Clearly an amazing man.He also loved excellent French wine!

There is a contradiction though. He wrote in the “Declaration of Independence” that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”

Yet he owned some 200 slaves himself and only freed 2 or 3. We were told that he felt he could not tackle that issue and it was best left to another generation…mmm… seems like he didn’t follow his own words. I’m sorry if I’m upsetting any Americans reading! Please comment if you have an explanation.

Monticello is a beautiful House and was designed by Jefferson himself.

After Monticello I headed for the Blue Ridge Parkway which runs for some 500 k down the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains.It is very beautiful with terrific views but after about 50 k of going very slowly (there is a speed limit of 45 MPH) and looking at lots of trees….. I decided to take the by-way instead!….. I felt bad about that but the weather turned bad anyway so I felt exonerated!

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This beautiful butterfly was so tame..He wanted to come with me

This beautiful butterfly was so tame..He wanted to come with me

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Asheville and the Biltmore Estate

I reached Asheville which is a great little town in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The main “tourist attraction” is the Biltmore Estate. A huge French Chateau built by George Vanderbilt and finished in 1896

Apart from the Biltmore Estate, Asheville used to be a TB health resort and has lots of lovely Victorian Houses. There is a river here called “French Broad” They say the locals couldn’t say “Marie Antoinette” so called it French Broad instead!

 

Grove Park Inn Hotel...Obama and others have stayed here!

Grove Park Inn Hotel…Obama and others have stayed here!

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I was told about a Pub where on a Wednesday night anyone who can play a guitar or banjo turns up and just plays “Blue Grass”…..It was a bit like the Ukulele Group in the Crockham Hill Pub in Kent. It was great and I had several beers listening to them. They didn’t look like they were enjoying themselves as much as my friend Vic was in Crockham Hill!

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The Biltmore Estate

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George Vanderbilt…Grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt the Railroad billionaire built the magnificent Biltmore Estate for his family.

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DSC00779It is sensational. Words cannot express how opulent and impressive it is. I have seen many of the Palaces of Europe and French Chateaux but this is probably the most impressive  I’ve ever seen. It’s setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains is amazingDSC00773

Originally George purchased 125,000 acres here and built his 255 room mansion. The house is filled with priceless treasures…Ming Dynasty vases etc, Renoir Paintings, 15th Century Tapestries and much more.DSC00768DSC00767

George and and his wife Edith only had one child, a daughter Cornelia. The three of them lived in their 255 room home until George died at only 57 in 1914 of  an infected appendix. Mother and daughter then lived in the house together until Cornelia married.

The Estate is still held by the family although it seems George had overspent a little and with the war, depression etc they had to sell 96,000 acres and the farm and open it to the Public in 1930. It is the largest home in America! If you come this way…The Biltmore is a MUST SEE!

Unfortunately they don’t allow photos but it’s worth googling. I spent a whole day in the Estate. There is also a winery and of course i did a tour and tastings too

I’m staying in  an AirBnb place in Asheville and the Hostess said there was a BEAR in the garden the other day…I kept my  window firmly shut!

Tomorrow I leave for Nashville and then the weekend in Memphis where I’ve booked in to the HEARTBREAK HOTEL! My Elvis weekend will be quite something!

 

17 thoughts on “4th – 9th July – Azulo goes “marching on”

  1. Hi Geoff. What a great journey so far. Brought back so many memories of our trip across the Nullabor last year. Your fantastic photos really bring it all to life.
    Will follow the rest of your trip with great interest.

    Cheers Col

  2. I have really really enjoyed reading all about the war – I love this period in American history. What is that really tall older narrow building – do you know? It looks rather odd being that tall and thin!

  3. Hi Geoff,
    Wonderful running commentary and photos once again.
    I particularly liked the shot of the Ukelele enthusiasts.
    On that note I have sent you a separate email with a link to the most amazing Ukelele rendition of the score from Clint Eastwood’s “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”
    Happy Riding
    Rob

  4. Good reading as ever Geoff, you know that T. Jefferson visited Vermenton just as you did? There’s a Stéle been put up in the port just near where you parked Azulo when you stopped by commemorating Jeffersons visit with his french friend Lafayette…

    MooN

  5. Hi Geoff,
    Enjoyed sampling wine with you and seeing your bike parked next to us at Biltmore Estate winery. Sounds like great adventure. Enjoy the rest of your leisurely (hopefully continues to be less challenging) ride across US!
    Regards, Joe & Irene Bennett

  6. Hi Geoff
    Thought I should drop you a line to let you know I have been following you again and really enjoying the whole thing. Not boring for me just fantastic, a small escape from the Melbourne winter every time your email comes through that a your blog is updated..
    Thought I should also share that I have a trip planned with the black dog ride group in mid August to Uluru. I have copied your model with my wife flying in after the ride to Uluru and moving from a week of camping to a week of more civilised existance. Anyhow thanks again for your blog, All the best Stuart

  7. We are really enjoying the great photos and descriptions of places in America we never knew existed, there is more to America than we realised. Do so wish I could be with you in Memphis to meet up with Elvis – listen carefully, the vibes must be still there. Love Val&Nev

  8. Hey there,
    This is Kristen, your wine server from the Biltmore Winery, and I just wanted to say I really enjoyed serving you and listening to all your stories! I wish you safe travels as you continue your trip around the world!

  9. You say: people speak ENGLISH – no comment!
    Harpers Ferry looks really “cosy”.
    Under the pic. of the Grove Park Inn Hotel, there is a photo of a very tall building with what appears to be a church spire on the top! What is it?

    Although this may not be as challenging as the other rides, your journey is still very interesting. I am learning something new on each update, so keep the history lessons coming! (and the great photos)

    OK – so I was wrong about the bears, and you’ve (nearly) encountered one already!

    Next post Please.

    Vic

  10. Feckin computer deleted my complimentary comment saying “it looks as though you already said that!”
    just thanking you for the photos and comments, really enjoying my journey with you (I’d love to do it, but not able so appreciate your posts. have you had any Southern Fried chicken yet? Shirley x

  11. Wow, fantastic pics and commentary yet again!! I’m finding it
    a bit breezy on the back of the bike though!!! (grin)
    Can’t wait to see all of these places too.
    Who would seriously want to own a 255 room home?????
    Thanks Geoff, keep enjoying.

  12. Maybe not as exciting for you or Azulo, but still very interesting. Enjoying the history, photos showing green, lush lands, historical homes, etc. Ride safe!

  13. All looks very civilised! I’m sure you’ll have a great time in Nashville and visiting Elvis stoning ground, Would loved to have joined you for that!

  14. Forgot to say I googled “Biltmore Estate” and the interiors are amazing. Don’t know why they don’t allow photos these day when you can see it on the net.
    Merry

  15. Thanks for another interesting blog. It is always great to see where you are touring – even if it isn’t as exotic as your past trips. I was rather surprised you didn’t take the Segway tour of Gettysburg. Would have thought you would jump at the opportunity. Glad you kept your window shut. Newspaper headlines of “Australian Senior Eaten by Bear” would not be good reading! Love, Merry

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29 June – 4th July, Bye Bye Canada

Will I get locked up when I enter USA this time!

It’s 4th July….Independence Day is probably not  the best day to enter USA.

Last time Azulo and I entered USA was in August 2012 from Mexico to Tuscon. It was an absolute nightmare! The border guards locked me up.…..! Let’s hope I don’t end up in a cage this time!

Ottawa – I get besieged by the press!

Well…hardly….but I did get interviewed by the Ottawa “Metro” Newspaper and it has actually been published…..I was in a car park and a reporter named Lucy approached me and wanted an interview…. So, now I’m an international celebrity and a legend in my own “lunchbox” . Unfortunately the headline refers to me as a “Senior” which i suppose I am but would rather forget!…..I’ll try and put the article in the Menu in the next few days…I’m not sure how to do that so i might have to contact Stuart!!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed Ottawa. It is a lovely City. The weather was good and the town had a festive feel because it was Canada Day on 1 July.

