"When Piggies Fly" Part 3: An Autumn Coddiwomple

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

  1. Nicknewb

    Nicknewb n00b

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    After years of just reading Adv, I finally am moved to post, mainly because I am thoroughly enjoying your coddiwompling stories. Thank you so much for your photos, and researches.Btw, I believe that bee to be a European hornet, got a nasty sting!
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  2. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Thank you very much, Nick. I'm flattered that your first post is on my thread. And thanks for pointing out that the "bee" was actually a European Hornet. Of course, I had to google it, which led me to wondering about the painful sting that you mentioned. I ended up finding out about the Schmidt Sting Pain Index.
    You'll notice that the European Hornet falls in the middle of the index... painful indeed.
    But the best thing about the Schmidt Index is the descriptions of the pain level of the various stings.

    "As one might surmise given the nature of the research, the Schmidt index is subjective and based on limited data points. Schmidt says he’s been stung six to eight times by tarantula hawks and just once, in the forehead, by a warrior wasp. He acknowledges the pain can vary depending on where you get stung and how much venom was injected. For that reason he hedges his ratings, with bee stings ranging from 0 to 2."

    The inimitable Dr. Schmidt's tongue-in-cheek descriptions would delight the Marquis de Sade. Truly funny stuff.

    * 1.0 Sweat bee: Light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.
    * 1.2 Fire ant: Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet & reaching for the light switch.
    * 1.8 Bullhorn acacia ant: A rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain. Someone has fired a staple into your cheek.
    * 2.0 Bald-faced hornet: Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.
    * 2.0 Yellowjacket: Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine WC Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.
    * 2.5 European hornet [citation needed]
    * 3.0 Red harvester ant: Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.
    * 3.0 Paper wasp: Caustic & burning. Distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of Hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.
    * 4.0 Pepsis wasp: Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath (if you get stung by one you might as well lie down and scream).
    * 4.0+ Bullet ant: Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch nail in your heel.
  3. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    Hey there RT and Mrs RT

    Yes was pretty sure that wasn’t a bee and probably quite sensible to give it a wide berth.

    Fantastic update

    Am loving those tiny roads!!

    10/10

    Shane

    Ps Merry Christmas to you both
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  4. Essbee

    Essbee Been here awhile

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    Oh what a pleasant surprise this is! I loved your first two parts and actually had no idea of the third, until yesterday when I happened upon it. Thank you for the painstakingly detailed highly informative sharing...again! The UK countryside is so beautiful as it is but your narration kinda adds an extra little dimension of charm to it! Brilliant!

    That little section where you wrote about the textile mills ( Arkwright?) jumped out at me....no prizes for guessing what I do for a living.
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  5. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

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    Dang, what a great series of adventures.

    Riding through this kind of stuff is so cool!
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  6. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Catching up now and thoroughly enjoyed this update @Rhode trip! The images of Stonehenge are amazing - I can't imagine what it must have felt like to be in the presence of it. Beautiful landscapes and and towns you two rode through, crazy to see the thatched roofs.

    Really cool to read about the names of the villages/towns and I think it's great to draw the parallel to where you met Mrs. Trip. Did you do anything special upon entering the town of Somerset?

    I'm looking forward to getting back up to speed as it were, the winter doldrums have set in out here in the PNW and I haven't ridden for more than a month now...need my fix :thumb
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  7. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    ^^^^^^

    Wanted to quote this as it's a perfect summary for what I think every time I read an update from you @Rhode trip. Your images and writing add the perfect element to the ride report.

    Just finished reading through the 10/9 update...fantastic. That bee/hornet is no joke; glad that fella didn't get stuck in your riding jacket or worse. Have been stung a a couple times while riding and it's no good.

    The B&B you guys stayed at looked fantastic and man - what a breathtaking place to ride through on a sunny day...sans hounds...lol.

    Looking forward to the next one!
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  8. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Thanks, Shane. Merry Christmas to you as well!

