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Discussion Starter #1
Well now Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, administrators and moderators.... I have an unbeliveable yet true story of what happened to me this summer when I took a two week hoilday abroard.

Are we all sitting comfortably and paying attention ?

Okay, now this is a long story and will take me a while and several post of do, so please try to withold your congratulations and applause not to mention questions till the end.

This is a story of both incredible bad luck, breathtaking Police chases, heroism and generosity that I didn't belive existed today and the French motorway mafia. :eek:

Unfortunalty I cannot include any references to my sexual exploits during this amazing trip as I understand you are all very sensitive on here and it may cause all our American members to realsie how inadaquate they are in the bedroom dept.

So, some background. I consider myself an experienced European traveller on two wheels having done sevral 2-3000 miles trips before both in my youth on a 850 Moto guzzi and more recently on my SV1000.

The bike was fully prepared down to complete fluid changes, shims, throttle bodies, plugs, pads etc and I'd spent months planning my two week trip to Austia, a land of breathtaking mountain scenery and twisty roads. It's where they shot " The sound of music" and during the winter it's all skiing but in the summer it's a bikers holiday playground.

Two weeks to go and I'm all set..... only to hear that Austria is having it's worst weather for 70 years, torrential rian bringing down rocks and debris all over the roads blocking many of them. The forcast is set to continue for a few more weeks so plan B in quickly put in place.

To ride down through France, nip over the Pyrennes into northern Spain, hugging the coast till I turn south in to Portugal, down to the algarve and back along the south of Spain then accross central Spain, over the Pyrennes agin and back up to Calais.

But first I had been summond to attend the anual SV1000 meet in Yorkshire as I had organised the previous years meet ( yes, there really are no end to my talents ) and all my fans would be there. :)

Stay tuned. Pete.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Well BigAl, here it comes.....

Who was this stunning woman, standing before me, slowly unzipping hert figure hugging dress to reveal...... :eek: I'll never know as the alarm woke me up at 5 am as I had to get to Leeds and the hotel for breakfast.

I drew back the curtains to see a that summer had truely arrived. yes it was cold and pissing it down with rain.

I said goodbye to the wife and kids, they were screaming and crying, my fault I guess as they hadn't realised that I would be returning in two weeks.

About 3 hours and 230 miles later and I arrive in time for a full English breakfast at the hotel.
We enjoy a great weekend of riding around Yorkshire, visiting Whitby, causing mayhen on the roads all in good weather.
After breckfast on Monday morning, I wave goodbye and set off for Dover about 400 miles away.
By the time I get there I've already cover 1000 miles since leaving home on Saturday.

After getting off the ferry I make my way south avoiding the motorways. The roads are straight, the scenery fairly flat but the traffic is light and I make good progress stopping overnight at Formula1 hotels as they are cheap and you know what your getting as they're all pretty much the same. The other hotels to try are Abbis, just abit nicer for a few euros more.

By mid morning I see a sign for the Dordogne, the landscape starts to change, gentle hills and the road starts to have bends. I think to myself " At last, my holiday proper starts here " :D

Almost immediatly as I go into a long sweeping bend I feel the start of a wobble come on :eek: My first thought is a rear wheel puncture.
I pull over and check the tyres. I carry an air gauge and tyre weld from experience.

But they are fine ?? I carry on, all okay on the straights but at the next bend another wobble and a faint greating noise !! Rear wheel bearings going. I limp 6 kms into the next town, the bearings breaking up as I ride.

I phone Carrol Nash insurance on my mobile, they will dispatch a recovery van and take me to a bike garage, it may take a while, so I settle down outside a cafe in the sun with a beer and my 200 duty free cigerettes.

I use this time to call my friends, Maz and Nigel in Perpignon to ask him to phone around France for rear wheel bearings, he calls back later and says no one has any and it'll be several days for them to get some. Apparently the French aren't very good at overnight or next day deliveries.

My mobile runs out of credit as when abroard incoming calls still cost you money !!! I try to buy credit at the cafe, 15 euros later we discover that the French Orange credit system doesn't work on a British Orange phone.

The recovery van turns up about 3 hours later and takes me about half a mile up the road to a Suzuki garage, if I'd have know I could have ridden there myself.

