The crossing was over pretty quickly, it was smooth but not particularly pleasant, and anyway I was now in France and riding on the wrong side of the road for the first time. In fact I didn’t even notice the difference. The autoroute was billiard table smooth and very quiet compared to UK motorways. I arrived in Dunkerque after a while and stopped to set-up my Sat Nav. It seems however that my French maps were not the best and after an hour of riding around the French Country side at close to midnight I had still not found the campsite. I kept riding and eventually found a place that looked as if it was all shut up for the night. I headed to what looked like a party and got to test my French, well as much as “Parlez vous anglias?” anyway.
€8 later I attempted to put the tent up in the dark – no problem. The plan was for an early get away the next morning, but after showering, packing up and then searching for food, we didn’t leave France until around midday. Belgium flew by on our way to Köln until we hit Brussels. For some reason the main motorway to Köln goes straight through the Belgium capital. Stuck in traffic and sweating in the 30+ degree heat I began to feel quite uncomfortable. The bike must have been feeling the same as it decided to piss its coolant out over the street. After a 45 minute break and some mineral water for the bike and a fanta for me, I reset Sat Nav, checked my map and set off again, eventually making it out of Brussels. After that the miles flew by. There was some congestion on the auto route but the disciplined and courteous Belgium drivers soon dive out of the way for bikes to pass.
Once across the border and onto on the autobahn I decided to give it some beans. Two up with a total of around 100L of luggage I wasn’t expecting much from the little 500cc parallel twin, but it pulled hard up to 100 before tailing off and eventually refusing to budge much past 115mph. Not too shabby for the 12 year old, considering the absolute reported max is rumoured to be 125mph. Even at this speed, which only saw a tank of fuel (15 litres plus 3l reserve) last around 130 miles, cars were flying past as though we were standing still. “We’re going to need a bigger boat” or bike in this case. We arrived in Köln around 7pm and settled into the campsite. I managed to miss most of the football on the bar at the time but I did enjoy a nice fat juicy Angus steak, even if it did cost over €30.