Friday, 21 September 2012

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Slideshow now available

I've now uploaded a selection of photos from the tour onto Flickr.

To view them, page down to the bottom of the main blog page and click on the picture of the four of us. Once in Flickr, click slide show.



Wednesday, 8 August 2012


The Reservoir Hogs tour is over and so now is this blog. All that remains for me to say is, thank you for following this adventure and taking the trouble to comment, those that did. Apologies you had to 'catch up' and not read it real time but that's technology for ya.

And lastly, a huge, huge thank you, to my three travelling companions, without whom the tour wouldn't have happened or been such a blast!  Europe next Hogs?

That's all folks!

Thanks Again.

Neill (a.k.a. Woody)

P.S. Watch out for the slideshow on Flickr, coming soon.

No lies, just statistics

For those that like facts and figures, here's a few for you.


Weight prior to tour: 12st 13lbs  (82.1 kgs)
Weight after tour:  13st 4lbs  (84.4 kgs)

Cooked breakfasts:  10
Light breakfasts:  2

Cooked Lunches:  11
Sandwich Lunch:  1

Cooked Dinners:  12

Cups of coffee:  33 approx.

Pints of beer:  28 approx.

And one wee dram!

The Bandit

Tour mileage:  2258.4 miles

Litres of fuel used:  183 approx.

Cost:  £230 give or take a few pence

The bike performed superbly, never missing a beat. The new Michelin Pilot Road 3 tyres were every bit as good as the reviews said they were. In dry or wet, through the bends or under braking, I had total confidence in them. I would definitely recommend them to anyone.

As the bike had had a service before the off, the chain had been adjusted and lubed. This was the only thing to suffer. 2200 miles without any adjustment or lube, meant by the end of the tour it sounded like a bag of old spanners when pulling away from stationary. Not really practical to take tools for chain adjustment but in hindsight, maybe I should have taken some lube or even scrounged some off of Biggsey.

Tomtom did a great job, only getting lost a couple of times. Other wrong turns were more down to me than equipment.

Water Stats

We passed by on this tour, approximately 42 reservoirs, lakes, lochs and loughs, stopping to take photos at about 12 of them, though much to Grizzly's chagrin, not Lake Windermere!! Not to mention the many rivers we crossed over or ran alongside.

I think then, without fear of contradiction, we can indeeed call ourselves, The Reservoir Hogs!

It's not over till the fat lady waves goodbye!

A bit harsh on Jennifer but she had put weight on since I last saw her, earlier in the year. I had to ask if she had a surprise for me but thankfully, just pies and takeaway in the oven this time!

Unpacking my stuff for the last time away from home, I had a shower and then we went out for something to eat. Would you believe it, I even had a pint of Guiness! I also 'treated' them (Jen and boyfriend Chris) to a tour pics film show, the first of many probably.

I slept soundly enough and was up just after 9:00. I planned to leave about 10:30, for the 3 hour trip home. Jen made me toast for breakfast, my lightest since Inveraray and then I got my stuff together. More hugs and kisses this time and I was on my way home. First stop was for fuel at Asda, just before joining the M4 at Junction 32. Without the coffee monsters, I was riding on through, so my next stop was my second fuel stop, just outside Bracknell. I arrived at Morrisons in Walderslade, my final fuel stop and the official tour mileage end, at about 13:45. It's just a mile from home, so I was in and unloaded soon after 14:00.

As I closed the front door, I sighed. That was it, the tour was well and truly over. I'd been away 13 days, ridden through 5 countries, covered over 2,200 miles and I was bloody tired. I just sat down to watch some TV.......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Strong hand shakes and big man hugs!

Day 11 dawned. The Faythe proprietor had told us he would do our breakfast early, as we were catching the ferry, so we were at the table by 7:15. He had also made some muffins, whilst baking the bread and gave us four for the journey. The bikes were pretty much loaded and ready to go before we sat down to eat, so all that was left was to have a group photo and say goodbye to Grizzly. The proprietor obliged with the photo. There was some vigorous hand shaking going on, followed by some big man hugs and back slapping, as we bade farewell to Grizzly, then we were ready to roll. Grizzly had about a 2 hour ride back to his home in Portlaoise (pronounced Portleash), whilst the rest of us had about 30 minutes to the ferry port at Rosslare.

We fired up and hit the road, as a four at first, before Grizzly peeled off to the right. Traffic was light, it was Sunday morning after all, so we made it to the port at the expected time. On the way, we passed the hotel that I had originally booked us in. It was surrounded by security fencing and that reminded me again how lucky it was that I had been on the website before the tour, else we would have turned up to find that sight and nowhere to stay!

At Rosslare, we checked in at the booths and boarded straight away. There were quite a number of other bikes already loaded. As the crew strapped the bikes down, we made our way up the the lounge area and parked ourselves on the bench seats, with a couple of tables. Within minutes we were leaving, a four hour journey ahead of us. Dudley, was straight into sleep mode, whilst Biggsey and I chatted and visited the shop. I then had a little nap myself, waking as we were making our final approach to Pembroke.

