Sunday, 29 September 2013

GAB 2013 Day 2 (again): Sunday September 22nd - Dawlish to Plymouth (nearly)

Kate repaired, the Unpluckable Console glued-and-screwed, GAB 2013 tries again!

A night was spent at Sandays B&B in Dawlish Warren, a good breakfast was had and a laiden Kate was on the road again...

The roads of Dawlish, Torquay, Paignton and on to Brixham alternated between slow city-centre stop-go riding and sections of steep, twisty, up and down tree-lined country lanes with little opportunity on any of the 'downs' to risk picking up any speed to avoid grovelling up the next incline...

Eventually it was time to hang a right out of Torbay and climb... The road became quieter and the view opened up.
 View over the top of Brixham to Torbay ("The English Riviera"), Dawlish, 
and on to the coast from Day 1.

The increasingly pleasant ride on to find the Dartmouth ferry continued... Leafy lanes... Rolling country - more the thing for Kate, before steeper and steeper down to the tiny ferry to cross the River Dart (£1.70 when they finished scratching their heads about what I was on their tariff sheet and how much to charge me).
Approaching Dartmouth

My map was showing a B-road heading to the left of this shot but the signing on the narrow streets of Dartmouth and the narrow, tourist-filled lanes pushed me to the A-road bypass to the north of the town - and a long drag to gain the high ground...

Picking up another A-road consisting of up-down-twisty lanes through narrow villages with single width lanes there was little opportunity for speed before arriving at Slapton Sands - the first 'flat' section of the day and the first good 20mph section! No sooner was I cruising along than I arrived at a carpark with a number of colourful trailers and people standing around. Never one to pass a cafe I headed in to find that it wasn't a cafe but an open day for the nature reserve. Fortunately further along the car park there was indeed a van selling hot drinks and food (well he did hotdogs). Then the fog came in.

The ride from Torcross (The Slapton Sands one) to Kingsbridge and on to Brixton(!) was rolling but misty. The South Hams villages looked ok but none seemed worth a stop. Miles happened. The hotdog wore off and I was getting tired. I hadn't really decided whether to cross Plymouth this evening or leave it until morning, but with it beginning to look like a 4pm arrival in the city I decided to stick with my original plan and took the left turn down steep and narrow single track lanes towards Wembury. The 'neighbourhood watch' spotted me and friendlily offered directions towards "Ah, that be Basil's place" which, unfortunately it wasn't but it was in the right direction...

Having prepared the bike computer with the GPS coordinates of the Camping & Caravan Club sites along my route I headed onwards and down and down for the marked spot to find... nothing but somebody's garden... Bah. I hate it when a campsite isn't there.

I tried my mobile phone and was amazed to find a data signal. Checking the site directions it was only a 1/4 mile away... I rolled into The Pilgrim's Rest site. Checking in I mentioned to the owners that my GPS had been wrong and they told me that was where they used to live!

Tent pitched, shower taken (and 20p meter for hot water only found on the way out), retired down to the pub for a great value but possibly over presented* carvery at the strangely appropriate The Odd Wheel pub.

*Roast beef, yorkshire pud, new potatoes & veg - but presented on a big white plate as a tower with the potatoes supporting the beef and crowned with the yorkshire pud - looking like a castle keep... Hmmm, ok... It tasted great and was washed down with a pint of Cornish Nob. I couldn't resist the name.

Specs: 60 miles, 1707m/5600ft of climb, 8.9mph average speed.

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