VaraVeyron 2013 (France)
VIM15 in Pembrokeshire (Wales, UK)
Jess and Theresa's Account
This is another of our grand adventures that we would like to share with you. As in recent years, we preceded the Varadero International Meeting with a visit to France to join with our French brother and sister Varaderoistes for their own Varadero meeting. The French Varaderomania meeting was being held near Millau, near Montpelier, and the international VIM 15 meeting was, this time, closer to home in Welsh Wales. So, we decided to do both events, with a short time at home between the two, for our latest Varadero adventure.
We share our experience of both meetings with you in the form of a diary and pictures. For us a Varadero meeting begins at the point we leave home and ends at the same place. It is our annual Varadero adventure.
Our Varadero is/was a new (bought August 2012), last of the model XL1000VA. A 2012 shasta white model with ABS, centre stand, heated grips, panniers and top box. To that we added a 12 volt charging socket, a Palmer Products screen, and our relocated Garmin Zumo 550 GPS system. Plus, this time, from bitter experience, a set of crash bars.
VARAVEYRON - FRANCE
click above for details of the
French Varaderomania meeting.
VIM 15 - WALES
This picture is available as a sticker.
This year and for the first time we welcomed the new Honda Crosstourer model as the natural successor to the now discontinued Varadero model. Whilst there were many Varaderos at this meeting and will be at future meetings, we are aware that Varadero ownership is beginning to reduce and other models are becoming commonplace at our meetings. But to keep in good company, the new Crosstourer is welcomed alongside the Varadero as a part of our international identity. This year was therefore officially VCIM15, instead of VIM15 - although the diehards will still refer to VIM as a generic term. Whatever the case, all are welcome, whatever you ride - although please don't outnumber us with your Moto Guzzis, Triumphs, Teneres, V-Stroms, etc.
15th May 2013. Wednesday. Karinda Drost arrived at 9.00pm, as planned. Her partner Bernard Stikfort was away riding with friends and would meet up with us tomorrow. Karinda had her newly painted pink Varadero Mk 1. She had brought us some Dutch cheeses which we tried and we sat talking, catching up on our news and then to bed, eagerly anticipating our adventure that was to come.
16th May 2013. Thursday. Up and off on the two Varaderos, Karinda and Jess, with Theresa taking the Jimny, bound for Wales. Immediate disaster! I led Karinda down Ponders Road - on the wrong side of the road. I thought it odd when I got to the bottom, as I wasn't sure which side of the island I should take. It was not until I got to the bridge on Ford Street, on the wrong side, at the red light, that I realised what I was doing, with car drivers honking their horns. Crazy! Soon back to my senses and feeling both an utter fool and realising the danger of riding down Ponders Road like that. God protects! I had been driving in France and now riding with Karinda, I had had a mind block. Hey ho and off we go. Karinda had asked not to go on a motorway so we didn't, not once. It took us some 9 hours to get there though. A120, A507, A428?, Bedford, Coventry, A5, Stafford, Lichfield, Telford, Shrewsbury, Aberystwyth, Cardigan. The GPS found the guest house easily (Fernhill Lodge, Llechryd) and we were soon settled-in. Trey Hall and his fiancee Ellen Daley [they were married in the US on 31st December 2013], Bernard Stikfort (Karinda's husband), Klavs and Marika Grass from Latvia and Theresa were already there, anxious for our arrival. A delightful guest house with a superb landlady who could not do enough for us. Settled down in the lounge with a beer and set to talking with our friends whom we only meet up with at VIMs. I hadn't seen Trey since 2009 in NI? He holds a special place for me. A truly lovely man with, what turned out to be, a lovely fiancee. Bernard had been off enjoying himself, riding in Ireland and thereabouts, with a friend, for two weeks, without his wife, so he was pleased to see Karinda again. We had a lovely meal. Our hostess was a good cook. She took the photo of us all.
