Saturday, 12 January 2019

Awning...Pub....Cattlegrids and Ride...,,

A bit late I know... but a Happy New Year to you all......

I failed to mention in my last post that this winter we are managing without an awning....
Before we left the  C&CC Tavistock site our Kampa inflatable awning finally gave up and died....
The 'Dead' awning...

 This awning had lasted for two seven month summer touring seasons but had finally given in to UV damage.... It had worn very thin in one or two areas but what finally finished it off was a period of some strong winds which had caused the awning to rip away from the beading where it attached to the caravan.......

This is the second awning that we have lost since we started touring around...the first was a full season poled awning which lasted for two summers and three winters before it was killed off by the 'Beast from the East'..... 

The Kampa awning was made from a thinner and lighter material but was an inflatable model that proved better for touring as it was easier to erect and take down.....

We do intend to replace the awning in April at the start of the UK touring season.... We plan on buying an inflatable version of the first awning we had which was made from a vinyl type of material that didn't degrade from UV exposure to the same extent as the Kampa awning.....
Hopefully this will give us the best of both worlds and with a bit of luck a little longer lifespan...

Managing without an awning in a small unit like our Eriba means that we have lost half of our usual living area....... We normally use the awning for all of our cooking as well as relaxing in and when the weather is bad I ride my bike on the turbo in there....
It has proved a bit challenging at times but we have managed to come up with alternatives and seem to be managing with the reduced living area quite well.....

It's not for everyone and you have to get on pretty well to be able to manage in a small camping trailer/caravan but it is possible if you are open to coming up with alternative ideas to deal with the lack of space.......

The lack of space of course is only in the caravan.....step outside and you have all the space you could wish for...... As it was dry and quite mild on Christmas day we cooked a full Christmas turkey dinner outside in the heart of the Devon countryside...... Hardcore BBQing as my daughter described it when I told her about it.....

Boxing day was spent with a walk down to the 'Who'd Have Thought It' pub at Milton Combe.
'Down'.. to the pub is the right way to describe it as the Combe is accessed down a 20% hill.....


The Who'd Have Thought It Pub....
 The pub was really quiet on Boxing Day.... Log fires in each area of the pub..... Great food and good beer..... It really made for a lovely traditional way to spend the day.......
Interior of the pub on Boxing day...Nice and Quiet.
 Following our lunch and a couple more pints of good local brew we headed back to the site.....
I had forgotten all about the 20% hill we had to walk up until we hit the lower slopes of the hill... After a nice lunch and a few pints it was a bit of a shock to the system.....
Back at the site we were able to sleep off our athletic endeavours.....

 Up until about a week before Christmas we had suffered weeks of wet weather but following the shortest day the weather seemed to change and since then we have enjoyed far more settled weather.......

The image below shows the strength of water on the river Tavy as it flows under the bridge.
The volume of water flowing off the moor and into the river was huge as can be seen by the height of the water under the arches of the bridge...it really was very high.....
River Tavy..... plenty of water flowing off Dartmoor.
 With the more settled weather I have managed to get out on my bike quite a lot..... Riding around Dartmoor you have to exercise a fair bit of care as there are a fair number of cattle grids all around..... 
Going over the grids really shakes the bike up... (going over some of them in a car can be bad enough) 
Hitting one of these grids at the wrong angle when on the bike can cause you to lose traction and end up having a nasty fall....

One of my cycling buddies.. Jason... knows how dangerous they can be. 
He had a nasty fall when out cycling on a club run around the New Forest area.... That fall kept him off the bike for a number of months.... 
It only takes a moments lack of concentration especially if it is wet or even just damp......

A couple of days ago I cycled up to Princetown of Dartmoor Prison fame.....
Those of you who are familiar with Dartmoor will know what the roads are like if you want to cycle there..... They are either going up or going down and the gradients can be quite challenging....

I have done a lot of walking around Dartmoor over the years and Princetown has always been a place to top up on supplies etc....
The Plume of Feathers pub has a campsite behind it and I have enjoyed many a stop over there when on a Dartmoor walking expedition. 
I have also enjoyed many a good full English breakfast at the Fox Tor cafe before heading off again on the walk....