" Well get the bearing in tommorow and have it fixed by the end of the day" they promise me.....:nah:

Next day they call me at the hotel I'm staying in to say it'll be 5 or 6 days as there aren't any in France..blah blah blah

I call my friend Nigel and tell him the news.... " Hold tight, I'll be up to get you in a few hours " he says. He had put out an SOS on the SV site and managed to organise a complete set of the 3 bearings we needed plus an offer of a complete rear wheel with tire to be sent overnight to his house which was 300, yes 300 miles away from me.

Now I ain't that good at maths but that meant a round trip of about 600 miles to come and get me and my bike. It also meant that his neighbour had to leand him his car as Nigel hadn't got a tow bar for the trailer.

I'd been sitting outside the hotel in the sun with a beer and 140 duty free cigetettes for a several hours when he turns up.

We load the bike on and set off, reaching his home at about 2 am. Maz has stayed up to greet me, we drink the local red wine and I smoke my way through some of the 100 duty free's I have left.

A big following has developed on the SV site following my progress with many offers of help and advice.

We get the rear wheel out and knockout the bearings, they have broken up chewing up part of the axal,wheel spacers and embeding themselves into the alloy wheel itself..... oops !!

Nigel reckons we need a big lathe to mount the wheel in and machine out the debris and deformities so we can get the new bearings back in, after several phone calls and trips to local machine workshops we are no further forward.

We wait for the next day to arrive with the new bearings while eating a slap up meal, drinking more of the local red wine and smoking the lat of my cigerettes.

How are we gona fix this one ?

Below, the SV meet and my SV. My rescue and My rear wheel bearings !!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Amoung my many, many talents I happen to be a fully qualified toolmaker, an can still remember those stupid pointless excersises that I used to have to do like hand form a cube to +/- .oo1" .

I now realise why I had to do them, yes, in the absense of a full machine shop, I machined out my rear wheel with an old chisel and a hammer. :thumbsup:

The bearings arrived and were fitted in an hour, the axel and spacer filed smooth and a 200 mile blast into the Pyrennes with my mate Nigel following on his SV went without problem.

I waved goodbye the following morning and set off over the Pyrennes again heading for Spain.

If you've never ridden the Pyrennes mountains, you ain't lived. I can only post a few photos of what it's like as words cannot describe it.

Again I stuck to the most twisty back roads I could find on my map.

coming down into Spain I hit a long straight stretch, time to open her up a bit. 120... 130....140.... a lorry coming the other way passes quite close to me, the wind blast rips off my wireless head set for the sat nav, it also rips off my visor and one of the side pieces on my helmet. By the time I've turned round to found the bits a lorry has run over the side bit from my helmet and the bracket for the headset is broken. It didn't really matter as the bottle of clutch/brake fluid i'd been carrying had leaked the previous night onto the charger for it and when i plugged it in there was a loud bang and the smell of burning electronics once the battery had run out I could charge it anymore anyway.

Surely things could only get better......

Below, my machining, the spindle, leaving Nigels and the mountains
 

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Can we respectfully request that if there is any more roadside machining in this report, that you wear clothes while doing the work? :p

Great report; I hope you're typing too as I type!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The next day I'm ridding along when I get the feeling all is not well again, I'm having trouble getting it around corners.

This gets worse as I go along. The rear end feels wooden, it ain't soaking up the bumps as it should and I experiment with the 3 way adjustable shock..... to no avail.

further investigation shows the rear shock has taken a perminant holiday of it's own. It moves up and down but that about it.

The front end also lacks feel, again, no amount of fiddling with the adjustments seems to help. To make matters worse the front tyre is pretty much shot away, the only thing I hadn't replaced before the holiday as I was planing on changing it en-route.

I decide to start heading north instead of carrying on to Portugal as I had hoped.

Crossing central/eastern Spain was interesting, sort of desert with patches of scrubby woodland and quite hot.

I finally hit the north coast of Spain, amazing, it looks like Switzerland, pretty chalet type houses, green hills and mountains, cattle and streams, beautiful beaches . I can recommend it for a holiday.

I try to stop at a motorbike shop to ask for a new front tyre. They sell new hondas and KTM's but don't sell tyres ???????

