"When Piggies Fly" Part 3: An Autumn Coddiwomple

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Rhode trip, Jul 8, 2017.

  1. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    I'd like to try a Lumix especially for the 1 inch sensor. I am always reluctant to spend much on the p&s because I just don't seem to be able to hold onto them. Literally. I have been through a half dozen or so because I drop them so much.

    Ha, that would be great. Too bad Mrs. Trip can't be trained like that.

    Yes, that was interesting and unfortunate. When I googled it, I read of their financial woes, and they were working on a last minute buy-out by a Chinese travel company. I guess that fell through. An interesting note: The number of stranded travelers made it the biggest repatriation effort for England since Dunkirk!
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  2. Bobbrecken

    Bobbrecken Been here awhile

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    I always see Mrs. Trip sitting on her bike not doing anything and thought she could do something useful.
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  3. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    :lol3 This conversation is going to end up on the super secret White House server.
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  4. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    Whoa.....

    :imaposer

    :bow
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  5. dc_ok

    dc_ok n00b

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    I have enjoyed your ride reports. A dummy question (me), have you tried setting the cameras time so they are synced,then putting all in the same folder and sorting by create/modified time?

    i appreciate all the time and effort you put in your pictures.

    Dwight
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  6. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Thanks, Dwight. That's a good suggestion syncing the two cameras....they definitely are not at this point....
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  7. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Sunday, October 7th.

    I love the smell of petrol in the morning....

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    Like most days, we'll be riding the hinterlands today, so we topped off the tanks when we had the chance.
    Then south-west-ish out of Stratford-upon-Avon.
    Rolling farmlands... here and there an open vista.

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    Its the Cotswolds, England's largest designated AONB: "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty"

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    The Cotswolds are known for their rolling hills and farmland. "wolds" is an Old English term for hills... where it gets it's name.

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    And its also known for it's buildings, built of 'Cotswold Stone'.
    Quarried from the local hills, the stone is a beautiful honey-golden color. Here's a farmhouse, set amongst it's fields.
    The stone buildings almost seem like amber with a warm glow under the leaden skies.

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    It's a beautiful thing.... a TW200 approaches warp speed.

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    Quick as a wink, and through another little village built in golden Cotswold stone....

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    And more farm fields, close mown for autumn and a long winter's nap.

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    Batsford Stud, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire. I don't know much about horses. So I was pretty surprised to find out that their stallions command "fees" of £1500 to £5,000
    for their services. With additional charges if your mare wants to sleep over rather than just getting a 'quickie'. Heck, I think the horse will do it for free!

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    A country crossroads.

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    Another little village, this one crossed by a shallow ford in the center of town.

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    Stow-on-the-Wold, a popular town for visitors, with cafes and B&Bs and lots of small shops.

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    Another village on a quiet Sunday.

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    Hmmm.... which way?

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    A grey heron wades into a languid river.

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    A "holloway" (or hollow-way) is a road with a surface lower than the land on either side. The word comes from the Old English, "hola weg" meaning a sunken road.
    These ancient byways have been worn down by centuries of rain, and by traffic... foot, hoof, and wheel since early days.

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    The Great Coxwell Tithe Barn is all that remains of a 13th century "Grange" or a farm owned by a monastery and operated for it's benefit. This huge barn was built around 1300 by the Beaulieu Abbey. William Morris, the architect and founder of the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 19th century called it, "the most impressive building in England" and "as beautiful as a cathedral." It stands on the edge of the village of Great Coxwell.

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    Of course, we had to go see Great Coxwell's 12th century church as well...

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    Turn left, past Puddleduck lane....

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    ...and past Pear Tree Farm.

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    and up the path to the old church.

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    Its not all that old, but if you walk up further, through the cemetary,

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    you'll find the 12th century structure that still stands after 800 years.

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    We left Great Coxwell and rode on through more of the idyllic countryside. Soon, a tall line of hills rose up in front of us. And there, glistening from an upper slope, we saw
    The Uffington White Horse. This thing is amazing.

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    It's 360 feet long. To get a clear view, you need to see it from the air ( or steal a photo from the internet)

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    It's 3,000 years old. It's cut into the turf of White Horse Hill, and filled with chalk to make the white lines. We rode up Dragon Hill Road to get closer.

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    Most amazing to me... the Horse requires maintenance to keep it from becoming overgrown. Stretching back into the foggy recesses of time, the local people held
    "scouring festivals" every seven years, documented at least between the 16th and the 19th century, and most likely for far longer. They would gather on the hillside not only to clear the vegetation, and add more chalk, but also to engage in 'climbing greasy poles, rolling wheels of cheese down a hill, pipe-smoking marathons, and other peculiarly English funtime activities.'
    During WWII, they obscured the horse to prevent Luftwaffe pilots from using it as a landmark. It's by far the oldest hill-figure in England.
    Here's Dragon Hill Road just below the horse, taken near the top of Dragon Hill, a small conical hill that's been flattened on top by human hands.

