We didn’t have breakfast (as we took room only for 65 pounds (breakfast 75)…thinking we’d get away early). Our room was so delightful and the bed so comfortable at the Three Tuns Inn, we stayed later than we initially thought. As we could control the heating we also finally got my sleeping bag dry …it was still a bit wet on the edges from Dolgellau. We also stopped off in town and bought a charm for my bracelet for Wales. It was raining so wet weather gear again today! It only took us a short while to get to the Severn Bridge …the strong cross wind was a challenge for Vince…but he got us across safely. I noticed as we reached the other side that we didn’t have to pay a toll but coming the other way they did….not sure what that’s all about? We were sorry to leave Wales behind …such a beautiful and relaxing place …we both felt comfortable there…we wish we had spent less time in Ireland and more in Wales….but you don’t know these things…the benefit of hindsight!

Back in England, we headed for Unity Road Motorcycles in Keynsham (near Bristol) where John and Beverley (the owners) had ordered in a new Continental TKC80 rear tyre for us. It took around an hour so we sat in the shop and chatted with John and Bev. We got around 6000km out of our previous tyre so Vince was pleased…and I was pleased we no longer have a bald rear tyre! John did us a good deal and we are now his furtherest customers, previously it was another GS rider from Canada….Australia now leads!

Wet weather gear still need! Next we stopped off at Waitrose Cafe for some tomatoe soup whilst we checked out the address and maps for the B&B we had booked for Bath.  “2 Cresent Rd” is an old house from the early 19th Century that belonged to a Doctor. We got a room on the top floor with a big bay window and it is very stylist – at 110 pounds for the night it should be I guess ( but a big contrast to the similarly priced Zion Hall room we had in Dublin)! We also got to meet the owner’s dog,  Diggery, a black Cockerpoo, who is only 6 months old and a complete tummy rub tartbag! 

After parking the bike out the back and unpacking, we set off on foot to explore Bath and ended up at the Roman Baths. It cost us 28 pounds (14 each) to get in….as they don’t take the English Heritage Pass that Vince purchased previously when we went to Hadrian’s wall ….we have tried to use it at a few places but the answer always seems to be “No”.  The Roman Bath was fascinating …but I won’t say too much as I know Vince will be blogging about it specifically. Surfice to say I could not resist dipping my finger into the 10,000 year old thermal spring water (which you are not really allowed to do) and was a bit alarmed when it came out brown! There is a high iron content in the water. That will teach me!!!

Tonight we will just have a quiet evening as we head back to London tomorrow. I can’t wait, we moved the date of our Wicked tickets ( a whole other telephone mission story there !) when we were in Inverness ….due to me having to attend the hospital which meant we couldn’t make our original date of 20th April. It should be a magical evening…I’m really looking forward to it, and so is Vince.



Had the most awesome ride today and uncovered a well-hidden secret – Wales is road-riding heaven !!!

Yesterday was very overcast with a low fog hanging over the hills as we rode down from Holyhead to Dolgellau via Druid and so we didn’t get to see a great deal of the countryside, though the riding itself was very enjoyable even on the wet roads. The weather forecast for the following day – the Bank Holiday in Wales on Monday 4th May was for sunshine, no rain till 21:00, and a max of 14 degrees C, so whilst our final destination for the day had us aiming for somewhere around Newport Karen was only too agreeable to have us head back north again to the start of Snowdonia National Park so we could see Mt Snowdon, and then follow the A470 down south – a road recommended by Alec, our host in Dolgellau.

We took a quick trip north up the A470 and then A4085 till we approached Mt Snowdon via Beddgelert, and then had an absolute blast up through the valley. The left hand side of the road fell away to nothing and Karen was stunned silent as she contemplated spearing off the cliff at one of the many bends on the road, but the bald TKC80 on the rear of the bike still had enough grip to keep us on the road. Having crested the mountain pass and dropped down to Snowdon on the other side we then turned around and had another run at the pass, though this time the cliff drop-offs weren’t as visible to Karen and hence weren’t as unnerving.

We retraced our route back to Dolgellau – well for most of the way until we peeled off the A4085 and took a hidden B road out of Maentwreg that was twisty and fun, and then hooked up with the A470 and had the most awesome five hours of road riding I can remember 🙂 The road was wide, well-surfaced, and twisted and weaved its way through some of the most beautiful countryside I’ve seen. The road was quick – easily supporting the 97kph speed limit – and at that speed the ride was almost meditative, though it could easily be ridden quicker, though the number of warning signs to riders suggested that it could also catch fast riders out. 

The scenery alternated between wide angle views and long shots of valleys as the road followed white water rivers, to tree-lined avenues where the tall trees joined overhead and stone walls lined the road, to sections where head-high hedges created a corridor-effect that play tricks on the eyes as if you were riding through a maze. 

Whatever the scenery, the road just lent itself to the perfect ride. Even when baulked by cars – often banked up in a procession behind a slow-moving vehicle, it was easy enough to find a straight section or wide curve to allow for a quick overtaking move, often crunching a few cars at once. Once back in the open air the road would just unfold in front of you, a continuous series of beautiful bends, crafted for the enjoyment of riders. The road gave me the impression that it was just one long magical race-track, sculptured to perfection as it followed the contours of the Welsh valleys and hills.