I'll head back over the Pyrennes and get one in France but find that at 3 more bike shops and car tyre fitting shops don't do tyres ?
As I can't lean the bike over anyway and it's only the sides that are knackered I decide to leave it and carry on north hoping it will last out.

I pull up at a petrol station and when I go to start the bike........nothing, no electics at all. I check all fuses, connections etc. Nothing.

After 2 hours of pulling wires and drinking coffee it suddenly starts.


Below, the Pyrennes and what the roads aer like.
Head for home at full speed.
 

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Great report! I would've thought at the onset it belonged in the exaggeration thread, but your pictures prove otherwise. Keep it coming!
 

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So, there I am the next day, heading for home at full speed, well not quite full speed as the most I've ever seen on the speedo is 164 mph and I only cruising along at 154, mind you , I did have all my luggage on and my jacket half undone due to the heat.

I see a row of four lorries in the distance but don't slow down. I wizz past them but fail to notice the two French Police cars parked in a rest stop layby :policeman:

Fortunatly, my fuel light comes on at the same time and withing half a mile I see a sign for a petrol station just up ahead.
As I slow down I see the turn off ahead and take it but quickly realise I have taken a small lane used by farmers to get to thier fields, but I can see the petrol station in the distance so carry on ro see if the lane will get me to it.

It does but there is a wire fence I cannot cross with the bike, while turning the bike around I see a Police car pull up at the pumps. I think nothing of it.

It takes me a couple of minutes to get back to the main road and make my way to the petrol station where I pull up on the opposite side of a set of pumps where the Police car is just pulling away from.

I fill up and park up for have a drink and a few cigerettes and an English lorry driver wanders up to me and asks " Was that you who came past me a few minutes ago absolutly flat out " ? I carefully answer yes it was, then he tells me that as I went past, the two Police cars came out of the layby, screaching tyres, blues and two's on and nailed it up the road after me. One pulled into the petrol station and was checking out all the bikes there while the other carried on up the road flat out looking for me.

I explained that it wouldn't have mattered if they had of caught me as I'm British and so their silly little French laws obviously don't apply to me. But just to be safe I hung around for a while in case they'd got a discription of me and were still looking. Last thing I wanted was for them to know who and where I was.

After a while I geared up and turned the key...... nothing. An hour later of pulling wires, checking fuses etc still nothing. We checked the power at several places and the battery, power everywhere except up near the ignition switch.

In the end I phoned Carol Nash insurance for breakdown recovery.

"where are you? " they asked, "On a motorway" I explained.... " We aren't allowed to get you from a motorway " they explained, " You have to call the local Police and give them your location and a description of your bike, they will arrange to get you taken off the motorway "..........................:BigEyes:

Nervously I phoned the Police but luckily if they were searching for me she wasn't aware. She said a recovery vehicle would be with me soon. 90 minutes later it wasn't, I phoned again and it still took another hour.
He loaded me up, crossed over the motorway with his amber lights flashing, sounding his loud air horns as cars and lorries swerved to avoid us and took me about 100 yards down a slip road into a ssmall village and to a Renault car garage where he left me hanging around for another hour.

I was hot , tired, and getting fed up. I asked him on his return could the garage fix my bike. No he siad but he had a friend with a garage just up the road who was brilliant with electrics and motorbikes.

After another hour of waiting around he took me another 100 yards up the road to his friends garage. I could have pushed the bike if i'd had known but thi was all part of his cunning plan because now it was 6pm and everything was closing down for the day unless you were on double pay overtime !!!

"200 euros for me ( the recovery lorry ) and you'll have to pay these guys cash to fix your bike, it'll be more as it's after hours "

They start to strip the bike down, taking off bodywork and pulling at wires at the rear end of the bike. " It's your alarm " they say, " It's faulty "........:nah:...." No, I think it's up at the front near the ignition switch " I reply.

We have this debate for 10 minutes before we agree to disconect the alarm to see it it helps.

I must have gotten the translation for " disconect " wrong as the next thing I know is they're hacking through my wiring harness right by the power commander and ignition box !!!!! the alarm is going off so he smashes it several times on the floor until it breaks :swoon:

The bike still doesn't start.

