9 April 2018

Vimy 101

I should claim another 50-50 Challenge 5E today as well. 

I am writing this in the Eurotunnel terminal at Calais after a 90kms ride from Vimy in drizzle and the occasional proper rain. Presumably mild for the Canadians stoically singing "Oh Canada" at the end of the ceremony in drizzling rain.

I did sing "God Save the Queen" but seemed one of the few.  There were quite a few British there and a lot of bikers.

I finish it off when I get home and add a bit of detail.

Back Home!

So to start from the beginning.  I was up at 0645 and by 0720 had got washed etc, togged up and fed the dog. Pepe started without the dbpower unit to give him a jolt.  I had it with me all day and fully charged just in case!

I was lucky to get on the 0806 train rather than the 0820 I was booked on and curiously I was loaded in with the cars rather than treated like an inconvenience and tacked in the last carriage. waterproofs went on before I had left the terminal area!

It was misty at home and the first 40 miles in France the same. On the toll motorway I stopped for coffee and croissant at Aire de Rely, as usual, and then let TomTom take me to the first stop at the Dud Corner Cemetery/Loos Memorial.  What look like a reasonably large cemetery doubles as the memorial to the over 20000 men that were lost here and have no known grave.  Imagine that if you can!  

Me and Red Pepe

War Cross at Dud Corner

From here the plan was to head down the road a short way and drop in at the Louvre. Not the Parisian one, but the new modern one in Lens.  

TomTom took me to it but it's hidden behind and large but artistically designed wall.  No photo opportunity.  It was only 1230 so I decided to have lunch. Instead of my usual French bistro I went to McDonald's!  Why?  Wifi and parking, plus McPee facilities.  A Big Mac later I w son the road. It was a little after 1300 so I changed the plan and decided to do the craters first.  The Vimy memorial didn't start until 1500.

TomTom took me through country lanes to Lichfield Crater.  I aborted as the road was more akin to MX track than Rocket Road.  Re-programming for Zivy Crater.

And then to Vimy. Another short ride took me into the park and to the car park right by the monument.  Waterproofs off.  Walk over and find a viewing spot.  As expected the VIPs arived late and it was about 1515 when we started. Speeches and wreath laying.

Major Cat-Strangler of the Canadian Army


As the final wreaths were being laid it started to drizzle. As I said at the top of the article it carried on all the way back to Calais. 

Only one stop for a comfort break and coffee on the way back otherwise a constant 110kph on the  A26 to the Shuttle. I weighed up whether I could get both directions and home again on one tank and decided to play safe.  Filling the tank at this stop.

I was early at check-in and was offered an earlier crossing than booked. In the end through luck of the draw they fitted a couple of bikes on the end of the earlier train than that. So I was home an hour earlier.

Despite the weather another nice day on the continent. Only the weather was a bit of a downer.

Below are the stats taken off the TomTom for the day's riding.  I didn't connect it until I was on the outward bound train and took it off at the terminal on the way back. In effect there's about 20kms to add onto these figures.

TomTom Stats

1 comment:

  1. I am glad you had a little break in the rain for your ride. At least for the first of the ceremony.

    We sure don't hear about Vimy in this country, but remember it from growing up in Canada.


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