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Dutchy

Ride to hell

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Last Friday, a program on the BBC featured aerial photography during WW1. That gave me a destination to scrub in my new rear tire.....



Radar showed the possibility of rain (it did....) so I got to test my new rainsuit in the process...

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Big thumbs up for the Macna, easy to slip in and comfortable to wear. An increase in drag ofcourse, but that is what you get......




Heading south, the first point of call was Passendale, or as it is known in the english language, Passchendaele. Made notorious in (military) history for the war of attrittion fought here. 16 weeks of fighting saw some 800,000 casualties (dead and wounded) on both sides to gain 8kms..... Brits, Germans, French, ANZAC, India, Canada............
Unfortunately, many more places gained notoriety, the likes of Ieper, Verdun, etc.. And whilst this kind of warfare has ceased, we kid ourselves that wars can be fought with "precision" and that there is honour in death.

Those who die however do deserve to be remembered and that was my 1st stop, Tyne Cot. The largest Commenweatlh war cemetary in the world, for the casualties in the Ieper salient.

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As you walk towards the site, discrete loudspeakers call out the names and ages of the men that fell.
And the larks, they still fly and sing throughout the area...

Met some Australians who were visting their grandfathers grave.
Chilling though to see the majority of the headstones enscribed "known only unto God". Tyne Cot encompasses 11,954 graves, of which 8,367 are unnamed. There is also a memorial containing the names of 35,000 UK and NZ MIA.

The fields in the area had the poppies out in force, symbolising the fragility of life..

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In the trenches 1916 Isaac Rosenberg, 1890-1918

I snatched two poppies
from the parapet’s ledge,
two bright red poppies
that winked on the ledge.
Behind my ear –
I stuck one through,
one blood red poppy -
I gave to you.

The sandbags narrowed -
And screwed out our jest,
And tore the poppy -
You had on your breast …
Down – a shell – O! Christ, -
I am choked … safe … dust blind, I
See trench floor poppies -
Strewn. Smashed you lie.








Moving further south, I rode through a town that was preparing for their annual Witch procession . Many doorways were already adorned

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And hey, even witches need to eat.... :laughing6-hehe:

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Soon heading into France and that means "peage" (tolls). Since I was on a fairly tight schedule, I opted to pay the few euros instead of riding country roads...

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Got as near as 130kms from Paris, never realized how close the Somme battlelines came to the French capital...
Had it been Paris, ON I would have stepped by to see VeeferMadness :-)





My furthest destination for the day (700km in total) lies on the Somme frontline

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(just a few miles down the road is a simliar sign, marking the front line in July 1916. So you realise how much bloodshed took place for such a short advance...)



The French know it as

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The rest of the world as


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This mine detonated 1st July 1916 at the start of the Battle of the Somme
(Brits suffered 60,000 casualties on that 1st day.....).


It left a huge crater, and I mean a huge crater...


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Here a pan of the surrounding area. As you can see, "no gimme shelter" here...




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Nice Dutchy. Many will have no idea of these areas. I still believe WWI was the largest tragedy as far as wars went. Trench warfare was horrid. I have not been to Somme, but if anything like Verdun, it is incredibly eerie. Landscape that looks like the moon with all the shell marks. There is no limit to the atrocities that man can inflict on other men. The US has not had to recover from the scars of a great war (except the Civil War) so most don't truly understand the impact it has on a country. (including me). I think every american should visit europe to see the culture and to see the monuments/battlefields/cemeteries to hopefully get a clearer picture of the enormous price that war exacts.

sorry, perhaps too heavy.... :mellow:

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Good one Dutchy - definately a worthy trip to scrub in your new rubber - hard to believe that war was living memory in our lifetime.

Very sad stuff indeed.

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Wow, thanks for sharing the pictures and history. Seeing that just leaves you kinda speechless.

On a brighter note (no pun intended), that is one BRIGHT suit you have!

Chuck

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Nice historical tour.

I'd love to visit some of these sites by motorcycle - I'm a history buff with a degree in history.

The crater from the Battle of the Somme is incredible and the carnage of that battle - you'd get a real sense of it standing where those men did.

Great post!

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Nice Dutchy. Many will have no idea of these areas. I still believe WWI was the largest tragedy as far as wars went. Trench warfare was horrid. I have not been to Somme, but if anything like Verdun, it is incredibly eerie. Landscape that looks like the moon with all the shell marks. There is no limit to the atrocities that man can inflict on other men. The US has not had to recover from the scars of a great war (except the Civil War) so most don't truly understand the impact it has on a country. (including me). I think every american should visit europe to see the culture and to see the monuments/battlefields/cemeteries to hopefully get a clearer picture of the enormous price that war exacts.

sorry, perhaps too heavy.... :mellow:

Am not having a stab at the Americans with my post..

Standing there, I realised that the concept of "honorable death" serves the purpose of justifying the (possible) loss of what we hold dear, life. Our own life as well as the life of our loved ones.

Each person though, is free to choose his/her belief system.

So full up the tank and celebrate life, by riding :fing02:

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Thank you, Dutchy. Those of us who have not gone to war, who have not had to wait for friends and family to return from war have no idea. But glimpses certainly help.

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Absolutely fascinating, Dutchy. It's hard to imagine the massive loss of life that occurred in WW's I and II, but particularly WW I with the huge losses of humanity required just to advance the front line 100 yards in the trench warfare style of fighting. And for what? Honor? Glory? Success? It really points to the absurdity of war in general. There are prolly still a few "live" shells in some of those former mud bogs since turned back into fields. Amazing work, Dutchy, thanks for the reminder.

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Nice Dutchy ! :fing02:

Thats the way to scrub in a new tire, I did mine on way to Mugello :biggrin:

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Good piece Dutchy, well written. Respect.

A m8 of mine organises a rideout on Remembrance Weekend every Nov. I've managed 2 so far, including Tyne Cot & The Menin Gate (we were asked to place a wreath during last years commemoration as several of us are UK military). Truly humbling experiences. This year we are planning to visit the Normandy Beaches.

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Thanks Dutchy. I have visited war memorials all over the world. Always sobering like your report.

Ride safe!

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On a brighter note (no pun intended), that is one BRIGHT suit you have!

Chuck

yes, no missing me now..... :biggrin:

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Great report. Thanks, Dutchy.

That brings memories of visiting the WW2 concentration camp memorials in Russia. Somehow it doesn't sink in until you actually walk the same ground...

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Here in the USA and Kansas that plant will earn you a visit from the USDA, KDOA and cost you $100/day should you fail to eradicate it.

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d0399905.jpg

Here in the USA and Kansas that plant will earn you a visit from the USDA, KDOA and cost you $100/day should you fail to eradicate it.

I happened to like that plant. Well, unless I walk through it by mistake :ohmy:

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I happened to like that plant. Well, unless I walk through it by mistake :ohmy:

If you owned rangeland or pasture land you wouldn't like that plant. It is very, very aggressive and can quickly overtake grass and render the land useless for grazing purposes.

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I like it, because it is the national emblem of Scotland, a country I lived in for almost 4 years :fing02:

"Nemo me impune lacessit",

"No-one harms me without punishment"

but more commonly translated in Scots as as "Wha daurs meddle wi me"

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Thanks for the report. Very respectful.

Would love to make that ride but its continents away.

One day I'll visit.

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hello Dutch Guy

that was just awesome that you did that...

nobody knows about these things..

you are great.

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Wow, really nice ride report and photo essay, Dutchy. Thanks for sharing.

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Nice report. When you look at what started the war (and most others), it gets even more ridiculous. Can't we just get along? Would love to tour Europe on a good motorcycle. The entire US for that matter.

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