Picos, Pyrenees & Volcanoes Tour  7 – 14 July 2014
 
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The group (minus Nigel) in the Picos Mountains where we did have sunshine! Great riding by all on some fantastic roads.
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Those who arrive a day early hit the tapas bars before dining out in Santander where Charles celebrates his birthday
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“As “first-timers” to Bike Normandy we didn’t really know exactly what to expect. In fact it was brilliant – fantastic roads, hotels and lovely people to share our experience with on the tour. It was lovely to leave each morning knowing that all coffee breaks, petrol stops & lunch stops were sorted out beforehand and all we had to do was jump on the bike and enjoy the roads/ride! You both work extremely hard to make sure the tour runs with no hitches – mission accomplished! A huge thanks to you both and of course “Parker” in ensuring that our first tour was so enjoyable – (hopefully this will be the first of many).”
Denise & Martin White, Triumph Explorer
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The next day we meet everyone else off the ferry and head straight into the Picos Mountains
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Fantastic roads
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” Bonjour John, Jen. Thank you very very much for yet another fabulous tour. Without sounding like a record, OK I will, it never ceases to amaze me how you come up with these gems. I’ve met yet some more great people, renewed some old acquaintances, and ridden with friends again. I really feel part of the Bike Normandy “family” now, and will continue to return as long as you are doing this. Looking forward to the 4×4 in September, regards”
Dave Washington (5th trip), BMW R1200 GSTE
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At a petrol stop a huge bulge is discovered in Nigel’s RC8′s tyre. His bike is loaded into the van to get to the hotel.
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“Dear John & Jen, I’ve had the most enjoyable time riding some fantastic roads (especially the Picos Mountains) and have enjoyed using use the full performance of my bike as the manufacturer intended, which is simply not possible these days in the UK. Great holiday and great group of lads……..and lass!!
Cheers and best wishes”
Nigel Short (12th trip), KTM RC8R
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Our hotel in the Picos Mountains
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Dinner the first night is included at our hotel.
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” Hi John & Jen, thanks again for such a fantastic tour. Although the weather was less kind than it could have been, I had a marvelous time. The organisation, as usual, was up to your very high standards and much appreciated. It was good to meet up again with some old friends and to get to know some new ones. The way in which you dealt with the three bike related problems was excellent, and the tour continued seamlessly while these problems were resolved. I can only say thanks again and look forward to seeing you for the Monte Carlo Tour in September. Kind regards”
Ken Cullern (9th visit), Suzuki GSXR750
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The stunning view from our hotel
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The next morning Nigel’s bike is loaded onto the breakdown truck and taken to get a new tyre
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Always a morning briefing before we set off – more fab roads in the Picos Mountains
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Twisty enough?!  We take a cable car up into the mountains
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Paul Horton & Pete Bell
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“Hi John & Jen, thank you for yet another fantastic tour. I thoroughly enjoyed it, from the roads to the hotels and a great bunch of riders too. Again, the two of you never let us down. You should be proud of yourselves. Thank you again and hope to see you for trip number 5 in the future. Many thanks “
Paul Horton (4th trip), Triumph Sprint ST1050
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Charles May, Keith Bowen, Craig Robinson…Martin & Denise White
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The amazing view from the top
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Rob & Michael Palmer
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Jim Plant, Paul & Pete, Ken Cullern
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“John Jen, just wanted to say that as a newcomer to Bike Normandy I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Picos Tour but I needn’t have worried, the entire trip was perfect from start to finish. Your personal involvement throughout the week and your organisation made all the difference. I met a great bunch of people and had some great riding – so much so that I didn’t want to go back home at the end of the trip!  For me your formula is just right, and it’s easy to see why you have so much repeat business. I’m looking forward to booking another trip with you soon. Thanks and regards”
Jim Plant, BMW R1200GSTE
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See the Golden Eagles in flight. We pull into a viewing area for a group photo – Martin & Denise on their Explorer
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Craig Robinson on his BMW RT1200 followed by Rob Palmer on his Tiger 1050…Ken Cullern on his GSXR750
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“I’d just like to say how much I enjoyed the tour. The whole tour was a pleasure with great roads,stunning scenery ( weather permitting ! ) and a great bunch of people. The Picos area was the highlight for me. This was my third time with Bike Normandy and won’t will not be my last so I’m already looking forward to my next tour. Regards”
Craig Robinson (3rd visit) BMW R1200RT    
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Michael Palmer on his Street Triple R…Charles May on his Sprint ST1050
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David Joesbury on his Bonneville followed by Keith Bowen on his BMW F700GS…Pete Bell as back-marker on his CBR600F
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“Thanks to Jen, yourself, and Parker for a great tour. I enjoyed every bit and am still laughing to myself when I reflect on the comments and antics that went on over the week. A great group of riders.”