They start pulling and pushing the wires around the handle bars and suddenly we have power, it starts.
Quickly they ask for 200 euros, chuck the bodywork back on and start getting thier cars ready to go home.

These guys looked pretty mean, it was all quite threatening and I was totally knackered and just wanted to get home. I paid up, they left and I made my way back onto the motorway and headed for Calais about 120 miles away.

In two hours I'd be at Calais and then home by midnight if all went well.

Pete
 

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Pete, lovely story, I’m waiting for the next installment. Please keep it coming.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The Gods were probably pissing themselves with laughter as they looked down at me, " So near "one of them said " Ah, but so far " said another as he pointed his finger at my bike and the ignition cut out again just 10 miles up the road.

I sat and worked it out, 400 euros to get 10 miles..... so with another 110 miles to go... well, I didn't need to work it out as I only had a few hundred euros left and realised i was on a hiding to nothing.

I phoned Carol Nash again and said that the bike was unrepairable and could they just get me home...please !!

An hour later the recovery lorry turns up, a different one this time but the fee is the same, "200 euros please , cash." He takes me a few miles up the road to his yard. "You can leave the bike here, they'll collect it in a few weeks time and have it delivered to your home addresse. In the mean time my mate has a taxi and will take you to a hotel ":eek:

I asked him if it would save time if I just bent over, dropped my pants and he could screw me there and then but they like to take thier time and follow the more traditional way.

So I wait another half hour for his mate to come and tell me it would be 100 euros to drive me to the hotel, we pass several 25 euro a night hotels on the way to another mates 90 euro a night hotel.

Of course it's past midnight and the restaurant is shut, so I make do with a beer and a couple of packs of cigerettes on the steps outside.

It;s way late by the time i get to bed but I set my alarm early for the next day as I have lots to sort out, like how the hell am I gonna get home.

The Gods were still laughing as only they knew what further horrors awaited me the next day.

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
After an early breakfast of coffe and cigerettes on the step outside, I phone Carol Nash..... I'm running outta cash guys, I tell them, I need to get home, hat do you suggest ?

They say the rules state that its too far for a taxi but they'll refund me for a rented car. Is there a rental office in the town. Now thats funny I said, as there are 4 car rental company in the town, what are the odds on that ? My luck must be changing........:cool:

Being a God ain't all hard work and hymns you know. Sometimes they can have a real blast just mess'n with some poor innocent chap who ain't done nothing wrong..or at least ain't ever been caught doing nothing wrong.

Get this... I walk a mile down the road to the Hertz rental office and que for 40 mins a I find out it's a national holiday in France and everyone wants a hire car for the day. Finally I get to the front of the que and ask for a car to get me to Calais. I fill in loads of paper work, he copy's my licence and passport, tells me where I can drop the car off at Calais then askes for..... Yes... 200 euros.
I give him my debit card..... he can't accept it !! " Why not ? " I ask

We don't take debit cards he says, .. But it has over £1200 on it, real money in my account !!!! We only take credit cards he says.

HA !! I say, I just have enough cash on me, surely thats okay ?... No we don't take cash !!

Fighting exteremly hard to keep my temper in check, I think fast in the heat of the action.... "If I ring my insurance company and get them to pay for the car, would that be okay ?" ..... "No, we only take credit cards."

Still not beaten, I dig deep into my incredibly intelligent brain and find one last idea.... "What if I ring my father in law in England, get him to go into an English Hertz office and pay with a bloody credit card for the car, they could then phone or fax you with the confirmation details and I can take the car, you are afterall an international compays with bloody great signs hanging everywhere saying " We're here to help " or are you French exempt from faulse advertising regulations.? "

He might be able to do that he says, so I walk all the way back to the hotel, phone the in laws who begrudgingly agreed to call thier local Hertz office ( they never have forgiven me for that video they accidently saw of me and the wife.... I don't think they minded the fetish latex clothing, it was the bondage bit later on in the video that upset them )

Finally they called me back, no it can't be done, you have to be in the same office to sign the paperwork where the credit card is being taken. No they didn't understand what difference it made either, no thats all they could do and no they couldn't pop over to France and collect me.

I walked back into town and tried AVIS and one other rental office. Same story, credit cards only, blah blah blah.

Back to the hotel and called Carol Nash and explained it all to them.

