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Wing Commander
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Work delayed the set-off on Thursday. I finally pushed off at 10 and headed straight to the Starcom office in St Ives. Anyone who remembers my inability to get a battery-operated door bell to work will not be surprised that since upgrading to the Starcom digital I have been unable to get the settings right.
A very patient man talked me through it (I didn't understand a word) and set it so I could hear the music uninterrupted.
I pulled in to a garage for fuel and to check the destination details for Squires, only to discover that, despite having brought the whole participants' pack, the Squires details were not on there. I blame Stormforce. You just can't get the staff these days.
This was about 11.30 and made me the first person to call the Fat Coms Controller (Sharrie) for assistance. With the address in my sat nav I set off again.
Progress was again disrupted but this time with good news. I had turned down an invitation to an awards ceremony, despite having been shortlisted, and I was surprised to discover via a phone call from my mate who had attended, that I had, in fact, won. It is always nice to have your work recognised, especially when it comes with a £750 cheque. :thumbup:
I decided to stop and call my mate back, then call my wife and the editor of the magazine in which my winning article had appeared and so on. I realised I would not make Squires for the 2pm departure time, so abandoned that as a destination.
While making the calls in a service station I also got involved with a guy on a Vmax who had ridden up to the pump only to discover that his keys had fallen out of his ignition somewhere back down the A1. He had no key to turn off his bike or to open his fuel tank.
He and a van driver had been trying to break the lock barrel and had done some major damage to it, but without opening it. I got a big spanner and screwdriver out and we had another go, this time only breaking the rim of the petrol cap from the centre part.
A sports bike drew up, complete with side car in matching livery, and then its immobiliser refused to disengage when the rider came back from paying for fuel. There were these two shiny, new bikes broken down side by side. I had tried to help, without laughing, but keeping my sniggering under control was getting difficult, so I walked away, started my 1991 rusty old beast first time and left them to it.:mrgreen:
From there on was just stunning riding. When the weather is right, Britain is the best place in the world. It was windy and I was getting blown about a bit, but the sun was out and the scenery was beautiful.
I eventually stopped to take a few pics near and on Hadrian's Wall and then arrived at the bunkhouse - and what a find that was (well played Yeti).





And on Hadrian's Wall itself:


We headed straight out from the bunk house to a pub for a cracking meal and I bought everyone a drink to celebrate my win.



It was from here that things went wrong, in that some people bought me one back, then Yeti had some Sloe Vodka back at the bunkhouse and then next thing I know I am riding to Scotland with a hangover.
Very early the next morning I remembered how much colder it had got coming north and pulled over to add an extra layer. Stormforce and PaulS stopped to make sure I was OK, then Stormforce turned it into a *** break and I had a pee by the side of the road, while Paul shot off to catch up with the others.
Suddenly Stormforce and I were on our own and prepared to take it a bit easier. We caught up with PhilW a little way further as he on the transalp was not prepared to blat at quite the same pace as the others either. So we had a big fry-up and pootled off for the day. We picked up stragglers as the day went on, meeting up with Yeti, Alpslapper, WinXP-master and Pale Rider and eventually got to JOG early evening.
There was chaos sorting rooms but I was eventually given a room, opened the door and thought that MacP had spontaneously combusted as he had entered the room, spraying his kit, clothing and clutter all across both the single and double bed, the wardrobe and the floor. I rushed into the bar to check he was OK, only discover that he is just an incredibly scruffy ******* and was, in fact, fine.
Then Rovers pointed out an alleged similarity of appearance between my good self and Austin and the ribbing did not cease. I have detailed the allegations in another thread.
I wimped out at 9.30 but tossed and turned and had a restless night until the alarm went off at 3am. My breakfast bag had extra meat in it:



We were down at the car park before 4 but what with photos and video people didn't leave until about 5 past. There were actually too many of us to get a decent photo:



I videoed several of them and then joined about 3/4 of the way down. I then tried to overtake everyone to catch up with the leaders, just for the video. I never caught up with the leaders but it was great fun riding those Scottish roads as the sun came up. That was without doubt the best part of the day.
We past a small group stopped at the road side and tuned around to help get an RD07 started. The fuel had run out, and reserve was refusing to kick in. We then headed to the nearest garage, only to find it shut, and on to Aviemore, where, after about 167 miles since the previous fill-up we found an open garage and about a dozen machines drank their way through as much as 19 litres each.



