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Monday, July 02, 2007

Day 1 Home to Arras

Against the forecast I had a mostly dry journey down although it was heavy showers over the QE bridge at Dartford. One of my new LED dash lamps managed to bounce out of its socket after 2 hours and was readily refitted. The fuel light works, at one point I wondered if it was oscillating (184km) but it did come on eventually. I refilled with just under 7litres at 195km.

Check-in at the tunnel (it took just under 6 hours to get there) was quick and security checks easy for me although every third car seemed to be being unpacked. The train was by no means full and I was the only motorcycle on that crossing. Last year on leaving the tunnel I accidentally turned towards Boulogne and found some pleasant eastbound roads so this year I planned to go that way but the road was closed.

I quickly regained my chosen route and continued to an area where the map showed som eunsurfaced roads. Unfortunately as I pulled away from a map-reading stop I spun the rear wheel in the mud and promptly came off. the only damage was a small rip in my 'best' MSR waterproof trousers. No other harm or damage (HD handguards excepted) so that was a fair outcome. After that little mishap it felt unwise to continue as I was clearly tired so rejoined the more major roads. The final 150km to Arras were a long way and a petrol stop turned into a big job as the supermarkets are so inconvenient to use.

The YH is on the Grande Place in the town centre so easy to find but a fight through traffic. There was a row of UK registered motorbikes on the pavement outside so I joined them.

The clerk said that she thought there was a risk of a ticket from the Police but the group had parked there in previous years on the advice of more established staff so we all stayed put. Arras is a pretty, and therefore touristy, town with many bars and restaurants so perhaps preferable to Cambrai, my stop last year.



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