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Published: April 28th 2013
This entry seeks to describe a typical day on the road. Granted, there has been no such animal thus far. We've had easy days (precious few) and tough, laborious days (quite a few) so a typical day will sort of be a leveling out of the two types.
I wake up about 7 o'clock. I start packing the panniers, shaving, washing up and gently shake Karen awake. She responds slowly, complains about aching muscles and, in a tremelous voice, utters her need for COFFEE. The day has begun.
We've spent the night in a luxurious B & B and so it's downstairs for the FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST. We meet Kit and Kathy downstairs and remark to each other the usual niceties. After the hostess has served us the whole thing Karen whips out a plastic ziplock bag. Quickly we each hand her our bacon and our sausages which she shoves into the bag. She gets the bag hidden at her feet just as the hostess returns and we all try to look innocent, probably fooling no one. The bag contains the foundation for our picnic lunch on the road.
Breakfast completed we load up our bikes, buy some
Picnic lunch overlooking Chulmleigh
Nearing the end of the hilly country
fruit and bread and cheese in town and hit the road. It is now 9 o'clock. The sky is cloudy with some blue breaks and we have 45 miles to go to our next destination. Our hopes are high.
WHOOPS! I forgot. All these towns are in the bottoms of tremendous crevices. They are definitely picturesque but also definitely hell to get out of on a bicycle. It's into our lowest gear we go and 15 minutes later we finally crest the hill and regain our breath. Now we can really get going.
Checking our map turns out to be a big deal. We've learned that getting lost is not a good thing - it's a bad thing. Not only do we lose precious time but we encounter traffic and/or very steep roads - neither of which we like but both of which we've experienced. So, at every change of road or junction we stop and consult our map. Things are going well.
By eleven o'clock we're ready for a snack. Kathy gets out a bag of goodies (usually nuts and dried fruit and just a bit of chocolate) and we all gather around to partake. Our
next stop will be for lunch.
At one o'clock we do stop. Things are going great. We're halfway to our destination, the scenery has been gorgeous, we haven't gotten lost, the people we've met on the way have been unfailingly pleasant and helpful and we still have tons of energy. Are we having a good time? YES.
Lunch over we continue on our way. For about 10 or 12 miles the traveling is smooth and we foolishly start talking to each other about how we're going to spend our leisure time this afternoon when we arrive so early. There will be time to read, explore the countryside, do the laundry, etc.. BIG MISTAKE. What was flat becomes hilly beyond belief. Up and down, up and down we go. The downhills are as torturous as the uphills. Several times we are forced to walk up hills that are between 15 and 25 degrees in pitch. Our advance is now down to between 3 and 5 miles per hour. Our muscles ache. Our temperment turns surly. Karen's devotion to me slips several notches. Kit's and Kathy's sentences to each other become shorter and shorter. It's getting colder. Whereas before the
birds were singing and the sun was warming our backs, now it is darker, maybe even threatening to rain. Whose idea was this anyway?
And, then, about 5 miles from the end, we get to that long, gentle downhill that takes us all the way into town - another beautiful, stunningly English, curvy streets, quaint shops, welcoming town. It's not 3 o'clock, it's 5:30 and we're very tired. Karen and Kathy do their magic in finding us another delightful B & B and Kit locates a pub that has great ales, ciders, fish and chips and steak and ale pie.
We eat, we laugh, we go to bed. Life is truly good. Just another typical day.
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