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I visited the Parliament Building and the War Museum and took a trip on the Ottawa River. I watched the changing of the Guards. I could have spent another day here as there is lots to see.

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War Memorial

War Memorial

House of Commons

House of Commons

 

Parliamentary Library

Parliamentary Library

 

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House of Commons

House of Commons

Motorbike and Side Car...fit for Merry?

Motorbike and Side Car…fit for Merry?

Hitlers Car

Hitlers Car

I stayed at a terrific AirBnb. The Hosts, Marc and Christine did everything to make me feel welcome including inviting me to dinner.

Marc and Christine Great AirBnb hosts

Marc and Christine
Great AirBnb hosts

Me eating an CRUMBLE!

Me eating an CRUMBLE!

Toronto

On Canada Day it was raining cats and dogs again but I had to ride to Toronto. You’ll be pleased to know i was an absolute “knight of the road” and had no more altercations with the Police!

Last year I was contacted out of the blue by an old friend who I used to know when I was 7 years old!  She, “Gill,…always known then as Gillywigs” has a cousin in Toronto who kindly invited me to stay. Travelling around like I’m doing there is NOTHING nicer than being invited to stay!

Graham and Jane were perfect hosts. They had a Canada Day BBQ and were joined by son Nick and friends Marin and Jane. It was great fun and needless to say I participated in the destruction of Graham’s wine cellar. We had Canadian wines and I am very impressed! I don’t think I’ve seen any in Australia.

Graham and Jane Boyce

Graham and Jane Boyce

Martin, Jane, Graham, Jane, Nick

Martin, Jane, Graham, Jane, Nick

I hadn’t intended staying long in Toronto as i used to visit on business but Graham and Jane gave me a “cook’s tour”. I didn’t recognise anything other than the tower. It’s a big and vibrant city

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My next stop was to join the Mississauga Probus  Club Hiking Group on their monthly hike! Here’s a photo of the “boys” They seem a great bunch

The Mississauga Probus Hiking Group...and me!

The Mississauga Probus Hiking Group…and me!

London, Ontario

I took a 200 K detour to see some old friends Jim and Elaine Cambridge in London (on the Thames!!!) They too were fantastic hosts and it was great to catch up. Jim produced another endless supply of Canadian wine. His son is a Winemaker in British Colombia.

Jim and Elaine Cambridge

Jim and Elaine Cambridge

I met the most amazing “dog handler” called Rene. This is extraordinary…..Jim and Elaine have a dog, Jake. Every week, Jake sits by the front door waiting to be picked up for the day by “Rene”

Rene with some of his "customers" He puts 25 dogs in the Van

Rene with some of his “customers” He puts 25 dogs in the Van

Rene lives on a bush property with 40 dogs. He charges $25.00 per day to exercise your dog. He picks up 25 dogs in his van and they all have the greatest time

Rene with Jake (Jim and Elaine's dog)

Rene with Jake (Jim and Elaine’s dog)

 

DSC00638Rene delivered an exhausted Jake around 9.00. I could not believe his van. He said he had already dropped off most of the dogs but as you see there are still quite a few in the van!

The dogs were not barking or causing any fuss. He has total control of them. It was quite amazing. I wish he could take our two  lovable “monsters” Mister and Maggie for a weekly run. Apparently all 65 dogs are allowed to run around for the day on his property. He says there is never any issues. Amazing!

Niagara Falls

The Falls are, of course impressive

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Selfie

Selfie

I spent the night in a lovely little town called Niagara on the Lake.Apparently it was the old capital of Upper Canada and was burned down by the Americans in 1812! I met Steve Maxwell and his wife Janice from the Mississauga Probus Club. They kindly took me to the Irish Pub for dinner.

DSC00661 DSC00662 DSC00663 DSC00664I now say goodbye to Canada. I must say that, apart from the miserable Quebec Police, I only have good things to say about Canada. The people have been incredibly friendly. The towns are impressive and the countryside beautiful.

I  have met many caring people and have eaten and drunk much too much!

So tomorrow I’m off to the USA…The land of the free…Home of the brave…I do hope I don’t get locked up again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 thoughts on “29 June – 4th July, Bye Bye Canada

  1. Found the article online but it won’t let me post it – in your search engine (I used Google) type Ottawa Metro Newspaper followed by your name and it comes up! It was fun to read!

  2. Haha! I was thinking the same thing as Merry about the blurred photo! Tom is in love with the castle at the beginning of this entry as it looks a bit like the castle from Harry Potter. Glad you haven’t had any more trouble with the police, fingers crossed for a smooth entry into America. Niagara on the Lake is gorgeous – someone dad worked with recommended we go there and it was well worth it – your photos are bringing back some lovely memories. But best of all I can now say I know a celebrity – one who has been in a newspaper no less! Karen x

  3. Hi Geoff,
    Your latest blog on crossing into USA, reminded me that I had intended to give you the address of Prof Peter Sheldrake in North Carolina.
    Peter was Prof of Business Entrepreneurship at the RMIT, and was the moderator of the original Senior Round Table established by himself and Brian Hirsh, (President of Beaumaris Probus in 2000). This group of 14 , which included a couple of outsiders and a lady, was the forerunner of the present Discussion Groups, led by Barry Amond. We met monthly, at All Souls Church hall, and then at the West Brighton Club. For a brief period I was the Secretary/Treasurer, and was succeeded by Rod Murrell. Peter gave a couple of talks to Probus.
    Peter migrated to USA so that his wife could be closer to her parents.

    After this long winded background, I’ll get to the point :- Will you be passing through North Carolina, Winston-Salem, on your travels.
    If so, due to the time scale you might like to contact Peter by email at
    peter@travellingnorth.com with a view to meeting, and updating him on the latest Australian, Victorian, Bayside, Beaumaris gossip. He can fill you in on his view of USA from gay marriage to gun laws, and possibly even ‘how to stop printing money’.
    Safe travelling
    Ron Hunter

    • Hi Ron
      Thanks for thinking of me. Unfortunately I’m not going there. I head for the Blue Ridge Parkway then Memphis
      Geoff

  4. AaaahhhhH ssooo “Geoffers” … Mystery and probably many untold stories in there ??!
    So one day we shall listen whilst you disclose 😉

    Well, a huge contrast to the recent trip in almost all aspects. Probably a sense of relief. Continue to enjoy whilst I shall look forward to the next US instalment.
    Axel (finally got a 31 ltr tank!!)

  5. Congratulations Mr. Celebrity! Found the article on the Ottawa Metro website. I wonder whether it will be syndicated? I’ll keep an eye open in the London Times!
    That part of Canada looks really interesting, and you seem to have met some very nice people. I loved the story about Rene and the dogs. Amazing that he can keep all those pooches into the van without any fighting. Is he a Dog Whisperer I wonder?
    Love the photos – keep them coming.
    Best wishes for the US of A.
    Vic

  6. Hi Geoff, surprised you are not still in Canada visiting old friends, friends of friends, and friendly people you meet along the way. I’ve sent a separate email so let me know if you don’t get it.
    Ride carefully
    Rod

  7. Ottawa looks beautiful. Would love to go there someday.

    As for the USA – just remember, anyone with any sort of uniform on, has had their sense of humour removed. Shirley

  8. Hi Geoff
    Great to share your trip adventure. You have met some wonderful people and seen some magnificient cities to date. Keep safe.
    Ciao
    David, Gail

  9. So glad you got together with the family! Graham and Jane love showing people round. I expect they told you about our visits. Martin loves his wine and food too! We’ve spent some great times with them. We love To. and Ottawa.
    Hope the rest of the road trip goes well, Geoffers! (Hope you didn’t tell them too many tales of our childhood – although Graham probably told you a few too!)

