Day 2: Plymouth

Last modified 2023/08/14 21:52

me Map (strava)

I’ve checked in to the ferry terminal and am siting on a bench at the port. 3 border guards are queuing at the cafe “I was at their last concert, they both flew in on separate helicopters and wouldn’t talk to each other for the entire gig (it was great mind)”. I was physically searched before being let through.

The boat hasn’t arrived yet and I can expect to wait another hour and a half. I’m fairly knackered, my limbs are aching and I am looking forward to lying down. It’s been a long day, although I’ve “only” done 110 kilometers (or 66 miles or so) those miles were very hilly.

Last month I was at my mothers place, “is that my sleeping bag?” I asked, spotting a familiar object in the garage “i don’t know, it’s been in his boat for the past two years”. It was soaking wet. It was mine, and having repossesed it I decided it was warmer than my usual sleeping bag and I took it instead of the other.

Last night as I lay down in the campsite I remembered why I had purcahsed the other sleeping bag - this one was too small. Not so small that I can’t fit in it, but just small enough that it’s uncomfortable. I had decided to never use this sleeping bag again, and it seems I forgot that it was this one. That, and the fact that it was absolutely pissing down in rain last night prevented me from getting the sleep I was hoping for.

I resolved to get up early in order to give myself a headstart and mitigate the chance that I could miss the ferry. I dozed until about 7:30 and reluctantly sat up, peeled back the sleeping bag and put some water in the pot and made a quick instant coffee and then reused the pot to mix some Alpen wit some water then packed up the wet tent, realising on the way that I had left my trainiers outside of the tent after addressing a call of nature in the middle of the night. They were soaked through and a puddle had formed in one of them.

“That bloody rain last night, couldn’t sleep” said the man “yeah, it was pretty wet, I left my trainers out” he looked unbelievingly at my sandals “these are sandals obviously”

It was damp, but fortunately it had stopped raining and I left the site at around 8am, an hour later I was passing through Sidmouth which was surprisingly scenic.

wet sidmouth Wet Sidmouth

The morning mission was to cross the River Exe. Google Maps suggested heading to a small ferry crossing some 7 miles “upstream” but I could see on my open street map that there was a passenger ferry leaving from Exmouth. I stopped for a coffee at a post office and sat outside precisely as it started to rain, I looked up the ferry times, the first crossing was at 10:40 and it was 9:30. It wasn’t clear that I could make the ferry, if I missed it I would need to wait another hour, and if that was the case I may as well have taken the “long route”.

leaving exmouth Leaving Exmouth

I got to the ferry with 10 minute to spare, but they didn’t take card, so I had to ide back as fast as I could to the town center to find an ATM (OpenStreetMaps to the rescue). Slightly out of breath I boarded the ferry and spent a pleasant 20 minutes or so crossing the Exe.

The Captain mumbled something about the bike as I left before offering to carry it up the steps of the pier for me. On the otherside the pier led directly to the wrong side of a train platform, and I carried the bike over the railway bridge fully laden.

By this time I had begun to experience some pain in my knee, something I’ve been familiar with on a previous trip for which I did no training at all. The next 60 kilometers were not merciful to my knee.

lunch Lunch

There were some truly terrible hills, and everytime I slowed to a 3kmph crawl my knee would be punished. The last time this happened (in Germany 3 or 4 years ago) I thought it was a show-stopper injury, but I simpy changed the seat height and the pain went away shortly afterwards. I changed the seat height to be progressively higher throughout the day, and I think it helped, in anycase I’m sure the pain will go away tomorrow.

My cycle computer magnet kept slipping, and the Vaude cycle bag I errornously purchased instead of a Ortlieb fell off a couple of times, as I think it lasted about 2 weeks before the first things started going wrong with it, my brakes also needed adjustment throughout the day. I serviced the bike before leaving, so at least the gears were working well.

“Where did you come from?” “Beer, near Seaton” “Where are you going?” “Plymouth” “no, where are you going?” “Santander” “Cool!” “And then?” “Home, only got two weeks holiday!” “Ah” “Fucking hilly isn’t it”.

Now I’m sitting on the ferry typing this blog with a beer waiting for my cabin to be ready. Everything went well and I made it with hours to spare. Tomorrow I’ll be in France and will go in a direction.

finishing blog VIM on a boat