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Traffic, Improving Scenery And Drink Problems

Ride Date 8 September 2023

By Ren Withnell

Why oh why oh why am I not incredibly rich? I'm intelligent, I'm articulate, I'm handsome, I'm modest, and yet I'm poor. So terribly terribly poor, so very poor that I have to WORK for a living! This morning I'm working from 0815 to 1215, then that's it, I'm done. I've taken the afternoon off so Sharon and I can get to Creetown. Sharon on the other hand, she too is poor but has more holidays than me so she's taken the full day off. Pffft. Not fair. Harumph.

I live north of Sharon and Scotland is north of us both, so Sharon's coming here first. She arrives around 1130 (I work from home) and makes us both a brew while I finish off the arduous task of pushing 0s and 1s around, trying to get them into the correct order such that they do what my boss wants them to do. It's akin to herding flies, there is some skill and experience involved but most if this binary herding comes down to luck.

Sharon's bright green Kwakker with camping luggage in the cramped space of a back yard
Sharon's pack and ready for the off!

By 1250 we are on the road and onto the motorways. Yes I know, motorways are not very exciting or adventurous but we have 180 miles to cover and we'd like to be at the campsite by 1800, preferably 1700. Unfortunately Highways England has different ideas.

It is fairly normal to get stuck in a little traffic as the M61 and M6 merge near Preston, this will continue to the M55 junction then clear up. It is extra busy today. Sharon doesn't like filtering, I don't either but we are prepared to do it. We do filter, not hard mind, slowly, steadily, carefully. We get past the M55 junction and still the traffic is solid. Another 3 or 4 miles later we find out why.

2 lanes are closed so there's one lane for all this Friday afternoon traffic. Why? There is nothing... NOTHING going on save for traffic cones and a solo, lonely van with a speed camera in it. Now... I know... I KNOW Highways England did not sit there and say "Oooooh let's close 2 lanes on the M6 at peak time for a laugh! It'll be hilarious!". I'm sure there's work to be done this evening, I'm sure there's a collapsed embankment or a dangerously damaged cats eye. I don't know but it sure as hell FEELS like Highways England are having a laugh.

That's an hour of our lives we'll never get back. As soon as this nonsense ends we're off, the traffic is light, and for the next 80 miles our journey is uninterrupted. Morrisons Carlisle is now a familiar stopping point for us, we fill up the tanks and take 30 minutes to grab a brew in the cafe and make use of the facilities. 

A regular petrol station at the Morrisons in Carlisle
Fuel for the bikes, tea for us.

The A75 brings relief. With hindsight it's mostly psychological, we are off the motorway and this road runs right past tonight's campsite, so we're nearly there in my head. Of course our campsite is 65 miles down this long road so we're still coming on for 2 hours away. But yes, in my head we're almost there. Stupid boy.

This road is better though. It's wide, spacious even. Fast too, we are stuck behind a truck but we're cruising happily at 58mph, too close to the limit to overtake. Then the road narrows for a few bends. Then we slow for a short while as we pass through a town. Then we speed up and overtake another truck on a specifically designated overtaking lane. Then we're cruising behind a line of cars all doing 60, and, well, a bit more than 60. Then traffic and roundabouts, even a short traffic jam. Then fast flowing open curves. Then a tractor doing 25 but we're soon past that. Then there's fields then there's hills then there's the flat broad ocean...

Yeah, for the most part I like the A75. Time is slipping away rapidly so I figure I must be enjoying myself. By the time I'm starting to think about focusing on looking for the campsite my rear end is numb and my legs are stiff so I'm ready to stop.

The site comes into view although the reception is now closed at this late hour (1800, dagnammit). Fear not during my preparations I've been told to call the number on the gate if this is the case. Soon we're met then guided to our pitch by a friendly staff member driving a Saab estate of all things. We can pitch anywhere on this vast field, we're given a notion of the toilet locations and a map and a list of rules and then left to our own devices.

I'm happy, but nothing is perfect. The pitch is fine, the ground is firm and dry, I can glimpse the sea between the trees, there's hills in the distance, the site is above average I'd say. There's always a "but". The toilets are located in amongst the statics... the blummin' STATIC caravans with their own toilets and their own showers and their own washing up facilities. ARGH! And there's no water taps on the camping pitch so even making a brew requires a blasted walk. It's fine, calm down Ren, breathe, relax, the exercise will do you good you lazy git.

Sharon happy in the sunshine at the campsite. Trees and hills and static caravans
Well someone likes being here.

A gorgeous sunset behind the tents, motorcycles and trees at Castle Cary
Yeah it's alright here innit.

I have supplies. Rice, a couple of tins, enough for a bland emergency meal. My research tells me there's a small local shop within walking distance too. My research also tells me there's a burger joint about a mile and a half south of here. It's not like me to spend money but I quite fancy the burger bar tonight. I somehow manage to manipulate the conversation such that it's actually Sharon's idea so we both hop onto my 500 and take the short blast to "RoadHouse Blues". 

