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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.
The ride on towards Prüm was straightforward and we sat in the sun at an Eiscafé that served 'spaghetti' ice cream as a speciality.  There were numerous weird ice creams on offer so we had to try them.  I had 'fried egg' ice cream.

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 ! 
In the afternoon we crossed back into Belgium.  There were a few spots of rain but we managed to miss the worst of it on our way to La Roche en Ardennes.  Returning from La Roche we spotted a sign for the memorial to Les Quatre Freres Leonard at Hautbellain.  It seems that the four brothers were in the resistance but were captured by the Germans and shot in January 1945.  Their bodies were not discovered until 14 months later, which must have been devastating for their family.  Leaving there we came back to Weiswampach and down the road to Ouren.  We made a short stop at the Lancaster memorial, where we examined the tyre-mark in the road where Paul March had very nearly hit Bill Mills on the previous day.  The photo gives an impression of the length of the skid with Debbie and myself lying in the road to give 'scale' to the situation.  Pascale is looking on somewhat bewildered by our behaviour.

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
Tony Page & Debbie Ogden - 700cc Silk, 1938 Ariel VH and a 1951 Ariel VH Red Hunter
Thibaud & Pascale Seiffert - BSA Rocket Three
Malcolm Graham & Hazel Goble - 500cc AMC single
Peter & Pippa Jackson - AMC twin
Bill Mills - Panther two stroke twin
Paul March - Triumph 21
Hugh Mackenzie - Triumph TR6P and Triumph Tiger 90
Alan Abrahams - Moto Guzzi V50

Alan Abrahams