St-Tropez in the summer…oo la la

Saint Maxime, the other side of the bay from St-Tropez; on the Mediterranean Sea, in the summer. Now this is beginning to look more like a vacation! Imagine Cancun mixed with Beverly Hills, mixed with Santa Barbara. That’s what Ste-Maxime is. Across the bay are the cruise liners anchored in St-Tropez. Gourmet restaurants everywhere, shopping for everything and the beach covered with lotioned bodies of every shape and size. Sorry folks, the commercials lied. Not everyone is tanned and beautiful in St-Tropez, but they do have good tans. “For that St-Tropez look”….
The weather has finally turned my way and I’m enjoying back roads and scenery with wineries, old monasteries, small villages, and not so nice people. Seems the French really don’t like us, or rather they don’t like that we don’t speak their language. Quite often I have asked for assistance and I ask, “do you speak English” the reply is yes and they understand my question but when it comes time to answer, they speak only in French. It takes a few times to get the person to answer in English so I can understand. Most also look at me like I’m an idiot. I may be, but a civil answer would be appreciated. Still it’s a beautiful country to explore. The farther south the better, it’s more to us “Americans” liking. Wineries mixed with shopping and the beach. What more could most of you ask for. And some great back roads to explore on a motorcycle.

There have been a few friendly exceptions; I met a family from Norway on the ride down today. Great people. Very nice and wonderful to talk to. They spoke enough English to allow us to have good conversation. They are on the way to Cannes to also escape the rain. Another exception was the hotel clerk where I’m staying tonight; Hotellerie De La Poste. The most friendly and helpful young girl I’ve met in France. She and the hotel have gone out of their way to accommodate me-dumb American and all. I suppose there are many others just as nice. I hope I find more like this place.

Tomorrow off to Cannes and south to Italy…..or maybe I’ll stay and work on my tan.

Just another “Donavan” day

Bet you’re all too old to get that one. I’m not. It’s been raining for the past four days until this morning, hence the Donavan day. what do I mean by that? OK….” Sunshine came softly through my window today”. About stinking time. So I was in Lyon this morning, and it was finally a sunny day so it’s exploration time. The photos below are a compilation of quick snapshots from my pocket camera as I was traveling in the rain to get here to Marseille. I will caption them later.

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That was a few days of snapshot camera photos. I will be posting the better ones once I edit and crop for best visual. Yea the stuff I do to make my junk look good. Made it to Marseille and I will stay here for a few days to dry out and see the sights. Seven hotels later and I got a nice girl at the best western to find me a room….at another hotel. Apparently with all my gear on I looked more like the hunchback of Norte dame so she quickly found me a room on the other side of town. 🙂 Seems Marseille is the cultural capital of France so it’s a busy town. Add in the cruise liner crowd waiting for their ship to come in and the hotels are always, always, always booked. If your ever thinking of a place in France, this is Far better than Paris, and you better book way early. I was told rooms are booked a year in advance for the good ones. Warm Mediterranean Sea and sunshine always bring the tourists, both American and the rest of the world. English is such a minority language spoken here, and the locals don’t tolerate us Americans not knowing French…or Spanish even though they know English. From what some have told me; if I know your language, why don’t you know mine? Stupid American.

Tomorrow, motorcycle adventures on the back roads and alleys of this very beautiful city. Hope to post videos as well.

London at night

Spent the past few hours walking through the “tourist” section- Trafalgar Square, and other spots. Thursday night until almost midnight, the people are out in throngs. Amazing though that there are so many people yet no one is connected except by the city itself. No eye contact. No interaction with anyone outside their own group. Thousands of people from all corners of the world and nobody connects. I stood at the steps of this fountain taking a few pictures and watching the people walk by, most were too busy on their phones or iPads to pay attention to what was going on around them. The sites and the people are all very interesting, street performers everywhere, but still everyone glued to their electronic device almost completely unaware of what is going around them. No wonder this place is pickpocket central. Another thing I found interesting; one in ten women were covered or had their head covered. It seems Muslim women were out in force. The Muslim men were indistinguishable to every other man, but the women stand out.

