Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wells to Wales

This is the B & B we stayed at in Wells, an example of many we have stayed at.  They are great accommodation with great food.

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We had a big day’s ride of about one hundred miles on Monday and ended up in Stratford-upon-Avon, where Mr & Mrs Shakespeare had a little boy called William.  We got to our B & B  just before a rain storm.  We went for a trip in a tour bus (not on the open top) in the rain and once it cleared we went for a walk.

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Shakespeare’s birthplace.

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A meal in a glass in the oldest pub in town (which was followed by a delicious meal).

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We had a stroll along the first working canal we have come across.

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The boats are really colourful.

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On Tuesday we just headed north with no particular destination in mind.  We ended up at Whitchurch, which is where many tower clocks have been made since the 1600s.  They are still made here now.

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There are lots of black and white buildings.

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We are staying two nights at Whitchurch so we could have a day ride into the north of Wales today.  There are lots of tractors on the road carrying grass for silage.

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We ended up at Llangollen, which is the home of the Eisteddfod.  There is a canal running through the town and we took a horse drawn canal boat ride.

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Stan the horse and his handler just plodded along beside the canal.

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It was very relaxing.  One horsepower.

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Then, on the advice of Dave, who owns the B & B, we headed up Horseshoe Pass, a popular motorcycling road.

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At the top we had lunch at the Ponderosa Cafe – lots of motorcyclists coming and going.

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Then on the way home we came across the Pontcysyllte Aquaduct.  There are eighteen spans and is 126 feet high.  It took ten years to build and was completed in 1805 and is a World Heritage Listed site.

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The canal runs across it.  There is a narrow path and handrail on one side and nothing at all on the other.  It is only just wide enough for the boats.

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Tomorrow we head to Liverpool ready to sail to the Isle of Man on Friday morning.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sunday Afternoon 22 May

I didn't realise that it has been nearly a week since I last told a story. Sorry.

We finally made it to the southern tip of the UK in Cornwall.

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Olga played up a bit with rear brake problems however we found a foot path outside a bike shop in Penzance, took  off, fixed the problem (very glazed pads) and on our way again.

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The south was fairly bleak but dry.

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Back to St Austell then head north in the rain. It was our first wet day, very foggy too.

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So, not being able to see much, we made it to Lynton (Little Switzerland). This is a small fishing village and a fairly popular tourist destination for walkers. Very steep rugged coastline. We had 1 hill at 25% steep. We stayed in a B & B at the top and walked down into the village of Lynton.

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We had a day of walking and exploring the coast and the incline railway. Originally built to get cars up and down the hill. Beautiful spot.

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Every pom has a dog out walking but they keep the place spotlessly clean.

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After a few days we made it to Wells via Glastonbury. Glastonbury is where King Arthur is supposed to be buried and is full of hippies left over from the 60’s The abbey ruins are spectacular. The hippies are scruffy.

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Wells is another small cathedral city. When we arrived we heard about a vintage bike rally to be held on Sunday, today so we decided to spend 3 nights here. Janice has been a bit crook in the belly and had a cold for a few days so here was a good place to rest. She spent all Saturday in bed while I went exploring.

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Sunday, Janice was feeling a bit better so off  to the bike rally we go. We were made very welcome, rode with the slower bikes in the tortoise section and had a great day. What a great way to meet people and see the country side.

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Since the brake problems, Olga has behaved exceptionally well (touch wood). Start further north tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Still Going Slowly

Since leaving Lyndhurst we have travelled further west towards Cornwell. We are now close to the coast and the riding and countryside are spectacular.

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We are still having to use a few major A roads but they’re not nearly as hectic as the ones closer to London.

We ended up in a spot called West Bay at lunch time on Sunday.

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This is where all the motorcycles come for their Sunday ride. We were lucky a find a parking spot. Had a walk, stony beach and big cliff.

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Crap fish and chips.

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We then ended up in a place called Lyme Regis for the night. Very touristy but nice. Found a pub right in the middle of town and more walking.

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Heading further south we are getting into hillier countryside, the riding is still great with a lot of very steep hills. One had 14% on a sign whatever that means. They should just say bloody steep. Olga’s brakes and gearbox are getting a good workout. (So am I.) 

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We ended up in a little Cornish fishing village, Looe.

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We had a slight altercation with the back of a car somewhere. Very busy roundabout, following an L plater. L plater has a car cut in front of her, jams on her brakes, Olga locks every thing up and just nudges the bumper bar. Woops. We have a bit of a dint on the nose, they had a small dint on their bumper. Insurance details exchanged and on our way again. The car damage could probably be polished out but I have the feeling that the bloke will go the whole insurance claim. I was so lucky that we didn’t hit with the front wheel or worse, get hit from behind. This put a bit of a dampener on the day, still smelly things happen.

Janice and Sabrina the navigators are still having a few problems but we do end up on some fairly nice lanes. We still ended up where we wanted to be. FUN

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Tonight we are in St Austell in a B & B. We are here for 2 nights to have a good look around the coast here. We should get to the furthest point South today.It is only 6 hours flying to the USA across the Atlanitc.

Alls good, even some of the beer (or in this case, wine).

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Still Wandering,Not Lost Yet

More churches. This time Winchester Cathedral. You don’t have to have a religious bone in your body to appreciate these buildings. As soon as you walk into them you are overcome as to how quiet they are and how big they are. Again we were in early to miss the school excursions so no kids.

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Then to a working flour mill in the main street.

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Then to see King Arthurs round table.

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After leaving Winchester we headed south to Lyndhurst. We stayed here in 2007 in what we think is the best B & B in the UK. We were happily riding along when I swore at Olga to get around the bloody corner. Flat front tyre. At least we weren't speeding. We had to ride a mile or so to find a spot to get off the road. Glad we were on 3 wheels.

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The AA, UK’s  NRMA came to the rescue. The recovery man got us very frustrated trying to find a tyre repair place. In the end I took his phone off him and talked to a tyre place in Southhampton. Told them what we needed and job done.

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About $50.00 and a tip for a few pints and we were on our way again.

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We got to our B & B and decided to stay 2 nights as there is a swap meet (autojumble) at Beaulieu Motor Museum. We just had to go. It was a bit overwhelming as to the amount of stuff for sale. Not too many bargains in my eyes.

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Then onto Sammy Millers Motorcycle Museum. A MUST VISIT.

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We then went on a scenic ride through the New Forest which has lots of wild ponies.

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Back to Lyndhurst for a pub tea and to bed early.

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Heading further west tomorrow.

All is going well.