• Andreea M.

My birthday ride out- day 1

11th of August! Yes was my birthday!!!

And I'm writing about a riding that I made a couple of days ago. In fact, this ride started a year ago, before my bday. I was looking at the map of Great Britain and wondering what I want to do special for my 30th birthday...so I said that I want to see the southernmost point of the UK and ride my bike there. OK! Google it and I've found out the southernmost point of the mainland: National Trust Lizard Point. Next step, make the itinerary and find a hotel. Sorted and booked!

(This are the links for day 1 itinerary: https://goo.gl/maps/QQSYVxrb9KS2 and https://goo.gl/maps/X1MwTNCyTKm ) But sometimes plans don't happen even if you want and try to make them possible. So my birthday passed and didn't make my trip but, the promise was still in my heart: next year I will visit two points (southernmost and westernmost point of the British mainland). 2017 came, my birthday was approaching and wanted more and more to make that ride, not only to dream of it. Wanted to keep my promise to me!

So with two weeks before my birthday decided that I will do it no matter what! Found out when I will be free from work, asked friends if they wanna come with me, ask suggestions about things to visit and made the itinerary. Sorted out where I was to crash and 07th of August arrived.

In my head was "I am still 30 so I will manage to see something special at 30 like I wanted in 2016!!!" So this is the story of the first day, 07th of August, and this is the first-day itinerary! Forgot to mention: I've chosen only A&B roads, avoiding motorways!

Slept only a couple of hours because I was too excited. Not good but... Wake up around 4:30 AM, made the back pack, put everything in bags thinking that maybe will rain (is the UK!) and I want everything to be dry. Took my time and left home a bit too late for London and found me in the morning rush hour. Had planned to ride around 450 miles on the first day. The weather in London looked okayish. With a couple of days before riding I checked the weather and for the first day was 90% chances of rain in Devon&Cornwall area but, didn't want to give up. I was thinking that maybe I will be lucky and will be ok.

First stop - Southampton Mayflower Park Town Quay because I like quays /harbors /waterfronts. Mayflower Park sits on the water's edge and is a popular place for visitors to watch famous cruise liners set sail from their home port, such as Queen Mary II and Oriana. The ride until now was ok, 97 miles, no rain but, with a black, cloudy sky.

Let's start riding again...stretch time is over, we have a lot to see! Next stop- Exeter Cathedral. I wanted to visit at last one important thing every time I stop in a city. 108 miles and starting raining. Sometimes heavy, sometimes light but, still annoying. Made my way to the cathedral and start looking for parking. Everything was full. On the signs nothing about parking motorcycles or motorcycle bays so I've parked the motorcycle in a bicycle rack spot. Took my back pack and enter to visit the place. The staff was very friendly and ask them about my unusual parking. They spoke straight away with security and let me park there without fine me. Happy me :D .

Exeter Cathedral is one of the great cathedrals of England, and one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture anywhere and was completed by about 1400 and has several notable features, including an early set of misericords, an astronomical clock and the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling in England (more info http://www.exeter-cathedral.org.uk/ ) . After visiting the amazing cathedral (was around 2 PM ) remembered myself that I didn't eat and I still have a long way to go. Look around and found a nice vegan cafe -The Plant Cafe (http://exetertrails.co.uk/item/the-plant-cafe/ ). When I ride for hours I try to eat light so I can concentrate and stay focused, not feeling sleepy or tired!

Ok...I'm not hungry anymore, I'm hydrated, a mocha to go and let's take the bike... bad idea with the coffee to go because the heavy rain started so how can I drink the coffee with my helmet on?!?. Next time.

Putting my plastic gloves above my waterproof wanna be gloves (you pay only the brand, bleah!) Let's take the bike out of the rack... hmm... had a little struggle there, almost dropped my bike but, I was lucky with the rack because it is high and just let the bike on the metal frame until I figure it how I will take my bike out from mud. Struggled, tried and succeeded but, I was already sweating. Let's move along, nothing to see :)) Rode down the coast but because of, againnnnn, the heavy rain I didn't stop in Torquay, Paignton, and Totnes. One of the things that stick in my head : there were seven deer near an express road. From the speed I was riding, I just went down to 30 mph and I was only thinking what if one of them got scared from a noise or a horn and just went on the road. On the bike, we are just a bag of bones and with that thought, I was riding like a learner, slowly, in the heavy rain. Next stop was the Hoe Park Plymouth where the sight of the sea and the landmark is amazing. I'm lucky, the rain stopped and I can drink a coffee, have some water and just admire the place. Another 60 miles added to the journey. But, I can't stay longer, is late and almost 100 miles to go. Wanted to stop at a biker's cafe but was closed- Chequered Flag, was already 6:30 PM and raining.