Theresa's diary version of the day. - I was up at 7.00 showered and downstairs to get breakfast ready. Karinda was already up talking to the dogs. We had breakfast and then packed the car and bikes. I put Karinda's panniers in my car along with all our baggage. Jess and Karinda set off first at about 9.15am and I followed at 9.20am. They were taking a route that would avoid motorways but I decided to go the quickest route. A12, M25, M4 taking me to our accommodation at Fernhill Lodge arriving at 3.45. Trey Hall and his fiancee, Ellen, and Bernard had already arrived about an hour earlier having travelled from Dublin. We had coffee and home made muffins and the hostess, Sylvia, made us very welcome. There was a tri-colour cocker spaniel called Toby who was also very friendly. I went to lie down in our room for an hour and Jess phoned about 5.00 to say that he and Karinda were about an hour away. I told Bernard that they were on their way and gave him instructions that he was to have a shower, to put on the special leather thong, slip into bed and get the baby oil warmed up. He realised that it was a joke from Jess but it made everyone laugh. Trey and Ellen very happy together. We ordered our food for the evening meal and I went back to lie down and Jess and Karinda arrived about 6.30pm. We had a lovely evening meal together and chatted to Sylvia. Her husband was away renovating another house to sell and they were planning to retire in a couple of years, staying at Fern Lodge. Off to bed for a lovely night's sleep.
17th May 2013. Friday. Up and to a splendid breakfast. We got our gear sorted out and spent some time at the front of the house taking photographs and talking to Sylvia and her father, an elderly man of Polish family. We all went our separate ways with us going into Cardigan to find a bank machine and to look around. That took all of 5 minutes so we decided to go to the coast. Found a nice bench and sat by Cardigan Bay watching the world go by. Watched a Jack Russell bitch retrieving a ball from the water and a man trying to get his boat engine working. Then back to Fernhill Lodge to collect the Jimny and then on to our destination, Bluestone at Narberth. Met up with Gareth and Stewart and a few others and told we could not go to our quarters until 4.30pm. Found some more of the guys in the bar - where else? When we were able to go to our cabin we were amazed by the high standard, cooker, fridge, dish washer, heated floor in the bathroom, etc. 36 Augustus, our home for the next few days. Unpacked, showered and got ready for the evening. Our first evening was spent at Camp Smokey, an area in a deep gulley, accessible only down a steep hill. We walked down fine but some of the lads were unsteady due to having led a good life :) and we managed to get them a Land Rover taxi service. The attendees gradually arrived and old acquaintances re-established. Bottled beer only plus the usual soft drinks and wine. Not cheap! The food was good, a barbecue style. Benches and trestles. A couple of speeches about the forward programme and then we found ourselves heading for our cabin. So good to see three of our Varaveyron friends were there, Mikeadero, Swing and Sebastien.
Theresa's version of our day. - I woke early, about 7.00am and it was clear and sunny outside. We slept in until the alarm went at 8.00am. Our breakfast was to be ready from 9.00, so we watched Raymond on television. Down for breakfast. Bernard was at the computer. Breakfast was very satisfying and tasty with plenty of coffee. Jess had the full Welsh and I had scrambled egg on two slices of toast. There were home made muffins but no room for them so I took two for later. We took photographs outside with the bikes and Sylvia took a picture of us all standing around the well in her kitchen. Jess and I went off on the bike for a drive around and stopped off in Cardigan Bay and sat watching a Jack bitch retrieving her ball from the sea. She was obviously enjoying herself because while she was swimming her tail was wagging. Back to Fernhill Lodge for me to collect the Jimny and then on to our site for VIM. Jess and I arrived at the same time and the storm clouds were gathering. We booked in at reception and parked in the car park. Unfortunately, we were not allowed into our rooms until 4.30 so we went to the bar in the village and met up with our buddies from Fernhill Lodge. The storm developed and the rain came with thunder and lightning. Welcome to Wales. I only had my flip flops on so my feet got soaked by the time we had walked back to the reception tent. I took Bernard in my car to drop off Karinda' s bags and then got completely lost trying to find our chalet. Finally, everything inside and I unpacked our things while Jess Sat at the computer catching up with Facebook while I had a shower. The chalet is very nice with lots of hot water in the shower so me much happier now that I don't have cold wet feet. We went to meet up with everyone at camp Smokey for a barbecue. A lovely big fire. I was surprised to see Liddy and Mense and also Bogdan. We had burgers and sausages and a couple of drinks and chatted to everyone. There were Honda representatives from Japan, Germany and Italy. We said our goodnights at 9.00pm and went back to our chalet to get some sleep. Tomorrow we are signed up for a tour that includes a boat trip.