    Thanks for your post, Essbee. I just read in this morning's newspaper that December 20th, 1790 was the first day of operation of Samuel Slater's original mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, built with the knowledge that he smuggled here from England.

    Thanks, Admiral. Merry Christmas to you and Lori!

    Thanks, liv2day! Got the doldrums settled in here in Rhode Island, too. We're heading to Tucson and points south next month for a short ride and a little winter respite.
    And thanks for your RR on China Hat as well, I really enjoyed reading it. Mrs. Trip and I rode through that area a few years ago: https://advrider.com/f/threads/me-mrs-trip-we-got-a-thing-going-on.1033329/page-25#post-31072528


    That hornet could have done some serious damage. My experience riding was a few years ago, beautiful summer day in Vermont. Just cruising along, face shield up, sunglasses.
    A spot appeared ahead of me, weaving left and right as we closed the distance. Funny how it almost seemed to aim for me, in the split second, locked on and hit me right between the eyes, just above the glasses. Stung me, stuck there till I brushed it off. Probably about a 1.0 on the scale :lol3. I've been lucky otherwise.

    Anyway, Happy Holidays to you and yours as well!
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  9. zundappuk

    zundappuk Watch out chaps its a Focke!

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    An old farmer I knew said the the sting of the European Hornet was like having a white hot rivet stuck in you.....
    Love the report!
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  10. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Thanks, Zundappuk, and Happy Holidays to you and all our adv friends!

    [​IMG]
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  11. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Wednesday, October 10th

    There's really not much happening in Yelverton. Once the weekday warriors had made their Wednesday rush into the nearby city of Plymouth, the streets were quiet and we rode west, the morning sun at our backs. Rode up towards the town of Tavistock, to take the closest bridge over the River Tavy and then another across the River Tamar. That brings you into Cornwall, the most southwesterly county of England... the pointy tail of Albion that juts out into the Celtic Sea on one side, and the English Channel on the other.
    Cornwall is littered with the remains of it's mines. Since the dawn of the Bronze Age, they've been mining Tin in Cornwall. To make Bronze, at first... then later, Pewter as well. But the last mine closed before the turn of the new century, and now they are all quiet. No new tunnels that once burrowed beneath the surface... and out under the sea as well. The old engine houses fell into decay. Huge smokestacks crumble where once great engines turned... pumping the holes dry, lifting out the ore.

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    "Cornish lads are fishermen, and Cornish lads are miners, too
    but when the fish and Tin are gone, what are the Cornish boys to do?"



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    A lonely country crossroad. You'll notice that the two signs list 7 different places.... 6 of them less than 2 miles away. But the countryside is sparsely settled now, and the Cornish lads have scattered to the far corners. It's said there are few mines anywhere in the world that haven't had Cornish men working there.

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    We followed the backroads. Village to village.

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    Sleepy streets with solid old houses squatting together.

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    This one with a peacock.

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    Downhill, into the rabbit's hole.

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    And then up again... it seemed to gradually rise for a long time, higher to the edge of Bodmin Moor. Up to the town of Minions. Oddly named. I read that when the movie first came out, they put up a fancy sign. Mayhem ensued. People stopping for a selfie with the sign were creating a traffic hazard. The town fathers cracked down and the sign was removed. But a mysterious local activist put stickers on the road sign... which have been left alone. I'm just glad I didn't get run over when I stopped to take this photo. You can see how busy the road is....

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    The Engine House at Houseman's Shaft.
    The South Phoenix Mine was part of the large Phoenix United Mine located just north of Minions. In it's heyday in the late 19th century, more than 600 miners worked here, moving thousands of tons of both copper and tin ore to the surface. The huge engine worked powerful pumps to keep the deep shafts clear of groundwater..

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    A short walk from the mine site is an ancient stone circle, known as 'The Hurlers'. Legend has it that these stones are all that remain of a group of blasphemous lads who were playing Cornish Hurling on a Sunday... and were magically transformed into stone as punishment.

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    Minions is the highest village in Cornwall at over 300 meters... almost a thousand feet above sea level.

