Day 1 – 30th June 2020 – London to Portsmouth
As promised here is a photo of the bike just as I am about to leave home… stunning…
I turn out of my drive into the road and Minnie is very unhappy, the front end is twitching about like mad! It is so bad I can hardly control the bike and have to pull over immediately. There is just way too much weight on the back of the bike. I don’t have time or anywhere to redistribute the weight so the only solution is to dump all the camping gear. Glo comes out to help and we take all the bags off, just pull out anything camping related and repack what is left.
As people who know me are aware, I am not a big fan of camping on the whole, but I was actually looking forward to it so am now pretty disappointed. I also was budgeting based on primarily camping so this might have put the kibosh on Mongolia and the Stans… but no time now to speculate, I must get on the road to Portsmouth, can’t miss that ferry.
Minnie is much happier and am soon filtering through the usual north circular traffic on my way to the A40 and out of London. After all that stress I need a coffee so stop at a BP garage, but there is a long queue to go into the shop.. nope, no time for queuing I’m afraid. I do take the opportunity to made a few adjustments to the routing and just as I am doing that the bike almost topples over onto me… I have parked on a bit of a slope and the additional weight on the bike has made it unstable so, as I move the handlebars out of the way, the bike tries to dive over to the left, even though the side stand is on that side…. I do just manage to catch it whew!! I then push the bike into a better parking position. Bloomin’ ‘ell.. what else can happen today??
Well, about 20 miles from Portsmouth the heavens open and it’s pouring down. Just at that point one of the wing mirrors decides to do a pirouette so now it is pointing in the wrong direction.. grrrrr. Quick stop to adjust and tighten the mirror and I’m off again… 10 minutes later the other mirror decides to twirl and would you believe it the first one does it again! OMG…. so now it’s pissing it down, I’m on a fast road with nowhere to stop and I can’t see anything behind me, a recipe for disaster if ever I had one. I decide to press on, holding the left mirror in position with my hand whenever I want to overtake. At least I am almost at the ferry port, just 18 miles to go, it’s a rather interesting if somewhat focused ride for the last few miles.
Soon I arrive at the ferry and there is a long queue to check in; in fact it takes an hour just to do that and then another hour to clear security, (I am stopped at security by a very nice chap; he hasn’t seen a Royal Enfield for many years apparently. He asks me if I have any weapons, guns, knives… I say no then correct that to say I have a leatherman tool, he just says to keep it in my luggage*) and actually ride on to the ship.
Once on board one of the crew lashes Minnie to the deck and I unpack all my bags; I’d better see what I have actually ended up bringing and what is missing. But, before that… I have booked a seat but decide to enquire about upgrading to a cabin. I am very tired, cold and wet and I don’t want to empty out all my bags in front of others so a cabin is the best bet. They do have one available, fab, I pay the upgrade fee and hump all my bags down to deck 5.
I do have everything I need, plus 2 toilet rolls, 2 bags of coffee and a bag of powdered milk; this was for my coffee maker which of course is now in my garage with the rest of the camping gear, and a poop scoop! I now also have plenty of space for the shortie helmet, spare boots, leather chaps and light weight jacket… oh well, at least I am on my way.
Everyone is being advised to stay in their cabin or seats and not move around too much. We must all wear face masks too, which is ok by me. They have added hand sanitizers around the ship too.
After sorting out the bags I make my way to the restaurant deck and see that the hot food service will start at 6pm so I just get a coffee for now and wait for dinner.
At 6 I get a very nice beef bourginon with chips and peas; I was bloody starving having had nothing since this morning. Up to the little shop for a quick browse then back to the cabin to do this blog and have an early night.
The ship arrives in Santander at around 6.30pm spanish time so I have pre-booked a b&b just a few miles from the ferry port. I probably won’t have much to report tomorrow, but wait and see.
Good night from La Manche xx
* A quick check and, if you include the stanley knife in the tool kit, I have a total of 10 blades… gotta love a knife!!