Unexpected ride but happy to do it!
The last couple of days were mind-blowing for me.
Two weeks ago I was fitting my new tyres on my old lady - Suzuki Sv650S at the garage and there was a bike: Honda NC700. Looked good so I just tried it. Wow, such a good position. I want a new bike for my crazy long rides but, I don't have any clue what bike I want. As a phone addict, straight away I've googled it, seen the pros&cons of the bike and found a nice NC700 advert on gumtree.co.uk. Email the seller but, nothing. I wanted a new bike, I wanted that bike. Checked my email days in a row, nothing. Send the seller another email. Nothing!
Is funny that in a couple of days I meet the owner in person without knowing that he really was the seller of that bike. Funny, small world :) and after he put the ad online he started liking the bike and didn't want to sell it anymore. Trouble maker Steve ;) Then, on Thursday I've remembered what a good friend told me: "Go and try the BMW F800 and you will forget about other bikes!" So started my research online and found an ad. Researched the bike, the pros&cons, how I can get there (bike/train/fly) and just called the seller. Let him know that I will take the bike. First part sorted. But now I have another issue. The bike is in Glasgow!!!! Just 474 miles away!!!
Called a friend and Thank God I have crazy friends like me! He accepted. All evening I was just hyped. Friday is here! And of course British weather: raining! We start our journey. I will be pillion for 474 miles(yeah, not used to it anymore!). I manage to figure it out that who is around me and try to use a sat-nav/GPS/mobile traveling app will just get lost :))) so before Manchester, we went towards New Castle and made a detour of miles.
When Google Maps say you will do a number of hours...don't ever believe that you will do it. There were road works, heavy rain, stops to fuel, to eat, to smoke and much more and you will be on the road longer.
Finally, we made it in Glasgow around 8-9 PM ( we left London at 8 AM-yeah 12 h... ). We've seen the bike, test it, bought it. Now what? When we left London we said that we will return in the same day because we can ride, but you can't stick to the plans all the time. So we find a nice booking - "The Black Bull with rooms" 43 Main St, Cumbernauld, Glasgow G67 2RT. They let us put the bike inside the yard and were very friendly. Everything clean and nice. But was 11 PM and everything was closed except a Chinese restaurant with surprisingly good food! That evening we just talking and I've said what if we will ride to see the northernmost point of the mainland UK- Dunnet Head. My buddy said yeah, why not, we don't travel every day to Scotland soo.... Good night and see you in the morning!
Day 2: wake up!!!! we need to go and take the bike!!!! In the evening, Gabi forgot to put his leather pants to dry and in the morning surprise...heating up the blow dryer. Everyone, meet my crazy buddy- Gabi!
Let's start the day! OK! Making the papers and sorting the insurance on a Saturday on a bike that is among the most stolen bikes in London... GOOD LUCK!!! But around 3 PM I finally finished with all papers and everybody...MEET my handsome Thor BMW F800ST !!!
I was and still, I'm afraid of this bike! Is so easy to ride it and so comfortable but, I need to get used to it! But not a day without little incidents :)). Gabi had issues with his pin lock. Just went off because in the morning when we cleaned the helmets he wash it and thought is best to dry it with a hot blow dryer... Bad decision! The plastic just shrank! TIP: NEVER EVER USE THE BLOW DRYER ON THE VISOR!!! We didn't find to buy another pin lock for his helmet, so, super glue is his savior. So we hit the road and just enjoyed the road, the sun, the rain ( oh well...Scotland!). The first stop was at Aberfoyle, Stirling FK8 3UX and there we were intruders! In the parking was the meeting of Lambretta owners club: Open Rally Aberfoyle http://lambretta.scot/ Lambretta is the brand name of a line of motor scooters initially manufactured in Milan, Italy, by Innocenti founded in 1947- 70 years ago. Was nice to see so well maintained Lambretta's and everybody was so nice ( I have new stickers from them :D ) and joyful and exchanging information about their pride. Good job everybody!
We finished our coffees and start riding again. Taken A9 and after 90 miles we were hungry, was almost 6 PM and manage to find an information point with a very nice cafe on the site: Ralia Cafe http://www.ralia.co.uk/ and a Hairy Coo metal sculpture. Isn't he nice? And look at this nice hand-crafted hairy accessories http://www.hairy-coo.co.uk/ :D Heated ourselves with a tasty soup and of course started raining again.
Gear up and let's add miles!
The rain stopped and at some point, I've seen the hay bare all over the fields. Signaled and stopped, my friend as well. I have an idea but, first, I need to jump the spiky fence.
Let me try something: let's jump on the hay bare :D :D :D Were 20 minutes of fun, but I couldn't jump on it. Like my dad said when I've sent him the video: "you manage to jump 2-3 centimeters :))) ". Gabi tried as well, he managed to jump on it but, the bare rolled over with him :))).
