WW2 Extended Sights Tour 16 – 22 May 2016

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Our first tour of the year – great to see so many regulars and welcome to the newcomers.

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We start with a pre-tour briefing before walking round to our first visit – the Grand Bunker

“Hi John and Jen, just wanted to say what a wonderful time we had on the WW2 Tour. Lovely company and well organised tour of the sites. We never thought we would find it all so interesting and very thought provoking and at times quite emotional. The riding was superb and very enjoyable. Lovely hotels and great food. What more can we say! Looking forward to joining you again one day. Kind Regards”

Ros & Colin Shepherd, 1st tour, BMW 1200GS

“John, Jen, thank you for a fab tour. Great company and wonderful locations, thought provoking stuff!!”

Claire & Martyn Wyatt, 2nd tour, BMW 1150GS

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Dave descends into the Bunker…                             Helen takes aim!

“Hi John & Jen, just to say a big thank you for a really enjoyable and educational tour. The organisation was 1st class with excellent routes, hotels and visits and well planned fuel/coffee stops (even when fuel was in short supply !)  John’s “idiot guides” were a great source of additional background information – and much better than his jokes!!  The marker system worked flawlessly and the whole group gelled together and were great company. I certainly will be touring with you again in the near future. Best Wishes”
Dick Hallsworth, 1st tour, Triumph Sprint GT

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Sam tests the range-finder…                                     As does “American” Pete

“John and Jen,

Memorial day was on Monday 30th May for us Americans.  We look back at the heroes that paid the ultimate sacrifice for us.  The Normandy trip made it that much more surreal. Seeing the places where my fellow brothers in arms battled.  This trip checked off one of my bucket list items, visiting the American Cemetery.  However, there was much more to see that I was unaware of and your trip proved just that.  The places visited were added to the bucket list on the spot and checked off.  

The roads ridden were very nice.  Surprisingly, there were more twisties than I had anticipated.  I believe the pace of the ride suited all riders with you both using the drop off marker system.  Following Jen around was a lot of fun when we hit the twisties.

Use of the back-up van was brilliant.  Being able to toss your luggage and gear into the van at stops and not having to worry about your personal items was awesome!  Being able to support one rider who had fallen ill and keep the tour going proved the back-up van’s worth.

Overall you handled adversity brilliantly.  From a snapped clutch cable, sick rider, fuel shortage throughout France and one-way roads that switched direction.  If I wasn’t  going back to America this year, I would definitely book another tour with you and check off more bucket list items. Amazing history tour with amazing people. “

“American” Pete Hillman, Kawasaki ZZR1400

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Sandra takes a call!                                                        A good start – we drive on the RIGHT !!

“Hello John and Jen, a week has passed now and we are still talking about and telling people about the great week we had. The trip was superbly organised and the hotels and all the museums were top class. I said it to you at the time and I will say it again, you guys are at the top of your game. Thank you for a great trip and we will see you in October!”
Stuart & Vanessa Scarfe, 1st tour, Triumph Explorer & Kawasaki Z300

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The group at Pegasus Bridge (minus Simon & Helen still outside)

“Hi John, Jen, thanks again for a great trip. Helen and I had a super time. Great accommodation, food, twisty roads and interesting museums etc…looking forward to our trips with you next year!”

Simon & Helen Brown, 1st tour, Honda Pan European

“Just scooting through the pictures and thinking what tremendous fun the week was. For a novice like me, I don’t think there could be a better way to be introduced to biking. Thanks very much to all of you, especially Jen and John.  Hope to see you all again soon.”

Helen Brown

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Where we have arranged a visit accompanied by an English speaking guide

“Thanks for a great holiday, it’s great to have the back up of the group, the van and the knowledge and help from John and Jen. We really like the way the route is guided as it takes off the pressure of stopping looking at maps. Stuart can ride without looking where I am all the time which makes it a true break for both of us, as I am not having to keep up with him. Look forward to the next one.”

Lynne Waring, 4th trip, Honda CB400

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Hear the history of the original bridge and see a replica Horsa glider

“John & Jen,  another great tour, so much to see and fun at the ferry terminal, pumping fuel out, then putting some back! See you in August for the Black Forest tour”

John & Sandra Shepherd, 5th trip, Honda Deauville

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We’re treated to an unexpected performance by the Taunton & Dean Male Voice Choir

“Hi John & Jen…thank you so much for a organising such a great tour. The sights were memorable and thought provoking, whilst the company, food and hotels were second to none. We look forward to our next tour with you. Thanks again”

Stuart & Sam Goodwin, 4th visit, BMW Adventure (backmarkers on this tour)

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We watch a film introduced by Prince Charles before John explains the glider landings

“Many thanks for a very enjoyable tour. Thanks also for your help when I was unwell…I hope to travel again with you soon, and will be more prepared to contribute on the joke-telling front (but more in the style of Lynne rather than Stuart! LOL)”

Dave Lee, 1st tour, Triumph Bonneville

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Next stop is Arromanches where the remains of the Mulberry B floating harbour can be seen

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At the Gun Battery at Longues-sur-Mer the girls mount a biggun!           Mind your head Rob!