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    The Hurlers Halt bills itself as 'the highest tea shop in Cornwall' offering Cornish Cream Teas. Too bad. Closed on Wednesdays.

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    The road south from Minions goes over the edge of Bodmin Moor. This is an ancient route.

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    And along the side of the road, marking the way, is "The Longstone" also known as "Long Tom". It's the best preserved of a series of wayside crosses that mark the route over Bodmin Moor. It stands about 6 feet tall. No one is really sure how old it is. Is it a Christian symbol from the middle ages, or a pagan standing stone from far earlier carved with a round top and a cross at a much later date?

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    We continued south across the Moor.

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    Further along, there's a stone enclosure by the side of the road. Two broken stone crosses from the ninth century tilt at angles inside. The lower one is King Doniert's Stone, commemorating Dungarth, the last independent king of Cornwall, who was drowned nearby in the year 875, apparently after backing the wrong side in a war between the Vikings and the Saxons. He was buried here, with the cross... these are the only existing 9th century crosses in Cornwall... inscribed in Latin: Doniert rogavit pro anima – ‘Dungarth has asked for this to be made for his soul’s sake’.

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    This is part of the Duchy of Cornwall, a scattered private estate of lands, holdings, franchises, etc. that belong by right to the eldest son of the monarch.

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    The properties provide the income that supports the Duke of Cornwall, with coffers that contain an estimated 1.2 billion pounds. You might recognize the current Duke, the longest serving in history. If he becomes king, the Duchy will pass to his eldest son, William.

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    The landscape rolls out in front of us... quilted fields and autumn hills beyond.

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    We crested another rise... and up ahead.... the snow capped peaks of Cornwall?

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    The sun was glinting off the white slopes. The road we were following wound around and up closer to the mysterious mountains.

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    A dusty road brought us past a closed gate. It's the Blackpool China Clay Works. Hmm. Pretty interesting. I read later that it's been closed since 2007, but it looked to me like there's a little activity left there. And apparently, there's still a few other China Clay mines in operation in Cornwall. IMERYS is a huge French company, with mines around the world. China Clay (aka kaolin) is the main ingredient... not surprisingly... in Porcelain. But the bigger use is to make shiny paper shiny. That smooth surface on your magazine page is made with China Clay.

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    Once we rode a little further up the hill, you could see more pits in the distance... big piles of clay and processing plants.

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    After the Blackpool Pit, we followed some quiet roads, pretty much a straight line southwest, down the height of land.

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    The white china clay receding behind us.

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    A leafy ford.

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    A stout bridge under the railway tracks.

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    We followed this old track for a long way. You could start to smell the ocean.

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    We met the sea at Penzance, and followed the road along the harbor through town. Are there Pirates in Penzance? Wondering...it's not like I'd admit to much interest in musical theater, but I guess I've mentioned them more than once on this trip. And as we got close, that's what I was thinking of: what are the finer qualities of a modern major-general?



    I spared Mrs Trip the agony of me singing the song I was humming. Actually, I don't have the chops to either hum it or sing it. But it's a pretty amazing proto-rap from the 1870's. Back in the day, Penzance was a popular holiday destination.... Britain's Carribean coast.
    And so I did point out to her... "We'll see palm trees in Penzance."
    She looked skeptical about that... and I started to worry when at first none jumped out at us. But finally..."there's one!" on the other side of this harborside house.

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    That's St. Michael's Mount in the harbor beyond. It's a tidal island, like the one we visited at Lindisfarne, except no vehicles are allowed on the granite causeway that runs there, passable only when the tides are out (you can see it on the right hand side of the picture above). Interestingly, Edward the confessor gave this island
    in the 11th century to the Benedictine monks of Mont Saint-Michel, the similarly-shaped island in Normandy, France . It's one of 43 non-bridged islands you can walk to in Britain. Hmm.​

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    We rode along a beachside boulevard. Wind surfers and kite surfers skimming the waves....

