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Cottage update and the plan ahead

(written by Dave)

We’ve had two restful days in the cottage, watching the rain and sun take turns outside.  It is great to be inside, rather than riding.  Yesterday I cleaned the bikes and fixed a few bits.  I managed to break my front mudguard/fender on the ride back from Land’s End the other day, giving me one more part to make running repairs to.

Nancy got out of bike cleaning duties by spending most of the day working on our trip maps.  If you notice the top navigational banner on our site, you’ll see a maps tab.  Our maps have been created by the LWOP CIO, Donaleen.  She takes the SPOT message that we send every day we change locations and enters the details into google maps.  Anyone who has tried to draw a multipoint map with google maps will know how difficult it is to get a nice looking map but Donaleen has done a great job (thanks Donaleen!).  The google maps interface is very crude and it is hard to experiment on anything other than the “live” posted map.  For some reason on our maps, a few of the spot points ended up in the wrong place.  Nancy (showing more patience that I or Donaleen could ever muster) took on google maps and fixed these errors.  We are hoping that at least one reader looks at the European actual map or Nancy will soon be back to her bike cleaning duties.

As requested, I snapped a few photos of our cottage.  Unfortunately the photos also contain all of our clutter and are nowhere as nice as those used in the online advertisement.  If you want to see the nice profession photos, have a look here at the online advert.  We really have enjoyed the cottage.  It has Wi-Fi, SkyTV, lots of light and chairs with backs.  Our tent only gets a tick mark on the “lots of light” box.  The only issue that we have with the cottage is that it is 1 mile from town.  The 16% grade hill into town is easy.  The 1 mile 16% grade back home is not as much fun.  The later has somewhat curtailed our “nipping out to the pub” for proper English bitter tastings.

We will have to leave the cottage on Saturday and have finally come up with a plan of where we will go next.  Our original plan for Europe was to only be in the UK for a short period, then to nip back into France and continue south through Spain.  Doing JOGLE meant that we’ve spent more time in the UK and have decided to take a ferry to Spain, rather than France.  This gets us a little further south sooner, and hopefully to warmer weather and will let us take a bit more leisurely pace.  The ferry only sails on Sundays and goes from Plymouth to Santander, Spain.  Since we’ve already ridden our bikes from Plymouth to Newlyn, we have decided to hop the train to Plymouth, before catching ferry to Spain.  There is one hitch with this plan though – there is currently a strike with the ferry company and all boats this week Sunday to Friday have been cancelled.  We are hopeful that things will be sorted in time for our sailing on Sunday.  If not, we’ll have to come up with another plan.

We have roughly 40 days left on our Schengen visas for Europe.  The general idea is to cycle from Santander to Barcelona, probably not in a direct route, and hopefully with a bit of time to spend in Barcelona at the end of the ride.  We had tinkered with the idea of going to Morocco after Spain but are now planning to call time on the bicycle part of our trip after Spain.  We are both looking forward to a break from moving houses every night.  There is also the other minor issue of our bikes slowly running out of working parts.  We really don’t want to push our luck with them in the middle of a Moroccan desert.

So, at least for now, the plan after Spain is to fly to Oregon.  We’ll spend a couple of months with our families, sorting out new fancy bikes (from Co-motion we hope) and doing some maintenance on our cabin in the Oregon woods.  Sometime in January we’ll probably head back to Sydney and start the job search again.  Somehow we have to pay for those bikes and the next trip.

Speaking of the next trip, I wasted a little time today looking at information on the Pan-American Highway from Alaska to Ushuaia.  We need to have a big trip in order to justify the new bikes.  We’ll have to work a few years to pay for it but this is good news in that it will give me time to work on Nancy’s fear of bears before we jet off to Alaska [editor’s note- no commitment from me yet on entering bear territory.  It’s important to do more research to make sure we know all of the risks and to work on who can outsprint who when the bears start chasing us.].

As for the bitters…  We had an early dinner in hopes of taking on the hill and having a pint.  Right now it is pissing down rain and we aren’t going anywhere.  I’m afraid that bitter reports will have to start tomorrow.

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14 responses to “Cottage update and the plan ahead

  1. Dave & Nancy.

    When you are in Portland. I would love to host a dinner party for you and invite folks in Portland who have been reading your blog. Are you two up for that? Let me know and I can make arrangements.

    • Thanks Kirti, that would be fabulous! Do you think both readers would come? :-) I’ve some 30,000 photos, we could do a slide show and make the party goes for days. Seriously, it would be fun seeing old friends and catching up, with or without a slide show…

  2. Wow, while I think your plan is a great one, I will miss the daily posts! Looking forward to seeing you in later fall or early winter, though!
    Now, about the bears…. I don’t know if you need to worry! If you are on main roads, they are usually NOT there. I saw very little wildlife when I was in Alaska this summer, except at a reindeer farm. I think you’d have to be on foot and far away from places where bicycles ride to find too many bears or other wildlife. I think that route would be amazing!!!

  3. Wow, I know it’s been1.5 years, but from a reader’s stand point it feels like you just started!

    • Thanks Laura – for us to have anyone (other than our mothers) keep reading has been a great motivator, both to keep riding and to keep posting. Thanks for taking the journey with us.

  4. Sounds like a perfect plan to me. I’ll miss the opportunity (excuse) to travel, but I’m thrilled you might be nearby for a longer period this winter. I’ve marveled at your ability to move almost every night. That’s incredibly challenging both mentally and physically. Certainly a great payoff as far as exposure to new places, new countries, and fantastic people and an adventure you will never forget. The “bear” trip in a few years sounds great and I agree, probably less risk re bears than you might think. (Totally inexperienced and naive point of view, I admit! Easy for me to say, right Nancy!). Looking forward to your posts from Spain. Will have to pull out the travel info for our long ago trip there and see if you will be near any of our stops. Good timing for the weather. Almost more excited about you coming home to Oregon!!!

  5. Nooooooooooo. I look forward to your posts every day. I will go through withdrawals. Hope to see you in Nevada, It’s very close to Oregon…

  6. Are there really places where bears bother you on the highway? Maybe all you need to do is avoid camping (even then the risk is probably less than the risk of being hit by a car).

    And, I am really looking forward to seeing you. Woohoo!

    John says to tell you his is enjoying that Swedish author you mentioned a while back.

    • Nancy’s comment: With 100s of miles between roadhouses or towns, camping is required in Alaska and Canada. Perhaps our CIO would like to drive SAG on that part of the trip to minimize the risk!

  7. Would be really great to visit with you in Oregon, plan on a trip just a few miles north for a dinner when you are at the coast. And bring the best 10% of your photos for a show. I have read every one of your posts and it will seem quite a break in my daily routine if you take a travellign pause. Too bad that 16% grade isn’t downhill on the way back from the pub – very bad plannign that.

  8. Looking forward to seeing you guys at Kirti’s! As for Alaska, I’d be more concerned about the mosquitos then the bears. The bears will normally leave you alone, the mosuitos don’t and I think they can draw a pint or so in one evening!

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