Tuesday, August 2, 2016

An Adventure - But Nothing Went To Plan! May 2016

Sometimes you just got to go with the flow!

I had a few days off, and I had decided to do something daft and attempt a monumental riding trip by doing all four points.

Lands End, St Davids, Lowestoft and John O'Groats.

Well, that was the plan, but it quickly transpired that this was not going to happen!

I set off bright and early with the bike all ready packed the night before.

I soon made it past Honiton and stopped for a much needed brew. It was a bit damp and a little chilly and my arse felt numb all ready!

Heading on down through Devon I arrived at Lands End where I blagged my way in for free and got my picture taken!

It was misty and I had my waterproof on to keep warm! From here I was now heading for St David's in Wales, I reckon I could get past Bodmin Moor and possibly to Exeter.

In the end I made it to Springfield Holiday Park. after a 335 mile day.

A great spot for just pulling in for the night if all you want is a pitch, great showers and loo's and during the summer there is even a pool!

The Vango Banshee 200 tent still like new and works a treat.

Next morning I wasn't away with the lark as planned, opting for a leisurely start. To be on target I needed to be away by 0500hrs. This was just not going to happen!

I was still away sharpish though and had a brew at Sedgemoor services on the M5.

Crossing over the River Severn I had made it into Wales.

It was then a long blast along the M4 and then continuing on straight out to the Welsh Coast.

I stopped at the services at the end of the M4 for a stretch of the legs, the sun was blazing down, completely different from the day before and I took on a load of water to keep myself hydrated.

Onto Haverfordwest, where I pulled into Tesco to buy some fresh food for dinner that night. I also bought a cool little camping chair!

It was still roasting hot, I booked into a campsite at Newgale and set off heading directly up the coast.

As I came down the hill and into Broad Haven I noticed the bike handling a little different, but I kept going, as I started to climb the hill I could feel the back end moving around.

Yep, I had a rear puncture! There was no way I was able to stop on the steep narrow hill so went very slowly till I found a place to pull over.

And this was as far as I got!

I could not see anything in the tyre like a nail or screw, but with the bike being very difficult to move with a flat decided to call out the AA to sort it out.

After an hour they turned up and we discovered that it would not hold air, and that there was a rather large problem with the tyre!

The tyre had split! Now the tyre was not that old or had very many miles on the clock, infact less than 2000 miles so why this would happen is still a mystery!

Maybe the heat? maybe the weight? Like I said a mystery.

One thing was for sure, I was not going anywhere else today!

Loaded up, and after numerous phone calls we managed to get the bike to a dealers at Clunderwen called Lamo's who had a tyre in stock that would fit and this would be done the next morning.

This left me with a dilemma, where to sleep tonight! I decided to check into a hotel in the same village as the dealer, as the nearest camp site was too far away and would involve taxis. I could walk from the hotel to the garage.

We left the bike round the back of the garage, hoping it would be still there in the morning and the AA man dropped me and my kit at the hotel.

I later found out that the guys from the garage went back later that evening and wheeled it into the garage - top lads!

I checked into the hotel called the Nantyffin Motel, which I have to say is the sort of place where the saying "any port in a storm" will do. It did just that, but only just!

After checking in, I was shown my room which was through via the dining room which happened to be hosting a dinner for the local bowls club that night.

I'm really not sure what they thought of a big hairy biker in full gear with panniers walking through their presentation evening!

By the time I had got everything to my room I was drenched with sweat. Before dinner I'll have a shower and freshen up.

Only to find the bloody water was freezing! No hot water at all. As you can imagine with my plans shot to pieces this was the final straw! 

I managed to get a shower, a very quick one, and went to the desk and managed to get a reduction on my room, and a free pint. I ended up with two free pints. I think the look on my face gave the impression I was not in the mood to be messed around!

Gammon, egg, chips and peas, which was good and needed. I later sat at the bar and enjoyed my second pint, where the barman kindly informed me "Sir, I believe you have a pea in your beard"!

Next morning at 1000hrs I called the garage to find out if the bike was done. It was and I walked up to the garage. Leaving all my gear to be collected from the Motel later.

With the tyre off you could clearly see the split!

I'm just glad that it did not decide to let go when I was sat at 70mph on the motorway! Could of been a whole different story!

I settled up and thanked the lads at the garage for helping me out so much, they were great.

Back at the Motel I Ioaded up and headed off once more.

Last night I had thought long and hard at what I was doing on this trip and why I was doing it.

I was really not enjoying the motorway riding, you get to see nothing and to be honest I found it a chore and boring.

The trip as it originally started out was no longer going to be a high speed endurance test.

This type of riding is definitely not for me. I prefer to bimble along on back roads taking my time and stopping often.

I had also decided that to even try to carry on with the original plan was foolish.

So this is where I decided to head up the coast and spend the night at Caernarfon at a camp site I have stayed at before - Riverside Camp Site.

On my way I stopped at Aberaeron for a brew and a stretch of the legs, the weather was wonderful, and following the coast road had some great views out to sea.

This was more like it, nice roads with fantastic views, I was back in my element and loving every second.

I pulled into Riverside camping and asked if they had any pitches left. I wasn't that hopeful as when I rode down through Llanberis pass it was mobbed, I have never seen it so busy!

Expecting them to say no we are full, they said yes, plenty of room and I managed to pitch in the exact same spot I was in the last time I was here!

Not only that but as I was walking back to my bike the owner came over and said Hi, back again, I remember you from last time! Brilliant!

 I had a relaxing evening, cooked my tea, read and showered and went to bed with the gurgle of the river in the back ground.

Next day I packed up after having a brew and a good breakfast.

Heading south, riding through some great roads with no real plan other than to get to Brecon tonight and stop at a little site that I stopped at last time I was over in Wales.

But first down through the Elan Valley, there are some amazing views as you ride through this area.

I rode to the campsite that I knew, and found the warden who was happy for me to stay. For the life of me I cannot remember the name of the site as there are 3 all within spitting distance of each other, so I cannot work it out even looking on line!

It was a nice surprise to find these at the bottom of my pannier! I'd forgotten all about them!

Right next to the campsite is a river.

This was my final night. The next morning I packed up and rode home, but I did stop off and take a look at a Ural Motorcycle and Sidecar set up, which I quite like the look of and would suit my style of travel.

Arriving home I had covered 1097 miles, the best days were after the puncture.

I have now decided that I will no longer chase big miles, but be happy to bimble along with no destination in mind.

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

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