The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Friday, July 31, 2015


In my last post I was telling you that I was in the mountains around the Lake District in England. Those mountains are impressive -- not like the Alps or the Rockies, both of which are enormous and majestic -- but more for the fun riding on single lane roads up through great herds of sheep.

I said in my last posting that I had dropped my bike on my foot.  Can you tell which one I dropped the bike on? 

That poor foot turned black and blue on the bottom and around the toes.

The toes don't look too bad here, but as time went on they turned more and more black. They looked dead. It has been over a week now since my stupid accident, and, although the color is returning, the foot is still swollen.

Anyway, as I say, I rode down into the Welsh Mountains of Snowdonia. I really like it there. The riding was marvelous, although the weather continued to be bad with rain every day.

From Wales, I rode back into the flatter lands of Southern England. I wanted to go to Stratford Upon Avon, Shakespeare's home town. I was there years ago with my wife, and I remember it very well.

My foot was feeling better, so I was able to walk along the river and explore a bit. It sure is pretty there. I wonder what it would be like to travel the rivers of England and mainland Europe in a rented houseboat like so many people do.

After walking for a mile or so, I came to a cute little ferry ran by a man who pulled it across the River Avon with a crank and pulley system. He charged 50 cents to go across.

The main thing I wanted to do in Stratford was go to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre to take in a play. My wife and I did that years ago when we were there together, and I really enjoyed the experience. So, I went to see "Merchant of Venice", but I was very disappointed: it was done in modern day costume on a bare stage and the actors mumbled their lines so that I couldn't understand a word they said (well -- to give them some credit, it may have been that my 71 year old ears have gotten too weak to understand people on stage). The next night I went to see "The Jew of Malta", a play from the same era but by a different writer. It was done in period costume with good stage sets and great acting, and, maybe because I remembered my hearing aides, I could hear every word. Unlike the previous night's show of The Merchant of Venice", this show got a standing ovation from an appreciative crowd.

I stayed at a beautiful Youth Hostel in Stratford. It was really nice -- one of the best places I have stayed at all summer.

There was a "motorcycle only" parking area in town. I parked there each night when I went in to a play. I felt really safe doing that. No one will bother a bike hidden behind a wall. The parking at the hostel was similar. It was also hidden behind a wall.

But finally, my time in Britain is over. I am ready to head back to the mainland. I wanted to take the Channel Train (The Chunnel) over to Calais, France, but there are huge groups of North Africans in Calais trying to sneak aboard lorries and smuggle themselves to England. The police in  England have the main roads closed and the lorries stacked up for miles. I guess they were checking every truck for illegals. All I know is that I could not get to the tunnel. That is okay. A ferry will work just as well. It will also give me a chance to see the English Channel a little better. The last time I came across the Channel on a ferry was 45 years ago when I brought a group of grouchy high school students to Europe. There was a back-up today of cars trying to get on the ferry. Everything was running a half hour late.

But look, behind the ferry -- the famous White Cliffs of Dover.

So goodbye to England, at least for this summer. I will miss it. It is definitely one of my favorite places on Earth (even if they do talk funny there -- Y'all better staighten up that accent, ya hear?).

Here is a map of my UK trip this summer.

I am in Calais, France tonight, staying in a very nice Youth Hostel. I plan to ride up to Ghent, Belgium tomorrow.

More later, Ron

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