Tuesday, 3 June 2008

The Trip To Hereford

After some last minute hand-wringing about whether to actually go or not due to having been glued to the weather forecast (rain, rain and more rain) all week I decide I'm going to chance it as it's actually sunny on Friday morning. I have a B&B booked in Hereford for Friday night and if it looks like the weather is going to stay fairly dry I can continue my route and hope to find somewhere else to stay on Saturday night.

With bike loaded up, I set off around midday and head off up the A46 to the M4 which I follow east to the old Severn Bridge near Chepstow. Delighted to discover that motorcycles can cross the bridge for free where as car drivers have to stump up £5.30 at the toll to get into Wales. I smile smugly at the car driver next to me as my barrier lifts and I speed off leaving him struggling to find change in his glove compartment. From Chepstow I take the A466 which takes me along the picturesque winding road through the Wye Valley.

Two miles up the A466 I meet my first annoyance. As I round a bend a fully-laden car transporter pulls out in front of me. Once again 'The five second law' confounds me. The five second law is my theory that at any given time on a journey, a slow moving vehicle will lie in wait to delay your progress. To annoy you it will always pull out in front of you a few seconds ahead. If you had only been another five seconds ahead on your journey it would have pulled out behind you. This normally takes place when there is no visible traffic ahead of you or even behind you thus emphasising the sheer annoyance factor that it has singled you out deliberately to slow your journey.

Anyway, it's not easy trying to pass a slow-moving car transporter on a windy road, particularly when it is driving in the middle to avoid the trees either side but I finally squeeze past on one of the few straight stretches and feel sorry for the poor sods in their cars still behind it who are going to be stuck there for some considerable amount of time.

This is more like it, lovely winding road through the Wye Valley, it feels great to be out on the bike again after not having ridden it for months. I pass Tintern Abbey...I would have photographed it but it's predictably swathed in green netting and scaffolding (Another of my pet gripes...travelling to places to visit famous landmarks only to find them covered in scafolding, it seems to happen a lot).

In fact taking photos is not that easy when travelling on a bike which is why I don't have loads of scenic shots of my trip. By the time you have stopped, taken off helmet and gloves, located camera, changed camera battery because it dies on you, taken photo, put away camera, put gloves and helmet back on etc. you will have added at least ten minutes to your journey.

So...here's somebody else's photo of the Abbey taken from Devil's Pulpit...and that's the A466 and the river Wye next to it.
I arrived at Monmouth about 50 minutes after leaving Bath which isn't bad considering the car transporter and I haven't been caning it. From Monmouth it's a fairly short trip of about 25 minutes to Hereford and I arrive at the B&B I am staying at 1 hour and 20 minutes from leaving home. Mmmn...not bad.

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