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    Boats bob on their moorings in the harbor.

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    We didn't stop in Penzance… we kept heading southwest... into the sun. Took a road that follows around the southern side of the peninsular. The ocean's out there...off to the left, although we never got a clear view as we rode.

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    And then we were at Lands End. It's the most southwesterly point of Britain.

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    You can't really see anything unless you go through the building at the end of the parking lot. It's a walk to the edge of England lined with souvenir shops. And there's the sign post. Unlike the one at John O'Groats, this one is behind a low barrier, and clearly the purview of the photographer that has a little hut in front. You gotta pay for a photo here. It cost me about $15 bucks for him to take a photo... I said, " what I really need is a digital one..." and he said, "after I take this one, I'll take another with your camera." And that's what we did. Just before us, a couple of newlyweds had had their picture taken, and I had him just change the name on the signpost to Trip. He took our pictures and took our money, and sure enough, a few weeks later a photo turned up in our mailbox... all the way from Lands End. The other photo you can see is from John O'Groats... the opposite tip of Britain... taken the first day of June. It used to be that the same company had the franchise for photos at both Land's End and John O'Groats. But a few years back, they stopped taking them in Scotland. Took their signpost with them when they packed up and left. The merchants up at JoG got together and put up another signpost. Nobody's watching that one... and it's gotten a few stickers in the meantime.
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    It's really quite a dramatic spot, up on the cliffs, overlooking the crashing waves below. Nothing but the sea and the Isles of Scilly between here and New York.

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    From Land's End it was a short ride along the north side to the town of St. Just, another stout old stone town hunched against the gales that sweep in off the Irish Sea.

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    We found the Wellington Hotel on the central square of the little town. You could feel a change to the air as we unloaded the bikes, the first scent of rain. Around the back was a courtyard, and we rode the bikes up a narrow alley and into the patio beyond, for safe keeping overnight. We walked around the square a bit, as the shops were closing. Pub food for dinner, washed down with a cider or two. A light rain was falling as we called it a night.

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  12. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

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    I am so, so jealous! What a great time.
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  13. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Excellent update @Rhode trip! Looks like a great ride making your way to Land's End. Some of those stone statues/pieces/crosses/etc are amazing, especially that broken cross from the king who chose the wrong side in the war against the Vikings. It's hard to imagine something like that enduring since 875, so flippin' cool.

    The side-by-side pics of you and Mrs. Trip at Groats and then Land's End are seriously neat - that's a lot of ground covered, can only imagine the wonderful memories.

    Appreciate the update, look forward to the next one :thumb
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  14. Essbee

    Essbee Been here awhile

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    Absolutely awesome!!!!!!
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  15. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Thursday, October 11th

    Sometimes, you do dumb stuff.
    You don't pay much attention to the forecast.
    You paint yourself into a corner down on the pointy tip of Britain...
    And now you can number the days before we fly home on the fingers of one hand.
    And "Storm Callum" is bearing down on us...

    Do we linger over a lazy breakfast in the pub of the Wellington Hotel? They put out a pretty good spread, by the way... though my picture seems a little fuzzy.
    Vision blurred. I haven't had my coffee yet....

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    Do we crawl back under the covers of our cozy bed upstairs? Plan a lazy day of reading and maybe a rainy bit of browsing in the little shops of St. Just?
    No... that would be the sensible choice. We have a better idea... we'll outrun the storm. So we packed our bikes in the courtyard.... a steady drizzle falling.

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    And off we went. Back across the final fingertip of Cornwall. To a petrol station on the outskirts of Penzance. A round-about... and the start of the A30 northbound.
    We filled the tanks... as I went inside to pay, a woman at the pumps said to Lynn "I can't believe you're riding those bikes in this weather. There's so much traffic because they've closed the bridge on the other motorway due to the winds!"
    She was right... the round-about was clogged. I started out from gas pumps, the wrong way into traffic, without thinking. Quick, a back-handed, off-camber turn to go the right way. Mrs Trip, following me, a wordless 'WTF' escapes her lips as she dropped her bike in front of a large lorry pulling in. The guys jumped out of the truck and helped her pick up the bike before I could even circle around. We're not off to a good start.

