Tuesday, July 14
Oh, Market Rasen, you are not giving us the best of greetings or farewells. Come on now! We arrived in town in the rain and as we prepared to leave this morning, it was, once again, raining! The continual grey skies, mist and drizzle are, on the one hand, a little bit mood deflating, given that it’s the middle of summer, but on the other hand it does give the countryside a rather elegant costume at times.
The nice lady at our pub took us to the room where our bikes had stayed the night and when she saw all our panniers sitting on the ground waiting to be loaded, she was flabbergasted.
“You get ALL of THAT, on THOSE?!”
“We do,” we said, “like magic.”
“Where are you going today?” she asked.
“We’re heading towards Woodhall Spa.”
“You’re going ALL THE WAY to Woodhall Spa? TODAY!?”
“It is nice there,” she added. “Where were you before here?”
“We came from Barton-upon-Humber.”
“You came ALL THE WAY from Barton, to come here!? On the BIKES!?”
She was quite stunned! She then stood and watched our bike loading routine, as we attached all the panniers and she was quite amazed how everything had its place and everything managed to fit. Then off we went through the grey curtain.
It was a nice ride through the countryside. We started with our raincoats on, then before too long, the rain eased and we stopped and took them off. We continued riding and before too long, the rain started again and we stopped and put our raincoats back on and that was the pattern for much of the ride! On-off-on-off, as the rain came down and then lulled us into a false sense of security by stopping, so we’d take our coats off, then it would trick us and rain on us again. What a merry dance it was!
The ride through the countryside took us to the charming town of Lincoln. As we entered the outskirts, we stopped at a supermarket to pick up some elevenses and when I emerged, it was to find Steve in conversation with another touring cyclist couple. Hennie and Frans were from Holland and were on a tour around England for a couple of weeks, something they do regularly. They were lovely to talk to and they gave us their details and offered us a bed and a hot shower if we’re passing through their town on our travels. Wonderful people.
The town of Lincoln surprised us. I was expecting it to be a big city with a big city feel, but it was a charming place, very historic and with lovely cobbled streets. We stopped for elevenses in the arboretum and then pedalled into the town, via the cathedral. As we waited at an intersection on our way to the cathedral, who should come along, but Hennie and Frans!
“Are you on your way to the Cathedral Quarter?” they asked.
“Yes,” we said, “we’ll follow you!”
So for a while we were a touring cyclist convoy, as the four of us pedalled along the streets.
The cathedral was beautiful and huge and the streets around it were just lovely. As we walked through the streets, we passed a cafe with outdoor seating and a man saw us and virtually leapt from his seat, to ask us how far we were going and where we’d come from and to wish us well on our journey. There’s another wonderful friendly person, taking the time to chat to a couple of strangers! So Lincoln, was not what we expected, but it surprised us in the best possible way.
The ride from Lincoln to our campsite at Woodhall Spa was perfect. The sun came out and we had a bike path beside the river the whole way. Perfect sunny and flat riding!
Along the path there were also some really interesting sculptures.
Just as we were on the outskirts of Woodhall Spa, would you believe it! It rained! So that tricky ol’ rain gave us our bookends for the day – rain at the start and rain at the end, but boy was the middle bit just magic!
Our campsite was a really nice, peaceful little place and the village of Woodhall Spa was utterly charming and quaint. We went for a stroll and found the memorial to the 617 Squadron, the “dambusters” who were based in Woodhall Spa during WWII.
What a terrific day. Lovely, flat cycling, sunshine that eventually gave us a warm day, more delightful people to meet and a charming little village to stay in at the end. Merry old England might turn on the wooly weather for us, but it sure turns on the charm as well. She is such a charmer and I, for one, remain under her spell!
Wednesday, July 15
I apologise for sounding like a broken record, but I have to start by mentioning the weather! Overnight it poured! The rain came down on the tent and we awoke again to grey skies and drizzle, so we once again started our ride in our trusty blue raincoats!
Apart from hearing the rain through the night, I knew it had poured because I went out for a 4:30am run through the village and there were huge puddles everywhere. It was a really nice run through a gorgeous little village, although I did yawn a bit as I ran along! Sometimes I’d happily trade the nice early mornings, just for a little more sleep, or to at least break this pattern I’m in and be able to have another hour or so of rest each day!
We had planned a shorter ride today, into Boston, because today was giving us an extra special bonus…we were meeting up with Steve’s mum and dad again. They’re on their way to Manchester to return their hire car and catch their flight home and as we aren’t too far from Manchester, they decided to head towards us, for a final meet up. We’d planned to meet and stay a night in Boston.
We once again had a perfectly flat river ride into Boston, which was lovely. Our legs have been feeling a little tired, so having a shorter ride and a flat one, would give us a welcome “recovery ride”. We were in RAF territory and as we rode along, about four RAF fighter jets flew overhead, one after another. They are LOUD! They are super impressive to see, but they absolutely rock and rumble the air as they fly past!
As we rode into Boston, we stopped in a park to look at the map, so we could make our way to the hotel. As Steve brought up the map on his phone, all I heard was “OH NO!” This made me immediately think, ‘Oh No!’ because something wasn’t right! It turned out, our hotel that has Boston in its name and gives its address as Boston, wasn’t actually in Boston, but was 7½ miles out of Boston, almost in the opposite direction! So our ride hadn’t ended, we now had another 11km still to go. Tired legs not happy! This part of the ride proved to be horrible and the complete opposite of the nice, quite river ride that started the day. We had to ride on a busy main road, into a head wind, all the rest of the way! One bright spot was in the form of yet another delightful person. We had stopped on the side of the road, to plug in a charging cord to my Garmin and a man in the house beside the road, came up to the fence to ask if we were OK. We said we were just charging some technology and he said, “So yer oright. Yer don’t need a spanner ‘er anythin’?” We thanked him and assured him we were OK, but how nice of him to come to our aid.
We eventually arrived at our accommodation, 43km later. We made a cuppa and just as we were sipping, the phone rang and who had arrived..Len and Pauline! So we were all back together again. We sat and talked and caught up on our respective travels and then went for a roam around Boston. The day ended with a nice meal in the pub across the road from our hotel.
Today, we had different bookends. A great ride at the start, a lovely reunion at the end and a pretty horrible busy, windy and traffic zipping ride in between! The bookends made it worth it though! Tomorrow we will say goodbye to Len and Pauline for a final time, as they get ready to return to Oz and we will continue our pedalling. We’re about half way through our trip now and have no more scheduled meet-ups with anyone from home to look forward to (unless anyone is offering to come over and visit us!). So we will continue as we are, just the two of us, two middle aged Tasmanians, cycling about and collecting magic moments. Seize the day! Live life! Love life!