Heading off tomorrow

Today is the end of the last public holiday here until Christmas. The evenings are already drawing in - its nearly dark now at 8.30 - and the Proms are running, marking the end of high summer. But tomorrow I head off on another motorcycle trip, my seventh. Every year since learning to ride I've taken one or more trips with a tent and other equipment strapped to the back, apart from the first where I braved German youth hostels for four nights with just a pair of crocks and a hazard warning triangle for baggage. This year I'm heading back to Spain, on the ferry from Portsmouth down to Santander. Its the second time I've taken this ferry though the first time was an early morning sailing and I stayed in Travelodge Portsmouth the night before. ViaMichelin route planner says it will take 2 and 1/2 hours to get down there, though I always leave in plenty of time. I'd far sooner hang around than feel worried about missing the boat.

Each trip is an attempt to solve the problems that the previous trip opened up - avoiding rain, avoiding that alienating feeling of being surrounded by huge motorhomes where I camp, running out of good books, having too few gadgets, having too many gadgets. The plan is to investigate northern Spain, no huge mileage to make this time, and being prepared to stay in one place, if its agreeable, for a while. I have a few new bits of equipment to test out, all bought with the aim of cutting down on space.

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