This time we are going to attempt weekly entries with less detailed narrative supplemented by more photos and captions. We hope you still enjoy reading about our adventure in its new format.
Getting to the UK this time was far less eventful than 2011. We had no travel agent stuff ups and very little time on the ground between flights. We arrived in London thanks to British Airways at 5:20am on 5th May - our son Stephen's 32nd birthday - Happy Birthday Steve!
After picking up the car it was straight to the Ace Cafe for breakfast.
For those new to our blog, the Ace Cafe was a Mods and Rockers hang out in the 1950's. It closed and then reopened in the early 90's as a meeting place for bikes, cars and rock music tragics. It was Italian Bike Day at the Ace so there were plenty of Ducatis and Aprilias but we only saw one MV Agusta - Chris was not happy!
After checking out the bikes and talking with lots of riders it was time to head south to our overnight accommodation in Deanland Wood, Sussex. We spent the night with Nellie and Eric DAVIS - the aunt and uncle of our brother-in-law, Michael Reilly.
A few drinks, great dinner and good company, it was off to bed after being awake for about 45 hours apart from cat naps on the plane trip over.
Monday 7th was a Bank Holiday but more importantly, it was the beginning of the motorbike riding season in the UK. The opening ride of the season is the ride out from the Ace Café to Hastings. The fact that we didn't yet have our bike was not going to stop us from attending. Hastings was a sea of bikes – estimated to be 5000 bikes of all shapes and sizes.
Trade stalls abounded in the Town Center and the bikes were lined up as far as you could see on the Esplanade. We wandered for several hours before deciding to hit the road and head to Ipswich for the night. The road was busy but we were happy not to encounter the traffics jams of 2011 when it took us and hour to drive 2 mile.
Ipswich is on our travel itinerary every trip and for a very good reason! We need to pick up our Triumph Sprint ST and Chris’s MV Agusta F3 from the Imorex shipping depot in Felixstowe, the port closest to Ipswich.
We arrived spot on 9am at the depot as instructed by Dave MILLIGAN who owns the company "Get Routed" that ships our bike for us. After speaking to Julie RANSOME in the office we discovered that Dave was in hospital in Ipswich with some heart problems – get well soon Dave. We packed the bike and headed off about noon. Next stop – Southampton.
Our overnight accommodation was to be with Greg’s cousin Betty and her husband Ciggy HUGHES.
When Greg pulled in to the car park at Betty’s we looked back to discover that Chris was no longer behind us. He had been there only a few corners back so Greg took off to find him. There was Chris, bike parked up by the side of the road – out of petrol! Chris is riding his new MV Agusta F3 and it does not have a fuel gauge. As he hasn’t done much touring on the bike yet, Chris was not sure of the distance he would get out of a tank of fuel – needless to say, he knows now!
A few family photos, great roast dinner and several glasses of red wine followed by many tall stories made the night with Betty and Ciggy pass too quickly. We hope to get back to see them in 2015.
The weather on the 8th
May looked anything but inviting when we set off for Wales.
Our plan was to ride to Llanelli (pronounced Canet-telli) for the night. Llannelli is a town on the south west coast of Wales famous for its Rugby Union team. Unfortunately for us Australians, they are well known for dealing out defeats to previous Wallaby touring parties. The good thing is that they have also beaten the All Blacks!
Once again when we woke up on the 9th
May the weather did not look kind at all. Kerrie decided to put on her wet weather gear and the boys followed suit – just as well. By the time we reached our destination of Pembroke to catch the ferry to Ireland, we were all cold but luckily, not too damp.
The ferry trip left 3 hours late and took 4 hours. Instead of arriving at our overnight accommodation at Riverbank House Hotel in Wexford at 6pm, we arrived at 9:30 – dinner at the restaurant was over so it was a cup of tea, some Betty cake a few sweeties and off to bed. The next 10 days are to be spent in Ireland – more to follow.
We decided this trip to change the style of our blog. On our last trip we created an entry from every place we stayed overnight. By the time 16 weeks were up, we were blogged-out.