I suspect the XLV was the oldest bike on the trip but my 1991 RD04 must have been the second oldest? They don't make 'em like that anymore:



We never let the tanks run so low again, but people went at different paces and pulled in to different garages. You overtook the same person several times. It was like the tortoise and the hare. You went past them but then stopped at services for a coffee and a chat and they bumbled along past you while you were there.
People will follow Chad to the end of the earth - and very nearly did when he missed the M73 turning. I was about third or fourth in the convoy and was pulling into the left-hand lane wondering why he and the others weren't. Just as he got parallel with the turn he stuck his left hand out urgently and pointed where we should have gone. Rovers behind him had no time. Steve C was in the right-hand lane and would have had to have made a suicide manoeuvre to get across. I was the only one able to take the correct turn.
Those behind then had to choose between following Whealie or following Chad. You can get a fair picture of our relevant site reputations in that most people still followed Chad down the wrong road, rather than follow me down the right road.:confused:
I think two bikes followed me but they were never confident enough of my leadership to stay with me and pulled off one service station before I did.
I eventually stopped, on my tod, at Gretna and went for a big fry-up, dropping the whole first breakfast on the floor before I'd even reached the till and having to get them to clear it up and make me another one. I also had baked beans on my helmet. :toothy2:
The world and his wife turned up there. Chad's crowd, Maverick's crowd and other lone riders. They had all filled up first so I went to fill up and asked them not to leave without me, which they did anyway. I saw Chad leaving and tried to get my helmet and gloves back on but he had gone.
As I shot out of the filling station, Steve C was bringing up the rear. Spotting me, he waved and nodded and, not concentrating, promptly went onto the north-bound slip road instead of the south-bound, so I wasn't even able to ride with him. He eventually turned around at the next junction and caught me up 30 miles south of the Gretna services and then we caught up the others about ten minutes after that. A neat little group then formed and stuck together for much of the rest of the day.
The main thing was rain. It started raining at the services and perhaps stopped for five minutes about 3pm - but I may have dreamed that. We did 150-mile chunks, stopping every couple of hours for fuel, drinks and snacks. The only bad session was mid-afternoon, about 4pm. I just felt so tired. I could not concentrate and nothing I tried, worked, I could not even sing along to song lyrics. Rovers in front had to keep reminding me to turn off my indicators. It is soul destroying to feel like that and see a sign saying Services 22 miles. I decided I was pulling in there, regardless of what everyone else was doing, but they must have all felt the same because, although we had done only 89 miles, we all stopped.
Just the change of scene, the coffee and the conversation picked me up. My brain came out of storage and I never had another problem after that.
We munched more miles, saw supporters waving on bridges, met up with many other riders so that we had quite a large convoy going by the time we also picked up Palmer. But by then we were in thick fog.
You can see it to a certain degree on the video but in parts visibility was so low and the roads so windy I dared not reach over to turn the video on. I could see Palmer and I think PaulS in front of him, but not the bike ahead of that.
Palmer's rear wheel skidded about 8 inches across the road and his leg came out to stop him falling - and we were about half a minute away from Land's End. What a finale that would have been. But we made it safe.
It was a great sense of achievement, made doubly so by the weather.
My Oxtar Infinity Boots never let a drop in and my ex-police goretex hi viz jacket and my ex-army goretex overtrousers had done their job keeping me completely dry in what must have been nearly eight hours of continuous rain.
With the hotel being so miserable and refusing even a sandwich, we hit the pub, marvelled at the local band's ability to annihilate classic songs and watched with incredulity the local lasses dancing - it was St Vitus Dance.
Then we sat around the hotel lobby drinking the hard-prized beer and chatting. I dozed off about 2am but was there to see Mudwiz, BT bloke and Mel arrive about 3am.
In the morning the sun was shining, but the hotel staff still made everything seem gloomy so I took a few photos and left, arriving home 1910 miles after setting off, about 2pm.







I met two guys on red Ducatis, who explained that they cover fewer miles in a year on their bikes than we did in that one day. Who's more of a fool? Us for doing it, or them for underusing their bikes?

Just to make the report complete the video is in here again.

[gvideo]http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5416305981285071548&hl=en[/gvideo]

Thanks to everyone for organising it, for riding so safe, for the chats, the drinks, the camaraderie and for achieving so much in such a short time. Thanks to Sharrie for the support too.
One final thought: If the Land's End hotel falls into the sea, will anyone care?
 

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Brilliant Whealie:thumbup::thumbup:
I just would like to add a THANK YOU to the 2 nameless Bikers on the other side of the Motorway which warned me about the Speed traps on the way down.They saved me a fair bit of money:D
 

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Great Chris, good read. Mind you are a bit grumpy on hangover it took you 10 hours to wake up and blat past me on A9.At some points of the day I swear I was talking to the tarmac, mind I probably was the way you were suffering:D
 

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Wing Commander
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great Chris, good read. Mind you are a bit grumpy on hangover it took you 10 hours to wake up and blat past me on A9.At some points of the day I swear I was talking to the tarmac, mind I probably was the way you were suffering:D
Yep, as I said, it was less a case of the bottom having fallen out of my world and more a case of the world having fallen out of my bottom.
 

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Makes me wish more than ever that I could have taken part.
Great report Chris.:thumbright:
 

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whys the rum always gone?
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17,680 Posts
fantastic chris:cool::cool: ive got one thing to say


I WANNA DO IT AGAIN !!!:blob7::blob8::D:blob6::D:toothy10::toothy10::toothy10:
 

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SHW'MAE BUTT
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3,270 Posts
fantastic chris:cool::cool: ive got one thing to say


I WANNA DO IT AGAIN !!!:blob7::blob8::D:blob6::D:toothy10::toothy10::toothy10:
I'd do it to but got to wait until the boss is back on the road:cheers::cheers:
 
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