Regular visitors my blog, The “Blogonaughts,” may probably be wondering why I haven’t been hitting the road for another epic type trip.
The months of June and July have, sort of, become my default time for going off exploring, with long hours of Northern Hemisphere sunshine and school holidays still a month or more away. Yes, I avoid school holidays!
So why am I not heading out exploring?
Well, there are a number of different reasons…
First up, I’ve just been crazy busy over the past few months. The maintenance of Dookes H.Q and various bits of charity work that I do have certainly kept me off the streets, literally.
Then there was G’s crash and injury, which has seen me zipping back and forth to support him and has left me feeling a bit flat about the whole business of riding motorcycles.
It wasn’t just G.
My oldest mate “Vifferman” took a tumble and wrote off his Honda, in atrocious wet conditions, just before Christmas and recently nephew Chris had a crazy woman step out in front of his trials bike one evening after dark; fortunately no-one was seriously hurt in either case, however as a result, I’ve been feeling a little like “the last man standing!”
Viff’s second-hand Honda.
It’s all OK though, having freed myself up from over commitments I can see the light at the end of the tunnel; G is on the mend, Chris is young and unshaken, Viff is, well, just Viff!
Which is why my thoughts have been turning towards trip planning!
At this moment I can hear Mrs Dookes sighing. You see I’m a bit of a map nerd; I’d rather spend an hour poring over a map than reading a magazine or newspaper…it’s the Navigator in me! As a result I’ve always got inspiration for future trips running through my head and embryonic plans just waiting to be developed, cunning eh?
Where are you thinking of going, then Dookes? I hear you say.
Well the list isn’t as long as you’d think…
Home Nations wise I’ve long harboured a wish to do a tour of the UK taking in Wales (naturally), Scotland, England and Ireland.
I always seem to have some unfinished business somewhere and the Alps and Dolomites are in my mind on that score.
I’d quite like to take a gentle foodie trundle around Spain and Portugal’s non-touristy areas.
Parts of Eastern Europe have always appealed to me, such as Hungary and Romania, so I’d throw in some of the Balkans there as well.
Finally, I really want to go explore Scandinavia, especially North of the Arctic Circle.
Needless to say, my beloved France would almost certainly be included in most of the above!
That’s about it really…for now.
Now, where to????
I did ponder whether I should have called this post “Route Dreaming,” but a dream stays that, just a dream – an abstract swirl of misty ideas. No my friends, these are places that I will really ride to and as such I have the plans to prove it.
So how do I go about putting together a route plan?
Well, I start with the basic target of somewhere to go, the final destination. Taking Dookes H.Q. as the starting point, that gives me the beginning and end. Next I do some research on interesting or historic places to visit along the way, like the Chapel at Ronchamp, Aigues Mortes or Pont du Gard.
Then its just a matter of finding interesting twisty roads and joining up the dots; simple really. If any of this comes across as ‘teaching Grandma how to suck eggs,’ then I apologise, but I really get lots of people asking how I do my route planning.
Pont du Gard, It’s Roman and very old!
Oh yes, factoring in accommodation is pretty important too and detours have been known to sample particular food delicacies; as my late mate Floyd once said, “To know a country, you must eat a country!”
Only the French serve food like this…
So there you are, the Dookes route-planning machine is alive, well and currently very active.
The question is:
Which one of the destinations on the list above will I attack first?
Well I’m not going to give anything away at this stage, build the suspense and keep you all guessing eh?
I’m thinking that 2600 miles and six countries should do it…
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to do a spot of map reading!
“I just know where I want to be,
Forever wandering, forever travelling.”
Catch you soon.