Thursday, 30 April 2015

The only way is Essex

M8.30am I am entering in Foxall road Ipswich, which is just along the road from where I spent the night.  
By 10.30 the nice guys there had relieved me of a small fortune in return for a working Tyre Pressure Sensor. Thanks it was much appreciated.
At exactly noon I crossed from Suffolk into Essex. It would be cheap and unworthy, not to mention potentially libellous to say the with the county boundary crossing came an increase in spray tan and nail salons - so I won't.
Essex marshes are much kinder to the eye than the plains of Lincolnshire, there are large fields, but punctuated by trees and hedges.
I stopped for a sandwich in West Mesea, an odd little place where the beach huts mix with enormous houses, and a thriving boating community. In the little cafe I met a charming young man who asked if he could take some photos of the bike. He explained that his dad has a Bonneville and he is about to take his bike test. It's conversations like this, out of the blue, that add a sparkle and punctuation to the trip.
The satnav problems persist. It has a mind of its own, so I have concluded that trying to follow a prescribed route is where madness lies. Instead I will concentrate on tracking the coast with some key location. And enjoy the way, rather than worrying about whether or not I am as close as I can be to the sea.
Fish and chips in Southend perfect. But what a hassle getting here. I have experienced heavy traffic, but this was crazy. If I had to drive through this every day I would go mad.
The Ibis hotel in Thurrock is clean, comfortable and provides a decent shower, with the opportunity for some laundry. In preparation for an early start.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Sorted, well nearly

Carol Nash rescue came up with the goods this morning and I got a lift with Breakdown Biker to Framlingham where the tyre was replaced while I explored the local Wetherspoons. Unfortunately Framlingham is not used to sophisticated technology and the tyre pressure sensor came out of the repair in several unmendable pieces. 
The effect is that the bike thinks there is no pressure in the tyre and constantly reports a fault with a red dashboard warning light, it's not a critical problem, but who likes riding with a warning light on all the time, so I have phoned the Triumph dealer in Ipswich, Lings,  who say they can fit one in the morning, as it happens they are based only ten minutes or so from where I am staying with a friend, so I don't even need the anticipated early start.
Because I lost four hours, the planned route for the day was pretty much abandoned. I rode from Framlingham to Cromer, then Yarmouth and down the A12 to Waldringfield near Ipswich. It's situated by the River Deben, and has a lot of boating activity. The local Maybush inn is situated right by the river and serves splendid Admam's ale. Who could resist, so I didn't.


A couple of miles east of Stiffkey on the A149 the tyre pressure sensor did its work. I was prepared, got out the aerosol of inflator and pumped it in. Rode it a bit and a friendly local pointed me to Holt where there is a Kwick Fit, unfortunately the tyre was not fully inflated, but a passing tractor driver had an airline. We pumped it up, but by then the hole was visible and air was escaping as fast as it would go in. The kind tractor driver rang the local ATS but they don't deal with bikes, so it's Carol Nash
breakdown. They say they will be here within the hour. Hey ho. There are some barns I can shelter in, and I have coffee.
The wind is strong and the sky black so I might need this.

TomTom and I have reached an accommodation (I think)

We spent a fruitful hour last night talking about our different world views. I believe I now understand where TomTom is coming from, unfortunately the resolution involves me manually checking each route on the device and looking for places where TomTom has decided that it doesn't like the route I planned. I can then delete the waypoints TomTom disapproves. This is a bit time consuming, and it does mean the route isn't quite what I planned, but that is the price of a good continuing relationship. We will see today if it results in harmony.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Today's route

It's a bit foreshortened because I forgot to turn on the tracker as I started, the first few miles start at the north side of the Humber bridge.

It's flat in't it (with thanks to Elaine)

Most of today was in Lincolnshire, and it truly is flat. Despite riding close to the sea  several times, I inly actually saw it a couple of times near Mablethorpe and Skegness. The first time was actually at Cleethorpes where I met a man putting mirrors on his scooter on the front, it's the first Vespa I have seen with a disability badge. Nice bloke we chatted for ten minutes or so.
The rest of the time the sea was hidden behind dunes and flood protection banks. 
I am sure Lincolnshire has its redeeming features, and to be fair there are wonderful skyscrapers, but on the whole the virtues are hidden from the casual observer!

This pic was typical of the day, apart from the astronomical volume of caravan sites.
There were tussles with nature today, and she nearly won. Wind meant that I had to cross the Humber bridge at an angle of incline normally reserved for racing bends, fortunately it wasn't gusty so I could keep a straight line. A little rain to spice things up, followed by the Manlethorpe marbles- hailstones the size of peas all the way through the town. Possibly the only way to make Mablelthorpe interesting.
Lincolnshire is a giant factory for agribusiness. Massive fields, many covered with polythene or fleece to protect the fledgling vegetables. Anyone who harbours romantic thoughts about the countryside and little cottage gardens only need drive alongside the Wash the have them dispelled.
Boston replaces polythene with  daffodils, fading now, but still awesome by the field full, turning east it is potatoes that seem to predominate until the serene and royal areas around Sandringham, where the intensive culture of the mass market gives way yo a romantic vision of thatched cottages and doffed caps. I saw more Land Rovers on the Sandrongham area than anywhere else, they were clean too.
I am fighting with the satnav, TomTom and I don't seem to talk the same language, unlike Garmin with whom I had a real rapport. I shall spend some quality time with TomTom tonight in the hope that tomorrow will be better for us both.

At Humber Bridge

Here it starts. Just driven up the M62. It's cold and blustery. I very much appreciated the heated grips and seat on the Triumph.
A cup of coffee then off.