Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Isle of Wight - the Other Ferry

I've got 10 minutes until I have to leave to catch the train so I'm going for speed posting...

After our beer stop we had to cross over an inlet to make our way back to the ferry. The crossing isn't that large but big enough where you can't jump across. Here we are gloating that we get to travel for free. :O)

Darran checked out the ramp to see if he could jump the inlet. Sadly, we have to wait for the ferry on the other side. You can see the giant chain to the right. Apparently, the ferry just pulls itself along the chain, back and forth, back and forth. I kind of like this picture because I'm guessing idiots often accidentally drive down here into the water. I should google that.

A better shot of just the chain. I guess it keeps you from getting too off track.

Anyone need some spare chain? I hope the car next to it gives you a bit of an idea on size. I wonder if I could use that to lock up my bike? Did I mention that someone stole my mountain bike from the train station. Idiots. I need a chain like this.

Doing my duty to capture my travels.

Inside the ferry for our five minute ride. I think the other passengers were duly impressed with the amount of lycra in the cabin.

Thought this made a cool picture. Not a bad street to cycle down. No traffic! and no hedge rows!

Lastly, the sun starts to set and we find ourselves near the water again. One of the few flat parts of our journey. A great day on the island and more from the weekend soon (as soon as I stop working so much. Arrghh!!!!)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Isle of Wight - the Island

Once we got to the Isle of Wight, it was time to explore. (yes, the posts are out of order - this is after the Ferry!)

We first stopped at Jeeves' father's house to drop off his gear as he was spending the night. This isn't actually his father's house - but the house across the street from it. I just thought it was very, very cool so needed a photo. Notice the blue skies? A beeyooteefull day.

After the pit stop it is off to do a little riding and head towards the opposite end of the island. As we start rolling along, I become aware that the Isle of Wight is actually quite hilly. Nobody told me that. Oh no. They didn't mention it. Needless to say, this was the last time for about 6 hours that I wasn't going up or going down.

We had some 'fun' uphills and downhills by the water. You can just see Darran and the rest of the gang in front of me. I'm last for a couple of reasons. One, taking photos while cycling tends to not put you in the most aerodynamic position and two, I really am quite slow on the descent. It is sometimes a bit scary.

After putting in a few miles, we stop for a quick pit stop. I loved the view up this street with the big stone church at the end.
John shows us how the scenery looks in the middle of the island. You saw the coastline above, but admittedly, it is pretty, but not much to see when you are stuck behind 7 ft hedge rows.
Thankfully, Jeeves is confident in his skills and is able to check the map. We didn't have to ask for directions (it is an island after all) but we did consult the map a few times.

Once out of the hedge rows, a few of the old castle walls. Not something you come across in your forays across the States, that is for sure.

Lovely countryside and a funny road name. Not sure if this is named after something that actually happened.

Hi Darran! Yes, he got a little close to me before I took the picture.

Finally, our destination. Fish and chips on the opposite shore.

Darran decides to make love to the picnic table. Or possibly, he is stretching. It really is 50-50.

Our next stop was equally lovely in view but came with another fun treat.

Jeeves is just as adept at reading the map as he is at ordering the beer. Top man!

Although I may have been heard to complain/whine/comment on our hilly ride that day, drinking a pint with friends on a lovely day sure made it worthwhile. Here, we are fueling up for the journey back across the island.

Unfortunately, 50 metres out of the pub, John gets hit with a puncture. How many men does it really take to change a tube? 6 apparently. More from the rest of the weekend in the next post.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Not Just Slow

Dead Slow. As seen in an alley way over by the library.

Unfortunately, this is how I feel these days. Too many things to manage and I'm afraid, I'm slow at them all. On top of that, someone stole my mountain bike from the train station the other day. Amazingly enough, it's very annoying to now have to add 15 more minutes to my commute 'cause I have to walk in both directions. I could really use the easy button right now.....

Friday, May 13, 2011

Isle of Wight - The Ferry

Over the Royal Wedding holiday weekend, I went down to the New Forest and the Isle of Wight to do some cycling and exploring.

Amazingly, I can get to the coast from Windsor is just under 2 hours. I had no idea I was so close to the water. For the weekend, a few friends organized a trip down to do some cycling. So Friday night, I opted for the road trip down to the New Forest whereas others chose to cycle down. (I had to watch the wedding)

We started the weekend off by heading out for a curry. Lots of beer, fun and good friends.

