25th October 2014 12-15℃ 217km
Warminster – Llandeilo (Wales)
After an easy start to the day with a nice breakfast at the pub, amongst the early drinkers, I packed my gear and headed towards the village of Crockerton, and the Bath Arms pub, where I caught up with good friend and supporter, Craig.
Over a good cod fish lunch and a local ale, we had a great catch up.
With the sun now shining, I headed out towards Bath, and it’s marvellous sandstone buildings, glowing in the afternoon light. It was warming up and the riding was good, looking out over grassy hills and fields. I should have known English weather would turn at any moment, and within 20 minutes I was battling a fierce crosswind and battering rain in the bitter cold. Madness. As I crossed the bridge into Wales, the wind eased slightly, but the rain would not abate, and I stopped to refuel, warming myself with a hot chocolate at the same time.
As dusk approached, I reached the village of Llandeilo, where the pub was full of Welsh speakers, the sounds completely unfamiliar to me, but the crowd friendly, and welcomed me into the warmth of the community pub, where I enjoyed another local ale together with a set of lamb chops, while chatting (in English) with the locals. My concentration required as my ears processed the new accent to a more familiar language.
24th October 2014 15℃ 210km
Horley – Stonehenge – Warminster
I set out from Horley along the backroads and lanes in the drizzling English rain, towards Stonehenge. After a stop for coffee and fuel for the bike I rode the last 60km and arrived at the historic Stonehenge site.
I decided that the walk would be good, so instead of taking the bus I walked the 20 minutes up the hill, of course it started to rain again once I was halfway, but I plodded on in the dampness.
The site is quite amazing, despite the huge numbers of tourists, and the freeway running right alongside (what were they thinking??)
The scale of the stones and the concept of bringing these stones overland from Wales without mechanization, is truly mind boggling.
So after appreciating Stonehenge, I made my way to Warminster, and as it started to pelt down rain, I stopped outside a pub, the Bell Hotel, and enquired of a room, which they were able to avail me with, after they had warned me that they had a big party going on tonight and it would be very noisy until late. With the rain soaking, I decided I had little choice, and checked in. And after a quick shower, headed out for a bite to eat at the quiet(er) pub next door.
23rd October 2014 12-15℃ 22km
Redhill – Horley
I got a call early in the morning, confirming that the replacement stator had arrived and was ready for me to install, so I checked out of the hotel and took a cab back over to Fins Motorcycles, where the guys welcomed me back and provided me a space in the lane beside the workshop, where I could work on the bike.
I had hoped I had all the tools I would need in my travel kit, but it soon became apparent that I was missing an 8mm allen key, to remove the crash bars, and my 3mm one was so damaged as to be unusable when I needed it also.
Fortunately the guys at Fins provided me with these, along with a torque wrench, loctite, tape, soldering iron, multimeter & side cutters. The job would have been near impossible without these tools, and while it’s not possible to carry everything, I committed to buy some proper allen keys, even thought I’m very close to Ireland now.
After removing all the necessary components from the bike, and inspecting the old stator, it was obvious why it no longer functioned. It was burnt to the point of being black, charred bits of lacquer inside the drum.
After cleaning everything up, I started reassembling the new stator, but found the leads on the replacement stator were too short, hence I had to do a bodgy job, chopping the old leads off and soldering them to the new stator.
Once it was all reassembled, I started the bike and reassuringly found the battery was now charging correctly. Chuffed, I cleaned up, put the plastic panels back on the bike, packed away the tools and prepared to leave.
As I was doing so, it just so happened that a tool salesman walked past, and said hello, asking about my trip. After I’d explained the journey, I asked him about his tool business and if he could sell me some allen keys. He soon returned with two kits, and I bought the smaller one from him, right there. Very fortuitously.
With the bike now ready to go, I said goodbye to the lads at Fins, we had a few photos and I rode out the gate as it began to rain, again.
Given it was already late in the day, I searched for a guesthouse and found a great little place not too far from where I’d stayed the previous two nights, and after checking in, headed to the nearby pub for a meal and a cider.