We woke up early this morning to the peaceful sound of the ocean and the heat of the shining sun filtering in through our tent. Feeling incredibly content we made a point to take it slow breaking camp so we could fully appreciate our fantastic (and free!) view overlooking the ocean and Woolacombe. As I got dressed my normally odorless merino wool shirt was thick with the smell of our campfire from the night before. Smells are supposed to be strong triggers for memory and this morning they certainly were as I was vividly reminded of camping with my Dad as a kid. I usually hate smokey clothes but they didn't bother me a bit (I don't think anything could have).
As I was reassembling the bikes while Tara made breakfast, a pack of small horses galloped along a ridge just in front of us. It was an incredible sight and a wonderful beginning to our day. Before we left I suggested that we heat a pot of water to wash our face/hands. I think Tara was suprised because I am generally our drill sargent in the morning to get on the road; she happily obliged and we had just a bit more time to enjoy the view before setting out for the day.
We rode a mostly easy 30 miles along the coast, a murky canal and relatively quiet A-roads today. Neither of us realized it at the time but we rolled over the first 1,000 miles of our trip about mid-day. We planned to average 20 miles a day overall and amazingly today was our 50th day on the road. So cool! Our gear is holding up very well, our bicycles are in perfect condition and our bodies are mostly a-ok. I feel incredibly accomplished knowing that with very few exceptions all of our research and planning has paid off splendidly (god knows we did enough of it).
Daisies are just starting to make an appearance on the roadsides:
Somewhere around mile 1,000 we stopped to do some much needed grocery shopping. It was Tara's turn (she loves grocery shopping) so I stayed outside by the bikes and praticed my Arnis stickwork while she picked out supplies for the next few days. It took quite awhile but she finally emerged with what felt like 10 pounds of food and some handy tupperware containers to hold flour and sugar (we've had a few messy accidents!). After much shuffling we managed to find a home for everything in our panniers and headed off again.
Just before we reached our destination for the night I "bonked" (a bicycling term for a sudden loss of energy) for the first time. Tara encouraged me to eat and took the lead until she found a quiet campsite about two miles down the road. We checked in and proceeded to set up just in time for rain to start coming down. Our campsite absolutely rules and it was only £8.50! They have a brand new, completely spotless, free shower block, a great laundrette, an unmonitored outlet about 4 feet away from our tent, and a speedy unsecured wireless network to boot.
We spent several hours on Skype talking with my Dad, Tara's parents, and all of my little brothers and sisters over the sound of the pouring rain. Our morale was already pretty high but talking to family always makes it soar. When we were through Tara spent some time putting the final touches our massive journal entry for yesterday while I started reading Lord of the Rings again. I read it about six years ago, coincidentally while in England (backpacking at the time). When she was through she handed it over to me for editing/publishing. It took at least an hour to post because it was so photo intensive! It was really nice to be able to work on it from the comfort of our tent and even nicer to go directly to bed when I was through.