Friday, October 31, 2014

Ancaster to Ostrander

31 OCT - A 370 mile jaunt in the rain. Started out at 07:30 so of course it started raining at 07:00. 42 degrees, so no snow.

Crossed into Detroit over the Ambassador Bridge at Windsor, ON. Took all of eleven minutes to clear U. S. Customs.

Stopped at a Starbuck's in Lincoln Park, MI to meet with Ed and Kathy. Fun catching up on news.

Arrived at Susan's in Ostrander, OH at 16:00. Felt great to sit in front of the fire and enjoy a coffee while warming up after a day in the rain - my first real rain if the entire trip.

The forecast is that it'll clear overnight and that means the temperature will drop.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Toronto to Ancaster

30 OCT - A short day today, only fifty miles. Stopped on the way to visit with Shaan Shah's folks Sudha and Hemant regarding hiking the C2C in the U.K. Then  spent the afternoon and evening with Holly Ralph catching up on news, then a tour of the RCAF Museum.

Keeping fingers crossed that we get out of 'dodge' before snow hits.

Toronto - Sightseeing

29 OCT - Visited the Science Museum in the morning then had lunch at the St. Lawrence Market. What a selection of ethnic foods.

Greg and his bride Liz took us to dinner at the 360 restaurant on the 146 floor CN Tower. The last photo I'm standing on glass looking down 146 floors.

We'll be back on the road tomorrow, all the way to Ancaster, ON.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


28 OCT - Liz drove us out to the Toronto Airport (YYZ) this morning so I could clear the bike through Canadian Customs. Paid $80 to the freight forwarder for handling the bike and processing the paperwork. Then went to Customs. All they asked, 'Is the bike clean?' Told them that I'd pressure washed it in Manchester and he 'stamped' the Airway Bill clearing the bike. Took all of one minute. They never looked at the bike.

Went back to the freight forwarder and they brought out the bike. Much to my surprise, and relief, it was in a container. My understanding was that it would be on a pallet and shrink-wrapped.

Tomorrow is a day for sightseeing in downtown Toronto and then dinner with Greg and Liz. I met Greg in the Yukon three years ago when we were both on our trips from Deadhorse, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina.

Thursday we'll be back on the road and on the planned itinerary.

Manchester to Toronto

27 OCT - We were concerned about the Air Transat flight because about 50% of the reviews trash TS. No problem at all getting the checked luggage checked in and they didn't give us a hassle with our carry on.

Got to the gate and asked about the bike. Turns out the TS guy doing the weight and balance was doing his paperwork at the gate. The gate agent asked him via radio and we got the thumbs up through the glass.

Brand new A330 Airbus. The problem with traveling on a 'bargin' airline is that every fourth passenger is an infant or three year old. Thank God for ear-buds.

We took an hour delay so didn't pushback until 14:30. First the paramedics had to come aboard and remove a passenger, then a passenger didn't board the flight. In both cases they are mandated to remove the passenger's checked luggage. I can understand the medical situation, but the second one was a passenger they tracked down in a terminal bar with a gal he met so decided to not fly that day. A true case of terminal STUPID.

So, the eight hour flight was a nine hour flight. We got to YYZ an hour later than expected, as did another flight, putting an overload on Canadian Customs. Took us one hour in line to get processed into Canada.

Greg and Liz met us and took us to their downtown condo where we're staying the buildings guest apartment.

Feels great to be back in North America.

Tomorrow will be the Adventure of claiming the moto from Canadian Customs.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Manchester Airport - Day 3

26 OCT - Mike at TQ Express told us about the 'Cat & Fiddle' a bikers' pub on what is the U.K. Tail of the Dragon. We'd already turned in the bike for shipping so we took the bus over to see it.

Fun seeing all the bikes, mostly Triumphs, but a good assortment. The Cat & Fiddle Road is a meca for riders. Too many over-ride their skill level and about 25 per year manage to kill themselves. Wish we'd had the moto but some of the guys said the roads we rode last Thursday were a lot more diffucult than the Cat & Fiddle.

Tomorrow, Monday, our flight to Toronto departs at 13:30 and we should arrive at 16:50. We'll be crossing a time zone about every hour. Speaking of time, this part of the world went off DST last night.

The next entry should be from Toronto, Canada. It'll be great to be back in North America.

Manchester Airport - Day 2

25 OCT - We're without the moto as it was turned over to the freight forwarder yesterday, so we're traveling by bus. They have a great system of public transport here in the U.K.For example both the bus and train stations are right at the airport terminal.

Took the bus back up to the 'Peak District' to hike a bit. Stopped in Buxton to change to a bus that would take us to Bakewell, so had a coffee while waiting. No Starbuck's in these villages.

The bus drivers are anazing on these narrow two-lane highways and even narrower village streets. Clearance in some places is about six inches on each side of the bus and they hardley slow down.

Had a nice walk in the hills above Bakewell. Only makes us more anxious to get to the Lake District next May for another Coast-to-Coast  (C2C) Trek.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Manchester Airport

24 OCT - It rained all night here at the Manchester Airport. Let up this morning at 09:30 when we headed over to the Cargo Facility to drop off the moto at Servisair Cargo to be processed for shipping on Air Transat on Monday.

Once at the cargo facility I provided them with all the documents for shipping and clearing customs. Plus I gave them copies of the ICAO and Tranport Canada documemts showing that are 'safety vests' with CO2 cartridges can be on the plane.

I removed the mirrors, the GPSs, and packed our riding gear, minus the jackets,  and tools in the panniers. Hopefully the bureaucrats at U.K. Customs will follow the ICAO regulations and the bike and all our gear will arrive with us in Toronto on Monday afternoon. Fingers crossed, toes too.

