The Road to Nice: Days 19-20 : Switzerland to Brighton

The plans for my stay in Switzerland are thrown into disarray when my friend is forced to stay in bed all day Sunday with what turns out to be the onset of flu.

I amuse myself with a tootle around the area. Pretty but not a lot going on.

It’s a busy Sunday lunchtime don’tcha know?

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The rest of the day I apply myself to writing up my notes for this blog and finish reading the book I started two weeks ago.

Monday brings no improvement in my friend’s health. They decide they need another day in bed and we decide that I might as well leave a day earlier than I planned. So 9:30 sees me on the road once again.

When I visited a couple of years ago I did the 600 mile trip back to Brighton in one day on my Tiger 1050 and swore I’d never do it again.

Eight hours later I was waiting to get on a ferry in Calais. I’m really not very good at this resolution business.

The last 100 miles had been horrendous with torrential rain finding its way through my 100% waterproof jacket and trousers. I am really not impressed with the Triumph gear. Most of the water appears to get in through the poorly designed collar. That water soaks into the scarf which then helpfully wicks the water down onto your chest and your T-shirt takes on wicking duties ensuring full body coverage. Why is it beyond the wit of motorcycle clothing designers to come up with a way of making a collar which is both comfortable and weather proof?

The nearer you get to Calais the worse the driving becomes. Although European drivers can be poor us English are probably the most stupid and inconsiderate.

A woman in a VW camper appears in my mirror. I’m only doing about 70 and she sits a couple of yards behind me. I really can’t be bothered to go faster. It’s hot, I’m tired and just want to chill for a while so I slow down expecting her to pass. It takes her some while before she crawls past me at 72 mph. Once she’s overtaken me she sits in the outside lane (still doing about 72 and making very little progress). Some way up the road is an HGV and she stays in the outside lane apparently oblivious to the queue of cars behind her and I’m beginning to regret my decision not to go faster.

She overtakes the HGV eventually and of course there is another one half a mile ahead so she stays in the outside lane. By this time the queue of cars is getting a little impatient and I can see the flash of headlights on the back of the van and some drivers overtake on the inside. This carries on for several miles until she has a completely empty motorway and she finally pulls over. By this time I’ve had enough and do what I should have done originally and ride at a sensible speed. I look at her as I pass and shake my head. She doesn’t notice.

A little later it starts really raining and the brain dead English show their true colours. The rain is so heavy I can barely see the road. The spray from the HGV in front is like a smokescreen and it’s difficult even making out the shape of the lorry. I’ve slowed to about 40 and am thinking of pulling into the next service area and waiting for the rain to abate. English registered cars (mostly black Audi 4x4s it seems) pass me like I’m standing still. At least one has a personalised number plate. I wasn’t quite sure what it was but it looked like TO55 ERS

Coming out I noticed the increased number of asylum seekers compared to previous years and I was wondering how many asylum seekers I’d find at Calais. In the end there were none. I’d guess the rain was bad enough to keep them away. The field of tents isn’t going anywhere though.

I arrive back in Brighton at 20:30 completely wrecked and almost exactly 12 hours after leaving Switzerland. I swear I’m not doing that again…….

2 thoughts on “The Road to Nice: Days 19-20 : Switzerland to Brighton

  1. I loved the comments about resolutions and British drivers in the rain. Why do we force ourselves to do long hauls – 600 mls plus – in one hit?

    Sorry to hear your friends were not up to playing, you should have swung by my place and enjoyed some hospitality and music.


  2. I don’t know Dave. I used to do the big miles as I was limited in time and/or money and couldn’t afford the time or the money to make many overnight stops.

    These days though I could have quite easily stopped but I had in my head I’d get home that day.

    Thanks for the offer but perhaps it’s just as well I didn’t go back via your place given the trouble at Calais the next day as I’d probably still be there now drinking your wine and breaking strings 😉


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