Tuesday 30 April 2024

Devon Two

 After the Devon trip last year, a few kind folk suggested they'd quite enjoyed it in spite of the weather, so as it's a very easy thing to arrange, I arranged it.

The North Devon roads are good, but the surfaces are politely described as "variable". Because it's Devon, the off season is the essential choice to keep the camper numbers to a minimum.

But I digress. The Saturday started early to get to Andover in time for breakfast at a Premier Inn in Andover. The sign said "please wait here to be seated", but after five minutes of seeing no staff whatsoever, we walked in & found the others. We had a decent cooked breakfast & could easily have walked out past the one or two waving staff & left, but being good citizens we stopped & paid.

Spurning the A303, we headed for the A30 to get our fill of villages not yet blighted by 20mph limits & after a while stopped for coffee at the curiously named "Udder farm shop" where a large & airy café was rammed full of people. But being hardy out door folk in soft top cars (mostly), we sat outside for coffee & cake. We were in no hurry, so we chatted a while before setting off again, heading for the next coffee & cake stop at Pip's Railway Carriage Café, set in - a railway carriage. I arrived first & pulled in to find not many parking places, while wandering about, I checked my phone & found a distress call from a maiden in umm - distress.

Some years ago while in Scotland Linda had gone over some rough road which had been the final straw for one of her car's cycle wing stays, which being a Tiger Sportscars part had failed at the obvious design flaw. I happened to be on the scene first & took the broken item off so she could continue & later got it welded up by a bear of a man in Selkirk for £20. The other one had now broken at the same place, so having gone back & found her, I once again removed the offending item & Robert - who'd kindly waited with her put it in the boot of his car.

By now the others were no-where to be seen at the café, so we moved on, rolling through Somerset & into Devon, travelling across Exmoor, where it was FREEZING driving along in low cloud.

Bizarrely we arrived at the B&B first & were shown to a very posh room with a lovely view - because being the organiser has it's benefits. After the others had arrived & unpacked, there was a brief panic when one of our number tried to load the day two route & found "NO ROUTE POSSIBLE". This is a TomTom thing, if you put a waypoint on a road which is subsequently closed it goes into a panic. Why it cant just say "can't do waypoint X - what shall I do?" I really can't imagine. We found the problem, sorted it out (OK - Linda did) & strolled into Ilfracombe & found the same restaurant we ate at last year. Called the Smuggler's ...... something or other, is is the epitome of a seaside restaurant, all manor of stuff dangling from the beamed ceiling & a menu consisting of simple but very well prepared food. This year we avoided walking up to the Damien Hurst statue "Verity" as we didn't want to be put off our meals. I'm sure there's a few people who will rejoice when it gets moved.

After a good night's sleep in the big room (did I tell you we had the big room?) & a good breakfast, we headed out of town on the windy road. We were following more or less the same route as last year except that I'd taken out all the small roads which were just a nightmare. First stop was the honey farm where we stopped last year, but this time there were no other car clubs. We headed out & found the A39 with it's hairpins, there wasn't a lot of traffic & we got in some enjoyable miles in the sunshine. Yes unlike last year, he Sun had got his hat on, hip hip hip hooray!

The return to the B&B included the toll road at Purlock & bits some of us missed out on last year while avoiding the worst of the bits that the rest of us endured, this gave us time to park up & have a stroll in Lynmoth, which was very pleasant. Again the Smuggler's -- Something gave us a very good tea for a very reasonable price & we climbed the hill back to Laston House satisfied.

Day three & time to head back, but not without a little more blatting. I'd laid the route to go through the bits of Ilfracombe we hadn't seen - it was a mistake as the roads were small & clogged & we were stuck in rush hour traffic for the first 25 miles. However, it cleared & apart from a couple of slow drivers we had a good run down to Porlock Weir for a coffee. it's an odd little place, but very nice. At this point our group started to split up, with different people having different places to be & eventually just three of us went into the official split-up point for lunch before taking some larger roads back home.

So before I sat down to write all this I made up some stiffening pieces & tack-welded them onto the Tiger's cycle wing stay & tomorrow they'll get welded on properly by my brother, because - in only 17 days time it the proper RogueRunners trip!

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Out At Last

 It was an action-packed long weekend with my girlfriend, Good Friday was Wheels day - as reported, Saturday was a beer festival at the excellent & local Disruption brewery where the house band included one of the stressmen from work - look up "Stone Soup" on YouTube for their brand of heavyish, bluesish rock. We walked there & had intended on getting the bus back, but it was a nice day, so we strolled & then cut back through the woods without meeting so much a single axe murderer.

On the third day of the holiday we got up not quite so early & this time succeeded in attending a car meet in the Stylus. it's the first time it's had two people in it since I took the back suspension apart & replaced the tyres & the was a slight rub over some of the larger undulations, but a small adjustment of the Panhard |Rod should've fixed that. But here you go, enjoy some pictures from Blackbushe.

Not Actually a Fiat - It's a Puch

Almost a Fiat, it's a coachbuilt Arbarth Fiat

That Pop is lovely

Should've Bought Dry Tyres...

 ... because it's been raining since I bought the Rainsports.

The Stylus has hardly left the garage unfortunately. It was supposed to be transporting my girlfriend & I to the Surrey Street Rodders "Wheels Day" show on Good Friday. We got up early, had a quick breakfast we got my good lady nicely ensconced in the car (strapped down), my plan was to then put the hood up (notice how I've avoided the word "erect") & move the car out into the drizzle, thus keeping her as dry as possible.

However, try as I might the hood wasn't going to fit. It's usually a tight fit after not being used for a while, but I obviously wasn't going to get it on at all. 

Sensing my frustration & impatience, it was suggested that we move everything into the other car & go in that. It meant we wouldn't be part of the main event, but that was OK. She was absolutely right of course & after a quick re-arrangement of belongings we set off in the Cactus.

In spite of the forecast weather, there were a lot of cars on the show field - I'd guess at about 4 - 500 & the rain held off longer than forecast, but inevitably rain it did & we retired to the car to eat our picnic.

So - no Stylus, but enjoy the photos anyway.


We all know I like a 100e

That's a Pinto hanging over the back axle - go easy in the wet!

More Willys

Mid Mounted V8 - yes really