'Welcome to Wales', .... I'm sure there's a sign but we probably missed it in the torrential rain. Thankfully 'Army Surplus Gortex' is cheap and if your not too choosy about style and colour coordination then it's perfect for what we're doing. I was remarkably dry given that the Ace Cafe was our last rain free day. Alan's more conventional kit is keeping him dry too ... apart from his boots, ..... and his gloves, ... oh, and his jacket, but apart from that he's happy with the manufacturers promises of comfort and safety. Arise Mr Gortex and receive your Nobel Prize for services to motorcycling in general and old retired couriers in particular. Alan will dry out eventually, it's only water, .... get over it ;-)
On Friday evening we sloshed into Bewts Y Coed to meet a group of friends from Boxertrix, .. it was getting dark and just for a change we were running late. We pulled into our chosen campsite, 'Closed for refurbishment, Opens June 2008'. (How do you 'Refurbish' a campsite? Answers on a small postcard please). With no alternative site and with very sad wallets, we broke a cardinal rule of Poor Circulation and booked into a hotel for the night. In our defence, it was late, there was no other campsite within a 5 mile radius and as Snowdonia is a National Park, it's illegal to rough camp. At least we managed to dry out most of our kit while quaffing pints and pies in the Royal oak with a great group of guys from all over the UK, ..... however it was a shame that the hotel designers had chosen to fit light beige carpets throughout, .... hey ho.
Unfortunately for the Boxertrix crew they didn't get to see us riding our Tigers magestically through the mountains of Snowdonia but I'm sure they would have been suitably impressed if they had, ..... cough. We actually waited for the last BMW to leave the car park on Saturday morning before we even tried to start the bikes let alone wobble out before an enthusiastic audience, ...... but at least my bike started this time. We headed straight for Didcott to enjoy yet more Pie with old friends Mark and Anna before coming into London to collect our visa's for Russia, .... 'Closed All Day Sunday', ...... bugger.
I must be on holiday, I honestly can't remember what day it is. I think it must be Tuesday because this morning I had my final vaccinations against unknown tropical diseases that probably sting slightly less than the private clinics invoice, ...... 'how much, ... you said £60?', ...... 'EACH sir, ... £60 each, cash or cheque?'. From there it was straight back to London to collect our passports with shiny new Russian Visa pages while Alan was doing 'essential maintenance work' in the Poor Circulation shed, ..... nothing to do with the torrential rain then? Perfect timing really, we got the passports back with 24 hours to spare but only thanks to CitySprint stepping in at the last moment and Alan and I lightening our pockets by way too many of our English Pounds, .... but it'll all be worth it in the long ride. On the bright side, we were treated to lunch today (more Pie) at Farleigh Hospice in Chelmsford where a couple of friends, John and Joe, had come to wish us well, ..... thanks lads, but we still think your barking mad for riding so far in rain like that, ...... but it was much appreciated.
Tonight (still raining) we've been doing final preparations to the bikes. It would have been finished long before dark if Alan hadn't overfilled his sump when changing the oil. Alan, here's a tip bonny lad, when the bottle reads '5L'and your sump holds '4L', ...... don't pour it all in, .. it's ever so messy and not to mention expensive, .. but I will.
Tomorrow we head for Folkstone to camp with friends who also enjoy riding and pitching tents in dank conditions before catching the ferry to Calais on Thursday morning, ... surely France can't be this wet. 'Operation Stack, ....... what's that all about then?' Bon Soir.