Keith Bowen (2nd visit) BMW F700GS
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All the bikes lined up at the viewing area…our group photo
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Jen – “risking life & limb for the perfect photo!” – courtesy of Rob Palmer
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More stunning scenery
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With Nigel having rejoined the group at lunchtime, we stop for afternoon coffee before arriving at Logrono and taking the lift down to the hotel garage
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Drinks in the square before we hit the tapas bars…
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Pete’s found his next bike !!   Too much choice – the boys can’t decide which ice-creams to buy !
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Logrono by night
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The next day we head into the Pyrenees – this is the lake we didn’t see thanks to a “Route Barree” and a deviation!
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Lunch stop in the Pyrenees before we ride over the Col
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David with his Bonneville…Sheepdogs block the van’s path !
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Cloud & rain on the top of the Col
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Meet the locals on the way down !!
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We arrive at Lourdes where Paul Paulton a.k.a. “Parker” enjoys a Guiness
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“…a great big “thank you” for your hospitality during the short break, and allowing me to accompany you on the Picos tour.  Tomorrow,  I will be shortening the watch strap, and again, thank you for that.  I was lost for words, which was unusual. You both have the ability to make your guests feel really welcome, and be part of your special family of friends.  I have never come across that with anyone else with whom we have toured. So, get some shopping, get the washing on, get some gardening done, and looking forward to seeing you all in September! Regards”
Parker (7th trip – 3rd as van driver!)
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Paul & Pete in our hotel at Lourdes
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See the nightly procession at the Cathedral in Lourdes
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Nigel a.k.a. “Bergerac” !   Jen’s Street Triple miraculously acquires some “Holy Water” !
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Our next stop – Rocamadour
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Our hotel is down in the Medieval town where a few enjoy drinks before dinner
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Dinner in the hotel restaurant
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With no rear brake pads Charles stops at a garage en-route to have replacements fitted before rejoining us at the Puy Mary
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The next day we ride into the Volcanoes – zero visibility on top of the Puy Mary ! Well done everyone in getting to the top !
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Fortunately the cafe is open for lunch !
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All the “Gorillas in the Mist” !!
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Our next hotel for two nights is in La Bourboule in the heart of the Volcanic region
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Ken enjoys a swim before dinner…
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Dinner is in the Casino
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Parker gives us a tune on two coins…then tries to teach John how to play…
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Ken & Nigel rehearse “We are the Yeovil” but aren’t allowed to perform !  They choose a Beatles number instead…
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And then another…and even more after we’ve all left !!
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After a cloudy morning finally some blue sky appears…Charles is the only one to venture out for a ride on his bike
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Dinner “al fresco”…sample the local specialities
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Our final night at Le Mans – in the restaurant Jen says a few words then we’re presented with a “Glow in the Dark Madonna” !!
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As a reward for riding as “Back Marker” (with Denise) for most of the Tour, Martin is presented with the “Orange Vest” !
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Ken has a few words to say about everyone’s riding…then the jokes start…
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Keith presents Nigel with a card showing the tyre that gave everyone a load of laughs !!
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The boys choose burgers for their last supper !
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Charles takes the floor followed by Nigel
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Parker’s next then Dave Washington
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Then the “Bike Normandy Players” who were hoping for a miracle cure !
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Martin & Denise head off to Calais the next morning
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Coffee stop on our last day
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Jen on the Street Triple…Jim Plant on his BMW R1200 GSTE
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Dave Washington on his BMW R1200 GSTE…Paul Horton on his Triumph Sprint ST1050
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Lunch stop in Falaise
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Pete discovers a puncture: when the plug doesn’t work he resorts to using a mousse to fix the problem
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Lunch in the shade then to Caen for the ferry home
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Nigel straps his damaged tyre to his rucksack…the next day “Parker” (having driven the van all week) goes home on his Bonneville.
 
A great tour with a fun bunch of people – everyone rode brilliantly in what were some difficult conditions at times! We look forward to seeing many of you again in the future, regards John & Jen