It is probably fair to say that Princetown is probably the walking/cycling centre of the moor and it is a real draw for the thousands of tourists who visit Dartmoor each year....

My route up to Princetown from Crapstone was (apart from a couple of short downhill sections) more or less uphill all the way....
My cardiac consultant told me to avoid going over 85% of my maximum heart rate but on this ride my HR monitor was beeping and flashing red for most of the ride up there.....

On the easier gradient sections it is possible to ease back slightly and eventually drop back into the green zone.... however there are sections of very steep gradient where I was in my lowest ratio and it proved impossible to ease back.....to do so would probably have ended up with me falling off as I couldn't really go much slower.....

The choice was stop and walk or say to hell with it and carry on..... call me stupid but I wanted to cycle there and not walk...I am not a quitter so it is a balance of risk so I carried on....

Anyway.....I made it and am pleased to have done it..... I am 71 in about a weeks time so I felt a little glow of self satisfaction having done it so early on in the cycling year....

One last point regarding the ride..... it took only a third of the time coming back as it took me cycling up there which gives you some idea of the uphill gradients encountered on the outward leg.........

A lot of the local club riders do this ride on a weekly basis but it has to be said that in the main they tend to be 'young bucks' without a diagnosis of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy ha...ha...
Tiffany the Tifosi outside the Fox Tor Cafe....

6 comments:

Dave said...

Happy New Year to you too. Pleased to hear that all is going well healthwise. You are doing well to ride those hills as I've cycled the Princetown area so know what you're on about. It looks from the photo of the bike that you only have a double chain ring, I prefer my triple with its very low granny gear.....and you are a year older.!!

All the best and don't over do it.

Trevor Woodford said...

Thanks Dave.... It is difficult to see in the photo but the Tifosi is currently sporting a Shimano 105 triple 50/39/30 crankset with a 12-25T Ultegra cassette.
This gives me a similar spread of gears as the 50/34 Dura Ace compact coupled with a 11-28T Dura Ace cassette on the Felt.
I lose a bit of top end speed with the Tifosi set-up but as it is used as a winter training bike that really isn't an issue.
The bottom ratio is in fact almost identical on both bikes.....
My touring bike has a 48/36/26 triple with a 11-32T cassette... That would have been an easier ride if I had used that bike riding up to Princetown......

GreenComotion said...

Happy New Year, Trevor!
Hope your Eriba related hiccups resolve soon.
Good Health to you!!
Peace :)

Trevor Woodford said...

I hope that 2019 is a good year for you too Chandra....

J_on_tour said...

A belated Happy New Year to you. Hope you manage to work through your difficulties and that this year is a good one.
Having returned to blogger after a year, I'm a bit disillusioned with it for a number of reasons but not giving up on it yet......

My original e-mail address on here is no longer valid due to the provider deciding I didn't send enough e-mails out as I have other e-mail accounts for different things, so I'm using a recovery one instead. I can't reply to comments on my own page as Blogger thinks I'm not logged in and shows "Google Account" next to the reply box with no link to sign in. Strangely enough I'm signed in properly to your comments page here. Over the last two years I changed most of my blog photos over to Flickr for marginal improvement and a free 1 TB storage. The new owner has decided to charge for the service in the category of storage I have so as I don't really interact properly with the website, I had to re-apply 900 blog photos back to Google before Flickr disabled the said number. The Google storage I have is cheaper than Flickr at the moment However the defunct Picasa now managed by Google has proved frustrating with duplications in sets and deletions as a result due to thinking its the same photo. I seem to spend a lot of time on maintenance rather than blogging, hey ho.

Trevor Woodford said...

@J_on_tour
Thanks J...
Wow you certainly do seem to be having problems with blogger/google right now...I don't think that I would have the patience. Currently it does what I want which is all very basic....if it started to present too many problems I would gently let it slide. The older I get I feel that life is too valuable to spend too much of it fiddling away staring at a screen and keyboard .
When we started full time touring my aim was to lead a simpler and less cluttered existence and the i-net can have the effect of creating more stress and cluttering up the mind🙂
Having said that I have missed your superb blog posts and great photos......