RoadHouse Blues looks quite American from the outside. Given the remote(ish) location, the (fairly) quiet big road across the way, the sprinkling of rockabilly memorabilia on the walls, and the hazy (misty) darkening skies I could, if I squint real hard, imagine myself to be in Missouri, at a dusty diner on some lonesome over-romanticised road trip. It's the young lady's Scottish lilt that brings me back to reality. The food is tasty, the service good and the prices fair, no complaints from either of us.

A roadside burger joint, RoadHouse Blues, near to the campsite on the A75
It just needs a dusty car park and some tumbleweed?

Back at the site it's another story. The rules we've been provided tell us quiet time is 2300 onwards. The group across the field with mothers and fathers, kids and dogs, maybe the odd grandparent too have other ideas. Shouting and bawling and drunkenness amid the cries from overtired and overexcited kids do nothing for all the other camper's comfort. Then there's a group of 3 ladies who appear to be catching up over a bottle of wine, or 6. This means tears and "I love yooooou" and "He's not f~~~ing wurf it", shouted drunkenly till lord knows when. I grab my earplugs, Sharon buries her head under her pillow.

Tell us your tale - click here.

Prologue - Galloway Coast 2023 The wheres and whys are explained in Ren's usual "looking for excuses" style. There's method to his madness, if only he could explain.
Traffic, Improving Scenery And Drink Problems And they're off! There's traffic and improving scenery, Ren dares to spend a few pence and there's some drunkenness.
Exploring The Machars Peninsula The Machars Peninsula on the Galloway coast receives a good dose of looking at today. What the area lacks in superlatives it more than makes up for in charm. 
A Long Way To Not Far There's a big job breaking out today and Ren is worried if they're up to the task. They have 4 hours to cover 35 miles, OH NO! Fear not, even Ren can get this wrong too.
Around Dalbeattie It's time to explore the area around Dalbeattie, to see what's what. It's all going rather well until Ren's vivid imagination runs away with him.
Home And Thoughts On The Galloway Coast Home time once again and Ren's mulling over the whole experience. Was it worth the effort and should a return trip be planned?

Reader's Comments

Upt'North ¹ said :-
Don't you sometimes feel like walking up to someone, getting right in their face and shouting, "shut the f*** up you ugly fat b******".
Just me then.
06/10/2023 13:23:41 UTC
nab301 said :-
Ren , non of this burger nonsense , what about your 5 a day.. and as for herding flies , I'd have thought this new fangled A I Malarkey would have made you redundant at this stage...
My only recent camping memories (21st century ) are of staggering /barfing campers keeping me awake ('08 Dragon Rally) and at the more civilised camp sites usually inhabited by auld fellas the incessant ripping of zips and velcro ( ooeerr missus) on tent flaps as the auld fellas trotted off to the toilet facilities every hour...
06/10/2023 13:38:45 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
That burger bar looks very similar to a "real" American one (near BAss Lake California) where we had an excellent chili quite a long time ago......
Posted Image
06/10/2023 15:13:27 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Yes Upt', I do, but I'm far too polite and well mannered to actually do anything about it.

nab301 - I've done a fair few rallies and there's always that one group that party real hard on Friday then they're all in bed by 2100 Saturday. And yes we "auld" - "owd" fellas do pee an awful lot, especially when it's cold which is especially when you least want to get up for a pee. Trotting off to the toilet facilities? Gave that up eons ago, my tent has "en suite" facilities for a pee. I draw the line an number 2s though.

Ian - is that your "Hawg" or just some random period machinery conveniently placed?
06/10/2023 18:24:08 UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
I went to a small rally in the North York Moors last weekend run by a friend of mine, see I can be sociable! It's 190 miles, but it took over 6 hours to get there. The M42 was broken, the M1 was broken, and the the A641 was completely closed. However, it was a great weekend, 1/2 of us from the Mt owners club, XT 660 forum and thumper club, and he other half from the Harley Riders Club...
06/10/2023 18:44:25 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
No.2's in the tent.....pass the bucket. Err no, don't pass the bucket.
That poor girl, she doesn't deserve you, she really doesn't.
06/10/2023 18:52:23 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
"Ian - is that your "Hawg" or just some random period machinery conveniently placed? "

Nowt to do with me - belonged to a local. We were in a rented motorhome which turned out to have a very leaky roof.
07/10/2023 10:09:22 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
A leaky roof? And here's me thinking it never rains in Amurica Ian.

09/10/2023 07:54:59 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Sunny California.
Posted Image
09/10/2023 10:02:00 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Well that's just shattered all my illusions about California! Note to self, TV and Movies lie. If only I'd known this years ago.
10/10/2023 16:40:59 UTC

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