Ripley was a biker meet for bikers, (Horizons Unlimited), with an inkling for, or experience of, riding round the world on a bike. The event was fantastic, arranged by Susan and Grant Johnson, who have travelled the world on their old BMW, and really set the stage for the rest of us with wanderlust. There were 3 days of lectures about everything from trauma medicine to riding the Dakar rally, (Jenny Morgan solo female rider, very impressed), other riders experiences of their journeys. It was actually very fascinating.
There were about 500 bikers in attendance, including Jason and his girlfriend who gave us a lot of useful information and help, they were travelling in a UNIMOG converted into a rock climbing motorhome, and are looking to go down south and on to France, thank you guys and have fun.
The venue, Lumb Farm, is a big pub/restaurant with lots of land for all the psychos and their tents and a couple of motor homes. There were hundreds of adventure type bikes with all sorts of homemade attachments for lugging gear around the world’s most inhospitable places.
One couple had a Harley Davidson cruiser that has been to more countries than any other vehicle. 193 of the 203 (I think) countries. Another guy, Austin Vince, was the first guy to ride around the world using the Trans Siberian Railway. He is a mathematics teacher from Muswell Hill and is completely certifiable and a very funny man. He is now married to Lois Price, a lone female world traveller who is also completely barking mad. They were/are made for each other.
Whilst there, I managed to spend another pile of money on some metal panniers and rack. I also managed to wreck the MH jack while trying to level the MH.
Some days I am very clever, unfortunately this was not one of them. (Yes, high IQ, low common sense).
We set off from Ripley at midday on Sunday the 27th and headed 80 miles East to near Skegness. We had arranged to get some carpet professionally fitted to the MH. We attended “BESPOKE RUGS” at a little hamlet called Ketsby. We arrived on Sunday evening and parked our MH on the forecourt and plugged into the mains. The proprietor, Darren Hudson made us most welcome even inviting us to his BBQ which we politely declined but joined him and his girlfriend Jane later with a bottle of wine.
That evening he recommended a visit to a village called Little Cawthorpe, near Louth. We found it and went to a pub/inn called The Royal Oak. To our amazement, in the garden is an almost full size wood carving of Ryuichi KIYONARI on his HM Plant Honda. He appeared to have signed the bottom but it was in Japanese so only he would know. By the looks of the place, it was bikers pub...nice.
The next day he set about making a template for the carpet. We jumped on the bike and set off for the sunny delights of Skegness. Yes, we know it’s not the most salubrious of locations but we had never been there and were up for a laugh. We were warned that one visit would be enough, the warning was correct. It was a holiday resort that appeared to be dying on its feet. We had a McDonalds, a pint of beer and bought a stick of rock, marvellous. (We know how to enjoy ourselves)
We then jumped on the bike and I programmed the GPS to take us to a quiet spot near the beach further north. The GPS is not normally very good at this but today it came up trumps and we ended up on a nearly deserted beach and went paddling. I spent a while laughing at Karen jumping in and out of the cold North Sea. We then went rock pool fishing and found a pile of star fish. After a short period of British sunbathing (clothes on!) we rode back to Ketsby and fired up the BBQ for Darren and us. He was well into finishing the carpets earlier than expected. After grub, beer and putting the world to rights we went to bed. The next morning I went next door to a wood yard and asked the owner to make up some wooden ramps to level the MH up on when on site. That’s how I broke the jack !.
About noon, the carpets and ramps were finished. We loaded the bike back on the trailer and said goodbye to Darren, a thoroughly honest English gentleman and then set off for Dumfries and Karen’s parents farm.
We arrived at the farm at about 6pm to the usual incredibly warm and spoiling welcome.
We spent the next day, Wednesday, being lazy and on Thursday, set about clearing the crap out of the back of the MH. Bearing in mind it was still a solid wall of good and bad stuff. We laid all the stuff out on the floor of Sandy’s (Karen’s step dad) barn floor and spent the next 2 days sorting through it. We filled a box trailer with rubbish, put some in the loft for storage and sorted the rest into some semblance of order.
On Wednesday night I went up the hill to walk the border collie sheep dogs, Will, Craig and Kate. On the way back I was confronted by a large badger in the bracken. It ran off closely followed by a second badger. As I walked on I saw a third one come out of the bracken and walk toward me. Knowing that their sight is not that good I laid down in a dip in the track and the badger walked right up to me and stopped suddenly about 6’ from me. Then one of the dogs intervened and the badger ran past at arm’s length. WOW, what an experience.
On the following Friday, Karen was doing the same thing and had a similar experience. She was determined not to miss out. This time Craig ran into the bracken and the next thing she saw was a badger giving it large across the path in front of her. As she was calling it a night and heading back to the quad bike, a second badger came out of the bushes and bimbled across the path, Craig went running at it and knocked it completely off of its feet, there was no damage done, but the badger jumped up and started turning round looking for its attacker, she had to call Craig back as once the badger did catch wind of him, he went for him, I think I know who would have won.
Well quite a rarity, we have had a couple of quiet days doing things at normal pace and thoroughly enjoying it. We are getting ourselves geared up for everyone joining us in the Lake District, I’m sure there will be some tales to tell.
I have now fixed the heater exhaust and serviced the generator...Grrrrrrrr !