After couple days of wonderful riding we arrived at Lands End. Some of the miles were on faster highways that made the villages pass by way too quickly, but were necessary. Most of the miles were on back country lanes barely wide enough for a buggy, grasses growing in the center and tall overgrown hedges covering 300 year old rock walls with branches reaching out and at times swatting at us. Often the lanes leading into the small villages were so overgrown they formed a lush, green tunnel barely letting light penetrate, casting shadows everywhere. We would creep around blind curves expecting an oncoming vehicle where both would have to stop, us sometimes in the bushes to let a larger car or caravan pass.
After a fabulous lunch at a waterfront café in Penzance, we headed towards Land End, taking the slower coastal route. Lands End is the very tip of the UK, a long finger of land jutting out into the Celtic Sea, midway between Ireland and France. There are a few building there and some pretty views, but, unfortunately, it is fairly commercialized with shops and children activities. While we were there we meet four women from Birmingham, Alabama, on their trip of a lifetime, driving around the UK.
Finding a nearby campground as rain was again in the air, we set up camp and headed to the nearby town of St Just in search of a pub and serving fish and chips, hand pulled beer and, most importantly, WiFi. A friend of ours, Tiffany Coates, lived nearby and we hoped to see her. She is a motorbike rider, the most traveled woman on a motorcycle in the world, and has rode solo around the world and continues to ride to remote areas of the world, sometimes solo and
sometimes leading tours.
After connecting to the WiFi signal we realize we are just minutes from her house. She invites us over for dessert so after eating we pop over for a hot apple crisp with English pudding, fantastic. Our night passes too quickly and we race back to our camp and arrive 5 minutes before they lock the gates at 2300hrs.
Tiffany had invited us to stay and we decide to take her up on the offer the following night. The morning brings more rain and we attempt to pack up three times before becoming successful because of the frequent rain. That was our fourth night of camping in the rain and things were becoming slightly damp.
By the end of the day there was a bunch of us at the house. She has a work away guest staying with her, a friend had popped over with her two college aged boys for a visit, us and Tiff. The boys wanted to go surfing so, somehow, the idea was we would all go surfing. The waters of the northern Atlantic Celtic Sea are chilly, in the 50’s F, and, as I suited up in a much too small wetsuit it became apparent that we would all not be fitting in the car. So, with my wetsuit on I donned my protective gear and helmet and, wait for it, climbed on the BACK of a 650 GS, behind Tiffany, and had a go at riding pillion.
After 45 years of riding, this is the first time I ever rode on the back of a bike. Read up on Tiffany Coates and you’ll realize that she is one of a select few female riders that could get me in that position. I was told to sit still, not fidget and hold on. Wow, what a ride.
Anyway, we all got to the beach and unloaded the surfboards and info the surf we timidly emersed ourselves.
After the first wave sealed into the back of my wetsuit it became fun and I stayed in the water around 30 minutes having an absolute blast. I rode the GS back to the house with Tiff on the back. She was a much better passenger than I was as I thought I lost her a couple times as I couldn’t even feel her back there.
Dinner was wonderful, Tiff is a fantastic cook, the PIMMs was served and was great as always. We had such a fun evening and, as usually happens when you are having a great time, the night had to end.
Thanks for you hospitality Tiff, we had a great time with you at Land’s End.