    Its raining harder now. The wind is blowing in powerful gusts, whipping the water sideways. We circled around the rotary, and onto the A30. That's right. A motorway... that on rational days we avoid like the coronavirus. The traffic is tight. The rain hammering down, then blown up again in the wake of the cars and trucks. We're swept along, in the tide of the traffic. Its steady, but slow. We're buffeted back and forth, ...stay in your lane.... splashing through the river that was a motorway. Bucketfulls thrown up... midchest… as faster traffic passes on our right. The face shields have become kaleidoscopes with a blur of smeared taillights and flashing indicators. We pulled off at a rest-stop, so I could check on Lynn. She's a trooper..."I'm doing all right" she said. We had a short respite, caught our breath out of the traffic. You can see how strong the winds have been... from the amount of leaf-litter on the ground. The highway is just a silver blur of chrome and glass through the trees. We wiped off our face shields and pushed back out into the river of water and steel.

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    We pushed on. The sheer volume of airborne water began to overwhelm our Gore-Tex gear. Seeping in, the cuffs, the waist, around the neck. Soon, our defenses were overwhelmed.
    Soaked through. Cold setting in. I pulled off again at the next rest stop. I can see Lynn's as wet as I am. We've ridden in a lot of rain... but this is a whole 'nother league.
    We have another breather. Then jump back in, swimming upstream...

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    We're doing all right, keeping up with the flow of traffic... it's slow, since the conditions are so bad... and the other drivers give us a wide berth, since we're obviously insane.
    I'm getting wetter and wetter... the cold creeping in, curling up my legs and arms, wrapping cold arms around my chest. I'm worried how Lynn is doing... but she's right there, pushing along. I turned off the highway when an exit appeared. Curled back on the cloverleaf and pulled into a McDonald's. I've never been so glad to see the golden arches. We parked the bikes and went in. "Coffee, please" drip, drip... we're leaving a trail of wet footsteps across the floor. Slid into a booth, clutching our coffee cups for warmth. Our clothes are leaking large puddles on the floor around us. The woman mopping near the door carried her 'caution: wet floor' sign over and put it next to our table. We entertained her as she mopped up our flood with repeating all the local names our southcoast New England towns share with Cornwall and Devon and the counties nearby. She good-naturedly mopped and squeezed and mopped some more as the rain continued to drip out of our clothes. We sat in puddles in the booth. Meanwhile, how's the weather in Penzance?



    Yes, that's the seaside promenade we rode along yesterday. A bit wilder today.

    We slowly came to our senses. There was a Premier Inn next to the McDonalds. I checked my tablet... vacancies available. So we rode over to the hotel, and got a room. Changed out of our sodden gear and hung it in the bathtub. Relaxed as the rain beat against the windows. Turned up the heat.

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    We only made 40 miles from St. Just that day. But it was an adventure. Since then, when we're out in the rain, we only need to look at each other, and say one word. "Callum."
    "Yeah. Not so bad out, after all."
  16. Nicknewb

    Nicknewb n00b

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    Oh yes, if there’s one thing the British Isles do well, it’s wind and especially rain!

    We have just suffered through 2 more “named” storms, just as bad as Callum. Hurricanes they ar not, but miserable they are..
    Great to see you continue the story, ta very much.
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  17. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    Previous update : luvverly jubbly.

    Wet update : yikes!

    great job all round. :thumb

    S
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  18. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Thanks, Nick. I am glad to see you're keeping your head above water. It sounds like the 1,2 punch of the last storms has been pretty severe.

    Thanks, Shaggie!
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  19. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

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    Not as bad as your experience but we(me) have made those fateful decisions with nearby rain. McDonalds does sound good right now too. Sunny but 3-4 feet of snow is keeping us housebound.

    Ride on!
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