Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Day 3 - Okehampton to Mark

No mobile coverage again tonight - T-Mobile is simply rubbish - guess that's what happens with a GSM 1800 MHz network combined with W-CDMA.

An interesting kind of a day.
We started off a little after 9 a.m. and climbed up the long but not too severe hill out of Okehampton.

A moment of concern when Sandy's free-wheel jammed - there has been a bit of clanking since we started - but fortunately it started working again.  We skirted the North edge of Dartmoor - a slightly busy B road running parallel with the very very busy A38 combined with some back roads with virtually no traffic at all.  The terrain has really flattened out.  We only had one push today and that was pretty short.

It started raining about 45 minutes after we set off - not hard but wet enough to put rain tops and overshoes on.  It rained the rest of the day but we didn't really notice other than when it got a bit heavier for a while.

We made good time to Exeter where we spent a bit of time finding the bike shop I had identified.  When we got there it was shut for 20 minutes, so we went and had a coffee next door which was appreciated.  The bike shop was a waste of time despite supposedly being a Ridgeback supplier.  Exeter was a very busy place.  We found another bike shop on the way out but still no joy.

The terrain was so much easier than the previous two days.  The down side was that the roads were a lot busier.  We had to do a short stretch on the A38 at one point and another stretch on the way into Taunton where we took to the pavement as much as possible.  Not a good road for cycling.  From Taunton we took the no 3 cycle route alongside the canal to Bridgwater.  Really easy cycling despite the less than perfect surface in places.  We saw a heron and a pair of swans guarding their cygnets.

In due course we got to Bridgwater. What a disappointment after Taunton.  We were supposed to stop there, but decided to carry on and find somewhere a bit nicer to stay.  Well that turned out to be not as easy as expected - we followed a sign to a place that was shut - then asked in each place we got to - the recurring theme was "a mile down the road there are plenty". Obviously some kind of local joke - either there were none or they were full.  Mostly there were none. We eventually found a place in a village called Mark who weren't looking to take  people in but I think took pity on us.  Brilliant.  A quick shower and then over the road to the pub for something to eat and drink.

We covered 88 miles today - that's about 20 more than planned - although we took a few detours in our accommodation search. That said so much of the route was flat or easy gradient that it really wasn't too tiring.

It's still raining 22:12.  This will hopefully get posted tomorrow when we have some phone coverage.

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