"Have I got any distinguishing marks?"
- Shirley Crane
She sat in the photo-booth trying hard to look intellectual and sophisticated and failing miserably. Four agonising minutes later this very embarrassed lady walked away with a unique collection of passport photo's.
Later filling in the application form this same young lady came across a question she could not answer so turning to her bearded fellow she asked, "Have I got any distinguishing marks?" Everyone went quiet, the lady blushed, the fellow shrugged his shoulders and replied, "I don't know". She wrote No (I think).
Then armed with application form, photos and birth certificate she faced the iron barred counter, signed on all of the dotted lines and came away with a passport and stage one of Shirley's first continental rally was accomplished
We (Dave & Hilary Cockerton, Dave Hill & little me) set off for Holland at 9.00 a.m. on Friday morning and left Dover on the 3.00 p.m. ferry. Then we motored through France, Belgium and Holland until nearly midnight when Dave's Honda ran out of petrol and we were advised to get off the motorway in order to find a garage and we eventually found one but it was closed.
Feeling a bit cheeky I marched up to the living quarters and after banging on the door I explained to the bewildered gentlemen how awful it was to find ourselves in a foreign country at night without petrol for our machines. The poor man was taken in completely and got the petrol attendant out of bed while he made us some coffee. We then set off for the rally site arriving at 1.30 a.m. Saturday. We had travelled 459 miles.
When we awoke we had a look around the camp site: our field was full of bikes, tents, men, women, children & dogs and another field was rapidly filling up. After a wash & brush-up we booked into the control & had some coffee, then we chatted to some Dutch bikers, met the few British rallyists and went to the nearby town for a breakfast of sausage & chips (our customs get everywhere).
The organisers had laid on a Disco for Saturday night and it was very good with 90% of the records being British and American. The Lager flowed all night with hot dogs and chips sustaining hungry little girls. There was also a nice camp fire where the lads could drink and sing songs (the songs are the same as sung here).
Next day we woke at 7.00 a.m. to a breakfast of soup, cheese rolls and coffee and then we packed for the journey home. At 9.30 the Daves found out that the ferry left at 11a.m. and the port was a hundred miles away so this was good excuse to see just how fast the Guzzi 850 and Honda 750 could go. Blasting down the motorway Dave & I saw something flash by us and when Dave Cockerton stopped he discovered his can of chain spray that had been strapped to his crash bar had parted company with the bike.
We reached the ferry for 10.45 to discover that we should have been there an hour before sailing so Hilary and I smiled sweetly and the man said he would see what he could do. We were then rushed into an office to buy our tickets, bustled through customs and onto the ferry. The lads were left to tie their bikes up as the Ferry left and six boring hours later we where in Harwich, then another high speed dash had us home, bum sore but satisfied with a great weekend.
P.S. We are going again in May.