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German Trike Rally 2014

Based in Bad Malente in Northern Germany.

A TOMi TOUR

I drive out with Tom Rea who advertised in the Forum for willing participants to join him on a run to the Rally and to go walkabout before and after. I drive a Crozier 3 and have apprehensions about will I succeed in keeping up with Guzzi and BMW powered units...I have a mere 602cc.

Say I to myself that is a good idea, so negotiates with the management, buys me a ticket for the ferry and phones the hotel for a bed. Car MOT'd and tank full...it was only three months to go.

Then the gremlins start, oil appears on the brake disc and the car starts to pull to the left, diagnose a leak at the push rod tube, then awake with an idea it could be brake fluid, help my plan is going to pot. Various ideas and solutions are permeated and tried but the oil is still there. Next try a baffle, still the oil appears, increase width, still the oil so increase the depth...solution. Load extra oil to cope with daily lose. Then I have thoughts about what if! It blows up, the wheel falls off, phone insurance to confirm that I have European recovery, whew that was close.

Come the hour , come the day, I set off to met up with Tom in the Borders and convoy to Newcastle for the overnight to Ijmuiden. Not a bad trip but got in tow with a Hotelier who is on a mission to get to a Dress Dinner in Spain using a Westfield that he has hired, he also has to avoid France so is going via Italy, we spend the evening trying to get to the bottom of a bottle of Gin and nearly succeed, things are starting to look up. Morning is nice and we clear the docks easily and fuel up and then head for Den Haag to the Louman Motor Museum...this is the appointed meeting point for the British contingent. We all arrive on time and enjoy a comprehensive tour of some 250 cars of all types and uses from the turn of the century through to today's efforts with some racing cars thrown in for good measure. Having had lunch we organise petrol for those who require then Duncan decides to get some...keep up there lad. We set off for Leeuwarden to our first camp. We lose our first two cars in quick succession when a wing mirror decides to attempt an escape from the car's wing, it all happens so fast that as TEC I miss an opportunity to go chasing them into the service area to administer first aid, with my tool box...well we were chasing through then early rush hour now on a four lane motorway...Tom did say we would be on minor roads, but this was becoming a white knuckle ride. Eventually I found myself alone and heading out onto the biggest Dyke in Holland...I was overtaken by the broken down pair then caught them taking the "Airs" at a Halt on the Dyke, so pulled in and we had a coffee to calm our nerves. While there our Leader and the only car left in the convoy passed us and charged off to the camp site. We eventually followed after looking at the Dyke and the construction memorial. The camp site was found and noted that the best pitches had already been taken, we made do with the corners. Tents up we set off to find a local Chinese and had a Banquet for five and a Veggie...very nice too washed down with some beer. Maybe this was going to be OK.

Next day we had an uneventful drive over to Bremen, to the scene of Tom's previous demise, we had checked oil etc before leaving and our convoy system seemed to have found a natural set-up, Tom leading...me following with the bag to collect the fallen off bits etc. The drive was pleasant through northern Holland and into Germany, the speed was around fifty and the convoy worked except when overtaking was required, being underpowered I had to plan the operation and find a long gap of approx ½ mile to allow my speed to increase to allow me to pull out. Some hairy moments but we were steadily clocking off the miles. With the tents pitched we set of to find a pub for tea and beer and to meet a friend of Tom's...Gerd who had helped Tom in his hour of need. He turned up in a lovely import from the USA all gleaming. Why don't we go by Osten and view the Transporter Bridge...the route was duly modified for tomorrow.

The tents were dropped in good time and we set off for the bridge, on approaching the town we noted it of to the right and turned in and found a route to a car park local to it. Parked up we wander out to photograph etc, and were told by the operator for 10Euros per car we could ride the bridge, a nods as good as a wink to a blind horse...we were on it in no time flat and set off...a grand extra and a rest for numb bums. After returning to land we set of for a ferry crossing over the Elbe and had to join a 1Km queue...nice to sit in the sun as we progressed...not so for some impatient B......ds who dodged in front as our cars did not start instantaneously . We then started to park two abreast to prevent further demonstrations of how to be a dumb ass. We had the last laugh...the two cars who had jumped the queue were pushed into a corner by the crew and were the last to leave...by which time we were standing waving at the side of the road. After an other long day were arrived at our destination...Hotel Wyndam, Bad Malente where we were greeted by our host and his wife, registered and handed info packs for the run...all in German...great. At dinner we were given convoy instructions for tomorrows run and introduced to the leader and the TEC, and breakdown trailer driver. Start at 9.30 am sharp.

Everyone made the the start at 9.30am as we had to be moving to beat the train crossing in the town centre, yes we missed it, and the convoy sat in the main street while the train loaded. The 22 cars followed a mysterious route around Malente for some 180 Km stopping and retracing our steps when the leader took the wrong turn...coffee was held in the grounds of a Schloss with the cars ringing the courtyard, then a quick tour of the main building before we set off for lunch on the Baltic coast, where the wind was coming off the sea. Once fed we set off back to Malente stopping for a glass of German "Champagne" in a forest clearing. Once back a quick scrub up and down for dinner. And an evening of chat around a few beers.

