Weekend brought us the first chance to get to the beach with our buggies. And as you might remember, somewhere last autumn I went and bough Waffle a new buggy. Apexx from Xxtreme to be exact. Now it was the first time for it to see the beach. Waffle was hardly staying in his pants.
We headed off to France right after work on Friday. Collected the buggy trailer, wondered over two loose bolts inside it, took them out, and off we went. We arrived to Les Hemmes in the darkness, and chatted around with some friends who had been ripping it the whole day already. Lucky bastards. The word was that the beach was hard, smooth and perfect, as was the wind. Waffle went over the roof for a moment.
After our camp was set, we shared some beers and a campfire with a bunch of other buggiers, before digging in for the night. Morning came late for us, we both drooled happily into our sleeping bags until 10 am. Once we finally crawled out we were screaming of hunger, and before even touching the buggies we went on a rampage to the store close by to get our breakfast. Sleeping outside does something to you. You get this animalistic hunger for food.
Well, anyways, breakfast down our throats, it was time to assemble the bugs. We had taken them completely to pieces, since from now on, we had to accommodate 3 big foots and one small buggy in the same old trailer. The assembly took a while thanks to that. I was trying to attach my front wheel into my buggy as I noticed the very apparent deficiency in the number of bolts. Two were missing. We searched the trailer and all our reservoirs, but they were nowhere to be seen. Until we remembered what had happened last evening. And felt immensely stupid.
Only options we had were for me not to be able to drive at all. Or go hunt down a couple of bolts. Which turned out to be more difficult that expected. The French, they are not the most precise, when giving instructions to people. That resulted us driving around and around Calais. That was littered with police, the French Riot police even, everywhere.
We quickly learned that La Jungle, the refugee camp at the side of Calais, was being monitored and partially cleaned out. Which had caused quite some restlessness among the refugees and on top of that, the local people of Calais had gotten fed up with the whole ordeal and started to build up armed groups to target the migrants. Apparently a major police force is needed to keep the situation under control. Although some accuse even the police for attacking the migrants. Driving through Calais leaves you a bit dazzled, The situation is surreal.
Finally, we got the bolts, a barbecue, some wood, more food and some other bits and bobs, we rushed back to camp, put those bolts where they were supposed to be and eventually dragged ourselves onto the beach. By that time, I had managed to get my heart onto an overdrive and was near fainting. Which is irrelevant, since the beach was huge. The funny thin about tidal beaches is that even though, it is always the same beach, it is every time a little different. It depends on all sorts of things tidal and wind related and the way the pope happens to hold his hat that Sunday. This time, it was large, dry and hard. And very, very smooth. Best conditions I had ever seen in Les Hemmes. Add to that smooth and decently strong north-eastern wind and you will freeze your nose off, but at least the kiting is easy as ever.
Waffle was hardly keeping his cool. Dragging the brand new shiny Apexx to the beach had significantly risen the excitement level. We had a tandem buggy attached to his buggy, to slow him down a little for starters. So we were swooshing together, here, there and back again. With quite some speed. There was a clear difference between this new one and the previous buggy. Eventually we got up to 60 km/h speeds, which will freeze your face in that icy northern wind.
I finally dragged myself out of the tandem and started driving on my own. I was a bit afraid of being completely clueless and rusty as the kite went up. But all in all it went really well. I only crashed once and managed to do some pristine turns and get quite some speed. And it was my very first time driving somewhat correct sized kite, rather than too small one. I am kinda a little bit proud of myself. And so was Waffle, judging by the way he was jumping up and down.
The day was a success, although rather short, thanks to the small bolt issue. We were both tired to death and made it an early night. Crashing to our tent before 10 in the evening. Which is a very rare thing to happen when ever there is company, a campfire and beer around.
The tide was meant to come up on Sunday, which it did. Half of the beach was gone by the time we had a peak at it. So it was time to aim our noses to the maps and get our sore feet some exercise. We went for a small countryside walk through the extremely beautiful area next to Wissant. The air was clear enough to see all the way to UK, where the white cliffs were bathed in sunshine, while we were experiencing minor rain. The farm lands of Nord Pas de Calais are to me, probably the essence of France. Things can’t really get much more French from that.
It was good to head back home, feeling like having just had a descent holiday in just a weekend. The bath had never felt as good, while halve of the beach appeared into the bath tub from our hair, ears and mouths. My face was burned. Muscles sore and mind completely ready for Monday.
You gotta love the beach life.