Sunday, 28 September 2014

Over Too Soon

Got up early this morning around 5am. Not that I wanted to get home quickly, I was just that anxious to get back on the bike. Looking out over the balcony, the sun was trying to make an appearance over the heavily fogged ocean horizon. I went back to bed. 

8am and I was down in the hotel restaurant having breakfast. I left my phone in the room so I could deliberately eat slowly and enjoy the now much clearer ocean view. I had hoped for splashing and ocean wave sounds but none to be heard all night or this morning. In fact, the tidal movement now exposed an extended beach shoreline all the way to the end of a nearby pier. I hadn't planned for that. Nothing to look at but sand. Evenso, the sea was distant in view and the stillness was calming. I decided to stop complaining and enjoy it. 

Back in my room, I programmed CoPilot to take the most major non-motorway route home. I tweaked it here and there, and it finally calculated 2 hours and 11 minutes. This is one of the advantages of CoPilot: it allows you to drag the suggested route around to suit, and even save it. It also has vehicle options so mine is saved to motorcycle. In terms of versatility and lists of features (and I did a lot of research) I'd say it is tops for a bike tourer. 

Anyway, as I had decided from yesterday's ride that my bike was not suited for a long scenic tour, I was very happy with the 2 hour dash, and checked out of the hotel just after 9am. 

My bike was just as I left it parked yesterday. I had a feeling it would be.  I had it on the top level of a nearby mall car park which had 24-hour security. Plus, I switched on the bike's immobiliser, put on a Xena Alarmed disc lock on the front tyre, locked the steering, fixed the bike to a railing which I parked beside with a Gold Secure Armoured Chain bike lock, and then covered the whole bike all the way over with a waterproof bike screen. Having read multiple articles on bike security, I aimed to increase the time as much as possible that it would take to shift the bike away. With the 24-hour mall security cameras, I slept without worrying about it. 

As I rode out to find the car park pay machine (website said £15 for over 7 hours from my research), I saw two men fixing one of two pay machines on the ground level.  I put my ticket in one and it ate it. Good thing the men were right there. Seeing my helmet and bike gear, they asked if I rode a bike. I said yes. 

"It's free parking for bikers", he replied, "Go to the barrier, press the button and I'll let you out."

Yay! I rode to the barriers out of the sight of the men and well, there were two exits. Now which one did he control? I went to the nearest on the right, pressed the button, and the barrier arm on the left raised open. I made a quick dash for it, but the barrier arm came down with a thud on my helmet. As it didn't knock me out, I speedily accelerated out. Had to take a breather for a moment from the shock. 

I hit the open road where the speeds varied between 40 and 60 mph. I took that motorway-like road again and decided it was just a major dual carriageway. I rode it the full length at 50 mph average and loved it. 

The roadkill was resplendent ... not! They were everywhere. Is that an early morning phenomena on major roads? With all the twists and turns to avoid them, they gave me good practice for my MOD1 off-road test. I dodged one looking like a very large possum. It pretended to be dead with guts spilled out over all it's body. Great performance!

I made one stop to top up on fuel and had a sugarless black coffee to keep me alert. I also stopped into a motorbike accessory store and picked up some freebie magazines. I was back on the road quickly after. 

Nothing more to report except that I noted the main hazard I had to watch out for on these major roads is cars changing lanes unannounced. On local roads, it is waiting vehicles on a side road crossing my path to enter the road I'm on, or on-coming vehicles crossing my path to turn into a side road. These hazards felt equally threatening to me regardless of road type and so I kept my awareness sharp. 

I made it home in the couple of hours as planned, and have already booked my hotel two weeks from now for the next coastal trip to a different UK town.  Still doing an overnighter though as I can't be away longer. And, I'd have booked for next week but it's my son's birthday so I need to be home to celebrate with him.

I may write about my next adventure then. Maybe. 

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