Tuesday 18 April 2023

Pre-Tour Tour

 Last year I went on a mini tour of north Devon on my way to the Rogue Runners Wales tour in September (subsequently named "The Missing Castle Tour") & was so impressed by the roads I organised a mini-tour for the Rogues (coming soon), then a different group of friends decided to have a house party in south Devon to celebrate a big birthday, which by happenstance coincided with me needing to take my 1978 bike frame (531 double butted, made to measure) in for a refurbishment at a very professional looking frame maker's workshop in Bristol (Argos Racing Cycles).

The weather forecast looked a bit pants with a swirling rain cloud rotating over Bristol & clearly the sensible option was to default to the tin-top.

Of course I didn't! 😂

Having loaded the the Stylus with my clothes, a very great many alcoholic beverages & mixers AND a bike frame AND got the roof over it all, I headed west. It was a nice enough run & I only drove past the workshop once. The sky was clearing as I left & since I'd had to take the roof of to get the frame out I rolled it up & stowed it.

I had a route that took me onto Exmoor & south along the little roads The SatNav said I would be there just before 6! I was enjoying rumbling along the Devon (possibly Somerset) lanes with 6ft hedges both sides & I was just thinking "nothing's come the other way for miles" when a pick up pulling a caravan followed by a van came into view. Fortunately there was a farmyard entrance in just the right place. Shortly after that was another van driving through a pond where the road should be, but at least I could see how deep the water was & I set off through it.

The next water feature was bigger & had no convenient vehicle to judge it against, yes I should've gone back, but that tends not to be in my nature. Keeping the revs up & the clutch slipping I plunged into the deep - & deep it was - I could see see the bow wave ahead of the car & the water seemingly 1/2 way up the doors, I did have ca camera running, it doesn't really show the full horror, suffice to say it took three days & 200 miles for the car to dry out & there's still quite a lot of Devon clinging to the chassis rails in the engine bay.

Shortly after this I re-set the SatNav & took the big roads, arriving just after 4:00.

The next day dawned bright & clear, so the roof came off the car & hung on the line to dry & we all went for a very pleasant stroll along the coast path & a scramble over the rocks back again. In the evening an Italian couple came & did catering for us with home made starters, pizza, lasagne, breads & lashings of tiramisu. It was pretty spectacular.

Then on the Sunday it was time to head back. Again my route took me the indirect way, across Dartmoor & then home via the A30 which was a very pleasant drive.

The car coped admirably with its dunking, though I have bought it a new fuel pump as the one on it is of unknown provenance & a spare is probably a good idea.

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