0500 - the start of the adventure

A quick summary for those that don't like to read long text information;
First of all, Ruby is doing terrifically well, she's even off the oxygen tube for most of the day now.
Secondly, a huge thank you to all that sponsored and supported me with encouragement. It was greatly appreciated and spurred me on when I felt I was flagging a bit.
The blip is the early starters, more behind me, for the RBLR1000, 1,000, mile run for the RBL Poppy Appeal. There are three riders amongst this lot that are doing 1,500 miles in less than 24 hours, that is a bit too much for me I think.

Now for the extra bit.
I was amongst the 0500 starters after having a very bad nights non-sleep due to a nearby rail track where trains have to blow their horns, bikers (not in our group) riding like maniacs up and down the road alongside Squires Cafe/Bar, and a few of our group helping a chap who's bike was having problems so lots of chatter, clatter and revving of the engine until around 11pm. I got about 4 hours sleep so didn't feel too bad when washed and ready to go.
Rode off down the A1 South, through Lincolnshire and into Norfolk to the first refuelling stop at Lowestoft.
Met up with a small group from Gloucestershire who were doing the run and was invited to join them, which I gladly did. They were really nice people and I enjoyed their company although I thought they were talking a long time over their stopover but put it down to them having some breakfast..
However, when we stopped at our next refuelling stop, Brighton, and they hung about drinking coffee again I spoke up and said shouldn't we get going, we are on a pretty tight schedule.
I had planned to finish around 0200. Matt, the leader of the group assured me he'd worked it all out and we would get back around 0300, which was acceptable to me.
Off we went along the South coast, some lovely scenery with the vista of the English Channel opening up now and again as we climbed and descended hills.
Next stop was Exeter services on the M5, another longish coffee break while I drank water from my bottle (tap water, I don't buy bottled water!).
A nice ride up the M5 to the Severn Bridge M49 crossing into Welsh Wales. 
Now I was getting concerned that we weren't going to see much of it because the cloud was making it quite dull and the sun was starting to get lower. I was looking forward to the ride after refueling at Havorfordwest right up the Western coastline of Wales. It was not to be as half way up the coast we rode up into some hills, a bit of hill fog/low cloud which made for a beautifully eerie half hour, and then it soon went very dark. Twisty turny roads, which would have been fun in the daytime, made for scary riding as we didn't have time to ride slow. A lovely moment riding through one of the small villages was when I spotted something moving in the distance, as we approached a HUGE Owl, took off and flew straight at us. I reckon the wingspan was around 5 to six feet, it was a magic moment as it passed right alongside us.
We got to Bangor and refuelled at TESCO, the garage was closed but there were some pumps where you could use a card.
Set off along the M56 towards England, Manchester etc. Passed the incredible sight of the oil refinery at Ellesmere Port, passed Chester and then M62 towards Leeds.
A big problem when we got to the exit roads, both that we know we could have used were closed for roadworks with no diversion signs.
I didn't have a clue but one of the group seemed to have a sixth sense of direction and said to go 'This Way'. A mile from the motorway my sat nav decided to give up telling me to back to the M62 and pointed me in the right direction and it mirrored every turn the young fella up front was taking. Don't know how he did it but he was brilliant.
Anyway, remember I said the coffee breaks were too much, well we entered Squires Cafe at 0454, quarter of an hour before the deadline and after riding for 23 hours and 45 minutes and feeling just a bit tired after getting off the bike.
Did I enjoy it, YES, it was a great experience. The only problem was riding up the Welsh coast in the dark, I think we missed a treat there.

Once again, Thank you for helping me through this exhausting but pleasurable experience. In total, so far as the dog school wants to give me something but I don't know how much, you helped me raise 
The total, from estimates given on Friday night is expected to in the region of 
£30,000.00 which is an incredible feat for around 160 bikers.



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