One of the reasons why we got the motorbike was so that we would be able to go off with our small tent and do some camping and get back to basics. A few weekends ago we were meant to go to Chipping Norton to see our old managers but due to inclement weather we had to put it off. We are not hardy bikers/campers yet!
Keeping an eye on the weather during the week we saw that the weekend just gone looked good to go so we did.
We called Malcolm And Alison on the Thursday before and again on the morning of the 14th to confirm that we would be arriving there between 12:30 and 13:00 hrs and it was agreed that we would share a Chinese meal that evening.
Space is limited when touring on a motorbike and it is a challenge to plan what to take with you. What you want to take and what you can take are two different things as we have already found out!
On the bike we have got two panniers, a top box and a tank bag. In those we had to fit our tent, sleeping bags (more on these later!), sleeping mats, cooking pots and stove complete with fuel bottle. We had to take some clothing and footwear with us and our toiletries.
Bearing in mind that the weight of the bike with a full tank of fuel alone is 220Kg so you can begin to see how you have to be careful not to overload it.
Lucky for me my wife only weighs in at 9.5 stone:-)
We had our route sorted out thanks to Google Maps which we printed and put it on top of the tank bag for easy reference……for Angela that is, not me. She was able to look over my shoulder and tell me through our intercom system which turn to take. We need to get a Sat Nav sorted out for the bike before we do our proper touring in Ireland and Southern Spain.
Fully loaded, ready for the off!
We finally set off at 11am with the sun shining on us for our journey to Chipping Norton (Oxfordshire) which according to to Google should take us 1.5 hours.
Apart from about ten miles the journey took us through beautiful rolling countryside and some nice sweeping bends. I was (nicely) surprised at how well the bike handled being fully loaded as I was a bit nervous at first never taking the bike out with this much weight on.
We only took two wrong turns along the way, the first one because the street name was obscured by vegetation, probably due to the recent cutbacks in that local council!
For those of you out there that are not bikers manoeuvring at slow speed can be very tricky and to make matters even worse it is manoeuvring on a gravelled surface. So when a wrong turn is taken you have to pick a nice place to turn that has plenty of space and no gravel……which we did:-)
The second wrong turn (left) was a simple mistake and only a mile away from our final destination, I decided to continue and hope for a right turn that would bring us back on track…..which it did.
We pulled into the Chipping Norton campsite at approximately 12:30pm and had a warm reception from Malcolm and Alison who kindly gave us a big hug and made us a cup of tea which went down very well.
After our cuppa we decided that as the weather looked like it may rain we had better get the tent pitched.
Tent pitched, sleeping mats and bags unrolled and laid out ready for later we then went to see Malc and Ali in their awning. Ali made us a baguette and while we were eating it the heavens opened up. How’s that for timing?
The rain eventually stopped and we caught the bus from the main entrance into Chipping Norton to have a bit of a wander and to get some provisions for breakfast.
We decided to have a drink after shopping and found a nice bar called ‘Bitter & Twisted’ where we both had a cocktail! not really a bikers drink but each to their own. Angela had a Singapore Sling and I had a Long Island Ice Tea. We also had a bowl of Wasabi spiced nuts.
We caught the bus back to the site and had a snooze in our tent until we went over to Malc & Ali’s at 18:30pm where we had a drink, looked at the menu and rang in the order at 7pm. They said they were busy and it could take up to an hour.
We had to chase the Chinese up at 20:30pm who said it was on its way………………………to cut a long story short another phone call was made by Dean who said if it was not here in the next ten minutes then don’t bother coming. On the tenth minute it had arrived and Dean went out to negotiate a discount for the delay. The driver was not happy but agreed to let us have it for £15 less…………result.
We had a good old chinwag for the rest of the evening before retiring to our nice warm sleeping bags (NOT!).
We need to change our sleeping bags because we both were a bit chilly or according to Angela Bl**dy freezing during the night.
We could not get the stove to light in the morning until a cyclist in the next tent came to assist and five minutes later we had a nice steaming coffee before going to Malc & Ali’s awning for croissants and another brew.
After another chat we took the tent down which was now dry, packed up the bike and got our riding gear on, had another picture taken before our journey home.
The weather was dry to begin with but overcast and we only had a few short periods of drizzle on the way back. There were a lot of other bikers on the road which gave us the bikers hello in the form of a distinct nod of the head or a sticking out of the leg. When we had the little 125cc scooter no one said hello to us but now we are in with the big boys we get acknowledged:-)
We stopped off at ‘The Trumpet’ in Ledbury for lunch on the way back which was nice but when we came out after our meal it was raining quite heavy. This was not too much of a problem as we were only a couple of miles from home.
All in all it was a great weekend and it was great seeing Malc & Ali again! Thanks guys:-)