Monday, 6 May 2013

SKCC Road Trip Day 3

Awake pre-alarm again, so out to the car park & prepare the car for the day. This involves removing & stowing the roof, swapping the side screens for deflectors, turning off the alarm, stowing the steering lock, disconnecting the solar charger – and of course re-connecting the exciter wire, then wrestling the bonnet back into place.

Today we set off in a couple of waves, the hard core blatteers went first as they had some peace to disturb, the rest of us left the hotel in a more leisurely manner & almost immediately found Locost220 in a lay-by. What was this? Did our perennial rescuer need rescuing??
It turned out to be a minor issue that was already well in hand, however another problem soon became apparent, one of the cars was emitting smoke. It turned out that when checking the oil, an oily rag had been left on the exhaust & was smouldering. Another few miles & it may have been more serious. So it turned out that Our Rescuer had effected a rescue without even trying. Cool.

We headed out again & made our way to the first coffee stop. A certain amount of confusion ensued as the group ended up in Ffestiniog – the pre-arranged coffee stop was at the café of the Ffestiniog Railway about 5 miles further along a wonderful road. The nice people at the café had opened especially early for us. Suitably refreshed, we headed off – in a variety of directions & in fact that was to be almost the last Mr Mango & I would see of the SKCC for some time.

We headed – in a round about fashion for Carnarvon where we took some photos & took advantage of some cheap Morrissons petrol, moving on to Conwy – called Conway last time I visited – we parked up near the castle walls & took some more photos. Interesting place, they appear to have incorporated the castle into the town wherever possible, houses & shops seem to grow from the castle walls. Next in the itinerary was Llandudno, where we failed to have lunch, but succeeded in failing to pay the toll on the toll road around the Great Orm. The trick it seems is to drive up to the cable car station at the top, then after experiencing the gale, follow signs to the toll road, the bring you out on the road – but downstream as it were of the toll booth.

Mr Mango had mentioned the previous evening that he wanted to see the Menai bridges, That started me again reaching back to my childhood holidays, I remembered Beaumaris Castle, a pile in remarkably good condition, probably because being on Anglesea , it too far out of the way to bother attacking. So we drove over the Stevenson bridge & took photos of the cars in front of the Castle before driving back over the other bridge – where there was a very wordy sign saying something like “NO OVERTAKING EXCEPT WHEN A PEDAL CYCLE IS OVERTAKING ANOTHER PEDAL CYCLE” & then repeated in Welsh. I wonder if any cyclist ever wondered if a NO OVERTAKING sign applied to them? On a bridge? Weirdness.

We then headed inland & experienced a number of roads from motorways, through sweeping A-roads, to single track roads over dams. Feeling rather parched by this point we stopped at a road-side café which from the general feel, the décor, & the stickers around the entrance, was keen to show off it’s environmental credentials. I wondered if we would be shunned as we were not only motorists, but recreational motorists, but not a bit of it. The proprietor was keen to enter into discourse about the cars (after we’d corrected his assertion that they were TIGERS of course - we forgave him after he furnished us with a spectacular hot chocolate with marshmallows & cream & a pot of tea.
After  a fuel stop in Betws-Y-Coed, we took two hours about getting back to Llangollen, then had a raucous evening in the hotel bar before retiring.

But one question persists. What DO the locals run their cars on? Twice during the day we found ourselves driving windy, up-hill roads in extremely capable, high performance cars – unable to shake off a local in a small French hatchback (once a Peugeot, once a Renault) Local knowledge counts for a lot – but this was EXTREME.

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