Thursday, 2 April 2009

Went for a little drive and ran out of country !

Went for a bit of a drive last Sunday, well it was sunny, so we packed an overnight bag, filled a cool bag, popped the camera and a few other bits in the car (including a handful of paper maps) and off we went... Which way, left or right I asked...

We headed down the A616 to Ollerton, then south on the A614, picking up the A6097 to the A46 and following all the way down to just short of the M1. Avoiding the motorway, I picked up the B4114, then the classic B4455 Fosse Way all the way through to Halford, then taking a route across to Welford-on-Avon, picking the B4632 up through Broadway, Winchcombe, Cleeve Hill to Cheltenham.

Heading further west, along the A40, we turned off before Ross-on-Wye to visit Symonds Yat (open early after engineering works due to the recent TV coverage) and them picked up the A466 down the Wye Valley, past Tintern Abbey. At Chepstow, we started thinking about where we should stay that night, it was turned 5pm, so we continued a short while on the A48 towards M4 J24 before I remembered a place that I'm stopping at in June in Pembrooke Stackpole Inn. So we finally hit the motorway for a dash to Pembrooke via the M4, A48, A40 then the odd A477 and some little back roads... A glorious sunny days drive.

Next morning, a touch mistly and after a great breakfast, we did a bit of a tour around the area, B4319 (avoiding the tanks playing at shelling each other), back along the B4320, then up via Pembrook Dock and St Brides Bay running along the coastal unclassified routes to pick up the A487 at Newgale to St David's and onto Fishguard. The route home was opening up along the now primary A487 via Cardigan, Aberaeron and turning off onto the A44 at Aberystwyth. The climb over the hills was fun, but foggy enough to slow my progress, I managed to find several passing places along this section, a great drive until we hit the much busier A470, my progress slowed a little by slow natives along the A470 and A483 ;¬) The sat nav was suggesting I took a route home via Manchester and the Woodhead, then came up with a even less favourable route via Leek and Buxton (fine in the light, not so much fun when tired at night).

We decided to ditch the advice and headed up the A458 to Shrewbury, the sat nav going bonkers with all sorts of odd route combinations, onto the A5 bypass, where a little 1.6 Proton did its best to race me from the roundabouts - not much chance against my 272bhp ! The A5 led onto the M54, to the A460 and the M6T, we stopped at Norton Canes, perhaps the nicest service area I know to have a Latte, Panini and bun from Costa, I had to buy some maps just for the sheer hell of it ;¬) then headed home, I was torn between the A38 and jams at Derby or the A5/M42/M1 and the 50mph roadworks - I took the A38 to find the jams had gone by 6:30pm, then headed home on the last leg fueled by a bottle of coke and fruit pastels along the A61, M1 and finally back on the A6135 to home !

A great drive of about 650 miles in two days, set me up for the challenges of my two long road tours in June and July, but I paid the price, I was shattered on getting home, but my mind was too active to let me sleep, tuesday was a blur but I slept well on Tuesday night :¬)