Monday, October 31, 2016

JOGLE Goodbye Penzance

from my trip diary originally posted at Crazy Guy on a Bike

Goodbye Penzance

Sunday September 25, 2016

8:30 train pulling out of station, for a 6 hour ride to London Paddington.Wow. Overwhelmed with what I've accomplished--and not just the cycling. The constant negotiating with my fears and anxieties. The battle over stopping or going on. Willpower vs physical strength. Against the odds.
A few things I forgot to mention. Yesterday when pulling into the hostel who do I see but the guy who wouldn't share the last room at the guest house in Liskeard. That's what I said. He looked sheepish, said I was tired. I responded: So was I.
Also about that cream tea. I had no idea what it was. I watch the Bake Off and suspected it was a sweet treat. On this trip there was no way I was going to take in the necessary calories. Sounds great, right? But in actuality it was a pain. At times it wasn't convenient to eat. No stopping points, etc. I always tried to have one hot meal a day. In Scotland it was soup and bread. Once on "mainland" I went for sausage rolls, meat pies. The bap was the worst! Several times I treated myself to egg breakfasts. Also there were a few pub dinners and at least 1 Chinese take away. I also had some Indian fried rice in Lochgilphead.
So when doing calories I tended not to do cakes, sweets. Thus I postponed the cream tea. It was basically a buttered and jam-topped scone with a pot of tea. The experience was like a return to civilization.
4 warmshowers 2 hotel 4 hostel 5 wild camp 4 campgrounds

Friday, October 28, 2016

JOGLE Day 20, St. Day to Penzance to the world's end, 19.5 miles

from my trip diary originally posted at Crazy Guy on a Bike

Day 20, St. Day to Penzance to the world's end, 19.5 miles

Saturday September 24, 2016, 20 miles (31 km) - Total so far: 1,099 miles (1,768 km)

Last night I slipped into my little tent, into my cozy sleeping bag. Everything was charged, I had directions, and in order. My plan was to whip down to Penzance and then to my goal. Just one more thing: check weather. Oh boy.
Winds, 25 - 35, with gusts up to 40. And rain. But how can this be? It's been so nice; it's a nice evening. About midnight the wind started. Loud and blustery. My tent was somewhat protected by hedges, so no whipping around.
In the a.m. it looked punishing. I have standards of what makes a trip--and this wasn't it. Going headway into headwinds and getting knocked about, soaked. So this is what I did: I hung out at the toilets and when someone said,looking at my loaded bike, You look like you're going far. I just asked, Can you drive me to Penzance? The first 2 customers weren't interested, but Gloria looked at me and said, let me check with my husband. She came back and said, Come into our trailer for a coffee. Yes, we can take you.
Let's just say I didn't know what I would have done if things hadn't worked out.
I think hanging out with David and Gloria was an end-of-trip highlight. I hadn't realized how lonely I was. Just sitting and chatting, petting their dog, Alfie, worked wonders on my soul. I felt human, not a pedaling machine. We could talk on a number of subjects, and I learned so much about their views on Brexit, future of UK, dogs. For their efforts I bought them breakfast. We went to Sainsbury Cafe and had BIG breakfasts. I sat there full and happy and thought, this is enough. Even if I don't make it to Land's End.
They dropped me off at a car park. Unbelievably the weather cleared. I dropped off my bags at the hostel (which was just about to shut down for a break, so got in just in time.) I did the 9.7 miles to LE in one hour. Then turned around to come back. The strong winds that buffeted me there, were finally my friend heading back.
Then it hit me. I started to cry. I'd done it. Gloria had asked me over breakfast if I'd ever do it again. I couldn't say NO fast enough.
So sitting at a corner cafe, looking out a plate glass window thinking: how sad and weary people look. It had started to rain again. Especially the young people--they appear desperate. More, more, more. And I wonder what is enough for them, for me. What about Brad and Angelina?
I ordered a cream tea upon James recommendation. I had no idea what this was. Come to find out it is a pot of tea and a scone with soft butter (cream) and a small bucket of jam. The perfect ending to this adventure.
St Michael's Mount is a small tidal island in Mount's Bay, Cornwall, United Kingdom. The island is a civil parish and is linked to the town of Marazion by a man-made causeway of granite setts, passable between mid-tide and low water.

on the way to Land's End, loved seeing this, inspired me

40 mile per hour winds

There's simply no great pics of me at the end. I literally had to hang onto my bike so that I wasn't pushed out into the sea by the wind.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

