We left The Overland Event with full, but sad hearts. Full, because of the recharge we always receive from spending time with fellow tribe members. Sad, because with this group, you never know when, or if, you will ever be together again. Nigel cut a clear path as we followed him to his home in Ringwood. We were going to stay a couple days and enjoy some more time with our good friends before heading to the ferry that will take us to Santander in northern Spain. I had the opportunity to take an afternoon stroll around the village and snap a couple memories.
That evening we order some fish and chips, a personal favorite when here, and got the biggest portion I have ever seen. It was a wonderful meal with a couple pints of beer.
The next morning, we headed out toward the ferry port in Plymouth. I had mistakenly booked this port instead of the one closer to Ringwood at Portsmouth. Taking all small roads, we came across a detour just outside of a village which turned into a small lane, just wide enough for a car. We proceeded cautiously and came around a corner to an accident where a truck and hit a small car coming down a hill from a blind crossroad. As they were attempting to get untangled an ambulance came up behind us with the lights on. We moved way to one side, they passed us and tried to get around the accident that was tying up the lane. There was obviously not enough room as they attempted to pass. Just as they were about halfway around the ambulance tipped to the side and became entangled in the truck. What a mess! A mess was in front of us and traffic behind. We wiggled around and inched our way between the bushes and the Mercedes behind us, and finally got clear.
We stopped in Exeter to see a friend, but he had gone to another town north to see his mom. We spent some time in the downtown area and headed on, looking for a campground on the English Channel.
We found one at a Holiday Part called the Whitsand Bay Fort. This place, on the backwaters of Cornwall, was constructed in 1865. It was built to protect Plymouth from warships that could anchor in the bay. At the time it had a battery of three 12.5-inch muzzle loaders and two, 6 inch breech loader at the top of the cliff. These guns were mounted in concrete open barbettes and 6-inch guns on Hydropneumatic disappearing carriages. During WW2, this fort was used as a naval radar training facility. The holiday park looked closed when we arrived, and it was. As I looked around a woman came out and after explaining that I wanted a campsite, she pointed up the hill to a deserted camping area beside the gun battery. It was super windy, so we set up camp in a windbreak and cooked our supper in one of the tunnels.
The next morning, we headed to the ferry port, but first we had to catch a smaller ferry across the bay. There was a shortcut road we could take, but after a couple miles I had to stop to make sure it was actually going the right direction. There looked like a stream ahead and as we got closer, we realized it was a flooded stream that was uncrossable, looking at some depth markers in the distance. Of course, we were on a time schedule to be at the ferry port so back up the hill we went to find the longer main route. Riding into town the signage was confusing, which led us into the port down a side road and not the normal way. We of course got yelled at by the official dude and I of course yelled back at him and kept going as I was impossible to go back on the one-way street the way we had come in. He’ll get over it.
The ferry was an overnight, 24-hour trip and we had got a cabin. The trip was uneventful and soon we were sanding beside our bike in the tightly packed, hot and humid hold full of truck fumes. Not fun. Finally, they started the exhaust fans which quickly changed the air, but the tight quarters remained as, one by one, we backed out of the corner and exited down the ramp into Spain. Customs was quick to clear the vehicles and off we went, headed to Portugal.
From Santander we made a beeline, small roads of course, to Lisbon and our good friends, Ricardo and Sandra. Meeting these two was one of the good things that happened to us because of CoVID. We ended up staying with them for a few days before our flight back to the US. The next day they treated us to a fun motorcycle tour of the city and the surrounding area.
Lisbon is a city so easy to fall in love with. The beauty, climate, food, and the people make it a place that you just want more of. I guess that will happen as the Yellow Donkey spends its off season parked in their garage. Hopefully, soon, they will make their way to Gypsy’s Retreat so we can ride a couple donkeys over here.
So, until next time…
Stay positive, get out the maps and dream of the next adventure, and plan the next trip.