Day 5. Wednesday, July 2 – Norwich to Sheringham, England

Thursday 3 July 2014

After changing our direction once again, we pushed away from the hotel just before nine, passing many more churchesDSCN7649 that “someone” has mentioned “someone” should stop taking pictures of….they do all look the same.  Though we traveled on a “B” road, it was quite busy for about 15 miles.  Breakfast was not included with our room, so we dropped in to a small villageDSCN7655 for a coffee and breakfast sandwich.  North Walsham is a charming village, like so many we have been traveling through. DSCN7654

Once out of town, we wound around on “quite lanes” DSCN7653laced with beautiful poppies.DSCN7667Except for the occasional tractor and other riders,DSCN7659it was truly quiet.  Enjoyed fresh picked raspberries at a stand along the road;DSCN7657 then got our first glance of the North Sea.DSCN7672  Immediately, we notice the difference in building material used;DSCN7673 we know it as River Rock, but imagine this came from the sea. DSCN7662 Rode past a stunning golf course right on the sea and the Cromer Country Club; this is obviously an affluent town.DSCN7679  Cromer is also a tourist town, but they all seem to come in on buses; so while people are everywhere,DSCN7680 the streets are not packed with cars.  We turned down a narrow roadDSCN7683 to lead us to the sea DSCN7695which was quite a way down from our vantage point.photoWe declined the steps down to the concrete pier and restaurant.DSCN7684Today was a short day and we could not check in until two, so we found a nice pub with a beautiful garden DSCN7691and enjoyed the rest.  Five miles down the road we pulled into our wonderful B & B;DSCN7699unexpectedly fabulous.DSCN7700We had only done 33 miles, but were having camera/computer issues that needed to be worked out.  This little town, though still on the sea, had a much more local flavor; which we tasted with a crab sandwich, no filler just crab meat on bread…..Wonderful.  Of course, that little morsel only made us more hungry; which we managed to quench with one of our new favorite meals, sausage and mash.IMG_0132The evening air had warmed, perfect time for ice cream, locally made and delicious.IMG_0133On our stroll back to our B & B, we enjoyed a great chat with Jeff.  Standing in the middle of the road, as the cars worked their way around us, we told stories and laughed out loud.  A perfect ending to our day.

Day 6. Thursday, July 3 – Sheringham to King’s Lynn, England

Thursday 3 July 2014

Our room last night was exceeded only by the breakfast they offered in the morning.  Beside an incredible offering of fruit, DSCN7718they served a full English breakfast; thankfully, we asked for the reduced version….even Morgan can gain weight eating like this.DSCN7721After that size breakfast, we should have no excuses for not flying through a long ride.  No excuse until we step outside to wonderfully warm air and a stiff wind, in our face.  But we could hardly complain as it was a beautiful morning.DSCN7730Our rolling hills became a bit more aggressive,DSCN7731but the scenery remained stellar.DSCN7736Several miles down the road, we were waved to a stop by two individual motorists; IMG_0134apparently our laundry hanging from our bikes to dry was running astray…..too kind.  Even with the monster wind, we were enjoying the interesting sites,DSCN7752 including a windmill or two.DSCN7739Just off the coast, too far to photograph but easily close enough to ruin the sea vista, was a huge windfarm.  As one Brit told us, “They don’t work when the wind blows and they are useless otherwise!”

The villages DSCN7789and hamlets DSCN7762were charming; the churches abundant.DSCN7791

Stopped for a mid-day cappuccino among lilacsDSCN7780 and cooing ring neck doves that we’ve seen everywhere.  Since we had just had coffee, we did not stop at The Duck Inn,DSCN7793 but did stop for the ducks.IMG_0139Passed a construction college, DSCN7794that was originally built as barracks for the RAF.

Running low on energy, we stopped for a sandwich and the ever ready conversation.IMG_0140Though the lunch served to help, we were ready to get there.  Our navigator gets an A+ today for keeping us off the busy road for our last eight miles into town.  Instead we enjoyed peaceful paths,DSCN7816meant strictly for bikesDSCN7815and country lanesDSCN7811with many walking paths.DSCN7809Our last stretch into town directed us through an immense park, filled with kids just getting out of school;DSCN7820 uniforms directly from a Harry Potter movie.  A quick turn onto a market streetDSCN7821and then our hotel.DSCN7822We were beat after our 51 mile ride into the wind……we needed a plate (or three) of pasta; DSCN7827our first since arriving.

A (must eat crow) note to my father, who for years has insisted we ride the UK; my main objection was the poor food that England had a (terribly misplaced) reputation for.  Not only are we not starving, we are enjoying the food immensely….Thank You for your persistence. 

Day 7. Friday, July 4 – King’s Lynn to Boston, England

Friday 4 July 2014

We hope our British friends are not offended, as we are enjoying your wonderful country, but we would like to wish our fellow Americans a Happy Independence Day, USA.

