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Howard and Dave beat the French blockade

By Black955tiger -

Touring & travel

 24 October 2010 12:14

Having gone to Spain for a few days trail riding on our Triumph Scramblers we were now stuck in Figueres, north east Spain, by the French fuel blockade.

We had a ferry booked from Cherbourg but it was too far with fuel the supply being dodgy. So, we hatched a plan to buy fuel canisters to carry an extra 30 litres of petrol each and head to Geneva, 400 miles away, where we could refill and continue up to Luxembourg for another refill and then onwards to Calais for a ferry to Dover.

We set off from our hotel in Figueres on a chilly Wednesday morning on the Autoroutes at a steady 60mph to conserve fuel. After about 100 miles we saw a petrol station open for business so we topped off our tanks and were able to up the cruising speed to around 75mph which got us to Annecy for an overnight stop.

The next morning was really frosty and we got moving at 09:30 and rode into Geneva with 10 litres of fuel to spare thanks to the top up on the Autoroute.

fter filling everything we had and taking the obligatory photo at the famous fountain we headed north over the “Col de la Faucille” at 1323 metres, which had a covering of snow.

The ride on the north side, down from the peak was treacherous with icy patches but the views with the frost in the trees were stunning. Because of the conditions, we abandoned plans to ride the “Route de Cretes” in the east of France and diverted toward Dole and then north towards Luxembourg along some lovely D roads.

We got as far as Chaumont before we were frozen so we found a hotel there. Another frosty morning made us slow to start off but we got going around 09:30 after bump starting my bike because the heated grips and heated jacket liner had drained the battery.

We continued to Luxembourg on very pretty back roads. Refilling everything there, we set off for Chimay for a hotel and some beer but couldn’t find one single hotel in the town.

This is a town with an Abbey, brewery and a race circuit with no hotels?! Surely a missed opportunity.

So the Garmin Zumo came in handy and routed us to an Ibis in Maubeuge for our final night in this saga. Next morning was more of the frosty same but with rain forecast.

Our route took us through Cambrai, Arras, Frevent, Hesdin, Desvres, and Guines to Calais where we were robbed of €62 for a one way ferry crossing. Dave and I went our separate ways off the M20. Job done.

Message to the French:- We don’t need or want your petrol!