At our guesthouse near Cardigan the
newly re-united Bernard and Karinda. The bikes of the guests. Three
Varaderos, two BMUUs. Cardigan Bay Camp Smokey
barbeque. Stuart, Gareth and Bernard tell us
about the programme. Fun later.
At our guesthouse near Cardigan the newly re-united Bernard and Karinda.
The bikes of the guests. Three Varaderos, two BMUUs.
Camp Smokey barbeque.
Stuart, Gareth and Bernard tell us about the programme.
18th May 2013. Saturday. 375 miles on the clock. Breakfast at The Yard and all of us were allocated a separate area. Much talk of the location and some grumbles about our not being able to leave the bikes next to our cabins and that we were all dispersed across the site. Get used to it! Quit whining! The breakfast was 'a volonte' and very good. At 10am we met up at the bikes for our ride out, led by Simon and backed up by Cliff in a very hapahazard way. We had expected the tiroir system. We got mayhem. A couple got lost as they didn't know where we had gone. So we all had a chat at a petrol stop and Mikeadero explained the tiroir system and we all agreed to use it. Simon knew it as the drop-off system. We did the coast ride, stopping at St Davids for a look around the cathedral and to have a coffee. Then some of us who had booked a boat trip, went down the road on foot in two separate groups for our maritime experience. Two of us had not turned up so we opted to do the first trip. When we were getting ready, the two turned up and were being difficult about waiting for the next boat, so we opted back and had to wait. We got to talking to a couple of locals about life in St Davids. They are suffering as is everybody else, from a lack of visitors and money, etc. We got the better deal as the first boat had some timid types who didn't want to go fast. Our boat was all men and Theresa, 12 of us in all, and the instruction was for fun. Two 250hp engines on the back of our inflatable and we were off. We were lucky that the weather was near perfect for speed. We were taken all around Ramsey Island, looking at and hearing about the birds, wildlife, tides (8 metre height), caves, geology, etc. It was a super trip and exhilarating too! We had expected to get wet but not so. But the riding generally was slow and there was no time for lunch, much to the dismay of the French contingent. We enjoyed some lovely countryside. 467 miles on the clock when we got back.. To the cabin for a rest before going out again. We had an invite via Skype (the first time I had ever used it as I was playing with our new mini-laptop computer and saw Trey Hall's name pop up) to take drinks chez Trey. To Trey Hall and his fiancee Ellen Daley's cabin for a glass of wine and taking our boxes of sheep with us. A drink and to blowing up some sheep. The four of us and seven sheep were then loaded onto a buggy that Trey had hired, and we headed for the restaurant for dinner. The sheep were distributed around the tables and were all immediately adopted. I later did a reccy to check that they were OK and that, if they weren't coming home with me, they would have good homes to go to. None came back with us. The meal was buffet style and excellent and I ate too much. Some of the photographs of our day's activites were on display on a screen.
Theresa's comment on the day. - A comfortable night's sleep and awake at 8.00am to the sound of birds singing. Clear skies so hopefully a sunny day in store. We went to breakfast at The Yard and most of our group were already there. A good selection of hot and cold food to choose from. We sat with Klaus and Marika and talked about which ride to go on. We decided to do the coastal trip. We were not allowed to keep vehicles by our cabins so we had a ten minute walk to get to the bikes.