Back in dear old blighty (well Wales!), our first stop was in Carmarthen for fuel. I had originally planned that the 3 of us would skirt the Brecons, until I split from the group, to head South to Pontypridd. Dudley, however, was planning to visit his daughter in Reading, so wanted to get some quick miles under his belt, which meant taking the M4. Biggsey didn't want to be doing the last leg on his own and the M4 suited me as well, so it was agreed we'd take the M4. We (me that is) had already had an issue at another roundabout (can't blame Tomtom) forcing us to u-turn but not long out of Carmarthen my attention wandered and blow me if I hadn't gone wrong again. Dudley was fairly close behind, so followed. Biggsey, a little way back, read the signs and took the correct exit! DOH!

Now Biggsey claims he saw us go wrong but I guess he figured we'd soon catch up again without him having to slow too much. What none of us had bargained for though, was the traffic lights on the roundabout holding Dudley and I up. Now, I'm sure you all remember the mathematics puzzles they set at school, so here's one for you.

If a Triumph motorcycle travelling at 65mph, sets off on a road 2 minutes before the other two, what speed does the dipstick with the Tomtom have to go to catch and overtake the Triumph before it takes the M4?

To help, the distance involved, was 14.9 miles and said dipstick completed the task of overhauling the Triumph with about 60 yards to spare. There's no prize, it's just for fun kids!

As I overtook Biggsey, I pointed to him to head round the roundabout to the services. He peeled off and I carried on around again, pulling over to watch for Dudley approaching. Surprisingly, he wasn't that far behind, the old blighter must've given the Harley some welly once I'd left him behind. As he pulled onto the roundabout, I took the lead again and led him to the services. Phew!

This was our lunch stop and also the parting of the ways. I was only about an hour away from my daughter Jennifer's place in Pontypridd and didn't see much point in hanging around with the other two, especially as it seemed we all planned to travel at different speeds. Me warp, Dudley legal and Biggsey with a man walking in front ;-) Dudley needed to cover the ground fairly quickly, having still about four hours journey to go and Biggsey had said he wasn't going to be hammering it, so it made sense to say farewell at this point.

More vigorous handshaking, hugging and back slapping ensued, then we hit the road, The Reservoir Hogs Tour officially over.

Dudley was first on the motorway but I soon overtook him and in just over an hour I was parking up on my daughter's driveway.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Thanks Woody

The Faythe proprietor had given us a town map, with some places to eat/drink marked on it. In addition Grizzly had phoned his niece, to suss out where she recommended. We didn't want to be walking miles, so we decided on the nearest of those on that map, that she thought would be OK.

Just as we were about to leave, the heavens opened for the third time that day. The last supper was put on hold, whilst we waited for it to stop raining. We soon made our way to the 'recommended' hostelry, I forget the name now and found ourselves a table. This was a big place, not very inspiring it has to be said and with only two other people inside. Maybe we were a bit early for a Saturday night. We had a pint (mine may have been Guiness again) and looked at the menu. Very disappointing, we decided to try and locate the Indian restaurant on the map. Grizzly had never had an Indian curry before.

I managed to get us lost...ish, again (no help from Tomtom this time) as the Indian was down a side street and we hadn't seen the sign for it. That was possibly because we were distracted by women again, another group of hens all clamouring to have their photo taken with The Author! I think there were a few more of Biggsey's cards flying about, as brothers or uncles rode motorbikes.

We sure know how to pick 'em!

 Having tracked down the Indian, we were told that they didn't have a table for four available for at least an hour. Just when we're thinking we will have to go elsewhere, up steps Dudley, with a double dose of the Biggsey charm and before you could say, Chicken Korma, the young lady agreed to push two twos together. Sorted!

As Dudley sat down, I saw him move something off of his seat. I thought it was a napkin or something. Turned out to be a card the Hogs had got me, thanking me for organising the tour and leading them, mostly successfully, to the end. I was touched but even more so, when the Waterford Crystal gift box was thrust in my hand. I was almost speechless, yes almost, I hadn't expected anything. Dudley said, that as I had drunk my first REAL Guinness on the trip, they thought it fitting that they buy me a little glass harp, as a memento. A lovely thought and much appreciated.

Chuffed to bits!

The food was superb, though there was quite a wait for it to arrive. We couldn't grumble though, we were lucky to get seated in the first place. Grizzly had had his first Indian curry, though chicken korma and chips, isn't the pairing you'd expect! He enjoyed it though, that was the main thing.

As we made our way back along the high street, Wexford had come alive and all the young people were now on the streets, though not yet in the gutters. Us old timers though, decided to forego another pint and head back to the guest house. Sunday, we would all be going our separate ways.