They have an excellent team in thier overseas claims/recovery dept, the lady said she'd been looking at a map and how far was I from Paris airport ? 40 miles I replied.

Wait by the phone she said... 10 minutes later she says, " We've booked you on the 1 pm flight from Paris to Norwich", just 10 miles from my home.

You just need to get a taxi to the airport, how long do you think it will take to get there ?...... about an hour I replied looking at my watch which said 12.00 !!!!!!!

A mad rush down to reception, they call for an urgent taxi, a mad rush upstairs to throw my stuff in my bags, run out of hotel and taxi turns up.... " My plane leaves in one hour, please go as fast as you can "

He couldn't have been more helpful, he stuck to the speed limits, waited for little old ladies to cross the road safely and drove exteremly carefully, he had obviously never been a biker in his life.

Then as we approached the motorway which went straight to the airport, he turned onto the back road saying " Toll road..expensive "

I wanted to say " your life..in danger" but couldn't remember the French for it so just sort of made a low groaning wimpering noise instead.

After an age of meandering down the back roads getting stuck behind tractors, caravans and Harley Davidson's we could see the airport signs and he enquired " Which terminal do you want ? "

" Huh !!!!! "

" There are 4 terminals at the airport, which one do you want to go to ?"

I had to borrow his mobile phone to call England ..oops to ask them which terminal I needed.

We pull up and I have to pay him 90 euros, I make it 100 as I used his phone and run up to the check in desk. I've just made it in time, I've done it, I'm as good as home........ aren't I ?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
At the check in desk, he stamps my ticket and all that stuff, I put my saddle bags on the conveyor belt for the hold and am left holding my motorbike boots, my helmet and my tankbag with all my valubles in like my cigerettes and stuff.

Suddenly he holds up his hand and says " You can't take that on the plane "

"What ? " I reply confused.

" your helmet " He says.... Why not, I say... " Because of SECURITY !! " He booms... But it's just a bloody helmet, i say, What the hell am I going to do with it ? Hi jack a plane with a motorbike helmet ?

"Non, non, it's security, not on plane, not allowed, security "

Ha, I think, I use my superior British brain to out wit him. I tie my helmet to my saddle bags to go in the hold as luggage.

Hmmm, he uses French cheating and says " Not allow in hold baggage, security !!

We argue for a while but in vain.

I teach him some new English phrases and words he probably hadn't come across before. Then throw my helmet in the bin and rush off to the departure lounge only to find out the plane is going to be an hour or more late in taking off.

But eventualy it does and I have a pleasent flight in my first turbo prop plane. We land at Norwich and I get through customs without a problem and am only held up for half an hour when the conveyor belt bringing out the luggage gets jammed twice before my stuff had come out.

I queue for a taxi.... everyone queues for a taxi... but here aren't any ? I get angry, everyone gets angry, half an hour later still no taxis. Someone gets hold of the airport staff who contact the taxi firm who realise that all cars are elsewhere. they call in more taxis, half an hour later several taxis all turn up at once.

£30 to get home in taxi.

Walk in the door, " Hi honey, I'm home........" but the family aren't. they've all gone off for two weeks to a five star all inclusive holiday in Turkey, swimming pool, sunshine, scuba diving, para gliding, great food, massages and Turkish baths.

I find a scribbled note... " Theres some food in the freezer, you'll have to cook it, hope you had a nice holiday, the place had better be clean when I get back."

To find out what happened to the bike, stay tuned for the final chapter.
 

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Excellent story! One for the books. Only one question from an inexperienced american, what are "duty free" cigarettes?
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I took two weeks for my bike to be delivered back home, not that I was complaining, I'd had it with bikes for a while.

apparently the insurance firms use firms who travel all over europe picking up broken down and crashed bikes, putting up to 20 bikes on a special trailer and in the back of a long transit type van.

They charged about £400 to get mine, depends of course on where it is.

I was worried about damage to the bike after hearing some real horror stories but when he dropped it off I had to go round it with the driver checking for damage and I couldn't find any...... until the next day after I'd cleaned it and realise that what I thought was a big greasey dirt mark on the underside of the belly pan was in fact a deep gouge where some buckle on the strap of the bike next to mine had rubbed but it was minor in the scheme of things.