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The super water feature at the American Cemetery…we pass through the Visitor Centre first

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Before moving into the Cemetery

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The bronze statue “The Spirit of Eternal Youth Rising from the Waves”

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Our hotel for two nights is in Bayeux where the bikes are parked in the private courtyard

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Time for drinks before dinner

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Dinner is included our first night – where the (bad) jokes start!

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Guess who ?

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All lined up at the German Cemetery

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*

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Sam doesn’t like heights !                                                      Ready for the off…John in the lead

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Lynne on her CB400 followed by Dave on his Bonneville…                   Steve on his Tracer

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Stuart (S) on his Triumph Explorer…                                Colin & Ros on their BMW 1200 GS

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We next visit the Pointe du Hoc, the highest point between Omaha & Utah beach where US Rangers scaled the cliffs to destroy the German gun battery

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We hear the moving testimony of survivors…                                       Martyn & Claire

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The cutest lambs…                                                                                     Dick in a crater

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Steve, Rob & “American” Pete at the Rangers’ Memorial…                     Ros & Colin

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Jen !

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*

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Dick on his Triumph Sprint GT…                                           Stuart (G) on his Honda CBF 600

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Peter (M) on his Thunderbird…                                     Simon & Helen on their Pan European

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“American” Pete on his Kawasaki ZZR 1400…         John & Sandra on their Honda Deauville

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Our next visit is the Airborne Museum at St Mere Eglise

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Walk through the fuselage in the Neptune hanger & step out with the parachutists…

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Colin & Ros…                                                                                           Claire & Martyn

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Steve at St Mere Eglise…

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Aperitifs at Bayeux

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Backmarkers Stuart & Sam in waterproofs!              The clutch cable breaks on Lynne’s bike

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John finds a bike garage who send a mechanic…                      Her hero !! (and no charge!)

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Our thatched hotel & restaurant near St Nazaire

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Dinner is included

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Another of John’s jokes…just how did Dick (in the middle) know it was a marrow????

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We next visit the U-boat pens at St Nazaire

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And go on board the French attack submarine “Espadon”

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Vanessa tests the bunk beds then takes the controls…

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Dave at the radar detector…                                                         Lynne at the controls

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Colin & Ros…                                                                                             Steve & Rob

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The boys plot a course…                                          Stuart (G) arm-wrestles “American” Pete

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In the torpedo room

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Pigeon residing in the torpedo room!                                                  Martyn & Claire

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We leave St Nazaire and find the refinery blockages affecting petrol pumps…

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Third time lucky we find a garage with fuel !                 Secure garage parking at La Rochelle

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Some of the group explore the ramparts at La Rochelle then dine together

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La Rochelle by night

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Pretty coffee stops & lovely country roads

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We next visit Oradour sur Glane, starting in the informative visitor centre

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Before walking through to the derelict village itself

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The Memorial to the 642 inhabitants who were massacred on 10 June 1944 – 197 men, 240 women and 205 children

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The church where the women & children were burned

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The dragonfly outside our hotel…                             Lynne & Stuart after a night in a tapas bar!!!

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Bikes at coffee stop…We’re allowed through to get petrol before the garage is cordoned off !!

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Jen leading on our Street Triple                                      Vanessa on her Kawasaki Z300

[Sorry Rob – Yamaha Fazer 600 – you were too quick for the camera!!]

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We visit the Tank Museum at Saumur

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Dick examines a 37mm Canon…                                          Stuart with a Tiger Royal

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Rob likes the machine guns while Sam wants a half-tracked Kettenkrad motorcycle !

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Dave by a Jagdpanzer…Stuart by a Hummel (pose learned from the waiter in the tapas bar!!)

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Lynne finds her dream yellow amphibious VBL…                  The car in a suitcase !

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Vanessa finds her next bike!  Vanessa & Stuart by the AMX 30 remote controlled mine sweeper

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“American” Pete with a USA M60 A3                                           Simon takes charge

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Ros & Colin with Lynne & Stuart                                             Peter M

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Sandra & John                                                              Sam & Stuart with Stuart S in the middle

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Our last supper together in Le Mans

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John thanks everyone for a great tour and especially Stuart & Sam for riding as “Back-markers”  Helen then starts the jokes…

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Lynne takes a turn, followed by Stuart

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Then Stuart (S) followed by Jen (no pics!)          Our final day and always a morning briefing

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Our final visit is to the Museum at Montormel overlooking the Falaise Gap

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We finish with a pic-nic lunch

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Before the heavens open !!

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Everyone back to Caen in good time for the ferry

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Because of the petrol shortage we siphon off fuel from Stuart & Lynne

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And John & Sandra – but then give some back as we’d left him on empty !!

Thanks to everyone for making this a great tour – good riding and a really sociable group – we hope to see many of you again on future tours. John & Jen.