Round-and-Round and End-to-End (Swampland to the Highlands) - Lots of photos

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by slartidbartfast, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    The day after we dropped the weestrom off, I tried to get caught up with some work for an hour or two in the morning. Meanwhile DewNmoon went with my parents up onto the edge of Dartmoor to Shipley bridge for a stroll alongside the River Avon, and into the town of South Brent to look at the Avon further downstream.

    After lunch, Dew jumped onto the back of The Duchess and we went into the nearby village of Dartington to get the rear tyre properly fixed. The friendly chaps at South Hams Tyres put a patch-plug in it for me but as an interim measure only - I'll be buying a new tyre soon. Oh well... I rode around 2500 miles on a sticky string plug without a second thought. :eek1 Ignorance is bliss!

    One of my brother's is a volunteer with the South Devon Railway, a local Steam Heritage/ Railway preservation group. In a stupendously good coincidence of timing, they were having their annual Hog Roast fundraiser event in the evening and he obtained tickets for Dew and myself. I had gone last year and it poured down with rain the whole time. Today, the weather promised to be fine and there was real ale on offer :clap :freaky
  2. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    My father gave DewNmoon, one of my nieces and myself a lift the few miles to Buckfastleigh where we made ourselves comfortable in one of the restored carriages. We didn't have to wait for long until the whistle blew and we pulled out of the station, heading for Totnes.
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    The train winds along the banks of the River Dart, a scenic trip through shaded woods, alongside meadows with cows grazing and passing the old station (where it normally stops) at Staverton, where Dew and I had chatted with the BSA and Triumph riders a couple of weeks earlier.
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    I discovered that a drop of water which had made its way into my camera during our End-to-End ride had shorted out the screen, which no longer worked. Dew was hanging out the windows videoing the ride. I'm sure he'll post something soon.
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    My brother has been training to be a fireman and knows most of the other engineers and firemen. Shortly after our arrival at Totnes, just as they had disconnected the locomotive in preparation to move it to the other end of the train, my brother had a quick word with the engineer and gestured to Dew. "Quick, get on!"
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    <embed width="448" height="361" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/advrider-photobucket-images/images/s/s6.photobucket.com_albums_y248_slartidbartfast_2008-06_End-to-End_DSCF6262.flv">
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    Dew got off the loco grinning so much, he could have eaten a banana sideways! :lol3 Not long after that, it was announced that the Hog was ready for eating.
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    My brother was running about like a madman, pushing raffle tickets. Meanwhile, ale was flowing in an agreeable manner and at an agreeable temperature, the weather lived up to expectations - a perfect British Summer evening.
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    Dew didn't win the bottle of Scotch. I guess he'll just have to come back next year and try again! :evil
  3. Hoon

    Hoon Ratty Adventurer

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    Really good RR,I took two evenings to get through it and enjoyed it all.

    I'm impressed by the end-to-end ride,didn't see that coming.
  4. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    Here is a map summarizing most if not all of our two weeks of two-wheeled travel. It deviates a bit from what we had originally planned to do.
    [​IMG]

    We began near Totnes in the SouthWest of England, made a day-trip to Bournemouth to pick up a rental bike, then spent a day on the coast around Dartmouth.

    Our main tour began by heading to north Wales where we stayed a couple of nights in Abersoch, then went via Settle to Langdale for a night. After Langdale, we continued north into Scotland where we worked our way up the west coast staying overnight in Oban, Uig on the Isle of Skye, Ullapool and finally John o' Groats.

    We then rode in one day between the farthest points on the British mainland, from John o' Groats to Land's End by the most direct route possible, through Inverness and past Birmingham. That was a ride of over 840 miles, at the end of which, we rode back to near Totnes again - another 100+ miles.

    For our last day of riding we went back to Bournemouth to drop off the rental and then detoured North from there to visit Stonehenge before going back to near Totnes.
  5. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    Thanks! The report sort of grew out of control. Our original intent had been to post a handful of photos each day, as we were on the road but that became impossible so it had to be done after the fact. I am also hopelessly incapable of culling the pictures down to a reasonable number.
  6. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer Super Supporter

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    This has been simply a tremendous story. Thank you so much, I appreciate all the pictures! Post them all. My longing to go visit the British Isles has been renewed.:D
  7. DewNmoon

    DewNmoon Been here awhile

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    Camera:

    Having been a film person from long ago I resisted the urge to move to digital for a long time, using my time to look over various offerings on the rapidly changing market. I did have to chance to borrow various friends cameras over the last couple of years and "test" their capabilities and read lots of online reviews.

    My initial attempt in the digital world was with a Canon A570 is that I picked up for my wife as it offered decent pic quality in a point & shoot and had some semblance of manual control in a body that she found that she could hold easily and yet drop into a motorcycle jacket pocket. We shot 35mm and digital for a bit and the early digi-pics impressed me enough to step up into budgeting for something more for my constant tinkering.

    I looked hard at a number of models from Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic. Canon and Fuji, narrowing down my choices to the Canon G9 and the S5 IS.

    Budget constraints and the longer zoom capability had me settle on the S5. I didn't want to carry excess equipment for this trip so I left the film cameras home and dropped 4 lithium AA batteries in it and a 4gb SD card and borrowed sis's Canon SD 450 as a pocket camera, having used it in the past. The pic quality seemed quite acceptable within the limits of the camera and settings. (It would help if I would study the various settings at times I suppose)

    The lil SD450 was easily small enough that I could hang it on a lanyard and drop it in my shirt pocket for impromptu pics when needed.

    Since the camera (S5IS) was relatively new to me I was constantly fiddling with different settings and trying to learn as I went along the how various settings would affect the resultant pics.