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London calling

Arrived! Well at least I’m here, but without my motorcycle. It’s here too….somewhere. So far I’ve already spend £100.00 in taxi fares to get to my hotel. That’s $177.00 dollars. Jeez! Wouldn’t be much of a problem except I found out that my motorcycle is west of the airport about three miles, meaning I will need to spend another £100 or so to hop a taxi back to where where my bike is just to assemble it, then ride back. Not bad, almost $400.00 to get around London before I pick up my motorcycle to start my European adventure. Thank God for cheap gas- NOT. Over $8.00 per gallon for regular and almost $10.00 for premium. Hope my motorcycle can operate on regular. Spot tracker up and running tomorrow morning. Photos too. Right now it’s time for a good Cuban cigar and a glass or two of wine before getting some sleep.

Leaving on a jet plane

Don’t know when I’ll be back again……yea I know, lame. Sitting here in at LAX waiting for my plane to London. But I really don’t know when I’m heading home. All depends on the weather, how much fun I’m having touring Europe solo, and if my wife, family, office allow me this freedom. In approximately twelve hours I will be in London and the adventure begins, although in some ways it already has. It seems my motorcycle never made it off the truck when being delivered to Parklane BMW Motorcycles in London. They refused it! WTF! After countless emails and two phone calls to the dealers service department to secure the delivery so my bike could be unpacked and reassembled for the start of my journey, they refused my bike on the day it showed up at their doorstep. Now my bike is in some warehouse at Heathrow airport still crated and I will now need to find it, open the box, (I screwed it closed with a screw gun as required), with a hand screwdriver, unpack it, and put my motorcycle back together myself….and this is all before I leave for the Chunnel. Oh yea, it’s supposed to rain on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I’d say the adventure has already begun. See you on the other side of the pond. Pictures guaranteed.

BMW R1200 GS1200 Adventure GoPro riding test

Getting ready for my European tour, I needed to test my GoPro video camera.  No edit but this is the view from my BMW R1200 GS Adventure motorcycle at 50-70 MPH on a windy back road in central California. No sound except the vibration and muffled sound of my engine but here it is…. Sorry I haven’t figured how to link an image. Sound or at least a soundtrack will be inserted once I learn how to imbed the video image.   Hey, this is a learning curve. Please bare with me, the videos may be interesting.

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What is Motomochila?

So,..what is a motorcycle adventurer?  A friend of mine, Paul Edmunds coined the name “Motomochila” some years back to represent the type of motorcycle touring he enjoyed. “Moto” motorcycle, Off road in particular. “Mochila” Spanish for backpack. Motomochila is now synonymous with a group of off road riders who travel with backpacks to explore the wilds of Mexico’s Baja peninsula.  I have embraced this form and have enjoyed many trips to Baja and Central Mexico with Paul and friends. For us Motomochila touring is the adventure itself not the destination in which I end up each night, but quite often it seems there is an adventure just trying to find a place to sleep for the night……unless I bring my sleeping arrangements with me.

What is Motomochila?
What is Motomochila?

Whats wrong with setting up camp wherever I can find a place to put up my tent and start a nice fire.  The world roads are still 90% dirt. If at all possible, I intend to explore as much of them as I can. For this, I thank my friend Paul. It was he who introduced me to the world of “Motomochila. ” I just choose to take it a bit further. I just wish he was able to join me on some of the adventures I have experienced, since he has given me so many.   Thanks mi Amigo. Europe will be quite an adventure.

Singaporean dancers in traditional dress at Badwater, Death Valley on Easter 2013
Singaporean dancers in traditional dress at Badwater, Death Valley on Easter 2013

 

Gigi’s Grocery

Gigi's Grocery

While traveling through the back roads of Oklahoma on our way to a business meeting, we came upon Gigi’s Grocery. To good to pass up and with a bit of complaining, Gigi agreed to sit and pose for this shot. She does not like being my subject, but after twenty years I still like shooting her more than any other. I still have a crush on her, but she she still complains about the photos.  If I’m not riding, I’m taking picture, and often of her or our daughter. Hey, at least she know where I am…..