Epic Adventure Starts Here.
Here we go! We’re off!
48,116 miles on Smoggy’s clock. Panniers packed, and not the night before for once. Mind you, there are other blogs telling that tale.
We left work on Wednesday afternoon, once Ed had signed off a rather substantial EPOS bill. For those that don’t have a clue, that means ‘Electronic Point of Sale’, or ‘new tills’ in simple terms! It was a massive weight off his shoulders, and mine, to be fair. It’s been driving him demented for weeks.
Enough of work. Off down via my Mother and Father in-law’s in Edinburgh, treated to a lovely Chinese, it hit the spot quite nicely. A couple of glasses of wine, and I was in my bed for 9:30. I pretended to read my Kindle. Zzzzzzz
Hair cut in the morning. Ed too. It was quite odd, I walked away from Smoggy, about 100m down the road, the alarm went off. Whatever. Kept walking. When I went back to the bike, having had my ears lowered, I unset the alarm. Oddly enough, the alarm light flashed twice, once before I moved off and then again, once I got on the move. Nae buther, I was on the way to BMW anyway, their coffee’s good.
Just for good measure, Tony checked my (well, Smoggy’s) suspension setting. There’s naff all left to adjust. Time for an upgrade? Calm down, suspension update, not the bike! Tempted with upgrading the brakes too, if it’s possible!
After that, a visit to Gina. After a few cracks and whooshes, she’s a chiropractor after all, I was under instructions to drink as much water as I could, as much as it took to need a pee. The only problem was, Coldstream may not be far down the road, however when you’ve just swallowed a litre of water in 15 minutes, one has to consider the consequences of riding a motorcycle with a full bladder!
We stopped off in Coldstream for a bite of lunch. Mad Hatters tearoom was just the ticket. I had stopped there earlier in the year with Rennie, Rory, Kenny, Jeff and Iain. I just had to have a cream scone to follow my bowl of soup. Ed hinted at getting a taste. Oops. I ate the lot!
We both looked longingly as we passed by the signs for the Newcastle ferry. As it happens, we would probably not go to Hull again, well, not in the winter. The last 2 hours of our run was verging on purgatory. In the dark, the only bonus was, it’d stopped raining. That was the only good part. Never mind. We got there, as much as we had to dodge the HGV driver whose indicators were knackered. Even Ed admitted to feeling tired. Or bored.
We’d booked a suite for a treat. I have to say, it was well worth it. In the usual cabins, it’s ‘excuse me’ …. Excuse me….. Make space to walk past each other, booking time in the loo and shower. Piling your gear up in the one corner available. The suite, however, had bags of space, a separate toilet, with sink; shower, with sink, no need for negotiating space. Bonus. TV, alcohol free mini bar, free chocolates and a glass of champagne each. Get in! Oh, tea / coffee making facilities.
Apart from the extra 2 hours ride, it was worth it for the extra comfort.
Then we got the Captain’s announcement. He said something about 7-8; whatever that meant. Just in case it involved inclement weather, we had our champagne and a steak dinner that might just have involved a cheeky wee Chateau Lafitte. It was very good, service was great by a team of Portuguese staff.
If it was windy during the night, I didn’t notice. Well, maybe I did, I had a fright-mare about a rather large ship sinking, it must’ve been the cheese we ate to go with the red wine. I was glad to see Smoggy still standing on his wee side stand in the morning.
The ferry arrived into Rotterdam 2 hours late. One hour, due to the weather; the other hour, a lad getting helicoptered off the ship. His mate (drunk) had literally kicked his head in. Ouch. The Police were there to welcome him to Holland.
Then it was ‘all about Fanny’. Now, we love Fanny the sat nav, however, when she decides to throw a hissy when we got off the ferry, we were less than amused. Eventually we persuaded her to behave.
I looked up Gerbing on Google, off we trotted. It said there was a shop, what a bonus, it was open today…. Well, it was on Friday! .We gave the information to Fanny, headed off to see if I could get heated trousers. Apeldoorn is the home of Gerbing. When we got there, we were slightly perplexed. It was someone’s house. Oh well, we must have made a mistake. Round the block, much frowning. Much slo-mo practice. A Dutch gentleman was going into the drive, on his push bike…. He asked if he could help. I shared our issue. Yes, we were at the correct place. No, there wasn’t a shop, however we were welcome, but cash is king.
There, we met Gert, the guy who invented the gloves (to start with). He told us that he got his Mum to unpick a pair of gloves, he inserted the wires, his Mum stitched it back up. It seems the rest is history; thankfully his Mum doesn’t have to stitch anything up now. The ‘headquarters’ are a basement in his house. Stuffed with gear, floor to ceiling. Ironically, there’s a sauna in the toilet area. Down to earth guys, very helpful, and (after paying cash) I ended up with a pair of heated trousers. Sorted.
Last stop for the day, Exloo. Party time for two evenings.