  10. Hi Geoff, good to keep up with your adventures. We loved Niagara Falls, in spite of the fact that Alan let go of Karen at one point and she fell into the river above the falls on the US side. Luckily it was very shallow, but she still reminds him about it! And Niagara on the Lake is really special. We are still on our tiny island watching boat races around its shores. It’s like Oxford and Cambridge only with a lot more boats and even more attitude. Hope you get into America OK, just smile and talk “Australian” and we are sure you will be let in. Take care, go well on the next part of this journey. Wendy and Alan xx

  11. WOW….. brilliant photography! I’m always impressed the way Canadian’s make the most of
    flowers in summer, as they have such long freezing winters. Ottawa looks wonderful, its like having a great geography lesson! School was never like this!! Did you go on the “Maid of the Mist” ( the Canadian one) ?? Fantastic up close to the falls. Niagara on the Lake is one of my favourites.
    Keep up the good work and enjoy, sounds wonderful ! Thanks for such an interesting travelogue!!

  12. Unfortunately the photo of Jim and Elaine is slightly fuzzy. Is that an indication of the amount of wine consumed?? Xx. Merry

  13. Hello Geoff, thanks for getting back mate. I think most police officers in the rest of Canada would have just given you a warning and send you on your way. Anyways water under the bridge. I’m glad you enjoyed your stay in Canada. So what’s your route through the US. Will you be going around South America too. Could you send me a blog comment via my website above. Thanks. Safe travels mate.

    Cheers
    Marty

    PS. Picking up a couple of dual purpose Honda CRF250L’s for my son and I next week. Which model of Kawasaki is it you ride.

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24 – 28 June – Saint John to Quebec & Montreal

Great sights, some drama, a rival to PLOV and some thoughts

I’m now in Montreal. It’s been a fairly hectic time and I’m being accused of being a bit slack with the blog. Sorry. Surprisingly I haven’t had much time. That’s my excuse anyway!

The last “Post” ended with me feeling sorry for myself in a grotty Motel on the outskirts of Saint John, New Brunswick. It was raining cats and dogs and I couldn’t summon the enthusiasm to put on my wet weather gear and get on Azulo to find somewhere to eat and more importantly…to drink. I ended up just going to bed on a forced diet.

Sometimes on these trips you fall into a hole and wonder why on earth you are doing this. That night was one of those times. I was thinking I could be home with Merry sharing a nice glass or two of red….

Luckily the next day was sunny so I picked myself up and dusted myself down and went sightseeing!

Saint John is a nice town, settled in 1783 by the Empire Loyalists escaping from USA after the Revolution. Initially 3000 arrived, followed soon after by another 9000 and eventually 40,000.

Old Greaveyard and Square

Old Greaveyard and Square

The Old Market

The Old Market

The main attraction is the “Reversing Falls”. They have a very big tide here and a narrow entrance to the river from the Bay of Fundy. The tide sweeps water into the river from the sea. The level drops 5 metres, literally “reversing“the flow. It’s very dangerous and many have died. The birds have a field day catching fish

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The road to Quebec

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Azulo can’t believe how easy this trip is. No potholes to dodge, lots of petrol stations and places to stop!

It’s a pretty road in wooded countryside. Actually it’s not dissimilar to riding through parts of Siberia, (except for the roads etc.)

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A highlight along the way was the covered bridge at Hartland. Its 1282 feet long!

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I eventually reached the St Laurance at “Riviera du Loup” The St Laurance is wider than I thought.

Quebec Province – another world!

My first and continuing impression of French Canada is just how French it is and how hard they are trying to create “la difference”. Examples of this are the fact that I’ve yet to see an English menu… (Unlike France where they’ve somewhat reluctantly accepted inevitability and now go with the flow and provide English Menus). Also, whereas in English speaking Canada, the Canadian flag is proudly displayed everywhere and often on private homes….In Quebec you only see the Quebec flag and only on Public buildings do you see the Canadian Flag.

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This somewhat annoying trait (understandable perhaps…but to me…annoying…and I’m not Canadian!) is extended to road signs. It seems what is good for the goose ISN’T good for the Gander. In the English speaking Provinces I’ve passed through, all the road signs are in English AND French. Not so in Quebec. French only!

Having said all that I’ve found people helpful and friendly

I’m told that the separatist movement seems to have stalled. They very nearly got independence over the line with just under 50% voting for “independence” in the last Referendum some years ago. I’m told that percentage has declined to some 30% today I’m not sure why it’s gone off the boil.

Quebec City

Quebec is a simply lovely city. It’s the only walled city in North America.

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Again, following the theme about the attitudes in French Canada, you would hardly know that it was British for 100 years before Federation. That period is like “the dark ages” and best forgotten or at least given minimum exposure. There is a statue to General Wolfe (who conquered Quebec in 1759) but poor old Wolfe has to share his statue with his French opposite number, the French General Montcalm!

Wolfe seems to be regarded as some sort of monster setting fire to the City and bombarding it for weeks before the Battle that led to the annexation of Quebec. Compare this with the British view which holds him as a military hero. His statue in Westerham Kent, his home town (near Vic and Gills home) has him proudly waving his sword as they sweep the French away!

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Quebec’s Oldest House

DSC00482This beautiful wall painting is quite new. It shows the history of Quebec. Surprise surprise the “conquest” isn’t mentioned although there is a barrel in the picture which might represent Wolfe being rolled back to UK in a barrel of rum (He and Montcalm both died in the battle for Quebec. The ONLY representation of the British period is to the British Governor who saved the Wall from being demolished.

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Railway Station

Railway Station

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I really “did” Quebec. I went on the Hop on Bus, and two walks and also the Ferry!

The walk was great and we all had a chuckle at Aldo, the donkey with personality who seems to talk to all the tourists! Aldo’s yard is right in the middle of the best part of Old Quebec! He was given to the Anglican Minister for some reason

Aldo the Donkey with personality

Aldo the Donkey with personality

I went on a “gourmet food” walk which was a lot of fun and, believe it or not….

I find something ALMOST as horrible as PLOV!

Those that followed my journey through Russia and “the Stans” last year, may remember me going on (and on) about the awful food which was personified in PLOV…a concoction that I couldn’t escape for 10,000 k’s! It’s a sort of gluggy rice with tough meat and a carrot, covered in horrible gravy

My rival for the world’s most horrible dish is called Poutine. I apologise to any Canadians who may love Poutine but I really don’t know why!

Poutine is really Quebec’s answer to McDonalds. It’s just chips covered in gravy and cheese. I think it has some other ingredients too. I was perplexed that we were given this on a “GOURMET” food tour but I suppose it is seen as a “speciality” of Quebec

Poutine

Poutine

Me eating Poutine

Me eating Poutine

We did a bit of wine tasting on the tour which was interesting. Quebec has a very short ripening period so grape varieties have been cloned. The two we tried were “Seval” and “Vandal Cliché” Both white varieties. We also had some Ice Cider which was fabulous. You would love it Merry.

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My B and B in Quebec was run by a terrific guy called Pierre. He is married to an Argentinean lady and amused me by telling me of his amazing experience buying an apartment in Buenos Aires.

Me and Pierre

Me and Pierre

Pierre’s amazing story of corruption in Argentina

I relate this story as I thought it funny… although it’s a bit sad how the corruption is ruining that lovely country.

Pierre said he needed to transfer US$150,000 from Canada to Argentina to buy an apartment. The Argentinean Notary said that legally there would be a 30 % tax on the money he was bringing into the country.

The Notary then said he could avoid that tax by using the “Blue Line”….???  Apparently there are “Black, White and Blue lines.” The “White line” is the legal way, The “Black line” is for genuine crooks and the “Blue line” is for “honest” people avoiding tax!

All Pierre had to do was deposit the $150,000 in a German bank in the name of a Panamanian Company and the money would be delivered to the seller at settlement time. All for just a 5% commission

Not surprisingly, Pierre thought this sounded extremely dodgy but was assured it would be OK so he bravely transferred the $150,000 to the Panamanian Company (and crossed his fingers)

Settlement day arrived and Pierre and the seller of the apartment were in a little room outside the bank when “a man in a suit” arrived. He carried NO suitcase. The man closed the door and ROLLED UP HIS TROUSERS where $150,000 was wrapped around his legs!

Pierre said the final irony which amused him was when the man’s phone rang….the ring tone was the theme tune from the Godfather!

Pierre asked why they don’t stop this…the answer was because all the Government officials use the Blue Line too!