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    It's purported to be the place where St George (the patron saint of England) slew a dragon who had been preying on the local maidens. That's a grateful princess looking on as George skewers the evil beast.

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    And this is from the side of Dragon Hill, looking across to the undulating hillside known as the 'Giant's Stair' Those are walkers on top to give a sense of scale.

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    The Square, Aldbourne

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    Aldbourne from Ewin's Hill

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    This area is the Berkshire Downs, sparsely populated and crossed only by some minor roads and tracks, gently sloping down to the River Kennett valley.

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    We wandered along the narrow paths.

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    A BOAT sign. The track continued, but we turned here onto a narrow paved lane (or metalled road, as they say.)

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    We met the A4 west of Fyfield, and followed it past West Kennett to the foot of Silbury Hill.

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    Silbury Hill, at 131 feet tall, is the tallest prehistoric man-made mound in Europe. Its estimated it took 18 million man-hours to build, or the equivalent of 500 men working for 15 years. The base covers an area of 5 acres. It was built in stages between 2400 to 2300 BC. No knows why, or what purpose it served. The sheer size indicates a well-organized society existed to be able to undertake a project of this size. We parked our bikes and walked in to the base of the hill... you can't go on it, and much of the surrounding area is protected as an unusual chalk grassland.

    It's only one of the wonders of the Avebury World Heritage Site.

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    When we got back to our bikes, we found we'd been surrounded by a gang of bikers. On Groms and Kawasaki Z125s. They'd noticed our Rhode Island plates and quizzed us about getting them so far from home. We laughed about being the 'big bikes' in the crowd.

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    Gotta run though... we're on to Avebury and evening is coming on.

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    It was just a mile or so... but when we got there, the parking area was closed. We walked a bit, just enough to decide that we needed more time. Peeked through a gate into one of the gardens along the path. We'll come back tomorrow and have a better look around.

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    So we took the A4 back into the town of Marlborough. We had a booking at The Marlborough, a 15th century inn that has been restored and remodeled to modern standards. Its really amazing what they can do with some of these old buildings, and the craftsmanship that's required to make it work. It even had parking for the bikes around back in the courtyard.

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    Marlborough itself was an interesting town. It has the second-widest High Street in England. Plenty of restaurants to choose from.

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    We walked both sides of High Street, checking out the restaurants. That one's too fancy, that one's too greasy... until we found one that was just right.
    While our level of excitement may not have equaled this guy's, here's a short look around. "We're in Marlborough, Wiltshire!!!"

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  8. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    I laughed about rolling wheels of cheese but rolling wheels of cheese down hills is apparently still a thing.
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  9. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    My home province in NZ is Marlborough :clap

    Loving the update

    Shane
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  10. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Ha, ha. I didn't know it was still a thing, either. Those Brits know how to have a good time!

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  11. Bobbrecken

    Bobbrecken Been here awhile

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    Great to see you back as I can’t get enough of your pictures.
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  12. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

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    I’m so lucky to ride where I do but I’m still so jealous of your whole UK trips. Great pictures and narrative.
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  13. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Thanks, Bob. Glad you're enjoying them!

    Thanks, Admiral. Hard to top Idaho and your neck of the woods, but the UK has been a great adventure. I'd like to get back there one of these days, and finish the ride we started before Lynn's bike broke down. Sure was great of you to ship and store our bikes! :beer
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  14. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Monday, October 8th

    A full English breakfast in the wood-paneled pub. Eggs, bacon, sausages...fried tomato, mmm. I hardly ever eat that stuff at home. But we don't usually stop for lunch when we're travelling so a little stick-to-your-ribs is unlikely to be refused...

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    Then we rolled the bikes out of the courtyard in back. Our room was on the second floor, up the steps to the right.

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    ...And just a short ride and we were back in Avebury. Its an actual village... built amongst an ancient site...

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    All quiet on a Monday morning. There's just a few other people wandering around, looking at the stones.

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    Its a weird place and it makes me wonder. Back near Silbury Hill, the old Roman road runs arrow straight, until it approaches the hill and the smaller stone circle nearby... and then the Romans curved out and around, giving a wide berth to the ancient site. Just to be on the safe side, I guess. But here at Avebury, the people came and built roads and houses in among the old stones willy-nilly. I don't think they didn't know... so I guess they didn't worry about tempting fate...

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    The big stones stand like sentinels, keeping watch. You can walk amongst them and touch their rough surfaces and rounded edges.

