Monday, May 19, 2014

Day 11 Lands End - John O'Groats - Lands End On A Honda C90

New Cumnock to Heswall

Waking early, I was hoping to be away for 0700hrs. When checking in last night I had to pay a deposit for a key to the shower block due to feral kids.

I was assured that at 0700hrs there would be someone around to hand the key in, but by 0745hrs with no one around I decided to cut my loses and head off.

Slightly annoyed that I had been tucked up, would it not of been simpler to make sure the feral kids were under control by having a word with the parents!

This site is the only one in New Cumnock so I would avoid it like the plague.

Tonight's destination - The Wirral!

Back on the A76 and after an hour was starving, so I pulled into a lay-by with a burger van, my story told once more and after a fine breakfast which I paid peanuts for, was then given a big handful of chocolate bars and cans of drink!

Off I head once more, all the way down to Dumfries, straight on to Gretna Green where I stopped briefly.

It wasn't long before I was across the border, which I must say was very disappointing, blink and you will miss it! It should have lions, flags and state trumpeters as you cross, I've seen bigger bus stop signs!

Into Carlisle, and fuel and a wee was required rather urgently.

Now one thing on this trip that has become very evident is the amount of garages selling fuel and have a shop, and announce that they class themselves as service stations, but fail to have one important element. A bloody toilet! That in my opinion fails to service my own needs!

For those of you not familiar with biking gear, to get to a stage where you can have a conversation with someone does take a few minutes of gear removal.

1. Get off bike, stand down, switch off bike.
2. Undo lower arm velcro straps and unzip cuff.
3. Undo velcro straps around gloves and remove.
4. Take off glasses.
5. Undo helmet strap and remove.
6. Remove balaclava.
7. Undo neck of jacket velcro strap and unzip jacket.

Once all that is done you are safe to enter the shop without fear of them thinking you are about to rob them.

"Have you a toilet"? - No, sorry. Aaarrrrrgggghhhhhhh!

Repeat process in reverse.

Now at Carlisle the first garage you come to I found to my dismay had no toilet.

The conversation went like this.

 Me - "Have you a toilet"?
Cashier - "No, you will have to go back up the road to Mcdonalds"
Me - "I've just taken all my gear off, I can't wait that long - can I use your staff toilet"?
Cashier - "No - against company policy"
Me - "Do you have a mop"?
Cashier - Looking bemused - "Why"
Me - "Because unless I use your staff toilet I'm going to stand here and piss myself"

A 10 second silence between us as they looked at me, I just smiled or maybe it was just a manic grin.

Cashier, "I'll let you in"!
Me "Wise move my friend"

On the road again and heading down to old A6 towards Penrith.

Here I decided to go through the lake district, so I eventually found the A592 and followed the shore of Ullswater. This is one hell of a twisty road!

Now when I decided to take this road, I failed to realise that this took me up and over the Kirkstone Pass. 

This is not a road for the faint hearted, in fact it has a gradient of 1 in 4 and is the highest pass in the Lake Districk at over 1400 feet.

From the start of the pass you can see it wind up to the top and it was with much trepidation that I set off fully loaded.

I was in 1st gear fairly soon, but "Lucille" just ploughed on, not missing a beat, I would almost go as far as saying she enjoyed the challenge and there was plenty left in her by the time I got to the inn at the top.

Much to the amusement of a group of bikers who could obviously hear me coming as I got a cheer as I came over the brow, followed by a whole line of cars who were stuck behind me! I don't think they were cheering!

Going down was much easier! On towards Windemere where I then headed inland to pick up the A6 once more.

Stopping for fuel always seemed to draw an attraction. There would always be someone who would come over and chat. This time a guy who lived up the road from the garage I was at, offered to make me a cuppa, but I still had a way to go so had to decline his lovely gesture.

I followed the A6 South all the way, past Lancaster and Preston till I picked up the A59 which would lead me to the heart of Liverpool and the Mersey Tunnel.

Stopping again at Ormskirk I spoke with my mate Mark who had arranged a Police escort for me through the Mersey tunnel.

As I went through Liverpool it became very evident I had picked a busy night to go through the city. Everton were playing at home!

But no problems and I soon found myself at the entrance to the tunnel and the police station which is located just off the road. As I pulled in a copper came up to me and asked if I was ok, I think a little bemused by what he saw in front of him!

As I was explaining things, his mate came out who said he was expecting me and he would escort me through the tunnel when ever I was ready.

Off we went, and to be honest the tunnel is a lot longer than I expected it even has some bends in it! At least with a Police car behind me everyone kept to the speed limits and I was able to dodge the massive sunken man hole covers which seemed to be dotted about.

Out the other side and I should of turned immediately left, instead I went straight on, a quick blast of the two tones alerted me to this fact and yes I did turn around and go the wrong way back up the slip road towards Birkenhead Police Station! Woops!

At the Police station I parked up just down the road, waiting for Mark to turn up. Within a minute an officer came up and asked me to come up and park outside the door and a brew was being made for me.

However, I was asked where I was parked by another police officer and was told to swiftly move it as leaving it outside the main doors of the Police Station would more than likely see it being stolen!!!!!!

So I pushed it round the back and through the barriers and razor wire to park up in a secure area!

Mark came to collect me and after a 15 minute ride was back at his house.

Greeted by Kate and the kids to the sounds of "Jerusalem" and a pint of cider it was a tad emotional!

"Lucille" was parked up, unloaded and wheeled into the garage. I grabbed a needed shower as I was stinking, all I could smell was home made beef and ale pile cooking downstairs.

The pie came out and you can just make it out if you look hard, on the pie in pastry is a bike and above it is "H4H" how cool".

Old stories were told once more of our Army days, so many happy memories.

Plenty of Aspinal's cider was consumed that night with a few of "Badgers" finest. No wonder I woke a little groggy and it was late morning before I felt well enough or safe enough to set off!

The journey continues..........................................

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