Chris & Pablos Tour The World

Well maybe not the Whole World. Infact just a small part of it. This is the story of two mates who will soon embark on a Motorcycle tour of the English Lake District.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Day Eight – Saturday

We crawled out of bed at 5:30am feeling full of beans … Not!
Breakfast was a simple affair involving cereals, with no bacon or sausages in sight. A shame, but it time wouldn’t allow for all the extra cleaning required after a fry up.

After packing all our remaining bits and bobs, it was time to strap the luggage onto our bikes. It all went fairly well as this time it wasn’t dark.

We left the caravan at about 8:15am and headed towards Penrith on the A66. It was a little chilly at 9C, but very refreshing. After about 2 miles we ran into very think fog, which slowed us up quite a bit. We joined the M6 at J40 heading south.

9:15am, Tebay Services – M6 J39-38, 33 miles, Foggy, 13C.
We stopped at Tebay services after only 33 miles for the loo.

Carrying on south on the M6, the fog finally started to lift as we approached the Kendal junction and we were mading good progress as the traffic was extremely light.

10am, Charnock Richard Services – M6 J28-27, 97 miles, Overcast, 19C.
This was our second stop of the day. Just enough time for a quick drink, chocolate, loo and some petrol. Then back onto the M6 for more southward fun.

11:45am, Stafford Services – M6 J15-14, 155 miles, Overcast.
This time it was coffee, more chocolate and I had a burger. I bought it from the on-site Wimpy and it was REALLY FOUL!!!! A complete waste of money. From here we were hoping with could made our fuel and bums last until Oxford in the interest of getting home ASAP.

The journey south through Cheshire was slow due to the levels of traffic, but not as bad as the northward leg last Saturday. Birmingham was swiftly dispatched on the M6 toll road and west on the M42. Then south onto the M40.

1:45pm, Warwick Services – M40 J13-12, 224 miles.
It proved impossible to make it the Oxford in one jump. Our petrol levels were too low and our bums numb.

After more liquids were fed both in & out, petrol collected and food munched, we headed off south to Oxford.

3:35pm, Oxford Services – M40 J8, 264 miles, Sunny.

By now we were completely exhausted and this stop was quite a long one. We sat on a bench, within sight of our bikes, drank large coffees and watching all the comings and going in the sunshine. I don’t remember exactly how long we were there, but in the interests of safety we certainly needed the break.

When we eventually set off on the final leg of our adventure, it was south on the M40, left onto the M25 and all those wonderful ‘Variable Speed Limits’. Having had quite enough of all those boring motorways, we left the M25 at J9, Leather Head. Taking a more scenic route home, we finally arrived home at 6:10pm.

As we got in my house I said to Paul, “We are now officially bikers”. He managed a nod as he clasped onto the sofa.

Mileage Stats

Today = 345 miles
Total for the trip = 957 Miles

Friday, September 15, 2006

Day Seven – Friday

Paul was up before me today and nipped out early to take this interesting picture of a spiders web.

I woke up with a thick head. It’s probably got something to do with last nights cider.

We checked our chain tensions and Pauls needed tightening for the second time this week. Mine was still fine mainly due to the fact that it’s only two months old I suspect.

We set off south on the A291 to Ambleside, turning right onto the A593. Between Coniston water and Broughton-in-Furness the A593 is an excellent twisty road, but because of the width it’s best to keep your speed down. Most of the way we only managed 40 mph, but we did get up to 60 on one short straight.

Luncheon was taken in a road side lay-by again. I had yet more sausages & bacon, washed down with tea. However, Paul opted for a double cheese burger with onions and black pudding.

From there we headed north on the A595 for about 2 miles and turned off onto an un-classified road sign posted to Ulpha. From there the road climbed up between several mountains. At the highest point we stopped to take EVEN MORE PHOTOS!!!

Continuing on our journey of discovery, the road dropped down to a river and met another road which came down very steeply from Hardknot pass.