JOGLE Day 19, Liskeard to St. Day, 59 miles

from my trip diary originally posted at Crazy Guy on a Bike

Day 19, Liskeard to St. Day, 59 miles

Friday September 23, 2016, 59 miles (95 km) - Total so far: 1,079 miles (1,737 km)

I knew it wasn't going to be easy. In fact last night I was feeling panicky. In fact it wasn't that hard. Yes and no.First off navigational issues. I load the phone with my planned route. This is no small matter. Then I listen to Google lady reel me along. Except if I make a wrong turn she quietly begins to re-route. So unknowingly, after checking multiple times to be sure, I left Liskeard on the completely wrong road. Which meant I went down a steep hill I only had to push the bike back up. This amounted to one hour. All together I probably wasted 5 miles on wrong turns that turned into bike pushes. This was on top of everyday navigational and round about confusion. And, on top of just in general steep climbs.
Plus, I noticed that wind was a factor. At a certain point Google bike lady told me it was okay to go on the A30. This was a dual carriageway, meaning trucks and cars passing within a hair of me at 70 mph. I did it for about 6 miles, then routed myself at an exit onto cycle path 3. Which also led me down garden paths, quite literally. At Truro it sent me through a woods on bumpy gravel. I'm surprised my back tire is still hanging in there, though my brake pads are down to slivers. Re-routing off the A30 probably added another 5 miles because I had to backtrack somewhat.
On top of all this: breakfast break which has been outstanding, today was a dud. I got a bacon bap, really, for £2.60 and it was rubbery bacon, one piece on slices of buttered bread. I've been a chowhound for bread but this was thick and just too much. I ate the rubbery bacon. Lunch was at 2 pm in Tresillian (a small village in mid Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is three miles east of Truro on the A390 road. Tresillian means "a place of eels" in the Cornish language), at the Wheel Inn. Very nice people.
In Truro I passed a weird river of mud. I later learned it was an estuary, the tide was out, leaving boats stranded. Very surreal looking.
Basically I didn't arrive at my campsite, St. Day Tourist Park, until 5 pm. A long day of pushing and meandering. 22.5 miles to Penzance.
sunken road

another mile marker


my little tent

sunset in campground

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

JOGLE Day 18, Crediton to Liskeard in Cornwall, 56 miles

from my trip diary originally posted at Crazy Guy on a Bike

Day 18, Crediton to Liskeard in Cornwall, 56 miles

Thursday September 22, 2016, 56 miles (90 km) - Total so far: 1,020 miles (1,642 km)

Last night after Nick got home we were talking. I said how beautiful I thought the town was. Really a gem tucked into the hills of Devon. He said, This was supposed to have been Exeter. I'll have to figure out later what he meant. He also said the hills in Devon go up, then up, then up. He's from London, rather flat like Chicago and he was amazed. So today I tried to mentally prepare myself. I set the bar low, and I exceeded the number of miles by 20 of what I thought I might do. But it wasn't easy, and yet it was also very pleasant.
For one thing, I started out on back roads, deep into hedgerows, the road subsides into the earth, you feel sometimes like you're in a cave of foliage. Even the trees grow over the road and tree trimmers carve out space for vehicles to pass through. Thus, the way today was shady. Plus, the sky was a bright blue. (The past few days have been solidly overcast.) So temps were not bad and when I pushed or rode uphill I wasn't swimming in sweat. And, I was able to ride up MOST of the hills, meaning I had the strength and energy.
I told myself: make ten miles. Then I told myself, make it to Okehampton, and so on. I was hoping to make it to Tavistock, and I did, and more.
At Okehampton, I stopped at a bakery and bought a Breakie. Pastry with a sausage, thick bacon, slice of egg, and beans to keep it moist. £1.95 for all that. I bought a pastie to go, meat and cheese.
I had to climb to get out of town in order to get to the rail station where I picked up the Granite Trail. Eleven wonderful flat and beatific miles within the Dartmoor National Park. At Lynford stopped for water and to check directions. Tried to follow cycle trail 27. One part led me off road. No. But then as I continued (up) on the road my Google lady said I was still on the route. I continued on into Tavistock with a beautiful square. Pics to come.
Had an interesting lunchtime conversation with 2 young guys who wanted to discuss American politics and our fascination with religion.
Continued on to Callington, entered Cornwall and immediately began a steep push of the bike uphill for like a mile. I traversed the Tamir Valley. Finally after 50 miles I knew I needed to give myself a break. I rode onto Liskeard where, who knew, there would be no available B & Bs or cheap hotel rooms, or availability of any kind. Met a cyclist doing a JOGLE checking in at the Nebula Guesthouse. Threw out the idea of sharing, as he had booked ahead. He didn't catch my drift. So I left wondering what to do as my phone was also on its last charge. Rode past the Eliot House Hotel and said to myself, check anyway. They had one room left and I think the guy gave me a deal because the Nebula manager said they'd charge me 70. I got it for £55. I budgeted for emergencies and Cornwall is certainly that. Tomorrow more miles and more up hills. 56 miles today, and call ahead tomorrow.
sunken road

