Mayflower MCC, 24th Pilgrims Rally, August 1999
Since I enjoyed my first Pilgrims Rally so much last year, I of course advertised it to my motorcycle friends so that some of them would ride with me. I was also able to convince a colleague from work at the time. She wanted to participate with two of her girl friends.
On Friday morning, August 6th, the following participants met in front of my house for the England tour: Axel Bodeit Moto Guzzi 850T3, Karl Heuser BMW R75/6, Hans Mondorf BMW K100RS, Walter Trappe Yamaha 550 Virago, Ilona Schmidt Honda 650 Shadow, Doro Brand Yamaha XJ650, Anke Griesmeier Honda CB500.
The usual route to Calais and the ferry to Dover. Lunch at food court during crossing. Once we were through the M20/25 and the worst bit of traffic, the Dartford Tunnel, it didn't take long and we were in Basildon at Scout Camp, Langdon Hills.
After setting up our tents, we refreshed ourselves at the water taps. Then into the fun with a cold pint of lager in the marquee.
In the meantime, our motorcycle friends Karl Heinz Poppe, Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans II and Udo Krechel, BMW K75C have also arrived at the Scout Camp. They had started a Cornwall holiday a week earlier and traveled from there.
After a hearty English breakfast on Saturday morning, Eric Fogg persuaded us to go to Southend on Sea with him. But not, as we thought, with the motorbikes, but on the train. For this we first had to walk downhill to the train station in Basildon. From there by train to Southend on Sea. Eric showed us the main tourist attractions.
Here we then returned to a well-known pub. Eric explained to us that scenes of the film Quadrophenia was filmed in this pub. Pint followed pint in our convivial gathering, so we were in a good mood catching the train back to Basildon in the afternoon.
Now the walk back to the scout camp, but this time uphill.
When we had done that and were sitting in the marquee, the thirst was back. Since it was a hot weekend, we freshened up afterwards. Knowing the terrain from last year, I took an old tunnel tent, cut out the entrance and attached a rope to the end of the tent. This was thrown over the branch of a tree, so the tunnel tent hung vertically. One by one, everyone went in with a bucket of water and "showered."
We spent the evening first outside at the tables. When it got cooler, we went into the marquee and continued partying there.
On Sunday morning after breakfast the raffle and award ceremony.
After the tents were taken down and stowed on the bikes, we said goodbye and headed back to the M25. We followed this until the exit of the A21, then drove to Hastings via Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells.
When planning this tour, we agreed that we wanted to extend the weekend by one day so that we could still spend the Sunday in England. From Hastings we drove via Rye, Dymchurch, along the coast to Dover. Above Dover near Marton Mill we had located Hawthorn Farm Campsite & Holiday Park to set up our tents for the last night. Lovely flat lawns, clean toilet facilities and only 300 yards to the nearest pub. We spent our last evening there having dinner and a few pints.
Monday morning then the almost 7 km to the port in Dover. After checking in and tying down the motorbikes on the ferry, head straight to the food court to enjoy our last full English breakfast for this wonderful weekend.
For most of us this weekend was almost routine.
As the research for this report showed, this weekend, especially for the three young ladies who drove along for the first time, are still fondly remembered to this day. We were spared technical problems on the outward and return tour.
- Hans Mondorf