The last day.
After leading yesterday's run to Ypres, I decided to take a back seat, or a different place in the line of 8 bikes.
And so after a repeat of the previous day's self cook breakfast we packed the bikes and headed off. Aiming for Nieuwpoort aan Zee as the first stop. The plan to follow a canal all the way there to where it meets the sea at a huge marina.
I was bringing up the rear of the column and saw a sign like this one.
We tried to alert those ahead but Cal and I were the only two not heading past this sign. We chose to turn left across a lift bridge onto the other bank, where Nieuwpoort was signposted 15kms away.
As we headed along we sounded our horns and waved at the "first wave" to no avail. Some miles further on their side came to an end. By then we were way ahead despite dropping the speed to 40.
We carried onto the first agreed waypoint in Nieuwpoort. Luckily a cyclist extracted them from their dead end and they arrived in three separate groups over a period of about 25 minutes.... Some frayed tempers.
Once we had all been fed and watered Cal got to lead us to Adinkerke, where there is almost a "village" of cheap tobacco and alcohol stores. We had one small detour due to a road closed and I took the lead as I knew where we were. I led us to the coast road and TomTom agreed.
I really like this part of the Belgian coast. The sand dunes separating the road from the sea. They are so high you are unaware what lurks beyond them. And it is clean.
In De Panne we had to follow the tram as the road is shared with them for some distance. Too narrow to have cars and trams with their own space unlike the open areas between towns.
At Adinkerke we visited the baccy shops and I bought chocolates for work and home.
Then I had a ride to look at the nearby war graves cemetery, but the approach was very muddy and waterlogged. The road was too narrow to turn Pepe around so I went around a rather long block, had I not, I wouldn't have found this Leopard tank on a small plot in the village.
From the baccy shop we split up into two groups. From leading I was relegated to fifth place. I had missed the conversation where it was decided what junction to leave the A16. Only as we got to the ferry port turn did I see the leading four had turned off. I led the "second wave" the way I know to the Place d'Armes where we were united again.
There was a minor bit of drama when David couldn't find his ignition key. After searches in the street it was eventually found, after several searches of his jacket and tank bag, in the hand warmer pocket of his jacket!!
Lunch was eaten. And then we set off for our 1715 ferry back to England.
A really superb weekend with a great bunch of "lads". A fine bromance though, it's not.
Thanks to Cal for organising the weekend.
The Meldrews were: