Sunday, 27 June 2010

Exmoore and back in one day for a Hen Party

My sister is getting married next month to her lovely chap and I know that it will be a wonderful day for them both. I have never seen her as happy as she is at the moment and I am actually quite looking forwards to the event. However before a wedding there is always a Hen Party.

Carol and I were invited to Hazel's farm on Exmoor for the Garden Party and decided to take the bike to aid getting through busy summer traffic and because we just love riding Sylvie together. She has wonderful manners and great road eating abilities, but by heck does she need a new set of seat pads. I think both of us had a sore back side by the time we got home last night.

The journey started out smoothly enough with a quick sprint to the motorway, however, our first stop was at Taunton Dean because I was seriously hurting due to a previous injury and Carol nearly lost her cigarette tin out of her pocket on the motorway. A quick stamp around the car park was enough to ease my sore bits and once again we jumped back on Sylvie and headed back out onto the M5 for another blast down the three lane. When Carol is in the Pilot's seat, Sylvie has her other ECU in place and is kicking out her full 70 BHP, so cruising down the motorway at 105 is easily possible, if somewhat uncomfortable. In not much time at all, we were signalling our desire to exit the three lane and head onto the Tiverton road and take a blast into the country side. Blast being the operative word here, side winds, cross winds, head winds and tail winds seemed to buffet us about gently, but then that is a fast road and Carol knows how to make progress safely and effectively, even if sometimes I wonder just how she can make the bike do what it does.

Riding pillion with some one who has that degree of control is a beautiful experience, the road stops being long straight and boring and instead becomes a playground of swooping corners quick bursts of power as she over takes another slow moving van or truck. I can't tell you how long it lasted, but with both us hungry we had to find a place to stop. The Log Cabin was the place and the food was first rate. For less money that you would spend in a Motorway services for a mass produced corporate burger and fries, we had a lovely lunch and lovely cuppa.

While stopped at the Log Cabin, we met Kelvin, a local biker who was out on his two week old Triumph street triple. We shared the typical biker nod as we pulled in and then as we were about to settle down to eat, he got ready to go. However being bikers and this is the real difference between bikers and drivers here, he did not just drive off, stopped to say hello and share the passion of our obsession. A quick chat about bikes and riding and we even managed to get a photo of him and his bike next to Sylvie. Where ever you go Kelvin, keep it shiny side up and enjoy the eternal road. Always nice to meet another biker on the way. Once sat down again with our food and drink we enjoyed the burning hot sunshine and just relaxing as the day progressed. This place was beautiful and stopping here is highly recommended and not just for the food.

Back on the road and with only twenty miles to go, Carol was in energizer mode, the bike was handling beautifully and the miles were rolling by. Next stop Barnstaple for check of the map. Finally and with the days heat now becoming fearsome, we got with in a mile of Hazel's house and here is where things got the better of us. Carol likes technology, but does not always trust it. I like Technology and tend to think it knows best. Carol's phone has Sat Nav built in and in its clipped tones and direct directions it directed us close to Hazel's house, but then it got lost and sent us in a circle twice before Carol worked out the way. However, I thought the machine was close and went back a little to where it thought we should be, only to enter the most horribly narrow and gravel covered lane on the whole of Exmoor. Once again, I learned that Carol knows best.

We pulled up at the Farm and rode into Hazel's garden. Both Carol and I were exhausted and jumped off the bike as soon as we rolled to a stop before stripping off the baking hot riding gear. From here on it was an afternoon in the hot sunshine and can you guess who forgot the sun cream? Yes, it was sat on my book case at home, unused and sorely missed.

In the garden were chairs, a Bar-b-Que and a butt naked Butler. Brave boy that he was...

We also had a Swingball and as the afternoon turned to evening a fun competition started up. The fiercest competition of the day was between my Stepsister Sarah and Hazel's PE Teacher friend Jo. Wimbledon had nothing on these two and great fun was had by players and spectators.

Pretty soon though we found a kindred spirit in Rae, another biker and love of two wheeled mayhem. Bikers just have a way of finding each other and once again the talk turned to the joy of two wheels and riding in huge groups. Rae and Dionne had recently ridden the Plymouth Mega Ride, an event I last took part in as far back as 1995. Carol had one of her old badges from Kent Custom Bike show, dated 1987, not that she was showing her age.

As the sun started to dip to the horizon, Carol and I went for a walk into the countryside and with the hope of seeing one of the illusive Barn Owls, a true favourite bird of Carol's.

The lanes were lovely and warm and the wind of earlier in the day had stilled completely, the barley fields were silent and still and walking hand in had was so romantic. Even if I let my West Country Roots show through...

The sunset over the barley field was beautiful and we stopped to watch for a few moments, only to turn around just in time to see a big bird of prey take flight. I think it was a Buzzard, give that it was huge and luckily Carol managed to snap a photo.

The journey home started at about midnight and the roads were blissfully empty, the air was delightfully cool and Sylvie's engine sounded like a gentle growl in the silence of the country side. A quick stop at Barnstaple for fuel and once again we were back on the fast twisty A-Roads for a blast back homeward. The engine screamed under Carol's expert hand and we shot missile like along the road, over taking the occasional car and blasting along joyously. Tiverton came upon us all too quickly, even with our sore back sides and then we were increasing speed as we took the motorway to Taunton Dean Service station. A quick stop for a hot drink and for me to put on every spare item of clothing we had to stop me shivering in the wind blast and we were back on the road heading for home. Leaving the motorway and hitting the road into Weston was a blessed relief after the blast of the motorway, but pulling up outside Sylvie's garage was a final relief. Sylvie was put to bed and carefully locked away, with promises of a check over the following day.

Another brilliant day for a Curious Adventure and an adventure greatly enjoyed. Final thoughts though, Damn, I love my wife and our Motorbike.

Dedicated to my sister Hazel, wishing you a long and happy life with Dom, with all of the things you deserve to make a happy life together. With love from Carol, Jayne and Sylvie.

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