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Lost en Ardennes
If you could order perfect weather for a weekend of motorcycling that is exactly the kind of weather we got. After the rain that we have experienced on previous tours, it was fabulous to enjoy warm sunshine, which made the countryside glow. It was a pleasure, too, to welcome Thibaut and Pascale from France, who rode with us for the first time. They rode their BSA Rocket Three from their home near Strasbourg.
As usual we were welcomed at the Rittersprung and a garage was made available to us for the bikes. Our first ride took us to a little WW2 museum at Poteau. Within two miles of the museum, however, I got horribly lost and dragged Hugh Mackenzie and Peter and Pippa Jackson down with me. I subsequently checked on Google Earth and found that I had completely missed a left turn. We went on to Malmedy, where we took lunch and then found a main road route back in the afternoon. Upon our return I suggested to Hugh that we go for a ride and we shot off into Germany and on to Vianden in Luxembourg, where we enjoyed an ice cream at the Hotel Oranienburg.
On Sunday we rode to Prüm, in Germany. The coffee
stop was at the Fünfmädelhaus at Lambertsberg,
where we have stopped on many previous occasions. On the way,
however, we could not find the turn for Masthorn. Some of us
ploughed on and made the route up. Others turned back and tried
again to find the missing turning. They were unsuccessful in that,
so Bill Mills led them, successfully, to the coffee stop and we all
arrived at exactly the same time - albeit from opposite directions.
As we returned to the bike for the afternoon run we spotted a sign for an 'explosioncrater.' Intrigued we set off in search of it. It was a huge hole in the ground just behind the new hospital. There was, apparently, a chapel on the site but, after the war the Americans began to collect together munitions, which were stored/dumped beneath it. On 16th July 1946 a building on the site caught fire and an enormous explosion rocked the town and about a dozen people were killed. The photo, above, was taken at the rim of the crater.
The first several miles of the afternoon route had been plotted from Google Maps. It worked well and we all got back safely. With just two miles to the finish it was only twenty past three, so I offered the opportunity to extend the route to those riding with me. All agreed so we went to Dahnen and visited a small German war grave cemetery. We cut through to Dahleiden and then onto the lovely, twisty Falkenauel road and stopped for a cold drink at the little cafe there. We added 40 miles to the day's ride.
For our final ride we went into Luxembourg. We
were to have had coffee at the Hotel Huberty at Kautenbach. It was
closed. We were then to take the wonderful hairpin road towards
Wilwerwiltz. It was closed too - our first Route Barrée. We
diverted via Merkholtz and tried - in vain - to find a café at Wilwerwiltz.
We stopped at the Jeu de Quilles café in Weicherdange. 5 riders,
however had pressed on towards the lunch stop at the Kentucky café.
By the time we arrived there, they had moved on but we knew they had been
there because there were oil spots in the car park and 5 cooling coffee
cups on a table outside !
A huge thank you to all those who took part in this tour. We had a great time and the group got on really well.
Chris Webber - 1937 Norton