Thursday, July 31, 2008

The road to Corby Glen.

My main recollection of the trip from my sister's to Sue's sister's, was almost succumbing to heat stroke in Nottingham city centre. Moving between traffic lights only 50 metres apart, the weather was hot, the bike's engine temperature was well into the red, the electric fan working over time and sending waves of superheated air up the fairing almost immolating my lower half. Arghh!

Needless to say we shouldn't have been there! One wrong turn at a busy bypass roundabout had plunged us into the heaving city centre traffic, all of which knew exactly where it was going and which lane to be in!

This in stark contrast to the wilderness we had recently encountered, whilst performing possibly the slowest motorcycle crossing of the "Snake Pass" in the Peak district. The mandatory 50 mph limit, warnings of previously killed and injured bikers and my continued crap cornering technique kept us slow and safe!

We saw the bent steeple at Chesterfield, a sign for a pie shop in Melton Mowbray, got some good directions to my uncle's house from my cousin, who is an IAM observer for both bikes and cars, and spent an hour or so with them before cracking on and arriving at Corby Glen around 5pm.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thurlstone to Corby Glen 151 Miles

The Nav's sister's house, Corby Glen. Weather still excellent!

Stopped off in Nottingham for tea and bickies with my Uncle/Godfather and Aunt.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Baby Sis, Hubby and red faced Macam

Enjoying a pint of "Real Ale" after 254 miles !

Remember to click on images to view full size.

Mam's to sister's. The scenic route. ( Long way round)

We left Roker at 08.30 on Sunday morning, 13th July, with 302 miles on the odometer (zeroed at Hopeman) and a packed lunch from Mam that strained even the Blackbird's luggage capacity! The run down to Whitby was pretty routine, though I was surprised at the amount of traffic on the A19 so early on a Sunday morning. That's England for you! On a bike weekend last year to the north of Ullapool, if we saw a car every 20 minutes it felt like the rush hour!

We parked up opposite Whitby tourist information office in a free car park that, unbeknown to us, housed a real live "Biker Cafe". The combination of the superb weather, the day of the week and the fact a local motorcycle meet was in progress, led to a steady stream of our two wheeled colleagues entering and leaving the venue on everything imaginable, from Harleys and classic British machines to scary Japanese "Crotch Rockets". We got friendly waves and knowing looks from at least two other Blackbird riders, the look said " CBR1100xx's rule okay? "

Up to the Abbey, which, though undeniably impressive, was not worth a fiver to park beside! Whilst I lounged beside the bike in the official car park, the nav/ photographer did her stuff perched half way up and leaning over the large stone wall surrounding the ruin. Although I looked relaxed, I was like a coiled spring, ready to leap aboard and exit the area if approached by a fee demanding monk.

" You may take our lives, but you'll never take our Fee Dom(inican)! (Apologies to Braveheart...........the well known Australian).

Robin Hoods Bay was the next stop, a very popular place indeed if the total lack of parking places was anything to go by! I halted the bike half way round a mini island while SWMBO took the camera down the steepest path I have encountered since the Ben Nevis tourist route! I sat on the bike, warily watching for irate monks who may have taken up the pursuit, and chatted to a dismounted biker who was visiting the village by car (traitor). He warned of some pretty severe bends on the road towards our next destination, that pearl of the North - Scarborough!

The nav/photographer returned up the hill. The combination of hot weather, motorcycle protective clothing and ridiculously steep ascent had transformed her usual pale and interesting complexion into an impressive beetroot-like hue. My greeting of " Come Squaw we ride metal horse to Scarborough" did not have the desired comic effect and, with a look that would have stunned a monk with a ticket machine, we were off.