With the rain holding off and a holiday in Wales today we saw more motorbikes on the road today than we’ve seen over the past six weeks. In fact – we’ve probably seen about 10 times more motorbikes at least, than over the past six weeks. Big BMW tourers seemed popular as well as their RR’s, along with KTM supermotards. 

Out of Raglan we picked up the B4293, a well-formed country back-road that eased us into Chepstow and gave us a chance to regain our senses a bit after the rush provided by the A470, which isn’t to say that the B4293 is dull at all as it’s quite a pleasure to ride, it just misses out on some of the scenic valley views as it transforms into farmland, and we throttled back a bit to finish the day on a relaxing note.

I haven’t looked at the mileage today – we did start off from Dolgellau at about 09:30am and we arrived in Chepstow around 5:00pm so it was a solid day’s riding, but it was so invigorating I reckon I could get out on the bike again right now and do it all over again, even though it is dark outside now and I’m tucked up nicely in bed in our quaint room adjacent to the Three Tuns Inn here in Chepstow – right next to the Chepstow Castle. Karen has a knack of locating great places to stay, and as we tinkered through this old town she spotted the inn with a few Harley’s parked alongside, and so enquired about a room to stay. With the BMW parked in the yard behind the pub, our own front-door leading to the road outside, the quaintest room to stay in, a castle behind us – a massive castle, built overlooking the Wye River – we’re enjoying our evening here. We’ve had a walk around the castle – a beautiful if derelict castle, a fantastic dinner at an Indian restaurant recommended by Simon – barman at the Three Tuns, consisting of a mixed starter, Sitar Balti Special (chicken, mince and prawn balti), aloo, paratha, oh and complementary shots of sambucca and Tia Maria courtesy of the kind staff at the Sitar Restaurant, and now it’s time to catch up on our blogging, emails, photo and video downloads, etc etc. Of all things the GoPro cracked a wobbly today so whilst I’ve got stills of the Snowdonia mountain pass captured at 5 second intervals I’ve got no video, and I chose not to record any of the A470 or B4293 – if you want to see how fantastic these roads are you need to come over here yourself and ride them for real 🙂



Yesterday’s non stop rain continued all night and again this morning. Paul, our host at Zion Hall, made us an early breakfast and we had to leave as soon as possible due to having to be at the Dublin Ferry Port by 8.00am to check in with Irish Ferries, as we would board at 8.15am for the 8.45am departure on the Jonathan Swift ( a fast craft but still a 2 hour trip). Vince wanted some medication for sea sickness and when I went into the pannier I discovered it had leaked and everything was swimming in water. Our original plan was to camp in Snowdonia but this would now be impossible with our sleeping bags etc all being completely soaked through.

The journey was a rough one across the Irish Sea – if you walked around it was like you we drunk staggering everywhere. I joined Vince in taking some medication and we both slumped over our jackets on the seats next to us to rest. We managed to not be sick even though we didn’t feel too well. The ANIMAL was fine downstairs …this being her fourth sea voyage in total, and third ferry ride (Mallaig to Isle of Skye (Scotland), Cairnryan to Larne (Nth Ireland) and now Dublin to Holyhead (Wales)). She attracted the usual attention from other riders at the ferry port and on board.  She also proved of interst to an older Welshman, his daughter and her two children at the local McDonalds when we stopped inHolyhead to get our bearings and look at our Map. I gave  them some of our 2upadventure stickers and they seemed pretty pleased. Holyhead is on the Isle of Anglese and we had to cross over the Manai bridge to get to the mainland in Bangor.

We decided to go through Snowdonia (which I keep calling Snowlandia by mistake) and ride as far as we felt comfortable and then find a B&B …as it rained continually. From Bangor we headed out to the start of the Snowdonia National Park passing through Betws-y-coed and down the A5 to Druid before turning South down the A494 passing through Bala before arriving at Dolgellau.

We found the Dolronwy B&B on Baker St and Maureen and Alec made us very welcome for 35 pounds each for a double. The house they stay in was originally the fire chief’s and the part we stayed in was the original bakery until the 1970s. They were very helpful letting Vince put the ANIMAL in their garage and, when we explained about our panniers, giving us a drying rack to use in the hallway in addition to our room. It looked like a bomb had hit with stuff layedout everywhere, our medical kit was completely ruined …all the medication boxes falling apart in my hand.

Dolgellau is a historic small market town from the 12th Century at the foot of the Cader Idris mountain range in southern Snowdonia. Alec told us about Owain Glyndŵr who held the last Welsh Parliament there in 1404. St. Mary’s Church dates back to 1716, but was built on the remains of an earlier building from the twelfth century. There are even earlier remains by Ffynnon Mair (Mary’s Spring) which was thought to have had healing properties centuries ago. Roman coins were found there around two-hundred years ago.

After we unpacked and tried to dry things out, we went for a walk in town and saw some of the original buildings now homes …the bank, the shopping mall, the police station and we even had coffee at T.H. Roberts, in a building that used to be Parliament House. The owner, Tom, and his nephew spoke to us … we were still in our riding gear…they both ride and are interested in overland travel. We also chatted with a couple who ride a tandem bicycle.

Back at our B&B, we started watching a DVD in our room (The 100 ft Journey) before going to the The Royal Ship Pub for a roast dinner. We will need to get up early tomorrow to get everything packed away…hope it dries in time!