Happy New Year
Good afternoon, I hope you are all well and have had a great Christmas
It has been some time since I last wrote, but to be honest many of our updates or recent news is now put on Facebook. Not a favourite means of communication as far as I am concerned, but there is no doubting it does have its good points.
Once the tour season has finished we are always busy preparing everything for the next year, altering the website, booking ferries and the lots of things that you need to do to make everything run smoothly. We now have the added complication of currency exchange, whereas at one time it varied very little, these days it can swing back and forward making calculations difficult. Of course Brexit complicates the picture and I think will do for many years to come. But we always get there in the end and I hope you find something to interest you amongst this year’s tours.
You may have noticed a few tweaks to our website.
a) Quite a few people were having difficulty with the online booking form; this is now new and seems to be working well.
b) As way of thanks we always contact those who have toured with us before to give them the first opportunity to book. This has always been in the form of a newsletter, unfortunately this year unknown to us, that failed and many people did not receive it. For this we are sorry and have rectified the problem, providing that we have your most recent email address you should receive our newsletter in the future.
c) if you do not want to receive our newsletter, then you should contact us and we will remove you. New regulations coming out next year means that you must actively ‘opt in’ otherwise we cannot contact you. If you have booked with us this year or on a previous occasion then you will automatically opted in.
c) You may have noticed that our web address now has a prefix of https and the padlock symbol. Although we do not take payments over the web, it does mean the information you send to us is encrypted, and your personal details are safe.
The first tour of the year will of course be our regular USA tour; I think I enjoy this tour the best of all. The USA, and Arizona in particular, has such a diverse landscape. You can be riding across the plains first thing in the morning, riding amongst the Saguaro Cactus by lunch, through Pine Forests in the afternoon and enjoying a stunning sunset from the mountain tops in the evening. The tour is packed with places to visit and things to do and we always get really great feedback from people at the end of the tour.
The first UK tour will be our annual trip over to Northern Ireland. I have lost count how many times we have done this tour, Roy and Alison took over running this tour some years ago, and are always happy to return year on year. The tour has been particularly popular this year and I believe we have just a couple of ferry places left.
I shall return from the USA for our first European Tour. Named Gorges, Beach and Mountains, it combines two previous tours to make a 13 night chilled tour of the French Gorges, Costa Brava and Spanish side of the Pyrenees, all places that have become firm favourites with our customers and somewhere I am more than happy to return to.
Dolomites & Alps tour is for those riders that enjoy the challenge of mountain roads, of which the Dolomites, Italian and French Alps have in profusion. This tour has caught many peoples imagination and is fully booked.
Norway, so our third time there. Each time we visit we learn a little more and tweak things a little to maximise the experience. Many people ask me what is so special about Norway? After all it has a reputation for been cold, wet and expensive. Well, some of those things may be true, but to me the incredible scenery, fantastic roads and welcoming people never fails to impress me and been able to enjoy it from your motorcycle just heightens the experience.
A day after we leave for Norway, Roy and Alison are on their adventures again, this time doing a tour following the North Coast 500. We have been doing this tour for years, but clever marketing by the Scottish tourist Board had introduced the route to the world, which would be great if Scotland had the infrastructure and accommodation to cope! Fortunately we have been able to secure good quality hotels and with Roy and Alison’s previous experience this will be a great tour and one I suggest should be done sooner than later in light of the increase in traffic.
Tour of Ireland, totally selfish reason for doing this tour again as I missed it last time due to ill health. Thankfully John did a great job of running the tour, but I was still annoyed at missing it. So the tour will be run, following my original route i.e. crossing into Northern Ireland from South Scotland, then in an anti-clockwise direction from Northern Ireland along the Atlantic Coastal Route to Killarney. After spending a couple of nights there, we travel along the south coast to Wexford and return via Fishguard.
The next two European tours are two of our favourites and are always oversubscribed, as I write I believe there may be a couple of places left but these will go fast.
The first tour will be to Croatia, Slovenia & Italy. The route takes us across Germany, through Austria, into Slovenia and onto Croatia. Returning through the Dolomites we re-enter Austria before crossing France back to the UK. The tour has a little something to please everyone, Mountain roads, sweeping valley roads, stunning scenery and 5 star seaside hotel where you can relax and watch the world go by.
Portugal is our next destination. Having taken the Brittany Ferry to Northern Spain we head south to ride the Star mountains of Portugal before returning to the lovely Picos De Europa. Great roads and fantastic accommodation makes this a tour that always sells out.
As is our tradition, we finish the year with a weekend tour in the UK. For many this is a great opportunity to meet up with friends old and new before possibly putting the bike away for the winter. Being the last tour we are also able to advise of our plans for the next season.
Finally I would like to wish you all the best for 2018, I am sure none of us knows what next year will bring, but I hope for your good health, for you to keep safe and wherever you ride I hope you have a great time.