The Rondom Gees and Enter weekend, April 2016.
(Click any photo to see a larger picture - then just follow the slide show.)

Rondom Gees - Dutch for 'Around Gees'. Gees is a small and pretty village in the Drenthe District in the middle of Holland. Enter - is a small town in the Overijssel District and about 40 miles south of Gees. We had decided to ride our '08 Triumph outfit in the Rondom Gees event on Saturday the 23rd April and follow it by riding the event in Enter the following day. I booked a small country hotel that was about halfway between the two events for our three nights stay.

Everything kicked off on the Thursday before, as we were booked onto the overnight boat from Harwich to the Hook. We stopped at Swindon on the way to visit my brothers wife who is quite seriously ill, before hitting the M25 and sitting in a queue for the best part of an hour. When the traffic eventually started to move there was no real explanation for the hold-up - it sure does make one wonder how that happens.
On arriving at Harwich we met a jobsworth booking us in, who reckoned that our van should have been booked as a people carrier and not as a car. Cars have max dimensions of 6m long by 2m high and our van was 4.556m long and 1.9m high and the class was labeled as "Car, MPV, 4x4 up to 2m high". I protested that we were well within the dimensions for a car and the response was that the lady would overlook it this time, as she, personally, didn't mind - I gave up at that point. We had a cabin booked and had a pleasant nights kip - arriving at the Hook around 8.00 on Friday morning. There was a drive of some 138 miles to the hotel and as we had time, I detoured to Raalte, which was 120 miles away.

At Raalte I planned a visit to the American Motorcycle Museum which was well worth seeing, I must say. It was the second time that I'd been there as we visited when part of the 2007 Anglo Dutch event. The Indian Scout that had the Meisinger Buddy seat was still there - the very one that I had copied some years ago for the back end of my Indian. Anyway, the ground floor was full of Harleys of all shapes and sizes, whilst the upper floor was full of the 'proper' stuff. As an Indian owner, I would say that , wouldn't I? A fellow Indian owner once said "Harleys are all right , but they're not like the real thing" - I can't agree more.

From Raalte we continued the 25 miles to our hotel where we booked in for a leisurely evening meal before turning in for the night. There was a get together in a tavern near the start in Gees but we opted not to go, as it would have meant a 50 mile round trip and I just fancied putting my feet up after the driving.

Saturday - Rondom Gees
We were up for breakfast at 8am and were soon on the road to Gees. We arrived just before 9am to find many of the riders already there. The organisers were dispensing five litres of Aspen(Ethanol free) fuel for free. Our bike was topped up and we soon signed on. We were riding number 13 which I reckoned probably had something to do with our problems that day. Anyway, seen at the start:

One of the things that I had done before leaving home was to clean out the carb on the Triumph. I realised that the slow drop off of power experienced over the last few years was due to fuel starvation, as I had to run quite often with the air slide partly closed. After checking the carb I found a thick black treacly deposit in the float chamber and in the main jet. Clean it out, I thought, and the bike should run better and I can then open the air slide up. It was real sticky stuff and obviously a build up deposit from old petrol. So, full of confidence, we set off and the bike took two pushes to get the engine to fire up, anyway, we were away and soon heading north. The route was marked in the usual Dutch way with signs - a round orange sign for right turn, a square orange sign for a left turn and an orange triangle for straight on. A simple system and very easy to follow.

The route kept us on side roads and when a major road needed to be crossed there were marshals there to see us out without stopping. Pretty soon the bike engine lost power and ground us to a halt. Fuel starvation, I thought. Off came the carb bottom nut and I cleaned out a bit of crud. Full of confidence I re-assemble the carb and the bike fired up and ran ok. On we went before the same thing happened - this time I removed the main jet and blew that out. Refitted, the engine fired up again. Maybe half a mile or so and the same thing brought us to a halt. It had to be fuel starvation, so on disconnecting the fuel pipe at the tank there was a mere dribble though the tap, even after releasing the tank cap to make sure that there was no vacuum holding the fuel back. After poking a piece of wire up through the tap we had a good flow of fuel. There was obviously something floating around in the tank that was blocking the outlet. We set off again and this time I was confident that we would be ok, until I noticed my legs getting covered in fuel - we'd lost the tank filler cap that I had forgotten to re-tighten. I suppose that we'd covered 300-400 yards from where we'd stopped so slowly we back tracked and I was just about to give up when Jeannie spotted the cap lying in the road.
From then on we had no further fuel starvation problems the whole weekend. The weather was cold and crisp and the ride quite enjoyable, apart from the pavé, where the roads were laid with small bricks, which were not as smooth as tarmac. Those roads bounced the outfit around quite a bit and by the time we reached the morning coffee stop at De Gaffel, in the village of Valthe,the tool basket had bounced up out of it's cradle and the cradle had come loose on the sidecar chassis. But the sun was still shining and the problem soon fixed:

No sooner had we parked up and I spotted a large vee twin Excelsior with a Cardiff BO registration. The very bike that Doug Bailey had found and restored, before Terry H had it. The bike was now sporting German plates. Anyway, as we went in for coffee the sky darkened and it started to snow - phew. By the time that we came out the sun was again shining, so off we set north towards the lunch stop at the 't Moatie restaurant in the village of Gasselte, not far from Assen, which we made without any further problems having covered around 45km for the morning. It was still very cold and whilst we were in having lunch we were able to watch a hailstorm through the restaurant windows. By the time that we came out for the afternoon run, the hailstorm had passed and the sun was out again. Seen at the lunch stop:

We set off after lunch heading back South and the afternoon coffee stop at De Brug in Zuidveld. We were riding through a lovely wooded area when I found that the oil tank was empty and that I was pumping fresh air. Blast - I'd forgotten to fill the tank before the start that morning - the first time that I have ever forgotten to do that. I put all our problems down to riding number 13, anyway, the engine will probably run for 10 miles or so before dying for lack of oil, so we continued for a bit until I decided that this really was a big risk, so stopped. Luckily, in no time Geoff Hanson arrived on his 1904 Minerva, closely followed by his wife Sue, in their car. Geoff had a supply of oil in the car so we were able to borrow a litre and were soon able to continue to Zuidveld with no further problems. Seen at Zuidveld:

From the coffee stop we had a 25km run back to the finish, where everyone congregated in the Pluspunkt hall for a meal. It wasn't long before Jean and I had our outfit back in the van and were heading back to our hotel, having had an 'interesting' day.

Sunday - Enter
Up early, as we had a 50km drive to the town of Enter and the start of the days event, run by the Enterse Motor Club. This time we were riding number 21, thank goodness. There were two classes - Veteran and Classic. With the Classics being 25 years old and the Veterans pre-1940. The start was at the Enter clubs own headquarters in the south of the town. At the start:

The route was to be marked with similar signs to the Rondom Gees event the day before, but the signs actually turned out to be arrows, still they were easy enough to follow. The weather looked ok with quite a few white fluffy clouds scuttling by in a strong wind. The odd black cloud passed us by, although I was told that the weather forecast was not good, as we started at 11.21 on the 60km route. There were five checkpoints along the way before we arrived back at the clubhouse for a bite to eat before setting off on the afternoon ride of another 45kms. The bike ran well but I missed the marshals at the road junctions that we had the day before, they made negotiating the junctions so much easier. I suppose that we had covered 75% of the route when the sky darkened and it turned into one of the blackest clouds that I've ever seen. Then it started - a torrential hailstorm. Those riders with pudding basin helmets had to stop, but we were able to continue, albeit slowly, with our visors giving us some protection. The hail was bouncing up off the road and the road surface turned white. The temperature dropped and my hands froze, whilst Jeannie reckoned that she had frostbite. Luckily it only lasted around 10 minutes, but they were a long ten minutes, I can tell you. At one point I needed to make a left turn, but the brake didn't work and I had to overshoot before turning around - no brakes certainly makes for some interesting riding.
The sun came out, which was welcome, as the temperature rise thawed out my frozen fingers. After a few tries the one and only brake started to work again. When you only have one brake, even if it's none too good, you need it on an outfit. After the final 10km we arrived back at the start and both of us easily decided to scratch from the afternoon run, as we'd had enough, so the bike went back in the van. We then retired to the clubhouse for a welcome bowl of hot soup, plus a very tasty burger in a bun. As we were eating the heavens opened and more hailstones started to lash down. After watching it for some time an announcement was made that the afternoon run was cancelled. We stayed chatting for a bit before the trial results were announced. Soon afterwards we said our goodbyes and headed back to our hotel. With some three miles to go, we were passing through the village of Balkbrug when I spotted a Chinese restaurant that looked good, so we stopped and had a leisurely meal that was one of the best that I've ever eaten.

The trip back home the following day was uneventful. We landed in Harwich the following day and negotiated the M25/M4 with no problems, apart from me making a decision that the headlights on the van needed some up-rating. It was a good weekend.