The bike next to mine, an Aprillia 1000 was rubbing against the side of the van along the full fairing and aftermarket exhaust !!!!

Among the offers of help from the SV site was a 1200 mile only rear shock for free. I accepted.

I took my bike to C.J.Ball's Suzuki dealer in Hales, Norfolk just a mile from my home. I told them to change the front fork oil, fit a new front tyre, fit the replacement shock, check out my wiring at the back where the motorway mafia had hacked it about and fix the electrical problem.

They found that a major electrical connection block had a wire burnt out, it is a known weak spot on this bike. A new block which comes with the ignition barrel and new key would be about £90 plus fitting but they just cut the wire each side of the block, by passing it and saving me a fortune.

To replace the rear shock involved removal of the rear exhaust and a couple of bolts and clamps and gaskets needed replacing too.

The bill came to about £300, not bad with the new tyre and done in a couple of days.

The only other thing I was concerned about was if the power commander or it's settings had been messed up, so I booked it into SeaStarSuperbikes just down the road from me where they fitted it in the first place and have a full rolling road dyno.

Fortunatly all was well but we took the oppertunity to tweak the settings as I'b booked 2 hours dyno time and the bike was all set up on it.

It had done 20,000 miles since it was fitted and the bike now had 32,000 miles on the clock. There was only 1 bhp difference by the time we'd finnished and it still made 113 rear wheel bhp and 74 fl/lb torque. not bad when in standard trim they knock out about 106 bhp and 63 ft/lb. Thats about the same as they claim for the new 1050 Tiger and the SV weights a lot less..... go eat my dust !!!

That was £70 well spent for my peace of mind.

Carrol Nash insurance were brilliant, there was a claim form waiting for me when I return, they paid for all 3 recovery lorries, the transport of my bike back home, all taxi fees, the air fare home for me and about 4 nights hotel accomidation including all breakfasts and a couple of evening meals. They didn't quibble or moan, in fact they were unbeliveably helpful all the time.
I will never use anyone else to insure my bikes and cannot recommend them enough. I now pay about £225 a year for full cover for both my bikes including full european breakdown/recovery.

The SV now rides better than the day it came out of the show room, handles superbly and still looks in very good condition, it is a totally different bike to my 95 Sprint, you can't compair them, they are both a pleasure to ride in different ways.

Well thats about it, a true tale. This is a bit shorter than the full account posted on www.sv-portal.com where they allow details and photos of a more " naughty" nature and there was a second live thread running there called "operation rescue Rose" posted by Nigel and Maz, as they appealed for help and kept the site updated on a daily basis of my progress as I phone in regulary.

Nigel and Maz run a fantastic little bikers B&B down in the South of France just outside Perpignan, cheap to stay there, great food, unlimited wine, a pool, a huge garage with all the tools you might need and full of helpful advice, tips and even guided tours along some superb coastal and mountain roads.

They have a real interest in thier guests and when I left they were reduced to tears, Maz even clinging on to my leg screaming and wailing......until I realised I hadn't paid my bill for 4 nights accomidation.

Okay, I'm now free to answer all your fan mail and questions.

Pete.



Maz & Nigels fantastic B&B and recovery service www.coupdecoeur.co.uk
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Excellent story! One for the books. Only one question from an inexperienced american, what are "duty free" cigarettes?
When you are on a plane or boat, they sell cigerettes ,booze etc without some of the tax or duty making them cheaper although they are trying to cut this down a bit since the credit cruch.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Can we respectfully request that if there is any more roadside machining in this report, that you wear clothes while doing the work? :p

Great report; I hope you're typing too as I type!
I was wearing swimming trunks actually, it's just your dirty mind playing tricks on you, let me find some more photos to prove it to you.

See, I'm in trunks...okay, I'll let you think the worst on the second photo, it'll still be better than the truth.
 

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Sounds like a great trip and your "experience quotient" must be through the roof now :D
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Great report! I would've thought at the onset it belonged in the exaggeration thread, but your pictures prove otherwise. Keep it coming!
Unfortunatly it was all true. I would have prefered to post about my fantastic 4500 mile trip but then real men have adventures you see, they make us into better people by overcoming adversity and problems, makes you appreciate when things go well.
 
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