Our cabin. On the road. A wayside chapel. Wot, no sheep? St David's
Cathedral. Let the fun begin. A trip planned to
Stomar Island. Karinda. Jess Jephcott. Bogdan and
Mikeadero. Seals. Birdshit. Trey Hall with
Myfanwy. Jess with Myfanwy and
sister. Myfanwy's other sisters. Ready to
On the road.
A wayside chapel.
Wot, no sheep?
St David's Cathedral.
Let the fun begin. A trip planned to Stomar Island.
Bogdan and Mikeadero.
Trey Hall with Myfanwy.
Jess with Myfanwy and sister.
Myfanwy's other sisters. Ready to party.
19th May 2013. Sunday. Up and to breakfast and then to the car park in readiness for the day's riding. First of all we did a photo shoot of us all. I counted 25 Varaderos and 2 Crosstourers. The latter two were set up in front of all the other bikes and all the people then lined up for the photograph. Then we sorted ourselves out for the day ahead. We decided on a group ride led by Simon, about 15 bikes, with us at the rear controlling the drop-off system. The direction was east headed for the Brecon Beacons. Somewhere along the line, the chain broke and three of us found ourselves separated from the main group. Much to do I think with a reluctance of the Greek pair to overtake vehicles. Bogdan had the route on his GPS and got us back on track with a super ride across the hills. We eventually caught up with the rest of the group at a biker cafe and learned that the Latvians had left the group without telling anybody - perhaps another reason why the chain had broken. A good ride back and 195 miles clocked up. Back by 5pm. Then to relax a little before going to the bar with a sheep, a chat with some of the group and then dinner above the bar, the poshest meal yet. Sheep sat next to me at the table. We sat with Barrie Tinson, Karinda, etc. Roast beef and Yorkshire pud with a nice dessert, a bottle of wine each and down to another room for the presentations for the next VIM in Norway, prizes, etc. We gave out some VIM15 mugs, a sheep to Gareth and a solar flower to Pam. Then to some drinking, with Trey bringing out a bottle of Tennessee Moonshine. Great hilarity with Sebastien Poisson, our French friend. We kidded him that hair was growing on his bald pate after trying the hooch. A superb end to VIM15.
Theresa's account of our day. - The alarm went at 7.00am but we both fell asleep again and I didn't wake again until 8.00am. We got up and went straight to breakfast. Everyone else was already there so not many places left to sit. We decided to go on the tour across the Brecon Beacons. We all met up in the car park at 10.00am for a photo shoot and then set off with Simon in the lead and Jess at the back as back marker. We stopped for petrol and I counted fifteen bikes including us. We started off well enough using the marking system but someone dropped out and we missed a turn which left me and Jess, Bogdan and the couple from Greece on our own. Bogdan had noticed that we off the route that he was following on his Garmin so we stopped at a petrol station and decided to go back to the junction where we should have turned and catch up with the others. The scenery was beautiful and I took loads of photographs. The Greek rider was very slow which irritated Jess but didn't bother me too much because I was able to get good pictures. We finally caught up with the rest of the group at a cafe very popular with bikers and managed to get a coffee before moving on re-grouped. Back for a shower and then to the bar meeting up for drinks with Barbara and Wolfgang and Karinda. Karinda had a pink wig that she asked me to help her with. We went to dinner and discussed the possibility of Karinda, me and Barbara doing a star turn in Norway. Barbara not keen, me neither, so will need to squirm out of it somehow. After a very disappointing roast beef dinner we all went downstairs for a presentation from the Norwegian team for next year. Jess and I had bought a bottle of wine each and Trey Hall had brought some of his moonshine so by the time the evening was over I was well and truly oiled. Liddy and Mense's daughter had also brought schnapps so a very boozy evening. There was a UK Varadero mug for all the pillion riders and various gifts changed hands. The inflatable sheep that we had distributed last night had been well received. Barbara has called hers Shirley and will take her to future VIM meetings along with Ducky. Back to our room to sleep.
