Out of the blue; a tricky decision.

Trip Start Feb 28, 2009
Trip End Jun 20, 2009

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Thursday, March 5, 2009

Forecast last night said a centimetre of snow. I have to be in Weymouth
today in order to get the ferry tomorrow. So its going to be a riding
day in slightly difficult conditions; possibly with a wet tent.
Tomorrow's start for the ferry check in is likely to be early; the only
available site is several miles from the port and I'll need to strike
camp. There is a strong possibility that part of this process will be in
the dark.
Finally I'm missing a bit of map for the first part of the ride so it
will be a challenge; there seems to be a shortcut along a bridlepath but
without a map or local knowledge it will be tricky.
So return from the Lover's Knot, use the loo, put on thermals and go to
bed. Sleep quite well till about 1am then wake up about every hour. Its
spitting on the flysheet making a gentle drum like noise. Finally fall
asleep again and wake up at 7.30 am. The roof of the tent is very low
and has something resting on it. The pressure is such that the flysheet
and inner are touching; leakage is an imminent threat. Outside masses of
snow has fallen and we have maybe three inches; the door zips are buried
and the porches foreshortened.
I shake the tent poles vigorously to shift the snow; on the sides it
flies off but the roof's centre is almost level and it stays put. I
decide to push it away from inside; now the weight of the snow keeps the
skins together and allows melted water to drip inside the tent. Much worse.
I retrieve the phone to try and take some pics; the battery is dead.
It's becoming obvious that I will have to get up and clear the tent from
outside; then follows a convoluted samba beneath a very cold and wet
inner roof.
Finally get out and discover that there has been a lot of snow. A lorry
is stuck on the hill and revs pointlessly on it. The police close the
main road out of the village; no-one is even trying the minor roads. The
snow is very wet and heavy; it has knocked out the village's power
supply and taken the only mobile phone mast out of operation. Landlines
are out too; only those with calor gas have heat or cooking facilities;
no-one has TV or radio.
My campsite neighbours invite me in for a coffee; it was hard to say no!
Then they start having trouble with their gas bottles. I have to cycle
30 miles today; the ferry is tomorrow. They turn out to be the parents
of the landlord; a rather civilised arrangement for seeing their
grandchild in easy chunks. The landlord and his wife arrive to announce
that the pub is basically without electricity or gas and none of the
phones work.
They ask what I'm going to do; I really want to ride and to give up
within three days seems lame. On the other hand I do have to get there
and parts of the route are much higher than this campsite. Given that
the tent will now be very wet I decide to seek a B&B in Weymouth close
to the ferry. The landlords father then says he will have to go to
Blandford Forum and I ask if there's a station there; there isn't. The
conversation continues around various options; the weather is fine and
sunny and a thaw is clearly underway. A lift to the nearest station
looks like a good option except that the nearby train lines run in the
wrong directions.
Eventually he volunteers to take me to Weymouth; its a very generous
offer and given the state of the roads I accept. The bike is dissambled;
squeezed in his boot and we set off. I'm very glad not to be riding; the
gutters are either feet deep in snow and slush or mini rivers. Most
roads consist of tyre tracks with 6 inches of snow down the centre. It's
very bad and mixing it with traffic would be very risky. Side roads are
often closed; we see many stranded vehicles and meet a snowplough. I
don't think I've ever seen a dump like it. It does make the countryside
very pretty though.
Finally the approach to Weymouth is steep, winding and a slow traffic
crawl. I'm dropped halfway in; he refuses petrol money and joins the
crawl out of Weymouth. An absolute star; thank you so much.
From there its a simple ride down to the sea; find tourist information
and get a single room with wifi for 30. The afternoon is dry, fine and
sunny and the tent dries on the line. A welcome shower and shave follow.
Weymouth is an interesting town being partly old resort but also clearly
short on jobs. This is where todays photo's come from; you can clearly
see the snow on the surrounding hills.
Tomorrow's adventure is 6 hours on the vomit comet and switching to my
oversea's mobile number. Hopefully my last encounter with snow; there's
a reason the tent is three season. Never thought this part of the jouney
would be this exciting...
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