After buying my beef for dinner, I headed off via a couple of diversions and a stop for petrol where someone in what seemed to be a huge white van (converted into a mobile home) reversed inches away from my bike. I made the decision that an extra hour or so (4 as opposed to 3) on the slightly less boring A1 compared to the thoroughly boring M1 was not worth it so headed off for home down the motorway. I made one stop at Watford Gap Services with a mass of humanity:
Motorway services do not show humanity at its best (though nearly everyone was wearing masks) but I found some shade next to a bush to eat more sushi.
After spending an age on the hot (it was 35 degrees) Euston Road underpass I made it home by 2.30. As a stand in for what would have been a more satisfying trip to Spain (I wanted to ride some of the TET in Spain) this short holiday was OK. For my next trip a new bike would be a good idea. Maybe by the time of my next trip there will be a vaccination against Covid-19 and the world will be breathing a slight sign of relief. At the moment most things seem uncertain.
I just remembered looking at a YouTube vid of an intrepid Norwegian wild camper last night in my sleeping bag who says a luxury he takes on his trips is a filter maker for coffee. What a good idea. A simple small plastic version and a supply of filters would be lighter than my metal expresso maker. And make the coffee I like. It’s almost worth going on another camping trip to test it out.
Later (pictures and vids to come)
My un-parking and setting off this morning was tricky, full of fear and stuckness and in the end I had to ask a passing camper (my quiet neighbour who happened to walk by eating an apple) to help me by pulling me backwards so I could turn round and get going. Looking at my vid I see that I was trying to move the bike for 8 minutes but was stuck! Oh for a light bike with a low saddle too. I’ve been worrying about it all day and what to do.
Now, today’s events. The Ride Bikers Britain routes are quite good but getting on to them with my GPS is a bit hit and miss. I must go on a Garmin course so that I am no longer being hit and miss. Some attention to detail on this would really enhance the experience… and in terms of courses I must do more slow speed practice to boost confidence on the bike. I hate the phrase ‘all the gear but no idea’ but it might fit.
Now today’s events again. Where was I? I selected (I thought) one of the rides, number 40, and headed off to Glossop. It was meant to be a circular route but I was taken onto the amazing Snake Pass on the way when I was expecting to come back that way. But anyway it is indeed a beautiful route spectacular in places. A fair amount of traffic but not too bad. Glossop or the slice I saw was ok but as I said before everywhere is crawling with people. But the riding was mostly fun and when the sun finally came out as it is now my slightly flagging spirits lifted. Once there I set the controls (not for the heart of the sun) for Ashbourne again where I knew there was somewhere with ample parking to shop for dinner. As I returned to Belinda parked carefully in the shade a couple pulled in next to me driving a bright red open top Morgan. I thought all Morgans are vintages but I found out that they still make them. We engaged in mostly car but also motorcycle conversation for quite a while before they left and I sat on the grass and ate some Co-op lunch – I think it was some sushi.
On my return to this lovely campsite I asked our host if I could park somewhere flatter and I think he understood my problem. The solution which was very flexible of him was to suggest I part on an unused grassy flat terrace near the bottom with the proviso I’d have to move to another option if someone turned up late and needed the space. its a nice touch that not everyone would have agreed to. Luckily they didn’t so my manoeuvring and packing up and finally driving off in the morning went without panic on my part. I keep asking myself whether a KTM 690 would end up feeling just as heavy as the BMW once you’d got used to it – but its nearly 100kgs lighter. That’s two years travels in a row I have come away thinking about a lighter bike – after experiencing tricky terrain that is almost impossible to manoeuvre a big bike in.
The temperature had risen during the day and was mid to high twenties with now a fierce sun, so previously welcome the last couple of nights here when it was getting cold by 6 or 7pm, but this evening it became something to try to hide from. I’m reading Dhalgren, bought for me by my son. Its not exactly a page turner in the way that another science fiction gift from him, Snowcrash was, but is still good. Everything is so murkily described that it is hard to imagine the characters. I read in my sleeping bag till about 9 when, unbelievably for me, I closed my eyes.
Friday 31st July
I woke around six, stirred by the cows talking to eachother, maybe saying ‘good morning, we’ve been spared for another day’. The beautifully restored and maintained and lit and cleaned amenity building was surprisingly busy at just after 7 – but waking early is the stuff of camping especially with crying tired toddlers of which there were a few with admirably coping parents (actually mostly mothers I think).
I rolled off after buying a frozen pack of their beef in their little shop. I expected a smiling person taking my money and advising me on how to cook, but instead there is an instruction up on a blackboard how to join the site wifi and a PayPal address to put the money for any item into. And a large security camera pointing at you – so it is a kind of honesty principle but not quite. As I fumbled with my phone looking for my PayPal app, I noticed there was also a glass jar and a notebook – a much easier option for a slightly frazzled traveller (as I often seem to be when on the bike). I was wondering how many days it takes to properly relax and get over the tension about little things. So a fiver in the jar bought me a pack of beef (cut unspecified).