Two things I am sure of .....

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Two things I am sure of .....

Post by James691 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:55 am

This would be a weekend of firsts and lasts. I’d been looking forward to this for some time, in fact since the last rally I had been waiting like a druggie on a street corner for his next hit.

A frost covered drive way in Liverpool at 5am was greeted with suitable scorn as I was to make my way down to Dartmoor for the Adventure Bike Rider Rally. I procrastinated (wasted and delayed time for Steve the Builder) around the warm kitchen and made my move in kinder weather.

Nothing special, making your way through a system of motorways. Nothing special that is unless you are on our way to meet up with some of the funniest people the world has to offer. Middle aged (and that’s being kind to many) men (and a lady – again I am being kind) that had made the decision to sit in a field in the middle of Dartmoor in January!

I find it hard to express how welcome you are these events, be you an old friend or new to the forum – you are and always will be made to feel very welcome, you may even get a free sticker.

Around 30+ ABRers in all, wandering around a lush green field – strange for the Freeze Rally but such is the British weather – I did not complain at the warm sun on my back.

Finding my spot to pitch the Vango 300 hotel of a tent was a joy. Having the chance to greet old and new friends and of course take the piss out of both in equal measure. There are no airs and graces in a field but there is plenty of warm intent.

There were just the odd few that came in during the night and I’m sure greeted by the soft dulcet tones of Devon John undulating across the open National Park fields. DJ – a wonderful man of many years experience that had the laugh of a crack crazed Pirate. One thing was for sure, an alarm clock was not going to be needed in the morning.

After meeting the night arrivals and explaining the layout of the place as well as the ride outs and the menu that had been procured from the local pub. The Dartmoor Lodge was a fantastic setting for a few beers and a good meal – the carvery is not to be missed!

I’d put on a ride out for the Lads and this was for the Saturday – I will say now that I have left Forces – more years ago now than some of the recent members of HM Forces have been alive! So, it was to start in the morning and the key word for the time of departure is ‘ish’. No one that was in the field would be left behind.

Fantastic news that a few of the ABR members are also in the TRF (Trail Riding Fellowship) local chapter and knew some out of this world Green Lanes. I won’t say Off Road ever again, I promise and it is the last time I will call a LEGAL ‘road’ off road.

I never knew it was such a powerfully emotive issue – but then my green lane riding has only just begun, I do hope that there will be some that do not have a TCO on them by the time I am ready to play again!

So, off went the boys and girls on the Green Lane ride and around 20 bikes had lined up for the road ride.

The pressure was on as I could see that from the Friday campfire chats, the local Devon lads were all waiting in the line for me to lead out the ride – shit! I’d been up until about 3am fighting with the waypoints as it was. Ah well, if it all goes tits up then at least we’d had a day out of it!

All in all there were 20+ riders on everything from a Varadero to an Africa Twin and every bike in-between. But most impressive was Matt – he had come along on his AT and had cover some 25 miles. This was the first 25 miles he had done since passing his test and here he was in a ride out with a load of hairy arsed ABR’s! Good on ya Big Fella.

The Road Ride was about 120 miles in total and would take all the daylight. I wanted to give the riders a challenge but still make it enjoyable – at the end of the day it is about having fun!

So, a few reservoirs that would take us up the smaller – and turns out muddy – back lanes to play on. I would be remiss in my duties if I did not throw in the odd Castle! Of course the famous prehistoric villages around Merrivale had to be seen before a nice lunch at the Lord’s Café in Princetown, right in the heart of the National Trust homeland.

We did manage to lose half the group before Merrivale due to a technical hitch with the 2nd man drop off system! Not mentioning any names – JIM LOVELL – had seen a gap in the riders and presumed that was it and off he went. Pj, the Tail End Charlie was given a text of the postcode for his satnav. He did give Jim some words of advice and guidance when he caught up! I think most of the advice was in Latin from what I could understand! Jim seemed to understand well enough!

After the feeding it was a mixture of open A roads for a blast out and more maintained B roads for some twisting fun and games. We made plenty of stops in order to photograph the amazing vistas that would greet you around every bend. Wild ponies wandered the open land and across your road would look up at the snake of lights coming over the high moors.

Passing across the moors of Dartmoor really was a treat with all that it has to offer coming to life from the pages I had looked over Google. Bubbling brooks and graphite menhir that poke proudly along the roadside and jut out of the moor catch your eye as they outline the colours of greens, browns and reds.

