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Old 05-05-2004, 07:12 PM   #14
MikeO OP
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Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
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16th February

I wake, after a poor night’s sleep, feeling crap. I certainly don’t feel like riding today, which is a shame since it is gin-clear, though cold, with a cloudless sky. The threatened snow has not materialised, but all the puddles in the motel car park are frozen solid. I’m meant to be heading South to stay with Buddy & Sue Lee (Freaking RT Rider) this afternoon, but don’t feel up to the ride, so I ring them & cry off. Buddy tells me it’s probably a sensible decision, as the side roads around Richmond are pretty slippery. I arrange to meet up the following afternoon, after Buddy gets back from a meeting at 4pm. I ring the front desk, extend my stay by a night and go back to bed…

17th February

I awake feeling well-rested & much better. I check out and get on the road by 10ish. Richmond is only 45 miles away, and I’ve no need to arrive before 4pm, so I take the back roads and start exploring as I head South. I soon come across the village of Cuckoo – it gets its name from a tavern from which Jack Jouett began his famous ride to Charlottesville to warn members of the Virginia Government of the approach of Tarleton’s British Cavalry in June 1781.

Well – he’s famous here, apparently…:

Further on I encounter the town of Bumpass – a name so amusing that there isn’t a single signpost or street sign to be seen. It’s a depressing place to visit anyway…

As I take a tour around Lake Anna State Park, the first few flakes of snow begin to fall.

I decide that the best course of action would be to get as close to Buddy’s house as possible in case the snow gets worse, then find somewhere to wait until he gets home. I make my way down some side roads through the, now steady, snow flurries. It’s not pitching on the road surface yet, but the temperature has definitely dropped and I’m once again getting cold. I follow Buddy’s directions and, about 2 miles from his house, find a Burger King to wait in (any port in a storm – plus the coffee refills are free ). The front of the bike has got quite a healthy build-up of slushy ice, as have the front of my Cordura trousers…

I meet Wanda, a schoolteacher who has stopped off on the way home from school to grab a bite to eat. She used to be married to a US Customs Inspector and shares my opinion of them

Eventually, I make my way through the wind blown snow to Buddy & Sue’s beautiful house. Buddy greets me with a beer, shows me to my (enormous) bedroom, and I unpack. I put everything (it seems) into the washing machine, then have a shower and, feeling warm & slightly more human, join Buddy back downstairs…

Buddy worked in IT until relatively recently, but has just trained as a Real Estate Broker. Seizing on the opportunity to get some free IT help , I ask him if he can help me get my wireless network card working. I’ve stayed at a couple of hotels which have clearly got a Broadband wireless network, but have never been able to access it…

No problem – Buddy loves a challenge and he’s soon hard at work. Unfortunately, in trying to connect my laptop, he somehow crashes his wireless network and, at one stage, his internet connection. I’m mortified, but, to Buddy ‘This is what makes computers fun’. He continues to attack the snag (without any major success :() until Sue comes home. It is decided that we’ll go into Richmond for the evening, so that I can give them the verdict on an ‘English Pub’ called Penny Lane.

Well, Penny Lane is pretty authentic, but then it should be. It’s run by Terry, a scouser who has lived here for 20 yrs, and was 10 yrs in New York before that. He came over in 1958, when ‘they didn’t worry about Green Cards too much…’ He runs a pretty good pub. I drink far too much, as does Sue (who, unlike Buddy & me, has to be at work tomorrow). To my amazement, Sue matches me pint for pint – Boddingtons, Newcastle Brown, Old Speckled Hen etc, and remains compus mentis. We enter the pub quiz and don’t come last (close, though ). We eventually get home at about midnight when, it seems, it’s time to open a bottle of single malt….
All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2015

MikeO screwed with this post 02-12-2006 at 03:16 AM
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