Devon countryside

Devon countryside

another mile marker

Dartmoor National Park, along the Granite Way

Church in Dartmoor



Tavistock is an ancient stannary and market town within West Devon, England. It is situated on the River Tavy from which its name derives. At the 2011 census the three electoral wards had a population of 12,280.

Right after I took this picture, I pushed my bike up a huge, unweildy hill

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

JOGLE Day 17, Bridgwater to Crediton, 59 miles

from my trip diary originally posted at Crazy Guy on a Bike

Day 17, Bridgwater to Crediton, 59 miles

Wednesday September 21, 2016, 59 miles (95 km) - Total so far: 964 miles (1,552 km)

When I woke up this a.m. I had a funny feeling, that I wasn't feeling it. To begin with the campground that wasn't a campground, more like a family's backyard had no amenities such as WiFi or charging station. I used up my battery in route planning and looking ahead. I was able to get the phone up to 70%. Not enough.I left early hoping to find a cafe. I swear I rode in circles trying to get somewhere out of Bridgwater. Not sure where I was, West Quay Road, ate a simple breakfast and the owner was very kind. He said just take the A38 to Taunton and I did. Arrived at a beautiful church, St. George.
I think one thing I was planning on was taking the Grand Western Canal path from Taunton to Tiverton. Google sent me back onto the A38. I kept expecting any minute to get off the busy road and onto a traffic-free path. It was only later I figured out the glitch. Google was sending me to Tiverton to pick up the path. I was about 11 miles gone before I found the canal path,cycling route 3.
It was lovely, and I would have taken more pics,but my phone was dying. I made it finally to Tiverton around 2 pm. Somehow those miles seemed hard-fought. I ate at a really cute cafe called Elsie Mays. A bunch of geriatrics had arrived by motor coach, so the place was hoping. My kindle was in the red, battery-wise, but looked up a warmshowers host. Nick said yes, if I made it to Crediton by 4 pm.
Of course I made a wrong turn, or specifically Google routed me on a lane that said road closed, but I thought why not, looks good, 1/2 mile in it became rubble. That's when I called Nick back and said I will not arrive by 4. Plus my phone was dying. The charge at Elsie Mays would not last forever.
I made it to Crediton by 5, just as my phone died, right in front of the arched entrance to Francis Court, where Nick lives. There is an association between Crediton and St. Boniface*, I'll have to look into it. 59 miles, or possibly 61. I kept forgetting to turn the cyclometer back on.

*From Wiki:The first indication of settlement at Crediton is the knowledge that Winfrith or Saint Boniface was born here in c. 672.[5]
He propagated Christianity in the Frankish Empire during the 8th century and is the patron saint of both Germany and the Netherlands. In 909 a see was established here with Edwulf as the first bishop.[5] Nine more bishops ruled here until 1050, when Leofric obtained papal permission from Pope Leo IX to transfer the seat to Exeter,[5] a more culturally aware, larger and walled town. Since 1897 Crediton has been the seat of a suffragan bishopric in the Diocese of Exeter....
St. George's in Taunton

Grand Western Canal

swans along the GWC

mile marker with Roman lettering

beautiful thatched house

Monday, October 24, 2016

JOGLE Day 16, Tintern Abbey to just outside Bridgwater, 70 miles

from my trip diary originally posted at Crazy Guy on a Bike

Day 16, Tintern Abbey to just outside Bridgwater, 70 miles

Tuesday September 20, 2016, 70 miles (113 km) - Total so far: 905 miles (1,457 km)