    Prior to the trip I had a short time to experiment with it and took some "portrait" corporate type pics of some board members to post on a website. I was impressed that the quality was probably better than a friends' more expensive camera that I had used for prior portraits.

    The lithium batteries lasted thru several weeks and 600-700 shots and a number of short videos before they decided enough was enough.

    Rental: The folks at the small rental business were very accomodating, the motorcycle was running great. I think the fuel mileage ranged from 55-68 mpg depending on the type of roads we were on.

    The hard removable bags (Shad? or some such) held all my stuff easily though they were a bit wider than I am used to The bike was apparently used the previous week by a rider from Alaska I believe. he apparently had dropped it and there were a few scratches on a panel that they didn't have a chance to replace yet. The Wee-Strom was comfy enough and more humane on the bod than the SV 650S, VFR, R1, Duc ***S and other assorted bikes that I have tried and racked up day or weekend miles on. I did miss the K75S and R1100S that I left at home though.

    Slartid...was getting used to the differences between the semi-vintage R80 and his GS as well.
  8. DewNmoon

    DewNmoon Been here awhile

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    The stroll along with Slatid's parents was once again a pleasurable experience as their knowledge of the area's history and unusual foliage (I would have never spotted the carnivorous bog plants):huh that most would probably pass and never notice added an element of fascination to a peaceful walk along the local stream. Hikers, families with the little ones on sidewalk bikes, dogs having a splash and horseback riders added to the chance to stretch ones legs a bit after the approx 3000 miles we covered.

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    After the stroll (we didn't get back before the ice cream truck left) a stop at an old bridge for a few last pics befor my batteries decided to give up the ghost.

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  9. DewNmoon

    DewNmoon Been here awhile

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    Ahhh and the hog (fest) roast. Riding the old steam train was an unexpected pleasure to wind down the end of my journey many thanks to Slarted's bro...

    Being somewhat of an old buff we boarded the train to ride along the River dart.

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    And to my surprise (and glee) Slarto was right my face was stretched into a tighter grin than the Joker's tormenting the Batman!:D
  10. Howiezowie

    Howiezowie Been here awhile

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    Thanks for your thoughts guys. I also use a compact ultra zoom (Panasonic TZ3) on a neck strap for filming from the bike.

    Your ride report has clearly been enjoyed by many, so thanks and well done.

    If you ever get down this way I'm sure you'd be equally impressed.
    I'm happy to help out if that eventuates.

    Cheers
    H
  11. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    Howie:

    NZ has been in my plans for a couple of years. Thinking Jan, Feb or Mar 2010. When would weather be best?

    Cheers!
    Slart
  12. DewNmoon

    DewNmoon Been here awhile

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    A trip down under to NZ is what Slart.. is talking about as a future trip.

    Ahhh dreaming of far off lands on two wheels.

    I return home to start a new job. Seems everyone wants to know about the trip now...All our riding buds want to be included "we wanna go next time!"
  13. DewNmoon

    DewNmoon Been here awhile

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    Contemplating memories, new friends, a lot of photos and wishing the "better half" had decided to go instead of heading South like a hummingbird in winter. Surely missed that pillion, though she would have had me wear out a pair out of boots soles hiking some of the trails, not to mention collecting rocks along the way.

    Thoughts drift as I peer out the airplane window of my last view of the english countryside.

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    Surprisingly good food en route, a couple of movies then I notice glaciers (pondering where am I?). Greenland I suppose.

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    Northern Canada, the Great Lakes then a glimpse of the "Mighty Mississip". Touchdown in Houston actually ahead of schedule them whoaaaa! One step into the local atmosphere 98 degrees!:huh I think it was something like 50-60 sumpthin when I got on the plane.
  14. Chinaski

    Chinaski Righteous Dude

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    I've been to some of the areas you've described in a car, envy your trip, and greatly appreciate your documentation of a fine journey. Excellent photos and writing - not over the top, but like Britain, subtly wonderful.

    What I'd give for a few pints of real ale.

    Also an odd question: Slart, why the additional "d" in your moniker? As I recall Douglas Adams didn't spell it that way...just wondering.

    Again, great work. :clap
  15. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    Thanks. I've been to some of those places by car before too - and I've been wishing I could return on two wheels ever since. Now I can't stop thinking about it and planning the next trip, and the one after that, etc.


    As my friend Zaphod once said: "Who's Douglas Adams?"

    :wink:



    Mis-spelling once results in uniqueness for ever :rofl
  16. Chinaski

    Chinaski Righteous Dude

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    This guy named Beeblebrox once told me the same thing. Also something about the number 42. I didn't know what the hell he was on about.:lol3
  17. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    Just read Didier's thread on The Highlands - Seems like a bunch of people on ADVRider have been to that corner of Britain. Wierd because there is very little traffic on those narrow roads so not a huge number of visitors overall.
  18. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    I have this photo as a background on my laptop. Had just opened it up on a plane last night and looked up to see the same castle from the same angle on the movie screen. in "Made of Honor" (no it's not a biker movie, it's a comedy romance and unless you're trapped on a plane with nothing else to do, I wouldn't bother!)
    [​IMG]
  19. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    Uploaded another clip - this one of DewNmoon coming down the Pen-y-Gwryd Pass. Not sport scratching (we were touring after all) but fun nonetheless. There are glimpses of Mount Snowdon in the background to the left.

    <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/advrider-photobucket-images/images/s/s6.photobucket.com_albums_y248_slartidbartfast_2008-06_End-to-End_DSCN5785.flv" height="361" width="448"><br>

    I can't believe this was over six weeks ago - I want to go back!
  20. mattc

    mattc Been here awhile

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    Cool!

    That is a pretty narrow road to have to share with oncoming cars. I would have to assume they are better about staying to their side of the road than the rednecks around the South.