And that was just day 1

DSC02780Day one was as incident packed to a degree I hope we don’t see for the rest of this trip. I was up at about 6.30am and with most of the packing done and dusted had a leisurely breakfast whilst being amazed that the forecast of bad weather had been completely wrong… Now there’s a surprise. Andy from AP Motorcycles in Carmarthen, past Scoots participant and very good friend, having rescued me by sorting my broken exhaust stud yesterday had said he would run me and the Scoot down to meet with the guys at Chieveley Services, a run of about 150 miles. In view of the forecast I had readily agreed as I though it would save me a soaking. However with clear skies and a mild temperature, 8am, the arranged collection time came and went with no sign of Andy! As always at the start of a trip I was already stressing about… well about everything really! At 10 past the hour I phoned Andy’s workshop and spoke to his father who told me Andy had left well over half and hour previous and should be with me any minute. I waited with rising blood pressure for another 10 minutes and decided I simply couldn’t afford to wait any longer. So bags were strapped to the bike, kit donned and off I set to refuel at my local garage hoping that I might meet Andy along the way… Lo and behold just as I approached the fuel stop along he came. He’d been caught behind just about every tractor in Carmarthenshire it seems. Swinging onto the forecourt, the Scoot was quickly loaded and strapped down on the back of his pickup truck and off we went to Chieveley to meet up with 5 riders heading down from up North.
We made good time through the A40 and M4 arriving at just after 11.30; we had arranged to meet at about 12, so time for a coffee and pasty before the others turned up. It was really nice to have Andy and Mike there to see us off as otherwise it would have been a bit of a solitary departure for me from Pumpsaint and I was really chuffed that Andy offered his services so willingly. I’m also hoping he will be on the next Scoots trip in 2015…
Once the others arrived it was clear that we already had something of a problem, with Peter’s bike using a lot of fuel and generally underperforming. Something which it seems had been the case ever since he left Edinburgh and something that should have been sorted weeks ago. Although to be fair to Peter the “fettling” of his bike had been done by a third party who assured him that all was well and ready to go! I guess the moral of the story is that if the “fettler” is of unknown provenance make sure you also check it yourself….

Coffees downed we set of for Portsmouth with Joe leading down the A34 which was very busy, then onto M3 and M27. As we approached Portsmouth Peter stopped on a slip road to refuel, not really a good idea and in view of how close we were to the ferry not really necessary either. However a litre of fuel tipped into the tank and off we went once more. Approaching the junction for the ferry terminal, I overtook the group and led them into a service station to top up our tanks so as to minimise time lost on disembarkation at Santander…. Peter’s bike never ran again. In spite of riding it into the station by the time he had come out from paying for the fuel, his engine had seized solid!!!

We managed to locate another engine only about a mile from the port, but with only 25 minutes left before we really had to board there was simply not enough time to remove the new engine from it’s frame and to remove Peter’s engine as an exchange unit… One would have just about been possible two, just a little too much of an ask. So the bike was abandoned to Chas, Jill’s other half, to take away on the trailer he had fortuitously brought along and Peter boarded the ship on the back of Joe’s bike… with the plan being to travel with Jon in the Pajaero until we could source another suitable machine, possibly in Madrid. Our evening on board passed pleasantly enough, being only slightly marred by an inferior and vastly overpriced meal in the A La Carte restaurant… Shan’t be doing that one again. A couple of beers and off for an early night.

Today, as always is passing rather slowly, the team has yet to meld properly which wont start to happen I think until we get to the camp site at Chefchaouen ,although the visa and bike search in Madrid may expedite it a little. Tonight, against mt better judgement, we head for a rather expensive hotel ( our one and only! ) known and chosen by the two Andy’s; so I just hope it’s a good one! It’s about 50 mile from Santander so should be a fairly easy ride assuming that nothing else bites us. With another 4 hours of purgatory on board the ship left I think I’ll lay my grumpy head down for a snooze……

Comments: Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply