Even after test packing my bike numerous times on the week or two leading up to our leaving day I never could quite get all the gear in without having to force the bags shut. The night before setting off was no exception. In my mind I had removed all unnecessary items and what was left was what i couldn’t live without. Still my bags had never seemed so full!
We aimed to pack light but came up a little heavier than expected as I think most do. For us the extra volume was laptops and cameras and unfortunately these take up a lot of space once they are in waterproof crash resistant cases. Still our pannier bags had a little stretch room left and on the eve of our leaving day we finally attached all the bags to our bikes at around 10pm.
We had decided on a Saturday to leave as we hoped some friends and family would come to the house to wave us off however we soon realised waking up on the morning of the the 31st of March that there was actually going to a lot more arriving. We were already pretty giddy about setting off after 3 years of planning so this prospect nearly pushed us over the edge into full meltdown. We tried to keep each other calm and as people began arriving at the house they thankfully began taking on some roles such as covering the tea duties! For myself and Jenny this was a huge relief as it gave us some time to ensure the bikes were ready and we could get our gear on.
It was lovely to have the support of so many friends and family and it really set in stone that we were leaving today on our mammoth trip. We had given up everything we owned in the UK including our full time jobs and leaving day made it all very very real. We spent some time chatting to the kind people that came to see us off and then finally it was time to go. We actually didn’t count on how much time we needed and realised we were actually going to be a good hour behind schedule. With this in mind we got our gear on and jumped on the bikes. As we rode out of the driveway and past all of our friends and family that were lining the road it suddenly hit us that were on the way after 3 years of planning and that we were finally on our trip of a lifetime.
For some reason we had neglected in all of the build up to fill up the bikes fully so after about 30 minutes we pulled into a services and used it as an excuse to have a breather after all of the excitement of the morning. We hadn’t even set up our sat nav software to take us to the euro tunnel terminal. I put in euro tunnel terminal and selected the first result and suddenly a wave of dread came over me. The sat nav software was saying nearly five hours to get there and we had already set off an hour later than expected! We would barely make our train to France if we were lucky. We immediately jumped on the bikes and set off at full speed to make the train. As we passed London a couple of hours later the times of arrival were just not adding up and we pulled into another services to check the sat nav. I had set it to the French Terminal on the other side of the Channel! Hence why it was saying so long to get there. We were so relieved that we could stop and eat some lunch before setting off again.
We arrived at the terminal with an hour to our train and a large sense of relief. I know that missing a euro tunnel train isn't a huge issue except for the extra cost but being quite superstitious I needed the first day of the trip to run smoothly as I kind of felt it could be a bad omen.
With it being off season the tunnel crossing was very quiet on the train with no other motorcycles in our carriage. The thing with the euro tunnel is that it is so quick. By the time you have parked your bike and been to the bathroom it is time to get off at the other side!
We had booked a cheap hotel in Lille, France which is about an hour and a half from Calais on a pretty boring Auto route which was also pretty cold as the sun was going down. Once reaching our first hotel of the trip we treated ourselves to the only available food in town, a kebab!
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