Living it up here in the lovely little city of Lincoln. Getting here was fun. Ruth and I met up in London for the final leg of the trip into Lincoln which *should* only take about 2 hours. Well… it ended up taking us about 9 hours. The unplanned delay happened when we were switching trains at the Newark station. It should have been a simple operation: exit the train, unload the bike from baggage car and head over to where the next train arrives. The first part went well. We get off the train and I walk back to the baggage car to get my bike. Just when I get to the door the train started to leave the station and 10 seconds later I’m watching as it’s roaring down the tracks with my bike still on it.

It wasn’t the end of the world since its a train after all–not too many different ways it can go. The train station supervisor called ahead and had them pull it off further down the line and load it up onto a train heading back this way. The whole episode added about 3 hours to the trip. When we did finally arrive it was close to 8pm. Long day but we made it.

Lot’s more to see and do. I hope it takes a very long time for Sunday to get here.

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Freaky looking dummies in the prison chapel

Freaky looking dummies in the prison chapel

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Lincoln Castle

Lincoln Castle

Lincoln Cathederal

Lincoln Cathederal

Arrow slot in the castle

Arrow slot in the castle

Ruth standing guard

Ruth standing guard

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One of the main touristy areas in Lincoln

One of the main touristy areas in Lincoln

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The waterfront in Lincoln

The waterfront in Lincoln

Yes, she packed this and that's why her bag weighed 50 lbs :)

Yes, she packed this and that’s why her bag weighed 50 lbs 🙂

Typical English breakfast

Typical English breakfast

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07/01 Bath is very impressive looking city. I rather enjoyed my ride around but there wasn’t a place to keep my bike locked up so I missed seeing the Roman Baths. I did get to see a couple of the touristy things like Royal Crescent, a semicircular terrace of houses built in 1775 and the last medieval church built in England, Bath Abbey (started in 1499). The bath houses would have been nice though. They were built by the Romans around 2000 years ago over the only thermal hot springs in England. You can’t actually enter the springs where the Romans used to but I guess there’s a spa/resort in town that’s open to the public.

After escaping the traffic in Bath I spent about half the day riding along an unpaved, rather bumpy bicycle path next to a canal. The canal was like a little city in itself. For practically the entire length there were boats tied up that people lived on. I wanted to stop and ask someone what it was like living there but the only people I saw were a couple guys and they looked a bit peculiar. A few of the boats were decked out with solar panels and little gardens on the roof. Most boats had a bicycle strapped on top presumably for trips along the trail back into town. I was dying to know where the septic waste ends up. The canal looked clean so it’s not going in there. One guy had converted his boat into a floating ice cream parlor so maybe there’s a garbage boat too.

After many miles along the quiet path it was time to jump back onto the roadway for the last stretch. The biggest disappointment was riding up a very steep hill for a quarter mile to avoid the busy A360 only to find out the road was closed because the military was doing some live fire exercises on the base I was hoping to pass through. Fortunately I didn’t have to go back the same way but it did mean I got stuck riding on the highway. And of course once on the highway it wasn’t long before the strong wind blew me a little to the side and my front pannier clipped the shrubs that grow right up to the side of the road. The pannier ripped off forcing me to stop and put it back on in the middle of the lane of traffic with cars coming up behind me doing about 80mph. Luckily I had about a 20 second break to pick it up and get going again before the first car came along.

Camped that night at Brades Acre in Tilshead. 6 pounds for the night, good shower (50p) and free wifi. Rode about 40 miles with 1436 feet of climbing.

Yesterday I finally got to see Stonehenge. Holy crap were there ever a lot of people! The line to buy a ticket and walk around the stones was so long I didn’t even bother. I ran across the highway, took some pictures over the top of the chain link fence and left. It was cool looking and all that but I didn’t feel bad for not joining the throngs of tourists shuffling around it. You can’t actually walk through the stones (except on a special early morning/late night tour).

Next stop was the famous Woodhenge. 🙂 OK, 5 other people were there so perhaps not so famous. The ride there was fun because I followed some trails entirely off-road through some gorgeous countryside.

Last stop was the iron age fortress of Old Sarum (Salisbury today is also called New Sarum; Old Sarum was the location of the first settlement). It was one of my favorite smaller historical sites. Not even sure why I liked it so much. There wasn’t much left of the place but the informational panels were detailed and it was very clean even with the stupid dogs they let people bring with them. Maybe because I just finished reading the novel London, which talks about the area a little, I appreciated it a bit more. The same author also wrote Sarum (Edward Rutherfurd).

Nice weather all day but extremely windy. Camped right next door at a caravan park. Rode 23 miles for the day with 1303 climbing.

This morning I woke up and rode a mile from the campsite to a guest house in the city center. So next week (the 7th) is when I’m meeting my friend in Lincoln. I don’t want to be fresh off the bike with a pile of dirty clothes, long, shaggy hair and cuts all over my shin (long story) so I decided to stay here in Salisbury until at least the 5th. That way I can get caught up on my web site, answer emails, heal, clean up a bit, get some work done on my bike (minor shifting problems) and wind down. I would have stayed at the CG but they don’t have electric outlets available for tent campers and my laptop was dead. So were all my rechargeable batteries. I’m finding that having a solar charger doesn’t do much good in a country with no sun. 🙂 It’s quiet here too; maybe I’ll get some sleep finally.

