The outside of a motorbike engine seen up close near the exhaust

Home Travel StoriesRain In The Far East

Off To Pop's

Ride Date 10 May, Rest Date 11 May 2023

By Ren Withnell

Oh boy! It surely did rain last night but I was not annihilated by a lightening strike - so that's good. As my bleary eyes start to take in my green-hued surroundings I appear not to be floating or wet or cold either - excellent. Come to think of it I can't hear rain either - wonderful!

It is very wet out there though. With coming and going into and out of the tent the groundsheet is getting muddy, but there's nothing I can do about that so I'm not going to worry about it. I feed my face, ablute my ablutions and get on with the task of packing up. Stuffing the soggy muddy tent into it's bag is unpleasant.

The grass is wet, there's puddles and it's rather damp at the campsite this morning
It's a bit boggy out here.
Muddy footprints on the flooring material of the tent
To be honest, I've experienced worse.

I have terrible news dear reader. The weather is "nice". Sorry. Regrettably the sun is making a hazy appearance, the temperature is comfortable with my riding gear on, and the forecast advises rain is unlikely. I fear today may be quite a good day to be on the road. I can only apologise for the lack of misery.

To add insult to injury today's 180 mile ride will not be ending with me in a dirty wet tent in a muddy field being eaten by midges or having to walk half a mile to the toilet block. Tonight I will be ensconced in the luxury of my father's place resplendent with walls and doors and a bed and there's even a garage for the bike to shelter in. Luxury I tell ya, luxury. Kids these days don't know they're born.

At a regular petrol station behind we see green trees and blue skies
It's still drying out, but look! Blue sky!

The A12 starts out pleasantly enough. Single carriageway with gentle bends and charming villages, farms and market towns. It's not long before this loveliness turns into dual carriageway motorway-esque transportation. I suppose I don't mind, I've a few miles to do and these dual carriageways allow me to get on and do them swiftly. The A12 becomes the A14, signs count me down to The Dartford Crossing and with a little confusion I'm eventually on the M25.

The M25's Clacket Lane Services provides a stretch of the legs and a quick brew. Even with Sat-Nav I still manage to get lost somewhere near Crawley, finding myself down some random single track lanes in woodland so dense it's almost dark. Horsham and the A24 bring back familiarity and it's not long before I'm rolling into my dad's driveway. 

Considering he's going to be 80 in a few months and his wife's just endured cancer surgery, neither of them outwardly appear to be suffering these ravages of time, both are looking well. Hot tea and biscuits? Lovely. A proper chair to sit upon? Even better. Chippy tea? Perfect. I've timed this well, the evening brings more heavy rain yet I barely notice within the amenity of a solid building.

There's little point me telling you of my time with dad - it's personal to me and of no relevance to this tale. It is worth mentioning we did visit Amberly Working Museum. Dad volunteers there because he likes to tinker with the little trains, it keeps him active, and it brings the benefits of social interaction. It also means we get free entry. 

Narrow gauge lines and the front of a very small train coming along the line
This is a diesel but there are choo-choos to play with.
An old engine powering a wood saw and a steam crane in the background
There's all kinds of old machinery here.

I'm sorry if this has been all to nice for you. Fear not as tomorrow I shall be back on the road and heading homeward. I have made the 280 mile trip many times before but it's a drag so I'm camping half way home to break up the tedium. The forecast is mixed, we shall see. I'm going to make the most of this comfort, goodnight!

Share your tales - click here.

Prolugue - Why Ness Point? Ren explains why he's off to the land of Daaan Saaaf. There won't be any mountains and no-ones going to give him any money, there must be a reason?
Wet And Wild, Sorry, Mild It's a somewhat mixed start to Ren's latest escapade. There's rain and the risk of being thrown into The Gulag, but it's not too bad at the end of the day.
Way Out East It's another grim day on the road although the reason for this trip is close at hand. So what does Ren make of mainland UK's most easterly point then?
Off To Pop's Bad news folks! Ren's having an OK day. This is the easy part of his trip and he's making the most of it.
Going Home And Epilogue It's time to go home and Ren is making his way North across country. There's a little too much time for thinking and he's on his high horse. At least it's not raining. Sorry.

Reader's Comments

Upt'North ¹ said :-
Oh I do like things that chuff and puff.
It brings out your inner fitter,

04/06/2023 12:55:33 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I'm sure there's a narrow gauge near you Upt' - I can see you in a boiler suit, flat cap and covered in oil and soot.

I wonder if one day I'll be an old chap, retired, volunteering at a local museum with a short stretch of private road where we can play with "Ye Olde Petroleum Engines". There'll be vintage Hondas from the early '20s (2020s) and I'll be showing young (mid 40s) chaps how to "set the tappets" and "adjust the clutch".
05/06/2023 07:25:02 UTC
nab301 said :-
Ren , the museum looks interesting , a week ago I followed a neighbour and a friend of his to Ballyfin outside Portlaoise (about 50 odd miles from Dublin) to a vintage rally / autojumble. There was loads of working machinery , saws and the like , vintage tractors steam etc some appeared to be running on paraffin. Of course I forgot to take any photos...

05/06/2023 13:10:20 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
The museum if fine nab301 and a pleasant afternoon out with my dad - but generally I'm not a huge fan of museums. Remind me of where you are in Ireland (roughly - don't give out your address). There's a slim chance her ladyship and I may be off to Ireland later in the year, we might bother you for a brew or at least some pointers

05/06/2023 19:45:22 UTC
Bogger said :-
Nab, noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo don't do it.

06/06/2023 13:03:59 UTC
nab301 said :-
. "Remind me of where you are in Ireland "
"Nab, noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo don't do it."
Decisions ,decisions What's the worst it can cost me Bogger? a pot of tea and a packet of hob nobs.... !!
As often mentioned Ren I'm Dublin based but Ireland is small and with adequate notice, travel is possible....I don't want to lower the tone too much.

07/06/2023 15:18:30 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
It's not so much the fiscal cost nab301 (although it may be higher than you imagine). It's the emotional cost. There are a string of BATties up and down the UK to this day still having nightmares. Oil dripping on the driveway, horrendously deformed motorcycles screaming for mercy, a conveyor belt of tea and biscuits all disappearing without so much as a thank you, and worst of all a dull monotone of drivelous nonsense spewing forth from my disfigured mouth. Be afraid, be very afraid...
09/06/2023 19:23:45 UTC

Post Your Comment Posts/Links Rules



Add a RELEVANT link (not required)

Upload an image (not required) -

No uploaded image
Real Person Number
Please enter the above number below

Home Travel StoriesRain In The Far East

Admin -- -- Service Records Ren's Nerding Blog