There is only inappropriate clothing…. (Day 5 of The Grape Escape)

The day started off with a trip to the post office. We had too much stuff and Bonnie was feeling fat. Plus the panniers were tearing with the extra weight. So we decided to send the extra stuff had to be sent back to the UK.

Jesal did her usual attempts at impressing the various folks in France with her powerful grasp of the language. Not !!!

Started off with a cost of €39.35 which didn’t sound too bad for about 8kgs. But alas, there was no box big enough to hold the stuff. We would have had to go to the supermarket in the next town to buy or find a big box, which clearly wasn’t going to happen. So, in the end, the stuff had to be split into 3 boxes, with a postage cost of €63.60.

Crucial decision-making skills learned in the corporate world were called upon– was it worth spending €63.60 on stuff that cost £275 to buy and was fairly new (i.e. had only been used once). After creating a flurry of activity in the tiny post office of the town of Domme, an executive decision had been reached. The stuff was going to make its way back to London.

Then the usual job of loading up Bonnie and we were on our way. Today, we decided to avoid motorways and drive through the country roads, passing little towns and villages along the way.

And I can tell you now, that was the best decision of the day. The country roads were marvellously winding, lots of greenery around us, beautiful houses and cattle grazing. We happily motorcycled through, breathing in the smells of nature, hearing the sounds and feeling at one with nature.

Romancing the Suzuki

We stopped for quick bite and met this amazingly cool dude with a custom 78 Suzuki. I love Bonnie but I had to have a quick fling with the Suzuki!!

And then on this supposedly warm and sunny day, the weather gods stuck. As soon as we decided we would go on the motorway A75 for about 25 miles, it started pelting down with rain and lightning and thunder made a little guest appearance as well.

Had to pull up on the hard shoulder to get the rainwear on. Obviously, we are super organized so all the waterproofs were in the bag that was the least accessible and most tightly bound on to the bike. The many years of carrying grocery bags up to my flat meant that I won the tug of war with the bag and managed to extract the waterproofs. Hurriedly put them on while standing on the hard shoulder and braved it to find some food. Oh, did I mention that we haven’t learnt from our mistakes on day 1 and still generally forget to eat most days.

Godzilla at Aires

Found a Services (I don’t think I can bring myself to say Aires), found some sheltered parking for the bike there and went to get some hot chocolate. This was quite a feat, given that each person was wearing:

Biking trousers, t-shirt, fleece, biking jacket, biking boots and socks + waterproof trousers, waterproof jacket, waterproof boot covers, neck cover, our helmet and gloves.

“Oh look, two hot bikers in leathers”

Very safe to say that these were not the looks we got from the other patrons at the was more of

“Look mummy look, there are two mini Godzillas here!”

A few tentative discussions of should we stop for the day ensued, but as we had already chickened out of riding in the rain before, we decided to brave it and carry on. This decision was partially aided by talking to some French bikers, who were heading to Paris (a long, long way up north) without any pf this paraphernalia.

What did they have that we did not???

Oh, I know, they had wet socks!!

Suitably chastened, given that we had all the paraphernalia, we were on our way. We were fed, watered and had even managed a toilet stop.

Don’t even get me started on how hard toilet stops are with above mentioned clothing!! You get the “weirdo” looks in the washroom because people wonder what you’ve been doing in there for so long. When seriously, all you’ve been doing is trying to manage all those articles of clothing that are enough to stock a small shop!

Anyways, enough said on all that. We were on our way to the town of Ales, a bit tentative at first and then we relaxed. It was raining but we were dry inside our waterproofs.

And then somewhere between the Aires and Ales, something happened. From being worried and nervous and having tension in my shoulders about the rain, I suddenly felt free… my soul was light and one with nature.

The rain kept coming but it brought with it a feeling of lightness, of acceptance, of happiness in that moment. Nature was in its full glory, everything was green, tiny waterfalls were flowing, the roads were winding serpent like with gorges on the side; there was the smell of grass and earth in the air and I could hear each raindrop as it fell on my helmet.

I love the rain (except in London) and I now love motorcycling in the rain. And for those of you, who’ve never experienced this feeling, stand out in the garden when it rains next. Don’t worry about getting wet, just close your eyes and listen to the rain, smell the grass and you’ll know what I mean.

As they say, there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing!!!


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