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    There's an earth bank that runs around the stones in a concentric ring.

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    Old thatched roof buildings sprout like mushrooms on the village street.

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    The circles, earth and stone... cover a wide area. Many of the stones have been toppled or broken up over the years, but a lot are still standing. The earth bank has been removed where it was inconvenient.

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    The village chapel.

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    An Avebury village row house.

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    From Avebury, we rode south, towards the village of Alton Barnes and the Vale of Pewsey.

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    Like at Avebury, thatched roof houses are common here.

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    An impressive hedge.

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    We crossed the River Avon.

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    ...just a backwater here.

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    With all those thatched roof houses, being a thatcher here is probably a thriving business....

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    It must have been break time when we rode through... Tim was nowhere to be seen.

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    Need more thatch? https://www.nsmtltd.co.uk/gallery/
    Our route led us across Salisbury Plain, a 300-square-mile chalk plateau and one of the best known open spaces in England. Over half its area is used by the military for exercises and is off-limits to the public. This sign is a new one for me … "don't get run over by a tank!"

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    Of all the ancient sights on the Salisbury Plain... none is better known than Stonehenge. We approached it from the north. From the Vale of Pewsey, down between Enford and Haxton Downs... through Littlecot, Longstreet and Figheldean….over Larkhill and Knighton Down.
    When you get there, you can't see the Henge… its been artfully hidden behind the hill, and you'll have to pay to see it. There's a large carpark, and a steady stream of busses. We went in through the great glass and steel visitors centre, and paid our pound of flesh. There's displays about Stonehenge and the world it was built in. Very interesting... outside, more displays... a Neolithic hut, looking like a witch's hat....

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    And a display about how the great stones were moved for miles across the open plain.... apparently the ancients harnessed the random power of small schoolchildren! Brilliant!

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    From the Visitors Centre, you take a bus to the actual site. It's all very crowded.

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    But despite the crowd... the word "impressive" is not strong enough. Stonehenge is so famous, such an icon I've seen all my life, that to actually "see" it for the first time..."Wow!"

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    You can't touch it.
    You have to stay on the circular path around it.
    But it's still awesome... Mr. Man-Bun and the bickering couple notwithstanding....

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    We walked around it... twice, I think.

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    Most of the crowd was clustered on the nearest side, where the path was closest to the stones. We followed it back to where the buses stopped.

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    Stonehenge was awesome. There really is a vibe in the air... a sense of power or passion, the massive stones, rising out of the plain. Leaves you with more questions than you can begin to answer....
    Back to our bikes. A couple of other riders had come and parked near us... though we didn't see them in the crowd.

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    From Stonehenge we rode south, to Wilton. It's west of the city of Salisbury, and it's the home of Wilton House, the country retreat of the Earls of Pembroke for the last 400 years.
    It was built on the site of a convent endowed by King Egbert in 871.

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    We rang the bell, but the current Earl (the 18th) and his charming wife, the Countess, didn't come out to invite us in.

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    Disappointed, but not delayed, we continued our ride, south-south-west-ish through the area known as Cranborne Chase.

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    Cranborne Chase is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty... or an AONB, and is over 380 square miles in size. "It is a diverse landscape offering areas of rolling chalk grassland, ancient woodlands, chalk escarpments, downland hillsides and chalk river valleys each with a distinct and recognisable character. The landscapes of the AONB today, as they were in the past, are extraordinarily rich." http://www.ccwwdaonb.org.uk/
    It's the only AONB that's been designated in its entirety as an International Dark-Sky Reserve. In practical terms- that means that not many people live there, and its very dark at night. We followed some farm roads from forest to fields.

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    Threatening skies swirled overhead... but we were lucky and the rain held off.

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    Back onto pavement, and due west, as we left the rolling ridges of the Cranborne Chase behind.

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    The scattered coppices closed in, as the grasslands receeded.

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    More villages now, ...we wound our way to the town of Yeovil.

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    (an over-the-shoulder shot)

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    We easily found the Yeovil Court Hotel on the outskirts of town. It soon turned into a drizzly evening, so we ate in the restaurant in the hotel, and never walked the streets of Yeovil.
    What's the town of Yeovil famous for? Helicopters, apparently, as there's a large manufacturer there. And the town used to be a glove-making centre. But to me, the interesting thing is that the town is tucked into the southern corner of the county of Somerset. We've stumbled into the area of England where our southern New England place-names originated. The town of Somerset, Massachusetts is where I first met Mrs. Trip. :crash
    There's a long list of shared names... but for now...that's a topic for another day.
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  15. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    Epic update ! :thumb
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  16. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Thanks, Shane!
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  17. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    I'm glad you liked Stonehenge, some people are underwhelmed by it. I used to be a regular at the solstices when you're allowed free entry right up to the stones. Haven't been since the new visitors' centre was built.