Unfortunately, a curry is NOT the best idea the night before 80 miles of cycling. Needless to say, 'breaking wind' was more than just cutting the draft for someone.

All smiles for our 9AM departure from Barry's house. Barry and Julie were wonderful hosts to put up with 9 visitors for the weekend. Here, John displays how he has had too much coffee already.

After an arduous 8 miles, we hit the ferry for our trip to the island.

We actually didn't do a good job following directions. It was quite fun to cycle on to the ferry. However, I had to include this sign to show how frequently people cycle to the island.

We await outside for tickets. Please notice the very very polite dog waiting at the doors for his master. This dog is definitely not related to Tucker.
More coffee as we wait for the ferry to unload the inbound passengers.

It was a beautiful day and many walkers also came from the island to the mainland. Well, really from one small island to another, right?

What we look like after we set sail.

A quick look at the harbor. You think there are a few keen sailors around?

Darran and Jeeves get a prime table on the lido deck. I'm starting to feel like Julie the Cruise Director again. I head out in search of Captain Stubing.
Instead I find David and we chat while we watch the approaching land. And yes, my posture is horrible!!

Even in the early part of the morning, people are out enjoying the wind and weather.

Our destination - I liked the dock in front and the castle turret behind. How can you not appreciate the history? Honestly, it reminds me a bit of Pirates of the Caribbean. Well, except for the warm air and water color.
Time to disembark so we gather round the bikes to make sure they are still there. It's a bit odd when three of the bicycles are worth more than the surrounding cars.

Value aside, we still have to navigate our way off the ferry. Oh - and speaking of the ferry, funny story. While waiting to purchase our tickets and coffee, I proclaimed to my friends that I thought this was the first time I had ever been on a ferry. A random guy at a table next to me then asked 'did you bring your passport?'. I'll admit, I paused to think about it before I answered. Yep. I'm a little slow.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I'm Officially Middle Aged

I bought a Volvo. And it is a station wagon. Blech. Oh well, when the bike rack goes on top it means the dog and the bikes will travel well. Just in time for race season....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Royal Wedding

I know, I know - you were expecting more. Sorry - I am in absolute AWE of the proceedings of the royal wedding but did a very poor job documenting it.

There were a few fabulous things about the royal wedding. One of them being the fact that we had a bank holiday to celebrate and watch. Yes, that's right. The Royals gave us a paid day off. Next was the fact that people actually took the time to celebrate. According to the news, a record number of permits were issued to close streets so people could have a street party. How about that?!?!? Lastly, the fact that people pulled out the British flag and decked everything out was great. You have to understand that there is no 'British' bank holiday. In the States, we have the Fourth of July where unless you are an idiot, you generally pull out the American flag, dress up in red, white and blue, find some friends to barbeque and celebrate with and generally celebrate the country. There isn't one of those holidays here in the UK, so therefore, it was very very very cool to watch Britain pull out the flag and celebrate, well, being British.

I couldn't brave the crowds. I seriously could not. I'm sorry. Instead, I went to a little party to watch it on TV. The wedding started at 11AM and Tucker and I headed over at around 10AM. For everyone who said they weren't going to watch it, they lied. The streets were absolutely deserted at that time. Unless you were outside at a block party, you were nowhere to be seen. I think I saw 3 cars on the road? Generally at that time, I would have a hard time not seeing any. However, I digress.... we started with mimosas so we could toast the happy couple with bubbles.

We also had some lovely scones and tea cakes. Yum. Food.

And not to be left out, even Tucker stuck his head at the TV to see what was going on. I never thought I would say how much I enjoyed watching a wedding on TV. For those two hours, I felt very British and very proud of Britain.

Bangers and Beer

Sorry, this post is way over due. Also, I've been gallavanting about so good stuff coming soon. In the mean time, I thought I'd share photos of meat and hops. I know, not the most exciting but what can you say when you go to a party called Bangers and Beer?

Amazingly enough, there were about 12 different sausages to choose from. England LOVES their sausages. I have to admit, Wisconsin is clearly upstaged in this avenue.

You could get a taster portion first and then decide if you wanted to make up a proper bun full.

Just as there was variety with meat, the beer came in several flavors as well. The variety went from light to dark - left to right - funny enough - I somehow got stuck on the first one.

Success! I went for a blonde beer and an apple and stilton smoked sausage. Um Um good.

And not to be left out, we even had some for the vegetarians. Who said we aren't equal opportunity eaters?