Cycling Britain: Day 4

Day 4, Distance: 58.8 miles, Average speed 8mph, nearest town where I camped: Blackborough & Sheldon

I used to think long, flat, and straight roads were a bit dull. Right now, I get excited just at the thought of them. The reason I don’t like curves is that there’s often been another hill hiding just round the corner. Fortunately, flat-ER roads should be coming up. Hills in the last few days were short, steep, and often. That was in the county of Cornwall. I’m now in the county of Devon. Hills here are just long, but still high. That makes for pushing my bike a long time, but at least I can see when the hill will end. When I prepared for this trip, I was taken aback when I saw that one hill in Devon was 1,600 feet, since the highest hill I climbed before that was 600 feet. I crossed that 1,600 foot hill on Day 4, and realized I was wrong. There are actually 3 hills that go to 1,600 feet, within a few miles of each other. A few folks have told me that it gets easier after the city of Exeter. I passed through there yesterday, very nice college town.

Jumping back in time a bit,  yesterday (day 4) started in a national park. It wasn’t an official campsite, but I heard you can camp in these parks. Just to be safe, I pitched my tent in a seclude place. I wanted to stay in a youth hostel or campground, but I couldn’t find one, back on the evening of day 3. Jumping back a bit more into Day 3, the biggest challenge I faced was water. I only had 1 water-bottle full, and that had to be enough to make supper, have a drink at night if I work thirsty, and make milk (powered) for breakfast, one the morning of Day 4. That’s confusing. I don’t have time to write it clearer, so I’ll write a sequence.

On the evening of Day 3, I couldn’t find a place to stay at night, so I pitched a tent in a national park, which I heard was alright. The biggest problem was water, for supper on day 3, a drink at night, and breakfast on Day 4.

My tent was on a hill, of course, but I did have a great view, the sun set right in front of me. It was kind of fun signing on to the Internet from that very remote location and writing on my website for this trip, at least for a tacky like me.

On the morning of Day 4, I packed up everything and loaded it on my bike. I walked to a parking lot for the park, to adjust some things. A car pulled up and I saw a woman get out with her dog. We talked for a while, and she told me that she was waiting for a friend, so they could walk their dogs together in the park. She grew up in Cornwall and loved it. She was also curious about Minnesota, so I told her about my home. After I had everything away and cycled off, I heard her tell her friend. “That man is cycling across Britain, to John O’Groats. He’s from Minnesota.” I’m not sure why, but I got a kick out of that comment, a little bit of Minnesota came to a morning walk in Britain.

The hills did smooth out when I was close to Exeter and smoothed out more after. I was enjoying the flat-ER roads when it was time to find a place to stay. I really wanted a shower, which wasn’t available in my remote site the previous night. I was happy that a campground was only 5 miles away, for only £4.50. So, I set off to the campground. It was uphill for 3.5 of the 5 miles, a hill hard to walk up for 1 mile. That hurt, but the campground has been very cozy. And, the shower felt great.

My writing may be less clear tody, in too much of a hurry to re-read and revise.