2011: TMOC Sommertreffen – Heckenbach, Germany. Day 1

Whether to pack for blistering sun or pouring rain occupied most of my thoughts as I prepared to set off for the trip to the TMOC summer party in Germany. As it turned out, I didn’t need to don the waterproofs at all.

Boarded as soon as we arrived at the port

JC, Dave, Les, Ted and I boarded the ferry soon after arriving at Dover and the 90 minute trip to Calais enabled us to recuperate after the 4:30am start. Once in Calais we made good progress into Belgium. We’d established a formation that worked well. JC, would lead the way followed by Les on his trike. The conversion project from Sprint to Trike only got the official sign off a few days before the trip, but was a huge benefit to the rest of us as Les was able to haul a huge family size tent which meant a lighter load, for me at least. Following the trike were Ted, me and Dave as tail end Charlie.

Les’ Trike waiting in the queue

We got stuck in traffic at Antwerp for nearly two hours which is when things began to go wrong for JC as his 2yr old 675 started to overheat. After a brief roadside discussion, it was agreed that Les, Ted and I should travel on to wait at a service station whilst JC’s bike cooled down; Dave remaining behind with him. However, problems continued to plague him and although he managed to make it to the service station, once there his bike refused to start.

Roadside investigations as JC realises he needs to call for assistance


JC realised the battery wasn’t being charged and called his insurance company who arranged a rescue van. Decision time: Carole Nash provide international breakdown, however the choice is to be taken home or be taken to a garage; however, if the garage can’t fix it for you then resolving it is your problem.

JC’s luggage was distributed in case his bike needed to be sent back

As we were uncertain of the fate of the 675, we decided to distribute JC’s luggage between us, this enabled him to make the decision without having to worry about his kit. We weren’t too far away from our stop over near Venlo and it was decided that again Les, Ted and I should press on and get to the campsite to await news; and again Dave would remain to support JC and if necessary give him a lift.

The recovery patrol could recharge the battery and so JC decided to try and complete the remainder of the journey to the overnight stop over with the aim of getting the bike sorted the following day.

The half way stopover was at Motocamping d’n Toerstop, a campsite at Melderslo, near Venlo in Holland, that has been specialising in  providing camping and chalets for motorcyclists for over 27 years.  JC and Dave arrived after the rest of us had eaten a rather tasty beef stew at the site bar. The original plan was that JC would overnight in his tent whilst the four of us would stay in one of the 4 bed chalets instead of pitching Les’s gig tent.  However, as the hour was late and we were all tired, JC also kipped inside.

Bikers only campsite for 27 years.

The chalets were clean, the showers were hot, the site was well maintained, there was a pool and the staff provide well for bikers.

We were glad not to have to erect the tent