Quite a good day. I think this was the first day I got to experience the classic "English" countryside. Small narrow lanes, hedgerows, quaint houses and villages. AND NOT A LOT OF HILLS. They were out there, I could see rolling meadows and farm land, but they didn't negatively impact my ride.I'll later update this journal with the exact numbers. Suffice it to say I followed cycle paths and minor roads. I took a chance today and it paid off. Yesterday for instance at Craven Arms before Ludlow I thought I'd get off the A49. Anyway I rode for a mile, directions pulled me down a lane, and that baby was gut-wrenching. I turned right around and rode with the trucks to Hereford.
After lunch in Yatton at the Strawberry Cafe, I hopped on the Strawberry Line for about 11.5 miles. It was lovely. Yes it was a bit slow with the narrow points and hardpacked earth surface, about 8-9 mph, but I felt like I was on a cycle tour.
The trail ended in Cheddar where there was a bike shop (review forthcoming). Anyway, I had a few problems, one of which the back wheel, understandably after being punished for 2 weeks, was out of true. He also worked on my brakes. I might have enough brake pad to make it to the end. The bike definitely ran better. I think he gave me a break with the price. £11.20.
I made it to Bridgwater about 5 pm. and looked for camping. Right now I'm in someone's backyard. I know odd. But directions sent me to Follett Farm, about a mile outside the town, and it feels very low-key and strange. 70 miles.
Severn Bridge, nearly a mile long, it spans the River Severn and River Wye


great use for old phonebooths, mini libraries!

Strawberry Line

Strawberry Line

Strawberry Line

Cheddar Gorge, the closest thing England has to a tourist trap

Friday, October 21, 2016

Hot Flash Friday=Poems from Italy

Last Friday I wrote about poetry books sitting on my shelf, and how the titles themselves lend inspiration. I have a book titled Poems from Italy by R. H. Bowden.

From what I can find online he was something of a literary dabbler. He wrote plays, poetry, fiction as well as nonfiction. He and his wife often traveled and loved to vacation in Italy where they often walked the hills of Tuscany and Umbria. He has one poem, “In the Umbrian Mountains Above Gubbio” an area I have also explored. Another poem is “To Italy at Fifty.” These poems are basically travel notes, observations, the kind of thing all of us (or at least think about) jot down. In the midst of a journey, when we are looking with fresh eyes, we are keen to make comparisons, contrasts—we leave the analytical for later. In retrospect we can make generalizations or judgments, but in the moment it is best just to get things down.

Just like how we take pictures. We photograph something and think, Later I’ll get prints made. Yet they stay on our phone, in the cloud without us ever acting upon them.

In the fall many of us take a weekend or an overnight or even a day trip to an orchard, a drive out into the country. Take pen and paper, a notebook with you and write a paragraph, sketches of the scenery, who you are with, the color of the sky, the relief to be away.

Write now.
aerial lifts, little cages that take you to the top of Mt. Ubaldo  

this pic of me was actually taken while on Mt. Ubaldo, in the mountains above Gubbio

JOGLE Day 15, Church Stretton to Tintern Abbey, 73 miles

from my trip diary originally posted at Crazy Guy on a Bike

Day 15, Church Stretton to Tintern Abbey, 73 miles

Monday September 19, 2016, 73 miles (117 km) - Total so far: 835 miles (1,344 km)

Left the All Stretton Bunkhose a little before 8 a.m. in drizzle. Stayed that way until noon. Took the A49 to Ludlow and bypassed Leominster. By noon 43 miles to Hereford. Took a minor road to Monmouth, another 12 miles. There was one long uphill, but definitely a big downhill into town. I had to push the bike up, and 3/4 of the way there were blackberries growing. So I'd walk the bike, snack, and keep going. I also noticed that somewhere along the uphill I must've entered Wales!Since it was only 3 pm I went on. I really wanted to make it to Tintern Abbey. I got there 10 minutes after it closed, but walk around and took pics. Since it was cloudy and felt like evening and I'd done 73 miles. I decided to wild camp. Right now at the Anchor Tavern having a great meal.
Today was definitely a day of more downhill than up hills. I'm feeling like I might be able to finish.


Ludlow, Come you home a hero,
Or come not home at all,
The lads you leave will mind you
Till Ludlow tower shall fall. *A.E. Houseman




Welsh signs

weird Welsh

Tintern Abbey

Tintern Abbey

Tintern Abbey

Tintern Abbey was founded by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow, on 9 May 1131.Wordsworth: LINES WRITTEN A FEW MILES ABOVE TINTERN ABBEY,ON REVISITING THE BANKS OF THE WYE DURING A TOUR,July 13, 1798.=====
Five years have past; five summers, with the length
Of five long winters! and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a sweet inland murmur.

wild camping Tintern