We left Cockermouth today for the town of Keswick in the heart of the Lake District. Fresh from two days of rest we were both energized and ready to hit the road. As we pedalled out of town I had a very distinct, familiar feeling that I haven't experienced since well before we left on our trip. I felt absolutely at home. I have toured extensively in North America on a motorcycle and almost every ride was saturated with a feeling of being exactly where I belonged, no matter how long I'd been gone or where I was. I was thrilled when the feeling finally translated fully to my bicycle.
We had a nice, short, 18 mile ride into Keswick. I'm pretty sure we need to spend some time with a thesaurus looking over the entries for 'wonderful', 'beautiful', 'amazing' etc. It often feels that there are no other ways of describing the places we visit. The Lake District is incredible, even more so than we'd heard, or than Tara remembered from her trip here years ago.
On the way in, we rode the A951 alongside Bassenthwaite lake. Normally we try to avoid A roads due to their heavy traffic and boring views but we didn't have many other options without nearly doubling the length of the route. Thankfully the roads weren't too busy and we were able to cycle a totally flat route alongside the lake and through the valleys between the mountains; it was beautiful.
We rode by a pheasant that had just been hit by a car. I was struck (no pun intended) by how colorful it was and decided to snap a photo. Poor thing.
As we arrived in Keswick it began to rain so we stopped to put on our Showers Pass jackets before heading into town. There was a flea market of sorts going on, so we detoured to do a bit of souvenir shopping for my little brothers and sisters. We were both thankful when the rain started to let up as we were pulling into the campground. We've managed to have fairly sunny weather the entire time we've been here and from what we've been told, that is pretty rare. The lady who registered us at the campground said that some people visit the Lake District for weeks and never see the sun!
After setting up camp I cooked a boatload of chicken for future sandwiches and dinners. Tara made another batch of orange chicken and we ate it ravenously before cleaning up to practice Arnis. The campground we are staying at is pretty large and relatively busy by our standards. As we were practicing, several people stopped washing dishes and walking their dogs to ask what we were doing. Several onlookers told us we looked amazing! We both feel a bit rusty and neither of us thinks practicing our carenza is amazing but I guess to the untrained eye we must really good!
When we were finishing up, we met another pair of campers, Pete and his wife Reinette. Pete knew what we were doing and said he had been watching from the dish washing area and that we were very good. Pete had been a martial arts practitioner for thirteen years (his favorite was Kenpo) and we excitedly traded stories for a bit. I was thrilled to show him the Kenpo hand drill I learned from Maestro Jim and suddenly awestruck that the same (or similar) set of movements had been practiced for hundreds of years. Pete declined to show us any moves, saying it had been a good 20 years since he had practiced!
While he and I were talking about martial arts, Reinette asked Tara if she could tell her a story. I didn't hear it, but when they left this is what Tara told me:
When we were 25 Pete was a bassist in a band. He had a gig at a seaside town, and we were camping in our little caravan at a cheap campsite that was hardly finished being built; they were still cutting down trees to make space for campers!
We were living simply and happily at the time, feeling a bit like gypsies. I was peeling potatoes by the fire when a giant motor home pulled up to the campsite with a little tiny car being towed behind. I dropped my knife and the potato I was working on and ran to get Pete. We both ogled the motor home and decided that someday we would have one, travel the country, and tow a little car behind too.
We saved and saved and saved and 28 years later, we were able to buy our motor home and our little car. We drove it to the Lake District for our vacation here today! "Follow your dreams!"Reinette
When Tara finished telling me the story we both had tears in our eyes and were absolutely overjoyed for them and their success persevering for 28 years. Here's to all the people with dreams who work hard to achieve them no matter how long it takes. Way to go!
Here is a picture of a friendly horse near our campsite (haha this is really out of place for the journal entry but I don't care!)