Another drama befalls me and I cause a big headache for the Quebec Police

Actually it was potentially a big headache for me.

Sorry..No photos of this!

I was riding to Montreal when I hit a big traffic jam. I did what I always do (which probably isn’t legal…but I’ve never had a problem)…I rode down the side lane

Well….A Police car stopped me and asked for my papers. She then sat in her car for what seemed like ages turning pages in her rule book. She then announced that my bike wasn’t legal in Quebec since I was on Australian Registration. This is of course nonsense but who am I to tell a Policewoman she is wrong?

She then called her Boss who arrived in a second Patrol car. They nattered away in French and made several calls.

Then a third Police Car arrived. Then a fourth car arrived. Then a fifth car arrived. It was a feeding frenzy. Can you imagine what passers-by must have thought?….. There’s this Aussie biker pulled over by FIVE Patrol cars. They must have thought this was a drug bust!

This drama lasted well over two hours. Eventually they decided to fine me for my sin of riding down on the side lane…. $350! (yes I was guilty but I thought $350.00 a bit harsh! Actually it started at $240 but they then added an “administration fee”

As for whether Azulo is legal or not in Quebec… They maintained my Registration isn’t valid but they would let me go anyway. Weren’t they nice!

I won’t be dodging traffic jams again!

I’ve checked as best as I can and all my papers are fine and I’m quite legal. It’s a problem though when the Police don’t know and get it wrong.

So I’m now in Montreal…later than I intended. There’s an International Jazz Festival taking place so I spent a few hours listening to the music.

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To be honest I hadn’t heard of any of the bands but I was assured they were Internationally renowned. Doubtless my good friend Bruce would know them.

St Josephs oratory. The world's third largest dome (after St Peters, Rome, St Paul's London

St Josephs oratory. The world’s third largest dome (after St Peters, Rome, St Paul’s London

 

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Rainy Day in Montreal. The Olympic Stadium

Rainy Day in Montreal. The Olympic Stadium

Tomorrow I head for Ottawa. I hope you have not been too bored by my ramblings. Congratulations if you’ve got this far!

 

22 thoughts on “24 – 28 June – Saint John to Quebec & Montreal

  1. Hola Geoff, cabalgando de nuevo. Me alegro. Fantasticas fotos. La policia siempre dando problemas como en todas partes. Ten cuidado
    Un saludo

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We’re off and riding!

Gentleman, start your engine!

I was told they don’t say that anymore at the start of the Le Mans race! I’m showing my age again!

Anyway, Azulo is here in Halifax Canada and I picked him up on Monday 21 June and I headed out today, which is on schedule!

I must say the Air Canada folks and Customs here are terrific. After all the dreadful experiences I’ve had, just about everywhere, it was so nice to meet efficient, helpful and friendly people. The whole process took just a few minutes!

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Scott…One of the terrific guys at Air Canada Cargo

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Azulo scores a BMW box again!

Azulo must agree as he started first punch.

Going back a few steps to the beginning of my trip which actually started on 5 June and has been “full on”

First, shortly after arriving in England and being reunited with Azulo, I had a reunion with my old College mates in the South of France…One of the guys, Andrew, has a yacht in Menton near Nice. He made the mistake of asking us all down to Menton to sail the Med…That was tough! There are some photos of this adventure in the menu of the blog.

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Next I went to Scotland with my brother-in- law Cam. He wanted to search some family history.

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Finally I spent a few days in Kent with Vic and Gill and to finalise Azulo’s flight to Nova Scotia…..

Vic is part of a ukulele group that plays every second Sunday in the Pub. They have a great time as you see.

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The next night Vic and Gill were competing in a boule competition at the local Cricket ground. They lost handsomely but it was a lovely English evening watching boule and cricket with a “lazy Pint or two”

 

Gill showing her skills

Gill showing her skills

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It was sad saying goodbye again to Vic and Gill. They’ve been terrific hosts to Azulo.

I arrived Thursday 18th and did some of the sights in Halifax. My time and the rain meant I just did the Marina and the Citadel, both of which are excellent

The Citadel is a grand old British Fort. The French would have had no chance of taking it and even the Americans thought better of it….. All the guides were in Mackenzie Tartan kilts which interested me since my mother was a Mackenzie (I’m sure your fascinated with that piece of information!) Apparently the Nova Scotia Regiment was founded by the Mackenzie’s.

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Ive got more photos but they are on my phone and won’t seem to email…I’ll have to call Stuart!!!!

In case you don’t know, Nova Scotia has a very strong Scottish connection and in many respects reminds me of the south of the South Island of New Zealand which also has a strong Scottish connection. Most of the towns however have ENGLISH names…e.g. Halifax, Cambridge, Truro etc. Hardly a Scottish name in sight!

Over the weekend I drove around Nova Scotia. It’s very beautiful with lots of lakes, inlets and quaint towns. Saturday was beautiful and I spent time in the lovely little town of Lunenburg where I had fish and chips to die for…

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Then Shelburne which was founded by the Empire Loyalists …. They were the folks who left USA after the revolution and wanted to stay British. Again, a quaint and historical town

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Further on you get to the Arcadian area…This was originally French but they got kicked out by the British and were sent packing to Louisiana. I’m sure someone will make a comment about my history lesson!

That night I stayed at my first Airbnb at Clyde River near Barrington about three hours from Halifax. It was wonderful. The hostess, Patricia was very welcoming and cooked me dinner.

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My first Airbnb with Patricia in her lovely home in Clyde River

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I had my first “drama”…More an annoyance really. My new Nokia Windows phone had an update so I pressed install and the update stuck and made the phone unusable. This is annoying since I use “Here Maps” as a GPS (it’s brilliant and uses off line maps…highly recommended!)

If you followed my blog on my last trip you may remember I lost all my GPS maps in Kazakhstan. My son Stuart in Australia came to the rescue and guided my over Skype on how to download new maps. He was seeing what was on my PC screen through the iPad camera!

Anyway, he came to the rescue again and sorted out the phone! What would I do without his help!

On Sunday it rained all day. I returned to Halifax and stayed near the Airport at my second Airbnb. This one is with a young family, Jackie and Fraser, their six year old son Levi, cat (Simon) and dog (Border Collie named Rudi) Simon the cast rules the house as you see in the photo!

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They are very friendly, hospitable and easy going. I feel at home here

Jackie, Fraser, Levi, Rudi (dog) and the boss...Simon(Cat) in their lovely home in Waverley

Jackie, Fraser, Levi, Rudi (dog) and the boss…Simon(Cat) in their lovely home in Waverley

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I like Airbnb and will try and use it throughout the trip. My alternative is Camping (ugh) or cheap lonely hotels/roadhouses.

The journey begins! Azulo is packed and keen to get going

Fraser decided to ride with me to the Digby Ferry (to Saint John) some 250 k from Halifax. Needless to say it was drizzling at 6.20 when we left but cleared.

 

Levi adding the Canadian Flag sticker

Levi adding the Canadian Flag sticker

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I caught the Ferry and am now in Saint John

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I’m now in Saint John…unfortunately its pouring with rain again. Poor Azulo looks sadly into the Motel room!

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Thanks you all for your comments…Bye for now!

Next stop Quebec City!

 

 

 

23 thoughts on “We’re off and riding!

  1. Hi Geoff. As usual, your travelogue is nothing short of first class. Whilst I have been a regular visitor to Canada for past 29 years, you are making me wonder why I haven’t spent more time on the east coast !!
    Your photography is terrific – keep up the splendid pics and commentary – sounds as though you are (again) meeting some terrific people and visiting great places — you certainly land on your feet everywhere !
    Happy travelling — love and best wishes from Di and Steve.

  2. Branners
    This all looks a bit soft to me after your previous adventures! Azulo will be wondering when the rough stuff is going to kick in. Will be following along as usual. Love from Hazel.

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Canada & USA – Here comes Azulo

It’s nearly time! Azulo and I are about to set out on our 2015 adventure through Canada and USA!