The bends were quite impressive in a buttock clenching sort of way, but forewarned is etc and we arrived safe and sound at a hot and crowded seaside. Some of the sights were.......well..... sights. Two that leap to mind are a grossly obese bald man, stripped to the waist, covered in tattoos, an ice cream in one hand and a can of "Super lager" in the other, striding across the zebra crossing as if he were God's gift to women! (Through the intercom I could hear faint retching noises). The other was a middle aged couple sunbathing, only just on the sand, surrounded by dog ends, her in a bra sort of top, him in Y-fronts, they couldn't have been 10 feet from the fish and chip kiosk, people were almost having to queue around them! It was also the first time we had seen donkeys on the beach in decades and it was interesting to see that even donkeys have Rights these days - no adults allowed to ride and children restricted to 7 stones......which effectively left out 70% of the large rug rats spotted on the beach that day! They even get a lunch hour.

The town of Beverley in Yorkshire is apparently famous for one thing. Not selling petrol! There were plenty of cars about so where did they refuel? We spent 20 minutes searching, even the local TESCO didn't have a garage!

We finally got filled up at a services just before the Humber Bridge. There was a bit of a tense moment as the forecourt was full of classic scooter riders, complete with parkas and union jack flags. I was glowered at by several 70 year old "Mods" who must have decided I was too young to have taken part in the big Brighton battle of 64 and left me unscathed.

The Blackbird is not a small motorcycle, especially in full touring trim however we felt VERY tiny as we crossed over the Humber (on the bridge)................. (£1.20p for a bike)

The day was getting on and we had promised to be at my sisters for 6pm so, using some fast roads and a bit of motorway, we did exactly that!

Arrived Thurlstone 556 miles on the clock, 254 completed that Sunday.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Roker to Thurlstone ( the longest day, mileage wise )

The Humber Bridge

Robin Hoods Bay. Very steep, you just ask the "Nav".

I stayed behind to guard the Honda.

Whitby harbour in glorious sunshine

Navigator with Ice cream

Whitby Abbey. (£5.00 to park....... My RSE)

Some onboard footage of prom at Scarborough.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Kinross to Sunderland. ( Land of the Macam )

Tyne Bridge Newcastle

Seaburn Prom Sunderland

Roker pier Sunderland. Just at the bottom of my Mam's street

Jedburgh Abbey

Me on a bridge in Jedburgh. Slightly pensive as I consider the journey to come.

The Border, weather a bit "iffy" but spirits high.

Just about ready to go. Kinross to Sunderland. 0915 12 July 2008

With the first 148 miles of our journey completed we set off "Dahn Sarf ", the first major obstacle being a circumnavigation of the somewhat bewildering roads around Edinburgh.

We avoided the dreaded ring road as one of the major roundabouts was under repair and the traffic news had warned of disruption. Not minor disruption, which usually means a long queue of disgruntled car drivers, but disruption which means nobody over 55 should attempt to use the road if they wanted to be home in time to draw their state pension!
My navigator of 27 years was up to the task and only one u turn was required ( no mean feat with a fully loaded Blackbird and legs as short as mine!) in a relatively quiet part of the capital. So soon we were past the City and pressed on to Jedburgh stopping for a leg stretch, a drink and some more photos.
We paused briefly at the Scottish/English border, took some photos and waved our adopted country goodbye.

There was a big biking meet on at Kelso over the weekend, so much waving and headlight flashing was the order of the day as a steady stream of every motorcycle imaginable was spotted en route to N E England.

The famous Tyne bridge at Newcastle was a first on two wheels for us both, we had crossed it many times in various cars over the years and I, in younger, fitter days had even run over it at the start of the 1992 "Great North Run" ( a PB of 2 hrs 4 mins for a half marathon! ). Newcastle was successfully negotiated following a prod in the back from the "Nav" when I almost went wrong at a flyover, exit/entry ramp "thingy" just before Gateshead.
We fueled at Seaburn in Sunderland then proceeded to my mam's in Roker, just a couple of miles down the coast. I'm sorry there's no photographic evidence of the City of my birth this is because we both spent the entire visit eating at the insistence of my Mater. This is normal!
302 miles on the clock, two tank fulls of gas used so far............... and a week to go!
To be continued...........