A lovely looking Welsh pub. Sadly, no
time to visit. This was a civic procession that we
saw as we stopped at a cafe. VE Day was May 8th so we do not know
what this marked. The West End Cafe. Perfect for
bikers. Home and to the closing evening's
activities, Karinda and Gareth! Myfanwy with the father of VIM, Mr
Barrie Tinson. The VIM 16 presentation for Norway in
2014. Sadly we cannot do this as it falls in June when we
have our own event to organise. Mikeadero from Belgium and Swing from
Switzerland. Sebastian from France. One of life's
characters. The Blacksmith, Lidie and
Theresa. Trey Hall and Karinda Drost with
Mikeadero behind. Trey and Sebastian tried a session
with some powerful Tennessee Moonshine.
A lovely looking Welsh pub. Sadly, no time to visit.
This was a civic procession that we saw as we stopped at a cafe.
VE Day was May 8th so we do not know what this marked.
The West End Cafe. Perfect for bikers.
Home and to the closing evening's activities, Karinda and Gareth!
Myfanwy with the father of VIM, Mr Barrie Tinson.
The VIM 16 presentation for Norway in 2014. Sadly we cannot do this as it falls in June when we have our own event to organise.
Mikeadero from Belgium and Swing from Switzerland.
Sebastian from France. One of life's characters.
The Blacksmith, Lidie and Theresa.
Trey Hall and Karinda Drost with Mikeadero behind.
Trey and Sebastian tried a session with some powerful Tennessee Moonshine.
20th May 2013. Monday. To breakfast, lots of goodbyes, packing up and heading off, Theresa in the Jimny and me on the bike. Weather dull but dry. 662 miles on the clock. Left at 9.30am and me home first at 3.30pm. Theresa 30 minutes latter. All was well. Dogs happy to see us. Created a Facebook page for the Varadero and Crosstourer group. The header used was the picture taken on Sunday morning. As to our sheep, we had ten sheep. Gareth 1. Big Dave (Myfanwy) 2. Mense 3. Moos 4. Poland 5. Nugget (Shirley) 6. Marika (Aberystwyth) 7. Theresa (Bronwyn) 8. Daley 9. One unknown! Let us hope that they all have good homes wherever they are now living and that we might see them at a future VIM, with their own stories to tell.
...and Theresa's version of our day. - I woke up at 7.00am with a very bad head. I got up and took some paracetamol and went back to bed. We both got up and went to breakfast and said our goodbyes. Back to collect the car and pack our things. I left the Bluestone park at 9.45 and Jess was five minutes after me. He stopped me a few miles down the road because I had the tank bag and his door key was in it. I stopped a couple of times and arrived home about 4.00pm. Harry was home and had cooked a chicken pasta bake but, unfortunately, had forgotten about it and it was burnt so we had to throw it away. I put our washing on and cooked sausage and mash for dinner. We watched a recording of Britain's got Talent and went to bed. The dogs very happy that we are home.
Thanks Gareth and Pam for a wonderful and very different VIM. We haven't had seals before!
And to everybody else who made this VIM so enjoyable.
Here is a list of those who booked for VIM15
dick the brick
dick the brick
The Prodded Dog
The Prodded Dog
Big Dave (Dave Harris)
Twoplugs (Bernard Stikfort)
Twiny (Karinda Drost)
JW (Jan Willem)
Nugget (Barbara Timmerman)
Bruno Van Loo
Here follows previous VIM reports produced by Jess and Theresa Jephcott over the years. Mixed up with these are also reports from the Varaderomania meetings that we attended with our French Varadero friends.
VIM2 - 2000 in Luxembourg VIM3 - 2001 in Austria VIM5 - 2003 in Germany VIM6 - 2004 in Portugal VIM7 - 2005 in Poland VIM9 - 2007 in Northern Ireland VIM10 - 2008 in Hungary Varad'OC 2009 VIM 12 - Alpine and Varadahu 2010 VIM 14 - Tarragona and VaraMedoc 2012 VIM 15 - Wales and VaraVeyron 2013 VIM 16 in Norway
To contact us please email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Jess or Theresa Jephcott, Fordham, near Colchester, Essex, England, CO6 3LZ
tel 07714 250949
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last updated 020114