The last stop, before the light would die at 16.30hrs was Buckfast Abbey. Another great thing about the National Park is that you are never really more than 30 miles from anywhere. A blast down the streaking bends of the main truck road past the park brought us to our Holy end.

I was gutted as the tea room was closed, not a Nun in sight and it was my greatest hope that there would be a line of singing Monks beating themselves on the head with a bible on every 4 step – a la Monty Python!! But alas it was not to be and I settled for a fridge magnet instead.

Now back at camp for a wind down and quick change before the leisurely walk down to the pub. It was about 2/3 of a mile by road or you could risk crossing the fields and over the gates. I went down the road, BonnieBird went over the fields, I got to the pub with dry feet and pants is all I will say, with a smug tone! I said you CAN go across the fields not that you SHOULD, always listen to the small print (Huh!).

A burger and chips that I could not finish was muchly enjoyed as we mingle and chatted at the fireside. It was the Darmoor Singles night in the function room and I think the youngest member of the club would make Ted Simon look sprightly!

I must say that Dartmoor and the local town by our camp was the friendliest place that I have had the pleasure of touring yet. Always a smile on people’s faces and always a polite excuse me to get past – not like some pain in the arse from Exmoor! (I’ll leave that for the Grail report thread).

But I digress!

A night of laugher at the riding mistakes and of course of personal facial features of ABR members and the wine flowed as the conversation reached deep philosophical levels – such as “when you take a crap in a field do you find that you piss on your pants?” Of course there is no such thing as a stupid question but that comes damn close!

We had made our usual new friends in the local business and social world of where ever ABR goes and saying goodnight to our new friends, that will be hit up for a discount and function at the next rally – calling card and chat already being secured – we made our way back to the camp.

2/3 of a mile up hill does wonders to keep the chill off and then it was belly roars around the camp fire as the sound of snoring wafted down across the field like a fog with malice of intent!!

I did not get cold at all in the sleeping bag and in truth we had touched very lucky with the weather – being about the only place in the UK not covered in frost it seems. Before once again I was pulled from the arms of Morpheus (‘woke up’ for Steve the builder) by the charming tones of Devon John “AL’WIGHT BOY MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!”

A slow paced pack up as friends came to shake heads and make their way back to reality was the end to the morning of the Sunday. It was a little sad that it was all over too quickly but still great fun and not to be missed.

To my friends at ABR – It has been an absolute pleasure and an honour, you have my eternal gratitude for making this a wonderful weekend that has left me in withdrawal until the next event.

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Re: Two things I am sure of .....

Post by Alun » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:17 pm

Great report James, thanks for posting.

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Re: Two things I am sure of .....

Post by LargeWayRound » Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:14 pm

Yip Great report James ..

Glad the weekend was a huge success..


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Re: Two things I am sure of .....

Post by James691 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:16 pm

Thanks Gents! :)

I have missed loads out but you can only get so much done when you are working, my typing speed does have limits :laugh:

But what a fantastic weekend!! :woohoo:
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Re: Two things I am sure of .....

Post by jimmyshin » Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:22 pm

Great write up James, sounds like a good time had by all :)

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Re: Two things I am sure of .....

Post by MarkN » Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:53 pm

Great write up, great mate!

Thanks again for all your hard work over the weekend, see you at the next one, if not before.

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Re: Two things I am sure of .....

Post by Orsoncarts » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:01 pm

Great report mate.....Even I understood most of it..... :whistle:
I have absolutely no idea how to add a signature....!

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Re: Two things I am sure of .....

Post by bunker » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:18 pm

Buckfast Abbey?

You've been unduly influenced by your time in Airdrie/the Buckie triangle my friend :laugh: :laugh:
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Re: Two things I am sure of .....

Post by James691 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:19 pm

Orsoncarts wrote:Great report mate.....Even I understood most of it..... :whistle:
Don't you worry my friend - I hear Alun is starting a pop up version of ABR that even has a colouring section ;)

Great meeting and looking forward to the next one already! B)
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Re: Two things I am sure of .....

Post by Peejay » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:21 pm

Thanks James, great write up, I even remember some of it.
Although I remonstrated with Jim about the finer points of the 'drop-off' system, the latin for 'WANKER' just escaped me. :laugh:
Great times again at another ABR Rally.
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