Friday, 3 July 2009

He says - 36 hours

At the time of starting this we had been on the road for just over 36 hours. Leaving the house did not go as smoothly as expected or hoped. I got less sleep then I normally do, which is really to say none, a few hours would be a gross exaggeration, but it was not excitement that kept me awake. It was not even fear, it was the simple idea that we had so much to do and for the first and last time a set-in-stone-deadline. To make it worse, it was an early morning deadline, Tam told the realtors that we could have the inspection ”anytime after 10:00h”. Well they said okay 10:00h it is. Bugger! The morning arrived and I had to make a tip run (or two) to the recycling depot, pack the panniers, attached all the panniers, clean the garage, and help get the house set. I am sure there is more but in the blur that was that morning I can no longer remember. In truth I can’t recall much about that morning at all any more. The realtor arrived at exactly 10:00h, never has she been on time before. We were not ready. We dumped all the gear that was going with us on the drive-way, had the house inspection and only then started to load the bike.

It did not go well, things that fitted the day before did not fit, things that I did not know were going were there on the drive. I was stressed.

How could it be go so wrong, we have done bike trips before that is not that much new stuff, and some of the new stuff is smaller!

Two hours and a stress headache later, we jammed, crammed and forced things on the bike for no other reason then to get moving. Having done the worse packing job ever, we headed out. It was an amazing feeling to know that we are now homeless, not by force of poor financial planning, but the polar opposite. We are homeless by choice our home is our bike and where we decide to go. What an odd feeling it was too. Excitement crept in, but more a sense of complete and utter freedom, never before have I been so in control of my own life. The only person I have to answer to is Tam, and we think alike in ways that it just annoys other people.

Well mostly like,… mostly.

Anubis was too heavy and poorly packed, the weight was far too far back, the front tyre was light, the handling was horrible. We have not been so loaded since Romania, and then no so badly. I was nervous. I felt like I have not felt on a bike for near on 2 decades. I was a beginner again. Anubis for the first time in as long as I can remember was not part of me, he no longer reacted to the slightest shift in weight. I was frightened I was not going to handle it. I was not enjoying the ride; it was work. But it was work I was willing to do for the freedom that came with it. I think??

It did not take too long for me to compensate, and start to feel like I was in control of the bike. It was still not fun nor responsive, but less dangerous, I hoped. We needed to rethink the packing, and work on how things were going to go.

We headed north, the destination was Hadrian’s wall, but do to the late start and the series of errands that needed to get done before we were really set lose we knew were would not make it. A few hours on the road we started to look for a campsite just north of York. It took a few tries as I had forgotten to program the list of campsites in to the GPS, and the signage can be a bit confusing.

Finally we found a place called Kingfisher in a little town near an other Ripley. “Auspicious sign!”. We pulled in just as the caretakers were leaving for the night, but they allowed us to stay nevertheless. The combination of the Ripley association, the nice feel of the caretakers and the stunning weather made us both very happy and relaxed. We spent the night enjoying the atmosphere, and adding much needed stickers to Anubis.

The next morning by the grace of some unknown god, everything packed in to the Anubis as we wanted it to and could not manage the previous day.

Waking to a beautiful morning we explore a small city and its medieval cathedral in Ripon. Tam was in her element as this cathedral was famous for it wooden carved misericords. Form there we headed further north to make it to Hadrian’s Wall. There we found a stunning little farm stay campsite. It was so nice we immediately decided to stay three nights. That night we walked a small bit of the wall fulfilling a childhood dream of Tam’s.

The following morning,which although feels like day 6 is only day three and was bright and sunny. We spent the day walking the best-preserved stretch of wall, only to have the skies open and soak us.

We returned to camp to find it invaded. There lay, with in metres of our little tent two of the biggest tents I have ever seen. They covered (no exaggeration) ½ of the entire camp field. They were both filled with screaming children. The “adults” thought nothing of the noise made by their spawn nor of their loud radio. Our idyllic camping site, had just become my idea of a personal hell. While, typing this, one of the brats was screaming at the top of his lungs for “EVERYONE TO BE QUIET”. I agreed fully, but would like to add him to that order.

To date we have already experienced two problems, with our set up on Anubis, the first is the exhaust was blowing directly on to the tent pannier. This being only PVC it was getting too hot and started to melt. I had to invert the spark arrestor on the end can to redirect the flow of air. This combined with a bit of MacGuyvering a heat shield out of an old party size streets chocolate container, recovered from a recycling midden.

The second was when we got on Anubis on the third day the trip computer no longer worked. We would get only 8888 8888. Not sure what this means, but knowing that we need it to know the mileage for fuel consumption and for knowing speed in KMs, I was worried. This is not yet fixed, but hopefully it will be a simple matter. He says types this with a exacerbated expression on his face full well knowing it will not be.