Monday, June 26, 2006

670 miles older and wiser

Wow, what a great trip. I got home at 2pm this afternoon and we left at 3pm on Friday so that's near enough 3 full days riding and we covered 670 miles.

We left a little later than planned on Friday and immediately hit traffic on one of our only sections of motorway, the first few miles on the M3. There had been a big accident and we slowly filtered through it onto the A303. Within 10 minutes on the A303 we were bored of the dual carriageway and hankered after some decent and quieter roads.

We headed cross country past Andover and towards Devizes and then up past Bath towards and onto the M4 and then M48 towards the old Severn Bridge. A quick sight seeing stop and the Severn View Services and then on towards our destination for the evening.

We got off the motorway fairly quickly and headed to Garan's parents house for our stay on Friday night. It was on arrival at his parents house near Newport when Garan pointed out my front brake light switch wasn't working.

After failing to repair the switch myself on Saturday morning we phoned around and managed to pick up a replacement in Newport for £12 +VAT. Once fitted we were on our way.

We'd underestimated quite how long it was going to take to get to Swansea and arrived at just after 1pm (we'd planned elevensies there). We decided to push on and stopped for lunch at Mumbles Head which is a really pretty lighthouse on a large rock outcrop.

We then headed back north towards the A48 and west towards Haverfordwest and then north for a coffee stop at Fishguard. We'd made up a bit of time by this point but it was still 5pm by the time we got there.

The A487 from Fishguard to Aberystwyth was taken at a more leisurely pace and was a great road that was fairly quiet with lots of nice sweeping bends and some pretty amazing views.

We got into Aberystwyth just before 7pm and as Garan had stayed in our hotel before got us straight there. We were amazed how tired we were once we'd stopped. You just don't notice it when riding but it hits you straight away once you stop.

A decent curry and a few cold lagers filled our bellies and then it was back to the hotel to crash out.

We were away by 10am on Sunday and headed out of Aberystwyth on the A44 and immediately we were in some pretty spectacular scenery, some of it was simply breathtaking and the photo's don't do it justice.

We got onto the A470 south towards Builth Wells and again the scenery we staggering. At Builth we headed towards Garth and then south on the B4519 road towards Brecon. This was a very quiet road with just the sheep to keep us company.

Lunch was in Brecon and then it was off on the A438 and then the B4350 past Hay-On-Wye and over a rickety wooden toll bridge. We we're relieved of our 10p each and then it was right back onto the A438 and out of Wales.

We headed out on the A438 towards Leominster and noticed a marked build up in traffic and pulled into a Garage for a quick break at about 3.45pm. AT 4pm the roads were empty, it was like a ghost town while everyone found their place to watch the England v Ecuador world cup match.

We took full advantage of the quiet roads and headed off towards Great Malvern via Ledbury. We got to our B&B in Leigh Sinton in time to miss the only goal and catch the last part of the second half. This was a lovely little "proper" B&B. We were the only guests there and it was literally in the middle of nowhere. We had to get back on the bikes to go out for dinner but it was a small price to pay.

This morning started with a monster breakfast and a decision to head straight back as it was raining. We took the A44 towards Oxford and then the A34 south towards Newbury and the A339 to Basingstoke and then the A30 back to Hook and then onto to home. The last few hours from Oxford were in torrential rain and I was cold and tired by the time I got home. But I still had a great time.

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