To Tavistock - The Seven Year Itch - CycleBlaze

May 22, 2024

To Tavistock

Between our shoebox room and worrying about our uncovered bikes I don’t have the warmest feelings about our lodging, but they warm up when we go down to breakfast and get sat down at a window-seat table looking out at the citadel.  Our host, Pat I think, shows us the menu card and proudly notes that the featured meals are his own concoctions patterned after meals he was served up in the navy as a young man; and the one we both select, a layered thing with a thick slice of bread topped with ham and a fried egg, is quite good.  Like so many things that changed overnight when we crossed the waters, breakfast is quite different here.  I’m sure we’ll be ready for France after three months of English breakfasts, but for the moment the change is welcome.  

The breakfast nook at the Barbican Reach comes with a pleasant view.
Heart 5 Comment 2
Andrea BrownAnd the poppies, just in time for Memorial Day. Our grandma had us selling "Buddy Poppies" in front of the grocery store to raise money for disabled veterans this time of year.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownIt’s a holiday here this weekend too, the prosaically named Spring Bank Holiday. Their equivalent to our Memorial Day is Remembrance Day on November 11th, also known as Poppy Day.
Reply to this comment
4 weeks ago

While we’re enjoying our coffees and waiting for our meals to arrive I look at a photo on the shelf and am startled by the look of the young sailer shaking hands with the Queen of England.  I ask our host about it, and he acknowledges that it’s indeed him, many years ago when he was in the British navy for nine years.  It makes me feel more warmly toward him.

Our host meets the Queen. What a memento of your youth to have!
Heart 6 Comment 0

We’ve taken our breakfast at eight, wanting to get out early before the threatened rains arrive.  When we came to England two years ago we anticipated many damp days but hit the jackpot when we arrived in a historically hot, dry summer.  Looking at the forecast for the coming two weeks it looks like this year has returned to norm.  We’ll be lucky today if we reach Tavistock before the rains return.

It’s nice enough when we depart though - partly sunny, reasonably warm.  Let’s hope it lasts.

Leaving Plymouth, with mirrors on the right. It will take us a day or two before we train ourselves to look that way for them.
Heart 2 Comment 2
Eva WaltersWe stayed here for two nights ten years ago. I remember the breakfasts were incredibly hearty--excellent fuel for the coming hills. Good to know they are still in business.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Eva WaltersReally! I’m glad I included a photo to place it for you. Its really in an excellent location, just a few minute walk from the waterfront.
Reply to this comment
4 weeks ago

I remind both of us when we bike off to remember to bike on the right side of the road - but I’m just a half block from our B&B coasting down to the waterfront when Rachael shouts from behind that I’ve forgotten my own advice already.  Like I said, if we can just get through these first two days alive we should be reprogrammed by then..

Most of today’s ride is a repeat of our day ride to Pork Hill two years ago, our last outing in England that summer before sailing for Brittany.  I remember that ride well, biking high on the moors of Dartmoor astonished by the wild horses running free - it’s the reason I wanted to return for a longer look at Dartmoor.  I’d completely forgotten the start of that ride though, biking north on the Caltrans cycle route we’re following today.  It’s not until I reread that post later and find a photo of the same biking beetle we stopped for this time that I realize what I’ve forgotten.

Riding is easy for the first two miles as we bike along the estuary of the River Plym.
Heart 4 Comment 0
Nearing the end of the Plym estuary.
Heart 1 Comment 0
For the next five miles we enjoy a lazy climb as we follow first the Plym and then its tributary, the Meavy.
Heart 6 Comment 1
Janice BranhamWhat a wonderfully lush trail
Reply to this comment
3 weeks ago
For this part of the ride we’re on the Plym Valley Rail Trail. At the summit it will enter Dartmoor National Park and get rebranded as the Drake Trail, but it’s all one continuous rail-trail conversion.
Heart 4 Comment 0
The Plym River trail is a delightful ride, one of Britain’s better rail trails in our limited experience.
Heart 7 Comment 0
He looks much the same as he did two years ago. Aging better than we are, from the looks of it.
Heart 3 Comment 0
The trail we’re riding today is also a stretch of Eurovelo 1.
Heart 2 Comment 0

As we bike, the sky steadily grows grayer and grayer.  We’ve only got a twenty mile ride today, but it starts looking doubtful that we’ll arrive dry.  Sure enough, when we near the summit it starts sprinkling lightly.  It’s not bad at first and there are enough overhanging hardwoods that were fairly sheltered.  Eventually though it’s apparent that we need to take it seriously and stop long enough to put on the pannier covers.

Our patch of blue didn’t last us long.
Heart 3 Comment 0
There’s been a bit of mist, enough to dampen the surface.
Heart 5 Comment 0
Approaching Dartmoor. Splendid country, green for a reason.
Heart 4 Comment 0

There’s a small steepish bit at the top of the climb showing on our Garmins, but we’re happy to find it flattened out by a pair of tunnels.  Not only is the riding easier, but it’s not raining inside them.  Its quite dark and spooky in the longest one though, reminding us that we need to keep the bike lights charged and handy.  

Approaching the second, longer of the two tunnels.
Heart 2 Comment 0
There are a few dim, widely spaced lights that feebly illuminate the way, but it’s not enough. I don’t trust the surface at first and get off to walk until I’m assured it’s not slick and slimy.
Heart 3 Comment 2
Rachel and Patrick HugensGotta love tunnels...
Reply to this comment
4 weeks ago
Rachael AndersonTo Rachel and Patrick HugensDefinitely!
Reply to this comment
4 weeks ago

Once we come outside the other end we’re in the national park and experiencing an easy ride the rest of the way to Tavistock.  It’s showering off and on though so we don’t stop to look around except for one shot I take when we’ve pulled off waiting out a wetter moment beneath the shelter of an overhanging beech. 

Dartmoor, and a murder of jackdaws.
Heart 6 Comment 0

Video sound track: Here's That Rainy Day, by Stan Getz & João Gilberto

We’re only a bit the worse for it when we arrive in Dartmoor and start looking for the restaurant we had in mind.  We don’t get far though when there’s suddenly a cloudburst and everyone is scurrying for shelter or popping open their umbrellas.  We do the same, but have trouble finding any sort of overhang to shelter under ourselves.  After a few panicky blocks we come to an arcaded square, lock the bikes up leaned against a stone wall beneath an arch, and quickly walk down the street looking for lunch.

We take our time over lunch, killing it because check-in isn’t for nearly four hours yet and our request for an earlier one has gone unanswered.  Finally though we’ve done with our meal and feel like it’s time to move on.  We’ll just show up at the door and hope for the best.  As we’re packing up to leave our waitress asks us where we’re staying.  Kingfisher Cottage we answer, and she starts laughing because that’s her place.  She and her husband run it, and he’s on duty today.  If we’d known, we could have headed over an hour ago!

Kingfisher Cottage is a fine place, facing right on the Tavy River that’s raging behind it.  Paul greets us when we ring the doorbell, opens the garage for our bikes, and then shows us to our room - another shoebox, no bigger than yesterday’s.  We’ll be here for three nights, so that will be cozy.

Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 22 miles (35 km)
Total: 1,653 miles (2,660 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 15
Comment on this entry Comment 0