    Winter Solstice 2005 and Summer Solstice 1981:
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    Cosmic stuff, man.
  18. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

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    empty streets and quiet towns.....i enjoy the atmosphere until my bike breakdowns or runs out of gas...nice RR

    heck yeah, finally the TW is the king among the groms
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  19. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    :lol3 Thanks, David. I had low expectations from other accounts I've read, so that probably made it all the more impressive for me.
    Ahh, 1981... I sure would have enjoyed a Summer Solstice there in my "exuberant" years!

    Thanks, Joel. I'm still amused by that photo with the Groms making the TWs look big.
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  20. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Tuesday, October 9th

    Yo! Where the heck are we?
    We better look at the map...
    There we are... at the "93" ... Yeovil. And today we're going to Yelverton, down there at "103"
    Not often that you travel from one "Y" town to another!


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    Yeovil Court Hotel is located on the corner of West Coker Road... and that's the way we went.

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    Today we're crossing Devonshire. It's a beautiful day...

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    ...all blue skies and puffy clouds and dappled sunshine on a cool morning.

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    Devonshire, or the Ceremonial County of Devon, stretches from the southern coast of Britain across to the Bristol Channel in the north. It's popular for its rugged coastline and its sandy beaches. But we didn't go there... we crossed it right through the middle. Here, it's a rural county...sparsely populated with narrow valleys tucked in between the steep hillsides.

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    Devon is the third or fourth largest of England's Ceremonial Counties, but I read somewhere that it has more miles of roads than any other. And that's the way it seemed. Narrow roads that wound between the hills... quiet and slow and seemingly seldom used.

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    Bucolic little hamlets here and there. We zigged and zagged and followed the country roads.

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    One shallow valley rubs up against another... each low ridge offers a view as the distance ripples away.

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    Another small village, another stone church.

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    Taunton, another transported name... I was born in Taunton, Massachusetts.

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    It would be easy to get lost in Devon... in a warren of small lanes like a twisted net laid over the landscape.

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    Buzzzz… as I was cruising along, this giant bee flew around my helmet and landed on the speedometer... tucked out of the wind behind the shield. Whoa! That's the biggest bee I have ever seen... brightly colored and with a body the size of my thumb. Even in full gear... I give him plenty of space as I coasted to a stop. Hopped off the bike. Shoo-boy... that's a good bee... just fly away....

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    OK. He doesn't look that big in the photo, but I'm telling ya, it was 'uuuge!' I'm lucky he didn't knock me off the bike!

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    High Street in a little thatched-roof town...

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    Lynn rolls carefully through a shallow ford where the street divides, the bottom greased green with algae.

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    And another village, folded into a green quilt of fields.

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    another vista from the ridge beyond.

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    "leaves are falling, all around
    time I was on my way..."

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    The corner of High Street and New Street, Chagford.

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    Ahead, the street was blocked by half a dozen drovers and a herd of horses being driven through the little town. These are Dartmoor ponies, semi-feral horses that, although privately owned, live in bands allowed to roam free out on the grassy moors and woods of Dartmoor Forest, protected under ancient grazing rights. The owners round up their ponies in annual autumn "drifts" when foals are weaned from their mothers, and when they decide which ponies to keep on the moors, and which to sell.

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    Archeologists say a community has existed here at Chagford for over four thousand years. It was once a bustling market town for the wool trade and a trading center for the local tin mines. Now its a sleepy village on the north-east edge of Dartmoor National Park.

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    There's pretty much only one road that will take you over the high moors, B3212, through the center of the park.
    Its high here. A steady wind blows. We're lucky to be under clear blue skies, because it's usually rainy here. The highest parts of the moor receive over 2,000 millimeters (79 inches) of rainfall annually. Many of Devon's rivers start here on the high ground, fed by the rains that sweep in from the Atlantic. The soggy peat ground soaks up the rain, forming dangerous bogs. Most days clouds and mist cloak the landside. Dartmoor can be a scary place... when night falls, when the fog rolls in... when the creatures stir....



    Dartmoor is the setting of Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles. Legends abound of lost travelers and vicious beasts that howl in the night. More than one wanderer has gone astray, swallowed by the bogs or the ravines... never to be seen again...
    But not today in the cheerful sunlight of an autumn afternoon. We rode across the moors with their sweeping views, and then descended to the western edge of Dartmoor.

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    And there we were in Yelverton. We rode around the little town, and found our B&B... Barnabas House.

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    We walked around the town a little bit... had dinner in a Chinese restaurant. Tomorrow... on to Land's End!