Next morning we set off on our tours, everyone was heading home and the car park emptied. Our leader was left staring at an oil dipstick with no oil!!! oh my God!?!, a few worrying moments till the cause was identified...a leak from the tubing to the gauge on the dash, strip it out and move the oil pressure sensor...test run round the block and we can all breath a sigh of relief...what would we have done...left him again?? Not us we are of stern stuff, oil refilled we set off for the Polish border, another great days driving marred by the only rain of the trip...10 minutes of downpour, and no way could we get off the tree lined road till a farm yard beckoned...brollies out and the rain eased allowing us to survey the damage...just a little wet, but we are of stern stuff. We set of again realising that in East Germany only garages open on Sunday so had to do with a coffee and sandwich for lunch. We reached Feldberg by 6pm and set up camp then walked to the hotel for dinner and beer, a trend seems to be developing here.

Feldberg was to be the closest to the Polish border that we would get at some 30 miles, the area is a National Park and very nice, with the sun making its appearance at breakfast things were getting better. We set of in convoy for Luneberg and passed through lovely small villages on all types of road from Motorway down to packed earth and cobbles, through forests and open pasture, all very pleasant. A lovely drive on roads that were not congested till we got to the West of Germany. My preference was the Eastern part as it has an old world lifestyle. On reaching Luneberg we meet in the camp site entrance a bridal party and before we can stop him Duncan has got the Bride in his car for a photo shoot, this followed by the groom getting his photo taken, then once our tents are pitched we get an invite to join the happy couple for a "Champagne toast" the the Groom falls asleep whilst the Bride is on the internet. Do they not know what to do??? Then dinner and more beer.

Our travels continue West heading for the Bremen camp site, Dave Tocher decides to leave to reduce the distance to Amsterdam to allow him to catch the ferry on Wednesday, when we contact Gerd who suggests we gets a Taxi to town where he will meet us and he suggests a tour of old Bremen...we only needed to be asked once. Gerd was an excellent host and very knowledgeable about the old town and its development after WW2...Allied bombers reduced the town to rubble...but the city fathers have rebuilt it in the old style where practical and a good job too. We had a pleasant tour then dinner and more beer. It appears that coffee is only drunk in the morning!!! Gerd suggested that we divert our route to incorporate a visit to a pal's workshop, a panel beater of the old school who also restores Messerschmitt trikes and Tiger 500cc.

Tents down and we're off to Oldenburg in search of the mysterious Messerschmitt builder, and restorer...down a lane onto a apparently derelict shipyard and we strike gold. Gerd has phoned ahead and our host welcomes us and we get the full tour of his workshop. There are about eight employees building new bodies for customers from a new body shell for an Aston Martin and a good job is being made, a three wheel Messerschmitt. Each room has new cars and bikes in restoration and storage. A large selection of machine tools and equipment, the car shells are moved about on Hospital beds complete with hoist. Duncan is jumping about like a child in a sweet shop, he wants one of everything!! Too soon its time to say goodbye and thank Oliver for allowing us to visit and for making us most welcome. Dave and Nicki go their separate way and now we are down to three cars. Our boats leave on Thursday night from Amsterdam and Rotterdam so we push on to find a camp site close to the two towns, again Tom finds a site close to the big inland sea...Markermeer... we arrive set up camp and go for dinner and Beer. There is a man in the bar with a blue face, some guys don't know when to stop at a Tattooists.

In the morning we strike camp for the last time as a group and plan today's plot... we decide to have a relaxing day with a walkabout in the town of Monnickendam...a beautiful town built about 4 feet above the water table and has quaint homes and shops all seem to have a canal at the door and also a road. We wander round and have coffee and apple cake with cream. "The last supper". After we get our cars packed and set off for the two ports Tom and I for Ijmuiden and Duncan for Rotterdam, we arrive too early for loading so go for a burger and soup with a beer. When in the queue for the ferry a chap with a RR asks if we have a spare alternator..of course... he has been running on the red light for two days...his mechanic is going to meet him in Newcastle!, it’s how the other half live.

The crossing is uneventful and we disembark in a light mist, which lasts until we cross the Scottish border. Yes it is still there at Carters Bar, But Mr Salmond's men are not in defence...the result of the Referendum was announced on the ferry. We pas a horse box that’s had had a YES painted on it...the lass was busy painting it out. Most people we met on our trip were interested in the Referendum and were all awaiting the result. We charge on home ward stopping for coffee then part for home Tom to Edinburgh and me to Alloway in Ayrshire. It is funny that when travelling the last few miles the cars run sweeter.

Was it good fun...without doubt YES

Were we apprehensive at the start...I was ,would the car go the distance?

Did we have any heart stopping moments ...none recorded...and my car ran fine even at high speed

Will we go again...YES Where and when is the startline

Distance covered by me 1701 miles, petrol used ...enough!

We must thank Mr Tom of TOMi Tours who planned and set the routes, modified to suit local distractions that were all worth visiting. A Sterling job...WELL DONE THAT MAN.


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