We woke up to a very foreboding sky that let lose even before we had washed and dressed for the ride. Our host, Vince, graciously helped us carry the panniers to the bike but had to make a rapid retreat to stop being drenched himself.
This would be our first test of the waterproof gear we bought especially for this trip. My trousers were advertised as waterproof on eBay, but that only lasted so long. The same goes for my jacket; but that was less of a surprise as I originally bought it as a summer jacket, in Australia – not much need for waterproofing out there!!
Our route, beginning mainly on the highway, took us through Belgium and into Luxembourg, before returning to France. Our first stop was Mons, here we grabbed a simple lunch of French bread (or maybe is it Belgian bread here?!?) and Camembert. After this we got out our proper waterproof overalls (which provide 100% protection), repacked the bags – with added plastic carrier bag waterproofing for the electricals – and continued our journey.
Luckily at least one of our rain protection plans had worked exactly as hoped; for all those about to start their first motorcycle trip – soft panniers are NOT waterproof – line them with heavy duty refuse bags and this problem is solved.
After another 100km of riding in poor visibility on Belgian highways I pulled off to plan a more scenic route. As the smaller roads were less busy, the spray was vastly reduced allowing me to finally see where I was going, something Louise was especially grateful of!
Our scenic route took us around the northern edge of the Ardennes forest and into a tiny village called Waha which was established in 1050 A.D.
Unfortunately this stop was curtailed by the onslaught of yet more precipitation – togged up and back on the bike; we tried to out run the storm that appeared to be following us from Lille.
As we neared Luxembourg the rain finally stopped and we were even graced by some sun rays slipping through the grey overcast sky. During this stop I learnt a valuable lesson; Luxembourg City is known for its low taxes on fuel, tobacco and alcohol but certainly not food. €10 for a pretty bad burger and chips is only something I’d do in these necessitating circumstances and not a frequent proposition.
We again planned the remainder of our trip following the smaller roads to the south east of Luxembourg City across into France and down to Metz.
Our initial thoughts for Metz: wow, the architecture here is amazing and we are very lucky as our host lives only 3 minutes from the Cathedral, even at my snail’s pace!!
So to summarize; soft panniers need waterproofing and so do eBay trousers. Financially speaking; Luxembourg isn’t a good place for a lunch stop, and finally even though we got very wet and cold we really enjoyed the second leg of JL Motorcycle Tours!