USA2015 map

My journey starts in Halifax Nova Scotia and ends in Los Angeles. (the red line in the map) I then meet Merry and we begin the much more luxurious part of the journey! (the blue line. The purple is airplane flights) This holiday includes a 9 day cruise of the Alaskan Inside Passage then a car journey through Canada and USA to Denver. Azulo should be on the water at that time heading home to Australia

If you’re viewing my blog for the first time, Azulo is my trusty Kaweasaki KLR 650. Since finishing the ride from Vladivostok to London in 2014, Azulo has been resting in the garage of my good friends Vic and Gill in the beautiful Kent countryside

Azulo was picked up on 15 June and waved goodbye by Vic and Gill. He then hopefully flies to Halifax where I hopefully pick him up. The….off we go!

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Azulo about to leave. Gill looks on sadly. The good news is they get their garage back!

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I hope you will again join me on my journey. If you want to get an email to let you know I have added a new post, all you need do is enter you email address in the side panel where it says “subscribe”  That is an incorrect word as you are not subscribing to anything other than to receive an email! You can unsubscribe any time.

If you send me a comment (which I love getting by the way) I’ll answer!

Bye for now!

22 thoughts on “Canada & USA – Here comes Azulo

  1. Nice ride yesterday. I’m glad I could be in a small part of your adventure. Thanks for breakfast, and it was funny how the guy commented about my bike and paid no attention to yours. I’m sure that doesn’t happen often. Your positive attitude is contagious! Have fun!

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Azulo’s Celebration tour of England!

This post is mainly a trip down memory lane for me so I apologise if you don’t find it relevant or interesting (Just warning you!)

I’m home now in Melbourne. It’s great to be home with family and friends after nearly six months away

Merry and I had a terrific trip to Russia (Moscow – St Petersburg on the “Volga Dream” river cruise) and afterwards by car through the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania….. I must say the Hotels were somewhat more luxurious than my accommodation throughout Central Asia!

Merry flew back home and I returned to England to show off Azulo to some relatives and friends!!!!

England 2 – 12 October

I was met off the “Eurostar” from Paris by my friend Vic and we returned to his and Gill’s home in Crockham Hill, Kent.

Vic had “dobbed” me in to do a Presentation on my trip in the “Crockham Hill Village Hall” This was in support of Cystic Fibrosis. Azulo was to be the Guest of Honour!

Azulo however decided to “throw a wobbly” (English polite version) or as the Aussies say “Crack the shits”….He FLATLY refused to start!

This bike  has “attitude”!!!!….. I had visions of going  on my “Celebration Tour of England” by CAR!

We called Chris Roffey the mechanic who immediately came around and carted Azulo off in a truck…..

Imagine…I have ridden Azulo through deserts and mountains, rain, snow and wind over some 50,000 k basically without a problem and now it wont start in England of all places!….If Azulo WAS human you could understand it….IE he had simply had enough and said NO MORE and is comfortable in the warm garage!

Chris Roffey, the mechanic  worked his magic and Azulo reluctantly came back to life to attend the Presentation and then kindly agreed to cart me around England!

The Presentation at the Village Hall was a rousing success….

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Crockham Hill Village Hall

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Geoff rousing the crowd!

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I was thrilled that two old College friends, Chris Hobbs and Tony Rushbrook went out of their way to attend. Chris and I were both sponsored through College by British Oxygen and we spent nearly five years together travelling through England and Wales to British Oxygen Plants and Offices and of course at College doing our Business degree.. We got up to all sorts of mischief as you can imagine……

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Azulo in Crockham Hill Village Hall

I hadn’t seen or heard from Tony for some 50 years..He literally “found me” through the blog  only a few weeks ago (actually he was really trying to find Vic)  He and his wife Marion came down from London especially for the evening. I was thrilled to see them

The evening started with a brief introduction by Tim Wotton who is a young man of 40 with Cystic Fibrosis.

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Tim Wotton and Carol Ann Hunt (from Cystic Fibrosis Association)

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It is quite amazing how he has learned to live with this horrible disease. He has written a book “How have I cheated death”  which is inspirational. I  feel very humble..  I must admit I knew next to nothing about Cystic Fibrosis which is a genetic disease of the lung. I think I will add links to my blog for my next trip as I feel it is a cause very deserving of support

The next day…..The tour begins!

Sunday 5th – St Albans, Hertfordshire

Firstly I rode to St Albans to see my old friends Alan and Wendy Bellinger and their daughter Karen Rains, her husband Phil and sons Tom and Alex. Karen made a beautiful Gammon Roast and a pudding that was sensational (forgotten the name...(Karen if you read this please add a comment!) After lunch Tom and I had a game of that fine old English game… “Conkers”

Alan an I have been friends for years and he has visited us many time in Australia, as did Karen and Phil on their Honeymoon!

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Geoff with old friend Alan Bellinger

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Karen Rains and me

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Tom Rains riding Azulo

 

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The Rains Family. Phil,Tom.Karen and Alex

Monday 6th – Pershore, Worcestershire

The next day I rode to Pershore near Worcester to see my Cousin Juliet and her husband John……Before leaving the Bellingers, Alan suggested we have lunch in the Cotswolds which is on route to Pershore, so they drove ahead of me in the good old English rain. Actually it bucketed down!

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At Lower Slaughter or was it Upper Slaughter, (which are perfect little English Villages) we had  fish and chips (or at least I did) in a delightful English Pub

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Lunch with Alan and Wendy Bellinger in Upper or Lower Slaughter in the Cotswolds

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Now onto Cousin Juliet’s lovely Country Home in Pershore Worcestershire

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John and Juliet Tollit (Juliet is my first Cousin)

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Cousin Juliet and me!

My cousin Juliet had asked her daughters Penny and Moffa to dinner. Moffa’s husband Paul and daughter Hannah (Bransbury-Hare) were also there. I hadn’t met Moffa, Paul or Hannah before so that was terrific. We had much too much to drink (or at least I did)

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Paul & Moffa Bransbury-Harris, Penny Dowley (Moffa & Penny are Juliet’s daughters) and Hannah Bransbury-Hare (Moffa’s daughter)…Good to see the Bransbury name carries on. Cousin Juliet & John Tollit sitting

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Hannah Bransbury-Hare with Nellie

That night I slept like a log in the comfiest bed I’ve slept in for years in Juliet and John’s beautiful country property.

Tuesday 7th – Bath Somerset, Corsham Wiltshire

This will amaze you!

A few weeks ago I received the following comment on this blog:

“Geoff, I can’t believe you are doing this!! I haven’t seen you for over 60 years and you were such a quiet inoffensive boy!! Hey hey – good for you. Please get in touch so we can catch up on respective families/lives etc. I was Gill Wells from 70 Gayton Road ……

I read and re-read this comment…Gillian Wells…I hadn’t seen her since I was 8 years old. We used to call her Gillywigs!

We lived two doors away at 66 Gayton Road…..We used to live in Harrow, Middlesex and we had a gang of us kids in the street.

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The Gayton Road Gang (about 1952)
Back left – Geoff (me!) ,Hil and Ros Thomas, Val Bransbury,  front at back- Gill Wells, Raymond East and in front with poles Don’t know.

 

 

..Gilliwigs is the little blond girl on the left…The blond boy behind her is me!

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We used to have such fun creating havoc in the local County School grounds that bordered our houses or playing backyard Cricket etc. Those days are  a wonderful memory…We used to call Gill, “Gilliwigs”

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Me at 66 Gayton Road

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Dad showing me how to do a forward defensive shot with a straight bat!

Notice how damaged the house is…Many houses in this area were  hit by German V1 Doodlebugs. They caused lots of damage.

Gill’s parents had a TV ( this was 1952) whereas we didn’t so we used to watch Tex Ritter and other Westerns at Gilliwig’s house!..

Another memory, which still haunts me, is when I almost killed my sister Val….see the photo…

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Me and Raymond East

Val took the picture of me and Raymond East (I still remember his name) about to fire arrows…As soon as the photo was taken I released the arrow by mistake…Luckily it missed her….. How do we ever live to become adults?

Gill now lives in Wales with her husband John but she was visiting her daughter near Malvern which is just 20 minutes from Pershore!  Unbelievable coincidence!

