Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Moto Camping Dordogne...

Id heard all about the place before.

My Dad had been going on his motorcycle for years, my uncle David accompanying him on the last few trips. So when I received a message from my uncle asking if we were up for the end of season party in a weeks time, I found my curiosity too great to refuse.

Spicy ribs!
Moto Camping Dordogne is just that... a campsite for motorcyclists in the Dordogne region of France. Luckily they accept 'friends' of bikers so us and the van were welcome.

Pulling in to the campsite we found my Dad supping his beer at the bar. David had invited him along for the weekend but Dad made his excuses and declined, only to get the ferry crossing a day earlier than David and surprise him.

We met the American handyman Glen, the Dutch chef Peter and the owner of the Campsite, another Dutch national, Renska and her son Gabriel. The whole atmosphere was very appealing. Constant music, constant beer and constant sun with the people working there seeming more like friends than hosts.

Fun in hats
Dad told us about the renound ribs that come in 3 different sauces, sweet, spicy and garlic and I opted for the spicy version that evening as we chatted about Dad's ride down and our meandering trip over from the Alps. We had been disturbed at 10:30 pm the previous night by 2 of France's finest national police, the Gendarmerie. They were perplexed as to how we were parked in a 2.5 metre height restricted car park. That was until they asked us to leave and we simply drove over the grass next to the height barrier.

The campsite sold bar cards of 15 drinks at a time. When you had 6 completed bar cards you received a Moto Camping Dordogne t-shirt. Well that sounded like a challenge to me! And we made a good dent in a few cards that night.

All around the bar were biking memorabilia and paraphernalia. Old bike panels, oil pumps, chains and sprockets littered the walls and I could have spent all day just looking around. About 40 different styled hats were hung up as well and it made an amusing evening trying them out and taking on the persona of the previous occupant. That was until I tried to put a pink sequined one on one of the two campsite dogs, Ollie. He proceeded to grab it in his mouth and run around the bar and terrace area with me running after him in a desperate attempt to retrieve it. The burley bikers drinking their beers seemed to find it as funny as he did.

After going to bed at 2am that night I woke up quite late and cooked a bacon and egg roll for Kerry, Mia and my Dad. All of a sudden it was beer o'clock and I started plowing through another bar card whilst taking in the sun by the pool. The second campsite dog, Vincent, is fairly young. If I ever get a dog I'd like one the same as him, a German Sheperd. His fascination with sticks was funny, especially when he found one that was too long to fit through the door.

Guess why he's called Vincent?
In the distance we heard the distinct thud thud of a BMW and the beautiful pounding of a big V-twin. David and his friend Paul were drawing near and Dad quickly ran for cover in the bar. Kerry and I greeted the biker boys with a hug and a beer and introduced everyone to Mia and vica versa. I could see Paul looking confused in the direction of Dad's bike and tent further down the site. Then out strolled Dad with the smuggest grin I've ever seem. David had been well and truly stumped. A good surprise!

That night was full of more bar cards as I proposed an arm wrestling match between the big boys, Dad and Paul, only to get thrashed by both. I need to get down the gym!

The next day everyone was suffering. A combination of the heat and too many bar cards being smashed. But after a dip in the pool, Dad, David, Paul and I took a ride out to the nearest town, Gourdon, for a couple of rescue beers and baguettes for lunches. Riding on the back of Dad's bike was brilliant. I don't like riding pilion usually but the meandering roads and the warm air in my face reminded me of how much I enjoy riding.
That afternoon I decided to tackle the front wheel bearings on the van. There was a distinct click noise when we were going slow over bumps and round corners and I suspected they may need changing. This was also the perfect place as the campsite has a tool shop for use by the guests and it just so happens my mobile mechanic task force was present (my Dad and Uncle!). After a bit of poking around on my part they declared I was 'painful to watch' and delved right in to help!

I had another massive rack of 'extra' spicy ribs that night, needing a few glasses of water to quench the 'extra' part! Beer flowed and stories were told of biker festivals in Portugal by my relatives and some more hardcore ones in Germany where they give you a bail of straw to put on the snow before you pitch your tent, by Case who worked at the campsite.

Glen has pool fun with Vincent
Kerry looked over the table at me around midnight with very glassy eyes. The vodka measures had taken their toll and the walk back to the van was eventful to say the least! The next day I found her curled up in the shade of the van feeling a little worse for wear!

David and Paul left early that morning to get the 350 or so miles done to their next destination in the South of France. Myself and the girls were to follow them down, much slower I may add, but the lure of the pool, bar and conversation was such that we didn't end up leaving till the evening.

Biker campsites are the best. No rules, no NIMBY neighbours and good quality people. It made me want to run a campsite...

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