A weekend away with some good friends in the Welsh countryside was on the agenda for this weekend and I had been looking forward to it for some time. Unfortunately, friend and running mate/co-driver Dave Harvey wasn't available for this one, so I would be travelling alone.
I had prepared and loaded up 'Gertie the 2nd' to take on this trip, but for some reason when it came to leaving early hours Saturday morning, she decided wasn't going! (I had flushed the heater box and cylinder head out the night before and had smothered the electrics with water, so I think that was the reason for her poor behaviour) So I hastily transferred the tools and spares etc into the Pi and later than I wanted to be....finally set off.
The rain had lashed down the night before and there was some giant sized puddles along the route. I made good progress along the A127, M25, M40 and A40 and only stopped for coffee once I was the other side of Gloucester.
All coffee'd up, I set off again and after another 20 miles was at the meeting point at Jo's diner near Ross On Wye. I haven't been on one of these tours for some time now, so it was really good meeting up with old faces again. It was like we'd only seen each other yesterday and the laughs and jokes were already well in progress.
After a large (but not great) breakfast we set off towards Abergavenny, then headed up to Builth Wells. Unfortunately we managed to get stuck behind a Tesco's artic for about 15 miles that seemed to have a top speed of 20mph! Eventually he turned off and we were then able to have a good drive up towards Rhayader where we turned off to conquer the Edan valley. We found a spot where we had planned to make a brew while enjoying cake and scenery, but the rain had set in and just wouldn't leave us alone. The mist forming over the mountains still gave the scenery good effect though.
With the brew up cancelled we then headed to Tregaron and found a pub...…...which was closed! So we got back in the cars and headed for Lampeter where we parked in the town and enjoyed coffee and cake in a coffee bar.
Suitably refreshed we then cut across country to Newcastle Emlyn, Cardigan and then our final destination at Fishguard. By now the weather had picked up, the sun was out, and the view from my hotel room was perfectly acceptable!
A good shower was next on the agenda which was followed by a crafty pint in the beer garden. Not all of us were in the same hotel, so a group text announced that the meeting point for the evening was the Royal Oak in the town followed by a trip to the local Indian restaurant. The food was very good I have to say and considering we'd hardly eaten since breakfast, went down very well.
With my 3.30am start, I was flagging about half ten and called it a night and returned to my room and slept like the dead!
Sunday morning and a good breakfast of eggs, bacon and hashbrowns was consumed before meeting the rest of the crew in the hotel car park.
The next plan was to head to Newport (Not the one near the Severn Bridge) and have an ice cream on the beach, but a few of us decided to start heading home. (Mainly the guys that had travelled the furthest) My Satnav was telling me I had a distance of 309 miles to cover, plus I had driven 179 miles just to get to the start.
So, three of us travelled in convoy until someway down the M4, where we all separated at different points and went our own separate ways.
The long drive home along the dull M4 was mind numbingly boring, but I made good time and didn't encounter any traffic on the M4, M25, or A127.
By the time I arrived home I had covered 672 miles and had no issues at all with the Pi. It had been a great weekend, with some brilliant company and plenty of good laughs. Roll on the next one!