I left Gloucester - Georgian Guest House - at about 7.50 this morning. Actually, I couldn't wait to leave. The guest house was a bit cheap and nasty, and I don't think there was one stick of furniture in there that wasn't bought from a secondhand shop. The place was clean enough, and I was made to feel welcome enough, but for £20 it wasn't the best place to stay. The bed was lumpy and I couldn't get comfortable - there were two single beds in the room and I suppose I could have tried the other, but instead I just curled up and wrapped the duvet around me. I slept like a log nonetheless!
Gloucester is a bit run down and scruffy, or should I say, the bits I saw were run down and scruffy. However, the pub along the road was very good indeed. The Linden Tree was run by a Scotsman with excellent staff, and the beer was good and plentiful, and the menu - though small - was good too and I spoke to the owner saying how good his pub was. The customers were friendly and full of banter, and I wasn't treated like a Stranger in Town. Good pub, in a poor and scruffy area.
Anyway - I left quickly after a poor but ok-ish breakfast.
Down the A38, the Wind Gods were favouring me again. Wow! Why can I have following winds all the way from Inverness? Have I been a good boy?
I sped south, and as I'd been speaking to Mike - from the CTC Forum - I was ready to find him at about 10:30 as I approached Bristol. He and his son Will, were coming into town by train and they would meet me enroute. I was ahead of schedule and flying along!
I was flying along for two reasons: one, the wind was blowing me along, and two, my bum was feeling as fine as it could be considering the punishment it's had for the past 11 days of Choppering. For some reason, my bum seems to be getting used to all this, so "flying along" sums it up ok.
At 10:30 I was in Patchway, and I phoned Mike and Will and timed my ride so they could catch me as I approached the city. They did this easily and we stopped for a chat. We stopped for a chat many times on our way south, and very enjoyable the chats were too!
Bristol city centre came and went by way of my Garmin 705, even so, I missed the way a couple of times. It's difficult following a pink line and messages when you're trying to push your way through traffic and negotiate junctions. We did it, and popped out into the south of the city ok.
Following the A38 is easy really, and eventually we spied Bristol Airport at the top of the hill. The trouble was, on the roundabout, there were blue lights flashing and a tail-back of traffic. We made our way to the head of the queue and spoke to the policeman who was turning lorries and cars around. He said that there had been a fatality, and if we wanted, we should carry on and see if the police at the scene would let us through. Diversions are not much of an option to an End-to-End cyclist! We rode on, down the long hill and hoped for the best.
The road was deserted, of course, and what seemed like miles later, we encountered the accident. It seems that it was a motorcyclist, and as everything was cleared up ready to let the traffic trough again, to our relief, the police waved us through.
After the hills south of Bristol, the road is almost totally flat - except for some small hills at Pawlett - and I powered my way towards Bridgwater. Mike and Will had an easy time of it and left me for dead even on the slightest slope. They were riding road bikes as light as a feather and geared sensibly. Me, on a hundredweight of a Chopper and trailer, were having trouble.
At the Welcome to Bridgwater sign, we stopped off for the required photographs, then carried on the mile or so into the town. I knew the way, and suggested they call in at Admiral Blake Guest House with me as I'm sure Pauline wouldn't mind them stopping in for a cuppa. Also, Pauline would know where the railway station was so they could let the train take the strain and get them back home.
After a cuppa, they left - just like that. Hopefully they made it home ok, then I went to my room, showered and walked out to find a pub for a couple of beers then a Chinese takeaway to scoff.
Job done, and here I am typing away.
(May pop out for another beer or two soon)
Tomorrow will see me at home in Gunnislake. I have 70 miles to ride out of Somerset and into Devon and Hilary should pick me up at Sourton (pronounced SORE-TUN, not SOWER-TUN) (Thank you Jogle2011 for your pronunciations!) just up the hill out of Okehampton. There's a service area there just off the main A30 where there's a Little Chef, and petrol station and a Travel Lodge just across the road from a big layby about 20 miles from home.
On Saturday after a day off, Hilary will drive me and Chopper back to Sourton, and I'll carry on down the Old A30 via Launceston (pronounced LAWN-STON, or if you're Cornish LANSON) and then west and south through Camelford and Wadebridge to St Colmb Major.
721.72 miles from JOG
only 170 miles to do!!
Thanks for reading, and only three more Choppering days to Land's End.
Regards and best wishes,