So, naturally, I dropped in to see my old friend “Gilliwigs” for a good old natter about times long gone. Poor John went for a walk!

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Re-united after 60 years!
Geoff and Gill Wells (now Gil Chalk)

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John and Gill Chalk

After leaving “Gilliwigs” I went to Bath where I used to go to school and visited Locksbrook Cemetery where both my parents are buried.

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Visiting Parents grave in Locksbrook Cemetery, Bath

I then rode on to my old home town of Corsham.

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Corsham Court, Corsham Wiltshire

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Corsham Wiltshire

I checked out my old home and the lovely little Village of Corsham

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Hudswell House, Near Corsham. Our Army Home from 1955-1959

Also nearby Lacock (both in Wiltshire, 15 k from Bath). Lacock is wholly owned by the National Trust and is picture perfect. They make period TV shows and movies here often

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Wonderful 14th Century Coaching Inn at Lacock Wiltshire “The Sign of the Angel”

Whenever I’m in England if I can I always try and stay in the Angel. Sadly it was closed this time so i had to “rough it’ in the Hotel in the photo below! Sorry, I’ve forgotten the name but it’s in Corsham!

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 Wednesday 8th Alton Hampshire

This day I rode to Alton in Hampshire to visit my Cousin Ian and Amy and their daughter Salette and her husband Cliff. Ian and Amy had driven from Bristol for the occasion!

On the way to Alton I saw a sign to the Village of Thruxton. I remember my mother used to tell us about how she and my father used to live in Thruxton in “Veronica Cottage” in the 1930’s She loved that house.

I had never been there so detoured to see if I could find Veronica Cottage.

Thruxton is another picture perfect English Village with lots of thatched Cottages and a lovely old thatched Pub!…. I saw a Post Van and asked if the Postman if he knew Veronica Cottage. He showed me the house….I assume this is where Mum and Dad lived in about 1935. It’s bang next door to the Pub….. which is appropriate for a Bransbury!

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Veronica Cottage Thruxton. My Parents lived here in 1935

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Veronica Cottage

Veronica Cottage in 1935…It IS the same place!

I stopped for lunch in another “Lovely Pub” then on to Alton.

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I stayed at Cliff and Salette’s home in Alton. Ian and Amy came down from Bristol

The evening with them was great fun with much laughter and was enjoyed by all. Salette despite full time work somehow managed to produce a simply amazing and superb dinner of Venison.  Again I drank much too much wine. We naturally solved all the major problems of the world as well.

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Cliff and Salette Dieppe, Ian and Amy Mackenzie. Ian is my first Cousin, Salette his daughter

It was great seeing them all again

Thursday 9th – London

I left Alton and rode to Guildfrod, Surrey where I spent my teenage years. I visited my old home, “The Hatch” 98 Wodeland Avenue

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My teenage home in Guildford Surrey…”The Hatch” 98 Wodeland Avenue

and took a photo of the seat near the bus stop that Mum had presented to the City in remembrance of Dad. He used to wait for the bus at this spot on his way to work in London in all sorts of weather, sun,snow,rain

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Mum gave this seat to the City in memory of Dad…Beside a cold bus stop where he used to wait in all weather going to work

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I then headed for London. I had a lunch date with my Niece, Cecile Algie who is currently living in London (from Melbourne)

Before meeting Cecile i visited the Tower of London to see the World War 1 Memorial of poppies in the moat of the Tower. One poppy for every British soldier killed in WW1

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Poppies in the Moat of the Tower of London. A very emotional Memorial to the soldiers killed in World War 1

I had all sorts of trouble parking Azulo but eventually I met Cecile in Soho at Yauatcha Restaurant.. Cecile works for the Restaurant group called Hakkasan.

It was great to see her and we had a terrific lunch which the Restaurant had kindly provided. They must think a lot of Cecile. She is obviously very happy and is enjoying life in London. Oh to be young again!

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Cecile Algie, my niece and me at Yauatcha in Soho (Excellent food!)

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Cecile Algie

Lastly I went up to Hampstead to stay with my old Boss and close friend John Kirkham and Hilary.

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John and Hilary Kirkham

I’ve known John since 1977 and Hilary nearly as long. At that time John was running the UK operation for an American Company, Advanced Systems and I was running the Australian Distributor. We met at the International Conference in Chicago. Later, I worked with John in London.

John and I have enjoyed many good times together….Cricket matches together between England and Australia, countless curries and much more. John and Hil are very special friends

Just for “Old times sake” the three of us went out for a Curry! It was such a fun evening.

Friday 10th  Harrow Middlesex, Crockham Hill, Kent

My “tour’ was almost over. After leaving the Kirkhams I dropped in to see Tony Rushbrook and his wife Marion in Highgate. As mentioned earlier, Tony is an old mate from College days.Tony found me on this blog only a few weeks ago…I hadn’t seen him for nearly 50 years!

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Tony Rushbrook

One last stop! I rode to Gayton Road Harrow to take a photo of my old Home at 66 Gayton Road, I was born in this house!

Sometimes its best not to return…Gayton Road is totally different now …It used to be a sleepy side road….Now it’s virtually a through road. The houses have been ruined. All the neat hedges cut down for parking etc. Very sad.

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66 Gayton Road, Harrow. I was born in this house, as was my sister Val

The County School playing fields behind the houses, where “Gillywigs” and the “Gayton Road gang” used to play, is now all built over.

I revved up Azulo and headed back to Kent!

Saturday 11th  Crockham Hill Kent

One LAST reunion took place at the Royal Oak, Crockham Hill

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We had a reunion with three of my old College mates….Vic Roberts, Chris Hobbs, Andrew Cochrane and me….We’ve lost contact with our other close mates from those days…in particular Cliff Lichfield,William Johnsen and Paul Penna. Maybe somehow they will see this blog as did Tony and Gillywigs!

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My College mates!
Vic Roberts, Andrew Cochrane, Me and Chris Hobbs

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Dawn, the Publican at the Royal Oak

Chris has always loved his old cars…Today he has many…His pride is the wonderful Lagonda 1932, 2 litre Low Chassis Tourer.

He also has a 1933 MG K1, a 1989 Porsche Carrera 911 plus Kate his wife has a MG TC and 1980 MGB Roadster!

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Chris with two of the “loves of his life”…Kate and the Lagonda

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Chris in his 1989 Porsche 911

At College Chris had a 1952 Morgan Plus 4 in which we rattled around England together! He also had a 1929 Austin 12/4.”Doctors Car”

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Chris’ Austin 12/4 was like this…from memory it was yellow too?

Chris and I shared “Digs” in Woolwich together in 1964/5 in the home of a family with the unlikely name of “Scroggins”…..Chris used to park his 12/4 on a hill as the starter didn’t work. My job was to push it down the hill every morning!

Andrew, who I haven’t seen for 30 years owns a Yacht which is moored in Menton,

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Andrews Yacht at Menton France

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France….. He came up with the brilliant idea that we all go to France for a few days sailing on the Med between Nice and Monte Carlo!

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Menton, France

Sounds great to me and we’re doing just that in June 2015!!!!! 

Sunday 12th Flight to Melbourne Australia. HOME…Hooray!

My trip is really over and I’m heading home. I say goodbye to my dear friends Vic and Gill who have put up with me and continue to put up with Azulo till my return next June.2015.

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Vic and Gill Roberts

We went for a walk on the last day. Vic and Gills house is very near “Chartwell”, Winston Churchill’s home…I didn’t have my glasses but the Volunteer Guide at the entrance lent me hers! ….Some might say she was lucky to get them back!!!!

As we left Chartwell….there was a beautiful rainbow which somehow was a very appropriate way to end my trip

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Vic drove me to Heathrow and we said farewell for now!

