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.
This marked bike path by Old Sarum was terrible
I like this puffy house
My grassy ride to Woodhenge
"Bloody hell! You nearly shot me!"
Looks like fun.
Love the boats.
Royal Crescent again
My one and only Stonehenge picture.
Looked very cool back then
Looking back up from the church
You can see where I was camped in the foreground
The front of the fort at Old Sarum