It was a warm morning with a brutal wind, 20+ with 30 mph gusts.DSCN7851  The ferry we needed to catch was only two blocks from our hotel,DSCN7831but the 19 Foot tide was out and there was not ramp down for our bikes.  We headed out of townDSCN7835 directly into the wind for four miles to reach the bridge that would lead us over the canal.DSCN7846 For 26 miles we faced the wind on busy roads; no small hamlets, villages or pretty countryside.  Each town blended into the next,  Homes showcased flowersDSCN7842 and families walked their children to school; these twins were particularly adorable.DSCN7840We had another bridge to cross and the only way to get there was on a very busy highway with NO shoulder; we pedaled hard (18 mph-tough for our 60 pound loaded bikes and Tired legs) for five miles.  Just as soon as we crossed the River Welland, we dropped onto a very welcome country road; quiet was restored.DSCN7845Once again we could hear the birds sing, enjoy the countrysideDSCN7864 and with a turn in the road, the bruising wind reached our backs.

We reached Boston by one o’clock.DSCN7870  In search of a Sam Adams Lager, a bite to eat and some free Wi-Fi we headed to town centre.  Passing the impressive Church of St. BotolphDSCN7872we found a corner pub.DSCN7877

Unfortunately, the darling pub satisfied only fish & chips of three requirements.  With our earlier start this morning, our plan was to check out a place to stay further down the road once we reached Boston.  However, after spending over two fruitless hours on the internet looking for a place 10-30 miles away, we decided to bunk here for the night; which took us another hour to find.  We checked into one of the last two rooms available in the entire town.  Little did we know, we would spend another three hours plus, looking for a place to stay for tomorrow night.  We think we’ve found something, unfortunately, not toward Lincoln (that we wanted to see), but there are NO choices.  Exhausted from our searching, we stopped to have dinner at 7:00.  Though we only rode 43 miles today, the endless searches on the internet wore us out. It should not be this difficult to find a place to stay and August is supposed to be busier. Hopefully, a good night’s rest will restore the spirit.

p,s.  For the record, we would much prefer an extra 10 to 20 miles, rather than spend hours looking for a blasted (English slate) hotel.

Day 8. Saturday, July 5 – Boston to Louth, England

Saturday 5 July 2014

It was raining as expected, when we awoke this morning, so we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast waiting for the predicted stop.  As soon as we saw the break, we went for it, trying to ignore the dark clouds behind us,
DSCN7883but prepared for them, nonetheless.IMG_0151  The wind was still blowing, but not the gusts of yesterday and it was slightly off our shoulder; so it was not a hinderance, but an occasional assist.   A last minute change on our course took us along a scenic canal.DSCN7890 We had only gone a half mile before the downpour reached us.  DSCN7896It was a soaker, but soon tapered to a shower/drizzle.  It was a perfect day for riding, not too hot, not too cold and the scenery serene,DSCN7917 if not spectacular.DSCN7920

Notables of this country:  All the homes here have names DSCN7900and all the villages have a Church Street.  There is a strict code/law to the roads; Everyone stops at a stop light/sign.  If you dare to cross a road (whether by foot or bike) without a green, the cars have no obligation to stop or slow to allow your completion.  Though the drivers don’t seem keen on turn signals, they are Very considerate of bicycles, even on very busy roads.

Our entire ride was in the country, passing interesting (antique) shops,DSCN7901 homes displaying colorful flowersDSCN7903 and an occasional hamlet large enough to warrant signageDSCN7938and one very old (1220) Bolingbroke Castle, birthplace of a King.DSCN7914

About mid-day the sky began to clear DSCN7936and the flat countryside we had enjoyed for days began to roll.DSCN7940We are sure some of our new found British bike friends will laugh, but these “hills” were tough; the grades brutal.IMG_0156A quick stop on a park benchDSCN7939 for a much needed orange, as the villages were not large enough to support a sandwich shop, and then a push to town.DSCN7944 It was a short ride today (37 miles), as it was the only choice (that included a roof and hot shower) we had within a 100 mile radius.  But the town was worth the stop, quaint streets, IMG_0164pretty marketsDSCN7953 and the Church of St. James.DSCN7959A great day and a good pick-me-up from yesterday!

