First day on the road
We had left our packing to the last minute (as usual) and we had to sort through and repack all the parcels sent from the continent, so we didn't manage to leave Canterbury till 2:30pm. By this time the temperature had dropped to a pleasant 29oC and it was more comfortable for riding. We took the back roads towards Ashford but a hay lorry had caught fire and blocked the road. The lovely policeman sent us on farm lanes to get around the blockage but of course we got lost and spent 3 times longer getting to Hastings. We then got caught again in the peak hour traffic through Hastings town centre.
The yellow canary cruises very nicely on the open road but is a real b***h on cornering at low speeds - especially when fully laden with the BOSS and the panniers. The other annoying thing is the speedo which is km/ph when all the road signs are in miles/ph. The speedo does have miles/ph marked but in such tiny numbers that I can't read them without my glasses. There are signs for speed cameras ever few miles but the stupid thing is, they don't tell you what speed you are supposed to be going. It's 60 on the open road unless it's 50 - and then it's 40 through the towns unless it's 30. There's no logic to it and going through towns at 30 miles/ph is almost impossible for the canary - she's too heavy to go so slow. I am simply keeping my fingers crossed that the speed cameras will be so dazzled by the bright fluorescent yellow that they won't be able to take my photo.
We made Brighton comfortably and as the beach was once again pebbles we amused ourselves by wandering along the pier and not going on the 3 pound ($9) amusement rides. We retired to a lovely restaurant where we enjoyed proper British fare and an amazing view of the pier.
We were headed to Four Marks which is a small town just outside Alton. Naomi's dad lives there and Naomi had volunteered for him to host us for the next three days while we explore the south west corner of England. I had underestimated the time that it would take us to reach Alton - even though it was only 40miles on the map and should have only taken us an hour. One problem was all the thousand little villages along the route which required us to slow down to 30m/h. The other problem was the discovery that I had no headlights and could either drive with parking lights or with full high beam, but nothing in between. Thus the trip took us two hours and we arrived at 10:30pm on Gerald's doorstep.