Enough laughing, let's ride! Is getting late! Around 10 PM we've stopped, was starting to rain. We talk and agreed that it is better to find accommodation and ride to Dunnet Head in the morning because it is late, is dark and will be a shame not to see it in daylight. Wasn't far but, we were tired. We stopped exactly in front of a hotel- Belgrave Arms Hote http://www.belgravearmshotel.co.uk/ The pub from the ground floor was full. A nice lady told us that on TV was a football game and the favorite team won. Meanwhile, I was looking on booking.com to see if I can manage to find something, but no luck. Poor phone signal, means, kinda, no internet. The lady was nice&funny to let us know about a B&B: "Go straight, make the first on the right and you will see a sign. Knock at the door and will answer a scary, ugly woman. If you will pass her and she will like you, you are sorted! ". How she said it, we said no way :)) we tried to another Inn, in front of the Belgrave Arms Hotel but, bad luck. So let's try to the hotel. A double room, en-suite was 90£. Yeah, our luck, but what we can do, we need rest. The room was clean but, I still don't get it how come someone wants to fit carpet in the whole bathroom. Doesn't matter, we had heat, hot water, two comfy beds. Was everything we do need.
In the morning we just wake up, had an English breakfast and made the wheels spin.
We made it! A big sign was welcoming us to Dunnet!!! Three miles left but, we manage to enter a private property, to get lost, to do off road on nasty gravel, return to Dunnet, have a coffee, say hi to elderly people that greet us on the way. All of this in just three miles.
Finally, we made it! The rain stopped so we really enjoyed the scenery and the joy of finally being there!!! The northernmost point of mainland UK! I was just running and jumping around like a kid!!!! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunnet_Head
We fooled around, made photos and is time to leave. We left with the thought that we will ride to London that day (Sunday).
On the way back we spotted a nice place, a bay with a nice seafront view. Let's go and take some photos. Is pointless to say that again we made offroad, stones, gravel but, my amazing new bike made it down, and of course, I was shouting at my friend and telling him that I'm not going to ride the bike out of here and he will do it. He laughed and said ok, ok. Looking at the sea we spotted sea lions and I was: OMG they are so near! I was astonished!
Let's stop fooling around because the rain is starting and we have a long way back. 240 miles in heavy rain, 6h riding on A9- by the way, is an amazing road, with amazing tarmac that lets the water just to "evaporate". When a car passes you, no water is splashed on you, you don't feel the wet tarmac under the wheels. Amazing road!!! It is the longest road in Scotland and the fifth-longest A-road in the United Kingdom. Historically it was the main road between Edinburgh and John O' Groats and has been called the spine of Scotland. Everywhere were signs: "THINK ONCE, THINK TWICE, THINK BIKE"/ "ALLOW MOTORBIKES TO PASS SAFELY" and everybody just drives so carefully and lets bikers pass and is truly another country!
But is still raining. I was lucky that I have full gore-tex gear and is worth every penny, and heated grips are brilliant! We were amused because of the humidity and heat from the grips, we had our hands looking all wrinkly like we had a bath even though we had dry hands. Along the way, we admire an amazing rainbow with vivid colors!
We stopped to fuel up and to eat something. Was already around 8 PM and we decided that is safer for us to rest and to look for a room. The rain just exhausted us. Manage to find a room at the Bein Inn http://beininn.co.uk/ . The rooms were warm, with heaters ( the most important aspect), clean and with nice biker friendly staff. I've just dropped dead. I don't even remember when I well asleep!
Next morning, Monday we just drink coffee, geared up and left! No matter what, we need to be in London today. The ride was nice, sunny day, just with a yellow warning of powerful, but oh boy, powerful wind. At some point, we stop in a parking spot on A1, 147 miles away from London to stretch. We parked in the back of a lorry but, were more than four meters between the lorry and the bikes. My friend was next to his bike, in the back of the lorry and I'm starting shouting. I've seen the reverse light going on at the lorry and seen the lorry starting reverse. My friend didn't know what is happening and when he turned, the lorry already was reversing into his bike. He runs to the driver and manages to make him aware that something wrong was happening.
He said that he didn't see us! However he didn't use the mirrors because we weren't in his blind spot. TIP: NEVER EVER PARK AT THE BACK OF A LORRY/ BIG TRUCK/ BUSS. My bike was safe because was further behind. Because it was an incident with no injuries and no victims and wasn't obstructing the traffic, was no need for the police. We just took all the driver, car and insurance details and let the driver just drive away. The bike is damaged enough but, somehow we manage to be in London around 9 PM, in heavy rain, of course.
Finally, I am home. What a ride!
I never imagine myself that I will have a new bike so soon and especially a BMW!!! And Thank God for crazy friends!!! Thanks, Vizan!
Yours truly, Andreea xoxo