End of Week 1

Saturday 23 August 2014

London to Louth, England

8 days in the first week

Week i

366 Miles

4 Days with Rain

Day 9. Sunday, July 6 – Louth to Hessle, England

Sunday 6 July 2014

Breakfast is late on the weekends at most inns, so we did not leave until just before ten.  Perfect for the weather prediction: “spitting until ten, then cloudy and clearing in the afternoon.”  It was dry as a bone when we left so we thought we had dodged this one, but that quickly changed.  DSCN7966First we had spitting, then showers, rain then pouring and back again.  Somewhere in the progression, we donned raincoats,photo too late for our rain taps, but it was still in the 60’s and we were generating a lot of heat.  Our country roads were rather nondescript and only an occasional church made it interesting.DSCN7971Around noon we stopped for a cappuccino and some sweet; not sure if it was good or bad, we hand ordered before we saw this window of sweets.DSCN7973 Somewhere during our navigation out of this large and highly industrial town the rain ceased, but the skies remained very grey…..we were not in the clear yet (pardon the pun).DSCN7976We kept the industrial filled riverbank to our right and pushed on through the fields overtaken by huge power lines.  The occasional town offered a few flowers, DSCN7980 and churches DSCN7989but for the most part it was a rather boring ride. DSCN7986 Our goal was the bridge over the River Humber; thinking it was bridge to a bed, but it was stunning……Yorkshire’s impressive answer to the Golden Gate Bridge.  DSCN7996The impressive goal is a really good thing, as it took us ten miles to reach it once we had our first glimpse.  photo-2 it inspired the tired legs pushing into the wind for the last few miles.  The foot path on the bridge is wide, but well used by bikes and pedestrians.DSCN7998Of course, the view from the top is stunningDSCN8005 and you could feel the movement as the cars sped past.  It was late once we crossed the bridge, so we stopped for a quick internet search for a hotel.  We had seen a spot right on the river as we’d crossed the bridge,, but could not imagine it would work (too good to be true).  But it was better than that!  Not only did they have a room for us, they had a restaurant that served an incredible fare; of which we picked the best…….Pasta, Steak & Ale Pie (OMG) with a side salad.DSCN8009We dined as a thunder storm raged outside; hopefully getting the rain over with.  After 54 miles, feet finally warm and dry and our tummies full, we were happy.DSCN8006

Day 10. Monday, July 7 – Hessle to York, England

Tuesday 8 July 2014

A crisp 52° and the wind blowing off the river quickly chilled us as we loaded our bikes, just after 7:30 this morning.  We donned our jackets and headed off on our dirt path squeezed in between the railroad tracks and river.DSCN8022Last evening’s downpour had packed the dirt, so puddles were minimal.DSCN8028Just as we emerged onto the the pavement we met Brian, DSCN8033who helped with directions and informed us that the park we had just come  through was originally a brickyard.  We wound our way through the pretty town, paying particular notice to the bricks on the homes.  Not sure how we found it, but managed to climb the only hill around; great vista

DSCN8042 but not so good on the legs.  At nine as we came to the edge of a small town, we decided to pop in for breakfast.  DSCN8044The trek to the restaurant was a mile longer than the two block promised and service not the quickest.  A half hour down the road, as we stood at a crossroads, where “almost 80” year old George stopped his car to offer help. DSCN8053 Once our direction was established, the boys chatted for a couple of days (or so it seemed).  So by eleven, over three hours into our ride, we had barely gone 15 miles. But the villages boasted beautiful homes DSCN8046and the countryside was grand.DSCN8055 At noon, twenty five miles under our belt, we pulled into a gas station for re-fueling as there would be no place before our destination.  Five minutes was all the break we allowed ourselves as the clouds we had watched build all morning,DSCN8064 were beginning to look very threatening.  DSCN8062With a slight turn in direction, we were finally aided by the wind.  The afternoon ride proved as beautiful as the morning half.  We passed fields,DSCN8060 farms and a movie crew.  DSCN8072 This however, is a favorite; DSCN8086we often pass young foals playing in the fields, DSCN8084but rarely are we quick enough to get a shot.  Though mom was very protective, her babe was curious.  DSCN8087

There was no doubt we were approaching York;  Tour De France yellow bicycles were everywhere. DSCN8096 We even had our own dedicated bike (and bus) lane DSCN8099for most of our ride into the city.  A quick stop at the gates of the old Roman city DSCN8102and then check-in.  We had totally dodged the rain today, though many of the roads we rode were still wet from the showers.  We were anxious to see the city before the rain hit. York is a walled cityDSCN8109 at the confluence of the River Ouse and River Foss, established by the Romans in 71 A.D.  History

DSCN8171and bicycles DSCN8115were everywhere.DSCN8134But unquestionably most impressive is the Minster Cathedral.  DSCN8121First built of wood in 627 A.D., it has gone through fires, emperors and kings conquests, rebuildings and expansions. DSCN8125Unfortunately it is impossible to step far enough away to get the entire building in the camera lens.

Everyone was enjoying the afternoonDSCN8177 and sunny skies.DSCN8158But the day had grown long (sun sets about 10:30) and after 50 miles we were tired and hungry.  A stroll back to our hotel along the river,DSCN8183 dinner and bed.