We ran out of fuel for our Whisper Lite last night while Tara was cooking a delicious macaroni and cheese dinner (with real cheese, none of that boxed crap!). In good spirits and undeterred by our minor setback, I rode my pannier-less bike into a nearby town at record speed to refill it. It is ridiculous how fast you can accelerate on a bicycle when you're used to having an extra 30-40 pounds of food and supplies on it!
While in town I took the opportunity to pick up another half gallon of that delicious ice cream Tara bought in Cockermouth (still on sale too!). After dinner we ate nearly the whole thing while watching old episodes of House on our laptop. For a bit there I felt like I was at home again.
The sun was shining this morning as we packed up camp(!). We have decided that we don't mind rain as long as we can get on the road and get moving before it starts. Hauling yourself out of bed to pack up your entire life in a downpour is very demoralizing. I have no doubt we'll eventually find a way to adapt, and maybe even enjoy ourselves in the process.
Our morning began with a two mile push on an 18% grade hill-- wee! We soldiered our way up, pushing our respective 70lb bikes with lots of encouraging words and smiles. We both knew our labors would be paid for in full at the top. Sure enough there was a long series of twisty downhills to enjoy when we arrived.
When we stopped for lunch I had a sinking feeling as I realized my glasses were missing. I vaguely recalled setting them on a rock somewhere and briefly considered them a lost cause before deciding I ought to go back and look for them.
For some reason I always feel like my father when I decide to search for something that feels like it is hopelessly lost. I was thinking of him, recalling some distant memory of us pacing the lawn together looking for something or other, as I tore all of the panniers off my bike and steeled myself for the 18% grade hill I knew I'd have to climb again to say I'd really looked for them everywhere I could.
I sped away and had no luck finding my glasses while looking at a few places I had recalled us stopping earlier. By the time I reached the first hill of the day, I had nearly convinced myself to turn around and give up at least five times. Ignoring the lazy voice in my head, (feeling again like my Dad), I raced down the hill.As I rode slowly back up the hill scanning the rocks and grass, my determination was rewarded! My glasses were safely resting on a wall, exactly where I put them when I had stopped to take photos. Phew! Glasses are one more thing to add to our "did you remember your…?" checklist before we hit the road.
Glasses in hand I mashed my way up the hill in a gear I could never even imagine using with a loaded bike. Again amazed by the strength of my own legs I resolved to ride back to Tara as quickly as I could no matter how much it hurt. If there is one thing I hate it is inefficiency, and boy was this a waste of time!
I could barely breathe when I finally made it back to Tara who was waiting for me with open arms, shouting "you can do it!" (I had done the same for her earlier when she was behind me). I haven't pushed myself that hard since a memorable Arnis class where I nearly threw up. Yuck! I collapsed on the ground while Tara delivered water and food and told me about the six million contingency plans she had come up with in case I didn't return.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, but very enjoyable riding. After covering 30 or so miles without feeling too winded we arrived at our normal time (4:30-5:30). As I was feeling very tired and ravenously hungry, Tara decided we should have a "pancake factory." She mixed up some batter, got all the toppings ready, and then made pancakes in her "factory". My job was to eat them. We then switched, and I took over being the pancake maker so Tara could eat dinner too. We laughed a lot (cracking jokes about being "efficient"), went over photos, did journals, and settled in for the night.
We are currently staying at the Walmart of campgrounds in Oxenhope: Upwoods Holiday Caravan and Camping Park. It is absolutely packed with bank-holiday campers complete with screaming kids, their yelling parents and the subtle roar of one hundred electric fans pumping up air mattresses. For the last hour or so we've had the pleasure of listening to some ridiculously loud beeping noise and the campground staff running around telling kids to get off the walls or to stop playing with their balls. Hopefully we'll be able to get some rest tonight.
Home sweet home :)