Next year’s plan –

England (France) – Canada – USA

I return to England on 2 June 2015 and “the boys” fly to Menton France to sail in Andrew’s boat for a few days

Azulo should be shipped to Halifax Nova Scotia arriving around 15th. I arrive Halifax on 18th June

During my stay in England, I hope to catch up with some friends and relatives again. I obviously couldn’t see everyone this time so hopefully I’ll catch up next time

Merry meets me in Los Angeles and we have booked an Alaskan Cruise and intend afterwards driving through the Canadian and American Rockies through Yellowstone to Denver and also catch up with some American friends.

So where will Azulo and I go in 2015?… Currently I’m not sure…I’ll ride through Nova Scotia to Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto..After that….Not 100% sure yet. Maybe I’ll ride through the Appalachians and down to New Orleans to Texas, then West through Phoenix to see my ex Business partner Jim Josephson and Susan..Maybe if I have time I’ll go North to Salt lake City and then San Francisco where I hope to see some friends we met on the Volga Dream, Susan and Dennis…. then down to LA to meet Merry I’ll ship Azulo home from LA or San Francisco.

If you have any suggestions, please let me know! 

I hope you will travel with me on my next adventure!

email me on gbransbury@gmail.com if you have any suggestions!!!!

Bye for now!

 

 

 

 

 

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31 August – Journeys end…London then back to Paris to meet Merry!

It’s now 31 August and I’m in the “Relais De St Honore” in Paris waiting for Merry  

I’m excited about seeing her again and just a little nervous. I have the Champagne on ice and a restaurant booked for tonight!

I can’t believe the trip is over. Azulo is now resting happily in Kent!

Here’s whats happened since my last post:

I sped through Italy and headed for the Mont BlancTunnel which turned out to be closed so I had to re-route myself….I wasn’t exactly sure which way to go so I asked a very CHIC Swiss woman who was filling her car at a petrol station….She advised me to go via the San Bernard Tunnel and through Switzerland. She said “follow me”…..so I did….Boy she was some lady driver! Poor Azulo was put to the test and could hardly keep up with her!

So I sped through Switzerland to France. I encountered a MONSTER traffic jam near Lausanne on the Freeway….it must have gone for 10 kilometers…I dodged most of it by going down the Emergency lane!

I spent the night in a little French town and the next day headed for Auxerre where I intended to meet “MooN” and Madame MooN (Stephanie) and their twin daughters Anna and Nina.

(Moon (who I have never met) offered to keep Azulo at his place whilst Merry and I go to Russia….I had decided now to go straight through to England but wanted to meet MooN to thank him for his kind offer)

I reached Vermenton near Auxerre where MooN works on the River managing a fleet of Tourist barges. I reached the River and there was MooN holding out a cup of coffee….He said he knew where i was as he was looking at my “Live Map” and could see i was just around the corner so he put the kettle on!

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MooN (Chris) hard at work in Vermenton

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After a good chat with MooN I headed for Auxerre. I had treated myself to a nice Hotel by the River. I figure I’ve only got one more night in France so why not!

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Auxerre

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That night MooN and family picked me up and we had a simply delicious Pizza….I intended to pay but MooN had already picked up the tab when i wasn’t looking!

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Chris (MooN) and Stephanie..Very kindly treated me to dinner

On 26th August i headed for Paris where I had arranged to meet a French lady, Nicole, who I had met on the trip to the Aral Sea. We had shared a simply AWFUL PLOV together by the shore of the Sea!

It was of course essential to take some silly photos of me and Azulo outside some of the famous places…Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe.

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Me with Nicole

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Nicole had booked a place for lunch. I assumed we would grab a sandwich but something much better awaited me!

Nicole took me to a lovely Restaurant near the Arc de Triomphe called AKRAME. It is a Michelin Guide Two Hat Restaurant which means it’s very very good! It was pouring with rain when we entered. Can you imagine….Nicole was followed into the restaurant with this filthy smelly biker dripping water all over the floor!

We had a simply superb meal of four courses

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Nicole

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DSC00185Nicole doesn’t drink but I ordered a glass of wine. The waiter suggested what to have and unsuspecting i happily agreed….

Nicole insisted on paying the NOT small bill…..She commented that the glass of wine was a little expensive….I asked how much and she said 32 Euro!!!! ONE GLASS!

I felt slightly embarrassed to say the least. I’ve never paid anything like 32 Euro for one glass of wine! 

It was a lovely lunch and so different to our last meal together by the muddy banks of the Aral Sea!

My destination that night was Arras. I wanted to get within a short distance of the Channel Tunnel which I had booked for the 27th.

I picked up a Formula 1 Hotel which cost the princely sum of 33 Euro…One Euro more than my glass of wine!

On 27th took the Channel Tunnel Train to England and arrived in England at about 11.00.

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Inside the Channel Tunnel Train

I headed for London to take some more silly photos of Azulo and me at Journeys end

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I wasn’t invited in for Tea and Cucumber sandwiches!

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I met a group of Aussies outside Parliament who insisted on taking lots of photos of us!

I then headed to Crockham Hill, Kent to my friends Vic and Gill Roberts lovely home in the beautiful English Countryside near Westerham

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Vic and Gill Roberts in Westerham

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Vic, Gill and Azulo in the garden of Vic and Gills home

Vic is a friend from my College days and he and Gill did everything to make me welcome! Gill’s first question was what did i want to eat….I assured her I didn’t want Plov or Kebabs!

Over the next couple of days i had some good old English Favourites…….Bangers and Mash, Bacon and Eggs, Gammon, Apple and Blackberry Crumble and of course a Roast! We also went out to have a Devonshire Tea with Cornish Clotted Cream!

I drank much too much of course!

It was a fabulous two days with Vic and Gill and an enormous sense of relief for me and also Merry to know I’ve finally finished the ride!

I took Azulo in for a thorough service and am glad to report all is well with Azulo

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Azulo getting serviced at Chris Roffey’s Motors, Biggin Hill

Azulo was tucked up in Vic’s garage where he will stay for the next nine months!

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Azulo’s Holiday home with his caretaker

On 30th I took the Euro Star to Paris. I checked into our nice Hotel on the Rue St Honore near the Louvre. Merry arrives tomorrow…I hope!..

DSC00254.1.15 pm 31 August, I’m waiting in reception and Merry arrives! She has come from Caen where she has been watching the World Equestrian Games

It’s wonderful to see her. We have a hug and within minutes a fine bottle of Champagne is demolished

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Together at last!

Our holiday begins! 

Well, this is the end of the blog.

I hope you have enjoyed travelling with us! Thank you very much for just looking but especially thanks to those who sent me comments. I have really enjoyed those comments and it kept me from being too lonely!

Next year, Azulo and I continue our travels in USA and Canada so I hope you will join us again then….

Merry and I have two days in Paris then fly to Moscow.where we board a boat on the Volga to St Petersburg

Originally I was planning to go to Moscow by bike via Ukraine then the trouble started so I went South instead. The trouble is we had already booked a boat on the Volga from Moscow to St Petersburg….

After that we head for the Baltic Countries where we tour for a couple of weeks.

Merry then heads home and I go back to England and Azulo and I will do a “Celebration Tour”

Vic has dobbed me into doing a Presentation in the Crockham Village Hall on 4th October….Why not come along! (HaHa!)

Bye from Geoff and Azulo!

 

48 thoughts on “31 August – Journeys end…London then back to Paris to meet Merry!

  1. It was absolutely brilliant to see you last weekend. Tom thinks you are awesome, whilst Alex said EPIIIIIIIIIIC when joining in. Trust me, that is even higher praise than just saying `epic`! Glad you loved the gammon and toffee apple brioche but the best bit by far was your stories of your travel, and meeting Azulo!! Hope you enjoy the rest of your journey round the UK and have a safe trip home. Karen, Phil, Tom and Alex xx

  2. Hello Geoff,
    It has been great following your adventure. I’m friends with Peter and Karen Algie. It was Karen who mentioned your trip to me.
    I ride a motorcycle so I know how much fun they are. Although a KLR650 seat for that many kms. You must have an “iron bum”.
    Apart from normal maintenance, how did the bike hold up? Some readers, (I know I am), may be interested in what you modified or added to the bike (e.g what type of panniers) to get it to carry the required gear and last the distance on such roads.
    Cheers, Peter Hickey

  3. Hi Geoff
    Great to be in the company of someone so “awesome” and “epic”; oh, and the trusty Azulo as well of course. Enjoy the rest of your Celebratory Tour
    From the Team at the “Hostel in St Albans!”