We carried on through Wrynose pass and the road started to drop down quite a steeply in front of us. The views were superb, but there was nowhere for us to stop and enjoy it photographically. Avoiding cars coming up the incline and sheep with no road sense, we finally reached Ambleside. It was then a short hop on the A591 back to Keswick.

After a quick wash and brush up and it was time for us to pack up our wares ready for an early start on the homeward journey tomorrow. We of course found the time to polish off the remainder of our beer.

At 7:30pm we walked into Keswick for dinner. After an extensive survey of all the eating establishments, we decided on the Lake Road Inn. This proved to be a mistake as their Cumberland sausage had no flavour at all and the vegetables had been boiled to within an inch of their lives. As a consequence, I can recommend that you eat somewhere else.

On our way back to the caravan site, we again stopped at St. Johns church to take some photos. This time arty night shots.

We decided to walk back via the road as it was far too dark to safely negotiate the woodland route. There was time for a quick cup of tea, a review of the evening photos and a return to the nightmare that is packing to go home.

Mileage Stats

Today = 75 miles
Total so far = 612 miles

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Day Six - Thursday

Today we had more rain, but unlike previous days it didn't clear up and lasted all day. We decided to walk into Keswick, taking the long route through the Great wood & down to Derwent water.

On the way we made several stops for, yes you guessed it, picture taking. What else?

By the time we reached the town we were both wet inside and out. Outside due to the rain and inside due to sweat. I even had soggy socks and freezing feet due to wearing trainers. I should have bought the boots I saw in Keswick on Tuesday. D’oh!

We made a beeline for the shop and we bought a pair each and me some dry socks. Changing into them in the shop, I soon had toasty warm toes.

Thursday was market day. There were lots of stalls selling local produce and framed photos of the lakes & mountains. Unfortunately it would have been impossible to take any of them home on our bikes, so I picked up a leaflet instead. On another stall they were selling local Ciders and after a sample we bought 2 litres of a brew called ‘Rockin Robin’.

After a few more stops here & there, we headed back to the caravan. Despite all the rain & rivers of water running down the tracks, we both enjoyed toasty warm toes all the way back up the hill thanks to our new boots.

Photo - P.Moulding

For dinner I cooked a chicken & sausage casserole, with help & guidance from Paul of course. We used about ½ a pint of the cider to keep it wet while cooking. The resultant flavour was tantalizing on the taste buds. We polished off the rest of the cider during the evening.

Mileage Stats

Today = 5 miles on foot
Total so far = 537 miles

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Day Five – Wednesday

It rained again overnight, but by breakfast time it had all cleared up to give another sunny start to the day.

After breakfast we headed out north on the A591 through Keswick, where we joined the A66 to Braithwaite.

There we joined the B5292 to Cockermouth & then south on the A5086 to Egrermont. It’s a strange, slightly rundown village with few visible people. Those that we did see behaved as if they had never seen a motorbike in their lives. There was a young women with un-kempt hair, wearing a pink tracksuit just standing on a petrol station forecourt, while talking on a mobile phone. When I glanced in her direction, she gave me a look as if to say “Why are you looking at me?”. My reply would have been “because you’re a Chav dear!”.

From Egrermont we took the A595 north to Whitehaven. This is a small fishing town, which seems to be blessed with more than its fair share of nubile women. After a search we managed to find two dedicated motorcycle bays, but one had a lorry parked in it. The second had plenty of free space, so we parked there.

The council had very thoughtfully provided the bay with a secure locking bar. It’s the first time I’ve seen something this useful in any bike parking bay. Many other councils could learn from this, they should be compulsory everywhere.

For lunch we had yet more Cumberland sausages and bacon, this time served up in the form of French bread sandwich. To this we added a very good cup of tea and made our way to the harbour to sit, eat and drink in the sunshine.

After lunch we took even more photographs. This time in and around the harbour.