We have Saturday and Sunday to explore the area but transport will be by bus.

This is the 80th day since leaving home. If all goes as planned I'll be home on 10 November. And just short of 12,000 miles thus far.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Buxton to Manchester via Eyam

23 OCT - The day started looking like we'd get some pretty heavy rain but it never happened. We toured in the Peaks Districk and rode miles on very narrow back-country roads. Also hilly, some 20% grades, along with 210 degree turns. Gets old real fast, especially meeting trucks that are wider than their lane.

We had to see Eyam, the village hit by the plague, from London, in 1665. Amzing because the village elders made the decision, that the towbspeople accepted, to let nobody leave or enter the village. (Lesson from 1665 for Africa today?)

We made it safely to Manchester where the bike will be handed over to the freight forwarder to be preped to fly with us on Monday, the 27th., to Toronto.

Arriving at the hotel airport in Manchester I pulled in front of the wrong gate to enter the parking lot. There were no cars behind me so I let the bike roll back so that I could enter via the proper lane and Sara could get the ticket. She leaned from the bike and got the ticket, like she has done many times at toll booths across Europe. The gate went up and I started forward. Just as I was about to pass the gate it came down. I grabbed the brakes to avoid hitting the bar and damaging the windshield. The front wheel was slightly turn so the front wheel took us down. At 3 mph no big deal other than drawing a crowd. They did help us right the beast.

We're OK. A couple of new scratches on the crash bars, but that's what they're for.
At the end of the saga the hotel manager reviewed the video, everything here is recorded, and determind that when I came at the gate in the center of the lane I missed the sensors so the gate came down. They offered to have the crash bars repainted but I explained that the bike was a GS and over time there would be scratches. So, he gave us free breakfasts for the four mornings we're here and free parking. We're talking about $250 or so. (We 'd have probably gone to McDonalds for egg McMuffins.) Now we'll enjoy the 'full English' breakfast.

In closing I might add, in the 11,600 miles of this trip so far, we made it to the U.K. before dropping the moto. (That's not to say there haven't been a couple of close calls.)

Timorrow the bike goes to the freight forwarder to be preped for shipping with us when we fly to Toronto on Monday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Clun to Buxton

22 OCT - Due to bad weather coming across the U.K. from the west and the 70mph winds we stayed yet another night with Jane and Julian. (Thanks to Jane's wonderful meals I'll have to go back on Weight Watchers when I get home in November.)

Thankfully this morning was a blue sky day. We loaded up the Beemer and I rode it to the top of the driveway alone.Didn't want to drop the beast on the slippery hill leading to pavement. Sara was happy to walk the 100 yards.

The 100 mile ride to Buxton was scenic and even more so the last twenty-five miles when there were numerous rock cliffs along the road. We didn't have time for a swing over to Ireland and Jane suggested we take a swing through the Buxton area as we've never been in this part of the U.K. We're happy that we took her suggestion.

We left our friends in Clun (the nearest village) at 10:00 and got to Buxton at 13:00. Stopped at the city tourist  information office and Sara found us a B & B, the Braemar. It's strange, but nice, to be able to park the bike in the unfenced driveway and not worry that it might be gone in the morning.

Tomorrow we'll ride the 25 miles to Manchester and stay near the airport to be ready to turn the bike over to the freight forwarder on the 24th.  We fly to Toronto on the 27th, on Air Transat, with the bike as cargo.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Unexpected extra day at Clun

21 OCT - Such high winds and rain overnight and this morning we decided to spend another day with Jane and Julian.

Julian was nice enough to drive me to the next village where I was able to get a haircut from a real barber. Cost five pounds. Sure beats the $30 it cost me in St. Petersburg. Didn't get a haircut in Moscow because they wanted $50.

Looks like good weather tomorrow so we'll head up to the Buxton area and explore. The day after tomorriw we turn the bike over to the freight forwarder at Manchester Airport. Then on the 27th we fly to Toronto. The bike will be in the same plane.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Clun - Rest Day 2

20 OCT - Today is Sara's birthday. Actually we were here in Clun two years ago on her birthday.

Spent the day sightseeing in the area with Jane and Julian. Such great hosts.

A storm is coming from the west and if the 70mph winds hit the coast the ferry to Ireland from Fishguard may not run. We'll have to make a decision in the morning.

The bike has to be dropped at the freight forwarder in Manchester on the 24th to be preped for shipping on the 27th. It'll be on our flight. So, we'll have a couple of days to explore the Manchester area.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Clun - Rest Day

19 OCT - Enjoying a rest day visiting our friends Jane and Julian.

As many of you know we love the U.K. and having friends show us the area around their farm is great.

Plus we had a blue sky day.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Le Mans to Weymouth, U.K.

17 OCT - We had an easy ride from Le Mans to Cherbourg where we caught the ferry to Portsmouth. When we arrived at the port Sara spotted a guy waiting in line and on a GS.

Turns out the the 'Barfleur' would take us to Poole, not Portsmouth. Talking with Ray, the fella on the GS, we found out that our hotel in Portsmouth was about fifty miles from Poole and he'd be happy to hist us. The IBIS hotel wouldn't cancel our reservation be cause it was after 14:00.  We decided to stay with Ray.

We departed Cherbourg at 18:30 and arrived in Poole at 21:45. Sara's passport 'chip' wouldn't work so it took us forty minutes to get her cleared. Ray was nice enough to wait for us as he was leading us to his home in Weymouth.

The ride to Weymouth was twenty miles and in the rain. Not much fun but we were able to draft Ray and made it without a problem. Would have been hell if we'd been alone.

Had the bike put away and we were in bed by midnight, after a cup of coffee to warm up. Also met Ray's pet parrot.

And the miles for the day - 222.