Wednesday, July 09, 2014

My Knees Just Have to Keep Up!

I have 1200 songs on my new iPod, 5 books downloaded on my iPad, my new bike is on it's way to Portland and my bags are packed with all the gear I need for 3 weeks of biking on this little road they call the Pacific Coast Highway. I am soooo excited but I have to admit that this could be a challenge. It's up and it's down and it's up and down some more. There are logging trucks and RV's and hopefully every driver is looking out for me on my bike. Houston and our friend, Sue, will be biking over 700 miles, camping along the way. We're carrying all our gear, but luckily we won't have to carry much food as there are places to eat along the way. It's recommended that we try to get out of camp by 6:30 and not to bike if there's fog. Luckily the temperatures are typically in the 60's during the day and low 50's at night. 

We're flying into Portland where we'll (Houston) be assembling our bikes, putting on the panniers, bags, bells, whistles, mirrors, lights and making everything comfy for the ride. I had to ship my bike out before I was able to do a test pack to see if everything would fit. So I'm flying by the seat of my pants here and hoping what I plan on bringing is going to fit. My knees have been hurting even before I begin biking 60 miles a day. I'm a pretty good sucker-upperer and ibuprofen does wonders, so my knees better behave themselves. I'm better on a bike than I am walking so that's good. 

We're finishing up at Half Moon Bay at a (surprise!) brew pub where hopefully
 Houston's brother will pick us up.

To make it even more confusing, Sue and I are flying from San Jose to Seattle to spend time with some friends in their condo right on the water. So we have to ship our 'clothes-that-don't-look-like-we've-been-wearing-them-every-day-for-3-weeks' from Portland to Los Altos (where Houston's brother lives).  
I've never had such a hard time picking!

Since I can't go anywhere without my knitting, I paired down to two projects. One for biking and one for everything else. I'm knitting the Wingspan out of my Sock Hop yarn (new color way!) and Saranac out of Hustle (another new color way!).
So, I'm not taking my Mac with me :( and am using my iPhone for photos and updating. I like to keep a journal, and this is a good way to do that. 
I got an invoice yesterday with a happy little sticker on it. It read, "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone!" True that!!!!

A Bit of a Stop in the Cotswolds

Our last night in England was spent at this lovely inn/pub. Houston had gotten some sort of food poisoning we think and didn't feel well at all. He was such a trooper though and drove the 6 hours from   Yorkshire. I stayed close and hung out on the patio. I took a stroll through the village, but it was pretty quiet. 

This was a brand new sign, being installed while I was on the patio. Love the name, The Lamb Inn!

This was our magnificent bed for the night.

During my stroll, I did notice this very cool camper. I'm a lover of campers and vintage trailers and I'd never seen one like this.

 And on the road we saw this one. Wow!
So goodbye to England for this time. Had a great time, but it's time to get back to unpack and pack for the next trip. And it's a doozy!

Dalis Does the Dales (with Houston)

 I think the Dales are my favorite part of England, although the Cotswolds are a close second. Wow! Does it get any prettier than this?!

The cows are used to hikers passing through their fields.

I was surprised at how nice and sturdy this foot bridge was making our river crossing so easy. It connected one field to another field.

Hmmmm….wonder where the trail is?!

Through another stile...

and stopped for a visit at one of my favorite felt artists, Andrea Hunter. Her art always amazes me. She paints with wool, laying it down very thin. Her pieces look like photographs until you get up close and realize that is it is all wool. 

And surprise! Another pub in the village. It was cool enough to sit and knit near the fire. 

We got to stay in this youth hostel outside a small village in the country. We had a huge room with amazing views. The Tour de France passed right by this front entrance last Saturday.

This was once a hunting lodge, built by a wealthy landowner for his guests.

We walked down the hill to the village for dinner, passing lambs along the way.

The entire North Yorkshire area was festooned for the Tour de France.

It was estimated that the tour would bring in over 100 million pounds (that's about $170 million!) in just the north Yorkshire area alone. Farmers had mown their fields and put up signs for parking and camping.

We saw heaps of bicyclists out on these very narrow, twisty, turny roads, riding the route.

I hated to leave the Dales but I did score some nice Wenslydale yarn. I've contacted the spinning mill and 20 kilos are on it's way to Dancing Leaf Farm!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Scootin' About in Northern England

After traveling over hill and dale, we arrived at our farm stay for two nights. A converted stone barn houses 6 units with a central courtyard and patios and decks on the back sides. A rooftop full of solar panels helps with the electricity.

I was happy to see chickens and ducks roaming around

and their cat who greeted everyone.

After settling into our delightful room, we took a little hike to the dale nearby.

In the early evening, I took my knitting and wine up this little hill behind the farm and 
sat on the picnic table, enjoying the beautiful scenery laid out before me.

Next day was a longer hike, past ancient churches...

…and a culinary stop at an awesome pub. That's what's great about England, you can hike or bike from pub to pub.

And then you can have toad in the hole or haggis with keeps & tatties, oh and pints of beer.

Since we're walking through sheep fields, there are various stiles to get over fences.

I particularly like the old stone ones.

Except some are a wee bit tight! My camera accidentally took this photo of me 
scootching through the stones.

It's hay season, so the smell of freshly cut hay was in the air. 

This is where scenes from Harry Potter were filmed.

After the hike, we stopped at another pub right across from this pond. Nice view to look at while drinking my pinot grigio.

Leaving our farm stay, we stopped in Malton, taking a walk around the village. There's a weekly sheep and cattle auction but unfortunately not the day we were there. I would have loved to have seen all the sheep in these pens with the farmers buying and selling and the hubbub all around.

These were the cattle pens.

Then on to Whitby, a coastal town that brings tourists and locals together in its tight little streets.

Of course I spotted the local wool shop.

Walking down one of the cobbled streets, I noticed this strange smokey smell, 
not unpleasant, just unique.
Followed our noses right to the kipper shop. Kippers are smoked herring. These fish measure about a foot high each and are hung from poles to smoke overnight.

I was curious about the smoking house attached to the shop. The shop keeper (kipper keeper) was pleased to show us the inside. He opened all the doors so we could peek into the dark interior. I couldn't believe how much black soot stuff was caked onto the inside of the doors and the walls.

At the end of the block and up the hill is a beautiful view of the sea.

With folk frolicking on the sand below. It was a beautiful, sunny day and this being Saturday, there were many folks out enjoying the weather and the famous fish and chips of Whitby.