Elevation Profile
GPX track

This marked bike path by Old Sarum was terrible

This marked bike path by Old Sarum was terrible

I like this puffy house

I like this puffy house

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My grassy ride to Woodhenge

My grassy ride to Woodhenge

"Bloody hell!  You nearly shot me!"

"Bloody hell! You nearly shot me!"

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Lunch.

Lunch.

Looks like fun.

Looks like fun.

Love the boats.

Love the boats.

Cozy

Cozy

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Bath

Bath

Royal Crescent again

Royal Crescent again

My one and only Stonehenge picture. :)

My one and only Stonehenge picture. 🙂

Looked very cool back then

Looked very cool back then

Looking back up from the church

Looking back up from the church

You can see where I was camped in the foreground

You can see where I was camped in the foreground

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The front of the fort at Old Sarum

The front of the fort at Old Sarum

Mood:Good Weather:
Wind: Wind Direction:
Avg Speed: mph (0 km/h) Top Speed: mph (0 km/h)
Total Ascent: ft (0 m) Max Elevation: ft (0 m)
Distance: mi (0 km) Total Distance:28454 mi (45792.3 km)

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06/28 Back in my favorite country and all the things I loved about it last time were waiting for me: heavy traffic on all the roads, narrow, steep roads with no safety lane, missing cycle path signs and expensive campgrounds. Much to my surprise there was no rain and all today and the sun was out in force most of the afternoon.

I did manage to cure my sore rear end even with constant 80% and above humidity. The trick was baby power, and lot’s of it. Little puffs of white power were probably visible to the drivers coming up behind me as I adjusted myself in the seat for the first bit. 🙂

Getting to Bath was easy enough thanks to a great cycle path that followed along an old railroad track. It was once I got into Bath that I ran into trouble. There was no easy way off the cycle track, at least that I could find, so I ended up riding past the campground and into the city. Then I had to circle back and ride up a long, steep and very, very busy road to get to it. I was not a happy camper when I got here. Then the lady tells me it’s $21.04 US to camp. Newton Mill Holiday Park was the name of the place.

Stonehenge tomorrow maybe. I’m way ahead of schedule and love it because it gives me a couple days to relax before I start my vacation. 🙂

Elevation Profile
GPX track

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The bridge I crossed over into England.

The bridge I crossed over into England.

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Mood:Bad Weather:Sunny/Warm
Wind:Brisk Wind Direction:Tail
Avg Speed:10.1 mph (16.3 km/h) Top Speed:32.1 mph (51.7 km/h)
Avg Grade:4% Max Grade:13%
Total Ascent: ft (0 m) Max Elevation:771 ft (235 m)
Distance:61.51 mi (99 km) Total Distance:28385 mi (45681.2 km)

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06/27 No rain today even though it sure looked like it was going to be a nasty one this morning. Spent a lot of time on a mostly well-groomed bike trail that ran alongside a canal system starting in the town of Brecon.

My rear end is just killing me for the last couple days. I know it’s from my bike shorts never having a chance to dry out so the friction is just brutal. Feels like I’m sitting on a hot iron all day.

Camped here in Abergavenny at a golf course/campground (Wernddu Farm Golf Club). Unfortunately it’s very loud because the camping area is right next to a busy road, there’s a huge flock of sheep across the street and there’s been a helicopter flying overhead for 30 minutes now.

OK, today sucked. Nothing specifically happened to make it suck more than any other day. Yesterday didn’t help at all I’m sure. When you have a really good day immediately followed by a bad day I’m sure the bad day will seem worse than it actually is.

I have no desire whatsoever to keep bicycle touring here. I don’t even know if I want to tour anywhere at this point. For the last three and a half years I’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of seeing us turn virtually every inch of arable land into space for our cities, grazing animals and crops. It’s pretty freaking depressing. There are so many amazing things on this planet and we’re squeezing everything out.

I think at this point I’d just like to see any kind of light at the end of the tunnel. The problem is that people are all the same; myself included. This has been painfully obvious after traveling around a bit. We all destroy–some of us are just a hell of a lot better at it than others. The saddest thing is that we never learn from our mistakes. We just keep doing the same stupid things over and over again. Even when we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are doing something stupid we still do it–usually so we can make more money and do more stupid things.

I’m not sure what’s in store for me in the near future. We’ll see what the next few weeks brings.

Elevation Profile
GPX track

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Cool old farm buildings

Cool old farm buildings

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Mood:Bad Weather:
Wind: Wind Direction:
Avg Speed: mph (0 km/h) Top Speed: mph (0 km/h)
Total Ascent: ft (0 m) Max Elevation:1199 ft (365.5 m)
Distance: mi (0 km) Total Distance: mi (0 km)

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