Thursday, July 24, 2008

First Stop - Kinross, Fife, Scotland. ( Just south of Perth )

SWMBO breezed into the house at 18.45 hrs, totally oblivious to the red faced, leather clad "Hobbit" who was leaping from foot to foot in undisguised impatience, simultaneously handing her her riding kit and looking out the window at the vanishing daylight! (Did I mention my poor night vision?) The result , I think, of an incident with a very bright flare whilst on a military exercise in Germany many years ago! Eventually the house was secured, the bike warmed up and we departed Hopeman at approx 19.15 hrs.
Within six miles we were riding in the rain, I feared the worse! However, despite being a cool (ish) evening, we were soon out of the shower and heading for Aviemore over the Dava moor. The A9 route south was relatively quiet, going south anyway. We didn't get held up to any appreciable extent, the vehicles we encountered were swiftly dealt with courtesy of Mr Honda's excellent motorcycle, the addition of a pillion passenger, top box, throw over panniers and tank bag did nothing to adversely effect the incredible performance of the best bike I have ever owned! I was once again amazed at how easy it was to slip into very illegal speeds, especially during overtakes. A fact brought home when we witnessed an unfortunate Biker being interviewed by the boys in blue as we neared Perth!
We stopped to fuel at TESCO Perth, the first time in two and a half hours that my feet had been off the pegs! Arggh! Stiff, cramped 55 year old legs! Can I really manage a week of this? We got to our destination at approx 21.25, had a good sleep and were up early as son and daughter were off to a dog agility show. Euan, our first grandson, was on good form even at this unearthly hour. ( See Photo ) On the road for 0900hrs.
To be continued.....

A quick overview of the trip.

The date is 11Th July 2008. The time 18.30hrs. Our aging hero, aided by his faithful budgie Sheila, watches anxiously from the window for his missing team member and navigator SWMBO. The last he heard she was still tending to tarnished goldfish and hamsters with repetitive stress syndrome from too much wheel action, in her guise as Vet Nurse/Receptionist some six miles away at the local practice.
The motorcycle was prepared, the frugal luggage packed, the leathers ready to don and time was slipping away. An almost imperceptible frown creased our hero's classic Macam countenance, for a moment he almost looked his 55+ years.
WHERE IS SHE ?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The idea was to farm out all the dogs for a week to friends and relatives, arrange the feeding of cat and budgie and take off to tour England and Wales on our trusty 9 year old Blackbird. ( Honda CBR 1100 xx ). A cunning plan was hatched that on the surface appeared to be a duty visit to as many of our far flung relatives and friends as possible. This in fact was a sneaky way of getting free bed and breakfast the length and breadth of England!................ Pure genius!
Would we make the approx 150 miles to our son and daughter-in-laws before dark? Would the bike be up to the rigours of some 1.5 thousand miles in seven days? Would the weather be kind to us?
To be continued...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Route

Just to whet your appetites "Macam fans". A day by day report, with photos will be forthcoming soon. Just as soon as SWMBO has fiddled with the images on her print programme.
Daily Mileages:
Friday 11th 148
Sat 12th 154
Sun 13th 254
Mon 14th 151
Tues 15th 182
Wed 16th 199
Thurs 17th 142
Fri 18th 213
Sat 19th 211

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Appleby Magna, July 16th

Friday, July 11, 2008

Road Trip 2008 The Long(ish) Way Down ( and across)

Sorry for the inexcusable delay in adding to my blog. There's no excuse.

This evening myself and SWMBO are heading off on a weeks tour of three fourths of the UK. Only the Emerald Isle will escape our attention this time, this will be remedied in the future.

We shall be staying with Rellies ( scrounging B&B ) in the most part, but only for one night each, Wales will be the only time we have to search out a professional hostelry. We are keeping fingers crossed for the current weather of Biblical proportions to alter and be kind to us poor two wheeled travellers. Should be able to update whilst on route at a couple of locations and will post a complete travelogue on our return. Those of you who are getting a visit already know, those of you who don't................................... watch your street for two bedraggled bikers......... you never know!!!