Next we headed north on the A595 & A596 towards Workington, stopping near the port to take photos of a wind farm.

Back on the A595, we headed further north to Maryport. Another small fishing village, where yet again we snapped merrily away around the harbour. There we came across a large old fishing boat undergoing extensive repairs.

Photo - P.Moulding

More photos in the bag and it was back to Keswick via the A594, A66 & A591.

After we had extracted ourselves from our sweaty biking gear, we wandered up the lane by the site in search of some sunset photos.

Due to the amount of food we had consumed over the last few days, we decided on beans on toast, with a twist for dinner. The twist was a chopped onion and the second half of Mondays Habanero chilli mixed with the beans to give it that extra zing. At last I managed to cook something 8-)

Mileage Stats

Today = 60 miles
Total so far = 537 miles

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Day Four – Tuesday

The weather forecast promised rain, but other than a little in the night, none was forthcoming. We walked into Keswick via a foot path which took us over a river and pass the edge of a farm.

We stopped along the way to take long exposure photographs of the river. The idea was to blur the moving water to give a surreal calming effect to the pictures. Here are some of our efforts.

Between us we took far too many photos and I was concerned about running out of memory card space.

Once in the town we wandered round the shops, finding an outdoor leisure shop which was having an end of season sale. I was rather taken by a heavily reduced pair of trainer style walking boots. I decided that I didn’t really need them as I have a proper leather pair at home and didn’t really have the space on my bike on the return trip. Paul bought a coat for one of his children.

After a light lunch, eaten by the pitch & put and mini golf coarse, we wandered some more, taking more photos as we went. By now the weather had perked up and become quite hot and sunny. I regretted my earlier decision to wear a fleece and coat at this point.

On our way back to the caravan, we stopped at the Parish church of St. Johns to take yet more photos. The church was open so we were able to take some shots inside as well.

I think this was when I mentioned that I don’t usually get a chance to take so many photos when I’m out with the family. Someone always moans about me constantly stopping to shot. Paul said that there was no danger of that from him. I do believe that he’s getting almost as passionate about photography as me. His camera, a Kodak DX6490, is more flexible and a higher resolution than my Fuji FinePix S5000. After our photo session we headed back up the hill to the caravan.

At 6pm we hopped on our bikes and Paul led me to Ashness bridge about, which is just south of Derwent Water. Unfortunately the clouds had returned and we weren’t sure we’d get very good light for photos.

When we arrived at Ashness bridge there was already another photographer there. He was standing in the middle of the river with his camera mounted on a very serious looking tripod. The three of us chatted about the lack of good light, the pros & cons of digital photography and how we came to be in the lakes taking photos.

Paul and I took various shots of landscapes, the bridge and moving water, but the light never did improve much. Eventually it got too dark to see so we decided to call it a night at about 8pm. The other photographer chose the same time to pack up and the three of us stood chatting for a further 20 minutes in the car park. He was from Dumfries and staying in a caravan near Penrith for a few days. He seemed to know all the best biking roads and recommended a few to us. We never did ask him his name, but he was very friendly.

We travelled back to the camp site via a very twisty back road on the western side of the lake. It was quite slow going as the lights on my bike are quite poor. Back on the A591 through Keswick, Paul overshot the turning for the campsite and as we hadn’t bothered with the radios I didn’t know why. A few miles later he pulled into a lay by. He wanted to take some more light trails. I think he is becoming even more obsessed with photography than me.

He mounted his camera on my pocket tripod and set it on the rear seat of his bike facing up a slight incline. We spent about an hour experimenting. I didn’t bother getting my camera out as my minimum shutter speed is only 2.5 second. Paul’s on the other hand is 16 seconds, which is much more practical for light trails.

By the time we got back to the caravan it was getting quite late. For dinner we had stir fried chicken and super noodles. Simple, but quick, easy and tasty. This was washed down with copious amounts of beer.

Mileage Stats

Today = 25 miles
Total so far = 477 miles