After Plymouth, I passed the Tamar Bridge: WELCOME TO CORNWALL! Passed St. Austell and, again, raining, just stopped to fuel up.

My thoughts were only at Lizard Point. I will make it! I will see it when I'm still 30 :D The way to Lizard Point was breathtaking. An amazing sunset, a beautiful rainbow, story-like cottages, smiley people and a bendy road through the forest. When you pass through tunnels made from tree branches and leaves you just have the feeling that you are a piece of that photo.

At some point, from A3038, the signal of my GPS went on holiday :)) and I've taken on a B road, B3293. I was OMG! I was tired, single track road with passing spots from place to place, not too often. It was getting dark, but I made it until here, I will not give up. At some point, even though I was riding slowly and carefully, there are houses up the hills and cars leaving. Not only once I've got surprised by a car going out from a corner and no matter how careful you are you can't see them because not every corner has traffic mirrors. However, I'm not giving up. Looking at my dash board, remember myself what if I will run out of petrol, I'm f***** because I'm in the middle of nowhere with no phone signal, but again I'm not giving up, just going on because I've looked on the hard copy map that this road will cross with A3038 and will take me to my destination. With this battles of thoughts in my head, I finally arrive at the Lizard Lighthouse!

Was around 9:40 PM and I was just jumping around in the empty car park. I've made it!!!! I really made it!!!! 430 miles because not once Google Maps decided to put me and make extras miles!!!! Yesss!!!! But wait... I can see the sea...but, where are the cliffs? Oh, there is a pathway...hmm..but, there aren't any lights, no one around. I was alone and a bit scared but, oh well... I want to see the cliffs and the sea and the sign like I've seen it on the internet.

I was like a scary cat, paying attention to every noise and just rushing down the path to find the Lizard Point sign! I'm finally there! Hearing the water, somehow all my fears just vanish away! I was mesmerized. The colors of the sunset, the water, me being there... breathe in, breathe out! Wanted to call my parents to tell them how happy I was and... panic... No signal! No internet! No GPS!!! Looked at the sky, looked at the watch: was almost 9:40 PM!!!

Starting running up the path, geared up but not before looking again to the lighthouse! Let's ride to Penzance to find my accommodation.

Was checking my hard copy map, seen, kind of, the road, and let's start moving. Ok... was dark... too dark! Only fields, animal noises and me with a loud bike! aaa and a lot of rabbits just popping from nowhere on the road, so no speed here. Past the houses from Lizard, no petrol station, no lights, no phone signal. Ok, stay calm! The forest with the tree tunnels started, narrow lanes, bendy road, animals crossing it and only this was in my head- "don't panic Andreea. Everything will be ok! Is what you always do, you just put yourself in all kind of situations! Sooo youuu!!! Now deal with it! " Somehow I was smiling because I've made it so far but at the same time in my head, my blonde, single neuron was shouting "I DON'T LIKE HORROR MOVIES!!! STOP THE EARTH, I WANT TO GET OF!!! Andreea you're grounded!!! Let's stop!" But no, is getting too late and we( me and my lonely neuron) will make it! Inhale, exhale, breaaakkk ! Two deer on the road! OK! passed them! I have signal and we have only 20 miles left. 45 minutes after I'm outside the B&B - Penzance Backpackers. Was 10:50 PM, after 460 miles, hours of riding in the rain, I was so tired! Parked my bike and wanted to go in but NO! I can't! Was a sign that they don't accommodate people after 10 PM and a phone number! I was: are you for real? What now? Can't I sleep here, but I've already paid for it!!! Is the first and last time when i do a booking other than a hotel/camping!!! Ok...calm down! Pick up the phone and called that number. Someone answered and I've told him that I'm outside and please, can he come and let me in because I didn't know about the maximum 10 PM arrival ( no announcement on booking.com to make me aware of this!) and I've told him that I was riding in heavy rain and everything and his answer was: so what? I'm already in bed and can't be bothered, good night and hung up!!! I was speechless... Just wanted to pick up a rock and smash all the windows down!!! I couldn't believe it... Panicked for a couple of seconds and my neuron starting working again... OK... Let's see where I can find another booking around... Hit the search button and found nothing! Closed my eyes, wanted to break the windows again, but again hit the search button and found 3 rooms: one at 194£ one night, second at 230£ and one at 90£...JACKPOT! Booked it and ride away from that nightmare! Found the hotel- The Queens Hotel in Penzance found the reception and I hardly mumble something and the staff was so friendly. Even though they didn't receive yet the confirmation of booking.com they gave me a single room and told me that will sort everything up in the morning. Is an old but, clean, quiet hotel, with hot water! Is everything that I want in this moment!

I'm in the room! My right hand was soaring, I was cold. I just want to take a shower and crash! What a day!

To be continued....

Yours truley,



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