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20 – 22 August, Greece and amazing Meteora!

I’m now in Italy near Parma on my dash to England. 

Yesterday I had the Ferry ride from hell! Just scroll down to have a bit of a laugh!

Now, back to Turkey and Greece!

I had a relaxing dinner on the shore of the Dardanelles after my visit to Anzac Cove and a nice cold beer which was most welcome!

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The next morning I rode the 480 K to Thessaloniki, Greece.

When I was 18 I rode around Europe on my Matchless 250 cc bike. I visited Thessaloniki on that trip. So this journey has crossed paths with my first big bike ride.

It’s hard to believe that was 51 years ago! oh dear!

I noticed Azulo had a near flat front tyre so I pumped it up. I checked my rear tyre and noticed a six inch x 1 inch patch of rubber had completely split from the tyre and I was riding close to the inner tube!….This could have caused a nasty blow out!

 

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I have regularly checked the tyres so this must be recent. I was lucky to have noticed it and lucky I found it where there are tyre repair places!

I had a second surprise when the front wheel was removed.( I changed both tyres)

It seems my speedo cable is NOT broken but the housing that the cable sits in that attaches to the wheel had disintegrated and had damaged the wheel itself near the bearing

That sounds awful but actually its only a problem if I want a speedometer! To get the speedo working, I would need a new wheel and housing!…… I think I can live without a speedo as I have the GPS which shows both speed and distance.

Thessaloniki is a nice town and I did the touristy stuff  and also went on the Hop on Hop off Bus. Basically though I took it easy!

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Thessaloniki

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The White Tower. #1 Tourist attraction

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I noticed there are a lot of shops boarded up which is a sign of the economic issues facing Greece. There is also an awful lot of graffiti which is a shame.

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Azulo on the streets of Thessaloniki

 On 21 August I rode to Meteora which is in Central Greece half way to Corfu, about 200k from Thessaloniki

Meteora is a simply amazing place. It is the site of six Monasteries sited on top of the most impressive limestone mountains. It is one of the most amazing places I’ve seen on this trip ….which says something!

I stayed in a fabulous little Guest House, appropriately named “Monastery Guesthouse” at the foot of the mountains with wonderful views. The little town at the baser of Meteora is called Kalambaka

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View from my Guest House

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View from my Guest House

There is a road that climbs the mountains and enables you to see. the Monasteries which date from the 15th, 16th and 17th Centuries. To visit the  Monasteries is a bit of a climb and I’m sorry to say I whimped out. I’ve seen more than enough Churches Mosques and Monasteries lately…… which I know  is a weak excuse…but..

Take a look at these photos…You must put this place on your “bucket list”

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In the evening I had a fabulous Moussaka at a little restaurant…very nice. .

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View from the restaurant

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I left my little Guest House around 2.00 pm and headed for Igoumenitsa where i caught the overnight Ferry to Ancona Italy

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.I left my lovely Guest house and headed for Igoumenitsa where I was to catch the Ferry at 10 pm to ANCONA

It is a magnificent road through literally dozens of tunnels and through attractive mountainous country

I checked into the Ferry and asked if i could upgrade to a cabin. I THINK I had reserved a seat but wasn’t sure. Anyway, I was out of luck as the Ferry was full. It seems it is the last day of the Italian holiday period and they are all heading home.

The Ferry eventually arrived but was 1.5 hours late. Still ant 11.30 pm we set sail

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I had met several Italian Bikers waiting for the Ferry….There was Claudia and Darrian and Eshan and Anna who were my main friends. Please note Merry…..The wives are all accompanying their husbands on the bike…..

Eshan and Anna knew the ropes so I attached myself to them. They are a terrific couple from Bologna and about 30. They said to grab a table in the Restaurant which we did. I bought a bottle of Vino Rosso which was finished before the boat sailed….Needless to say…Yours truly drank most of it!

We sat in the Restaurant till about 1.00 then Eshan and Anna said they were going to find a spot to sleep….I said “Whats all this about “a spot”….aren’t there at least reclining seats?”

They said there were a few seats but they didn’t recline much and were not comfortable….better to sleep on the floor!

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Eshan and Anna…They looked after me!

Well….EVERYBODY was sleeping on the floor….thousands of them ! Some had even put up their tent! It reminded me of the Indian Train Ride from Calcutta to Delhi!

Anyway we found a SPOT but of course I didn’t have anything to sleep on….Eshan was incredibly sweet as he gave me his mat to sleep on. How nice Is that!

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So I spent the night on the floor ! The last time I have done that was on the Isle of Wight Ferry when it broke down. I would have been about 7 and it was SO exciting. Poor Mum and Dad I can still remember their horror at having to sleep on the Ferry. Sister Val and I had a wonderful time

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That was then and this is NOW and believe me it wasn’t the least bit fun!

I survived the night but then the Ferry was nearly 2 hours late and I still had to ride about 320 k to Parma where I had booked a Hotel.

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Worse still….when the Ferry arrived several thousand Greeks and Italians rushed to the Car deck all at once! Chaos as the door to the deck was closed till the Ferry docked. We all stood there like hot sardines waiting for the doors to open in the stuffy bowels of the ship!

When we were eventually let into the car deck we had to wait another hour whilst they unloaded the cars.

At 3.30 I eventually emerged. It was BUCKETING DOWN with rain! Eram and Anna suggested i pick up a Hotel in Bologna but being stubborn as a mule and half Scottish (I had paid for the Hotel in Parma) I decided to struggle on. The Autostrada was packed with all the Holidaymakers returning home…..This is one time when it’s great to be on a bike as I simply rode (illegally) down the emergency lane….dodging back into the correct lane when i saw a Police car!

I got to Parma at sunset about 8.00 pm but then I had to find my Hotel. I had booked a nice little place outside Parma in a little village. Needless to say I got totally lost.

Eventually I rang the Hotel and they sent someone out to rescue me!

So that was my day….Not the best I have to say but I’m safe and in Italy having a lovely breakfast with Parma Ham!

I’m heading for France today then Auxerre where I hope to meet MooN  (a biker who kindly offered to give Azulo a home whilst I’m in Russia with Merry)  

 

 

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19th August – Anzac Cove

This will be a brief post specifically showing the Anzac Cove memorials. I feel these pictures shouldn’t be mixed up with Travel photos 

I left Istanbul at 6.00 am both to beat the traffic and to get to Eceabat on the Gallipoli Peninsula where I had booked a tour of Anzac Cove at 12.00. I don’t want to be late and I have to ride 315 k

As always in Turkey it was an easy ride on excellent roads and I arrived in plenty of time to check into my hotel.

The tour lasted five hours and covered the battlefield and Memorials. I felt I really needed to return again as it was hard to get perspective of the battlefield. The guide was very knowledgeable but as often the case I had trouble understanding his English.

Perhaps if I were to do it again I would have a private tour

Anyway, it was very interesting and so very sad. What a terrible waste of life war is.

I will just show you my photos and not try and comment.

One thing however struck me.

We always see pictures of the Gallipoli Campaign in black and white. In reality, of course, it was colour and the area is really beautiful.The sea is so blue.

I thought of those poor soldiers in their trenches and when they were able to see out they would have seen the blue Ocean. Also, it would also have been hot (at least in the summer part of the Campaign) It must have been awful

The whole Gallipoli Peninsula is very fertile and green which was another thing that surprised me!…… Naturally the battlefield wouldn’t have been green but the area all around would have.

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Turkish Memorial

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Turkish Graves. They have no idea how many died as they have no records

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Lone Pine Memorial

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New Zealand Memoriasl

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New Zealand Memorial

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Attaturk Memorial

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Lone Pine from the New Zealand Memorial

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Eceabat

I left Anzac Cove with the same feelings as when visiting the Somme. What brave young men they were and what a terrible waste.

Tomorrow I leave Turkey and enter Greece

 

 

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