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Heading Home Day 2

Ride Date 16 July 2023

By Ren Withnell

Wow! After both of us practically passing out rather than going to sleep last night, we must have both slept the sleep of the dead. I stir back to life around 0630, slightly bemused at my surroundings until the brain fog clears. I'm in need of a pee and the bitter cold of the bathroom floor tiles does wonders for the concentration. I'm struggling to decide if I feel greatly refreshed or if I've overslept.

As I'm coming to terms with existence once more something else confuses me - Sharon wakes up too. I inform her of the early hour, fully expecting her to turn over and go back to the important business of sleeping. No, she's decided she's getting up too. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm having a breakdown of some kind, maybe a fugue.

By the time we've had a brew, completed our morning ablutions, dressed ourselves and discussed last night's fatigue it's 0800 and our breakfast isn't booked until 0900. Outside the sun is shining and with an hour to kill we set out for a gentle stroll around the tiny village of Sambourne. 

An old timber framed and heavily thatched house in the village
Oh yes? I say rather spiffing. Don't fancy the maintenance though.

Sambourne is indeed quite lovely. Quaint, rural, clean, and at 0815 on a Sunday morning deathly quiet. We're not among mansions here yet the houses are larger than average and the cars on the driveways are newer than most. Yes, we can imagine life here is comfortable and also convenient, with the large town of Redditch nearby for shopping and Birmingham beyond that if you need a major city. 

A village green with road around it and a large tree, very smart and very peaceful
The hustle and bustle of city life hasn't reached Sambourne.
A modern house, nicely styled and in keeping with the village
It's not mansion living here, but these folks ain't struggling.

A cursory look on Rightmove assures us we'll not be moving here any time soon. Anyhow Sharon points out my home made handguards and DIY shed extension, a garden filled with rusting motorcycles and my shorts made from an old pair of jeans, these things might upset the resident's association.

Breakfast is served in the pub, which is fine. Our host is happy and friendly and the food is, well, acceptable rather than magnificent. We stuff our faces and head out to pack and be on our merry way. I come to the conclusion The Green Dragon is an odd place indeed. Would I recommend it? It's all like the breakfast, everything is as it should be, everything is acceptable, just not great. 

From Sambourne sat-nav leads us onto the motorways and northbound. We take a quick brew-break at a retail park in Wednesbury then peel off the M6 somewhere around Stoke because motorways are boring and we have time on our side. I'm perhaps subconsciously trying not to get back, back home to reality and work and bills and mundanity. 

The Venetian Marina north of Nantwich is our last stop. Tea, scone, countryside, a canal with a lock, sunshine, a table outside, and a sense that it's all over is upon me. It's only a short hop on familiar roads now back to Sharon's place then I'm off to mother's for a while before I get home in the evening. Ho well, that's that then innit.

A pot of tea, a scone, jam and cream at the marina in Cheshire
Being obtuse Sharon waits until she's in Cheshire before indulging in traditional food from Devon and Cornwall.

So. Devon. All the way through publishing this tale a certain commentator using the handle "Upt'North" has remained "unsold" on the idea of a motorcycling holiday in Devon. I believe know why.

He is spoilt. He lives in the wilderness of Northumbria which already has great riding roads and spectacular scenery. He also has reasonably rapid access to Dumfries And Galloway with more great riding roads and spectacular scenery (we will learn more about this area soon). He also has access to The Scottish Highlands within a day's ride which has more great riding roads and even more spectacular scenery.   

As such Devon with it's higher population density, busier roads, and larger tourist/holidaymaker count seems less appealing than that which is on his doorstep or nearby.
Is he wrong? There are indeed lots of good roads in Devon where you can get a move on. As proven on our North Devon Sat-Nav Adventure there are plenty of back lanes to explore and get lost in. As seen in A Key And A Quay there are gorgeous coves to be found. There are hills aplenty to ride around or walk up and down. It's all here, Devon has lots of wonderful things to see and places to go and roads to ride.

A vivid orange sunset against light clouds and the trees outlined against the sky
You can't say Devon ain't purdy.

But. I'd be lying if I were to suggest Devon is a motorcycling paradise. We were there in mid July, the week before the school holidays, while this isn't "peak" holiday traffic time it's close so it'd be fair to say the traffic may have been busier than normal. And there was a lot of traffic on the major routes, more than enough to lose that "life on the open road" feeling for sure. Urgh, what am I trying to say? Devon is lovely, it's, well, I dunno, it's fine, it's good, but for me personally the place isn't really special. 

So didn't we have a good holiday? No we had a great holiday, of this much I am certain. Both Sharon and I have had "interesting and challenging" times at work recently, Sharon in particular has earned this break. This has been a real break, we haven't overdone it, we haven't gone mental trying to squeeze everything in, we've had time to chill out and relax. We took the time to break the long rides there and back in two, this was definitely a wise move for us. Our friends were great, no silly falling out, no getting drunk and making and ass of themselves, just lots of laid back time hanging out and chatting.

The 5 friends together at a table
The crew, save for Janine who's taking the photo. Thanks folks.

This wasn't a serious adventure nor a challenge nor a voyage of discovery. This was a holiday, and a damn good holiday. Next time there'll definitely be some discovery...

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Prologue - North Devon 2023 It's that time where Ren explains this trip. I'm not getting the sense of a great forthcoming adventure, rather more of an old school chill out holiday with friends on motorcycles.
Cheating The Rain To Cheltenham And they're off! It's a mixed up weird kind of start to this holiday with indecisive weather and packing and planning errors. No disasters though... sorry.
Dawdling Into Devon Another easy day's ride sees the Dynamic Muppets into the delights of Devon. There's a mish-mash of roads to negotiate and the weather ain't helping.
North Devon Sat-Nav Adventure On the first day exploring North Devon Ren manages to lead the merry crew into the non touristy bits of the the Exmoor coastal area. This ain't no country for Harleys.
A Key And A Quay With the weather hanging on in there it's ride time again. Ren manages to accidentally find somewhere nice before leading them all astray. Not to worry, there's cake.
2 Days Of Nothing With bad weather, ill health and camping frustrations this could be a disaster. Luckily it turns out to be more of a damp squib really.
Heading Home Day 1 The real holiday is over, it's time to do the bit that no-one really wants to do and that's go home. England is a lovely place but sometimes you're just not in the mood.
Heading Home Day 2 It's the final day's short ride home which means Ren's reflecting upon the Devonian excursion. Before that there's a village in need of some looking at and tea to be drunk.

Reader's Comments

nab301 said :-
Ren , glad to hear you had an enjoyable time......again, with some great photos .
Can you explain how the teapot that looks like it's sitting on a cup works ? And more importantly are there tealeaves or teabags inside.
15/09/2023 15:06:38 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I'm glad to see someone's asking the important questions nab301 - these things matter! The teapot sits inside the cup, thus making delivery to the customer much easier. They used teabags. I know I know, true tea purists will baulk at this nonsense but alas I too favour a bag rather than spitting out tealeaves at the end of my cuppa.
15/09/2023 16:02:55 UTC

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