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World Tour

August 2nd

UNITED KINGDOM | Wednesday, 23 August 2006 | Views [674] | Comments [1]

August 2 - Tuesday Wolverhampton to Telford We were up early and then decided to take a little nap before leaving. I had my little cup of instant coffee - sadly, this is what my caffeine source has come to. Everything in the UK is expensive - everything - so, of all things, coffee is where I've decided to save some money. There was a tiny little grocery store a block away that we had seen the evening before that we headed to this morning. Just outside the store was a stand selling potato jackets. Mmmm, something warm for breakfast. It was too tempting to pass up. Jon got the cheese and onion and I got the veggie chili. A potato jacket is a baked potato. It was comfort food. Jon finished before I got out of the grocery store. The store was pretty tiny so I just got the essentials: Nutella, peanut butter, degestive biscuits, bananas, apples, canned peas, canned beans, tomato sauce, and tuna. Oh, and some hair elastics. I ate only about half my potato - there was a lot. We headed toward the information center and I waited outside while Jon went inside for directions to Telford and camping info. It was overcast, not really cold but I had my rainjacket on because you could see what was going to be the inevitable - the sun wasn't going to last long. We headed out on the main streets. There was traffic but it wasn't as bothersome as it was in the past - maybe it helped that it wasn't so friggin' hot outside. There was still no shoulder, forget about a bike lane, but the amount of traffic slowed a bit within thirty minutes of riding. I was leading which means that we missed our turn before too long. I was headed in the right direction just not on the road we had planned to take - this way would have heavier traffic. Jon, as exasperated with me as ever, told me that we should just go this way. Neither one of us was really interested in turning around to go with the original plan. So, we took a side road with the only concern being that it was a single lane road and we know how fast people can drive on these back roads. There were only a few blind corners (although I guess it would only take one blind corner with a fast moving car to cause an accident so I shouldn't be so flippant.). Our detour turned out to be quite nice. We saw a beautifully restored barn that is now a house. The owners turned the doors to the barn into a front window which was very dramatic and there were several other restored farm homes and barnes further down the tree lined road between lush green fields. A nice interlude. We came into the village of Shifnal. We stopped so I could finish my potato. We were looking for a better, more detailed map of the area with no luck. So, we decided to us the public bathroom and be on our way. For some reason the guys room was indefinitely occupied - maybe he had a bad potato jacket. "Just use the ladies room. Didn't someone tell us that people do that all the time?" - S "That was in France." - J "Oh. Just go in there. If someone comes in just wait until they leave before coming out." - S "If someone comes in just tell them i'm in there." - J "What? No. Just wait until they leave before coming out." - S "Keep watch." - J {My eyes roll} "You're not going to keep watch are you?" - J "Fine. I'll keep watch." - S So there I was standing at the corner of the restroom building one eye on the ladies room door "keeping an eye out" and the other on the bikes. I'm not sure what I would have done if someone had walked in. Time ticked away. After awhile I began to wonder if perhaps I had missed something and that Jon was waiting in there for me to give him the ok. So I stuck my head in the door, "Howz it going in here?" - S "OK." - J I returned to my post at the corner of the restroom building. Once he nonchalantly came out of the ladies room there wasn't much left to do in the village other than going to the bakery. Jon got a chocolate chocolate muffin. I actually didn't get anything (can you believe it!)- I wasn't struck by anything and had also just eaten that potato jacket. Onward. The wind since getting off the train in Birmingham has been stronger than any we've experienced so far and today was no different. It was only a few miles to Telford but with the wind blowing we worked hard enough to go twice as far. Telford is a lot bigger than the map gives it credit for. The information center was in the Town Center (cleverly enough) so farther and farther into the town we went. Jon spotted the city center sign which directed us to a gigantic mall which didn't seem right (we'd been fooled by that before) so we went around the building. With the wind blowing my bike was actually getting pushed to the side - I had to turn the wheel into the wind in order to keep going in a straight line! We went around the building and there were no more directional signs. Sadly, we are used to this. We pulled up outside and were peppered with comments and questions from the teenagers hanging out nearby. Jon used the situation to his advantage and asked about the Town Center which we were told was where we were at and the information center is indeed inside the massive mall. I parked my bike and and went in search of the information center leaving Jon to the teenagers. How can an information center NOT have a local area map! Sheesh! So we decided to go to a bookstore and look for a map. Into Waterstones I went. I was literally on my hands and knees looking at maps. It's been hard to find maps for the actual areas we're travelling in (ie Shropshire). I was able to find a better map for the areas we'll be travelling to tomorrow but it wasn't helping us today. The campsite that was suggested to us was outside of town which would require us to backtrack which we hate doing but the other two campsites were pretty far out and off our planned route. Dark clouds were coming in and heavy showers were starting. Oh, and there was that wind that was still gusting. I was not in the mood to battle the wind, rain and now it was rush hour. We had called a few hotels and they were quoting us £85 which was more than we wanted to pay, especially since we had just spent the night at a hotel in Wolverhampton yesterday. I was chilled and feeling miserable and not looking forward to what seemed to be an inevitable ride. After some thought I said to Jon, "I think we should stay at a hotel and I think we should because by the time we get to a campground, set up the tent, make dinner, shower and them walk back to the tent with cold wet hair then wait for the tent to dry out tomorrow morning... - all of this adds to to a situation that I know would make me cranky, I know this. What do you think?" "None of that bothers me. You just need to cover your head, put your hood on. There's no reason to spend the night in a hotel." - J "I'm sure it doesn't but I'm just saying that for the sake of our relationship, we should stay in a hotel. This is a vacation and I don't think I need to be miserable." - S "It's going to be like $150" - J "I know. Don't you think I've thought of that? What would it take for you to consider spending the night in a hotel?" - S "Well, you're not throwing up." - J The money thing was a real concern and as I walked to the restroom before heading out to the campground, I began mentally preparing myself for what surely was going to be a miserable night. By the time I returned to Jon I had accepted the inevitable. Only to be met with: "Maybe we should stay at a hotel." - J "But I'm not throwing up." - S "We are still recovering from our colds." - J "No, you're right about the money and the weather today is how it's probably going to be for the rest of our time here so I guess we should get used to it." - S Just was I was going to continue to argue not to stay at a hotel after finally accepting the idea of camping I thought to myself, "Shut the hell up." and said instead, "If we were making the decision on where to stay at two o'clock in the afternoon we would totally be camping right now but it's getting late in the day, it's rush hour." - S We both agreed on this. So we called back a couple of hotels and they were now quoting us slightly lower rates. We decided to go with a manor house. We thought that if we were going to spend some £ on a place to stay then it might as well be somewhere cool. Tonight we're staying at the Madeley Court, a 16th century manor - breakfast is included. Jon is now talking to the television, I've had two cups of tea, a hot shower and am looking at the view of the main house as I type this. The wind is really blowing right now, great big clouds, but there are some breaks where the setting sunlight and dusky sky shine through. We won't be falling asleep to the sound of buses tonight.

Tags: Adventures



I always had a feeling that Jon had a thing for the ladies loo. :)

  Mark Jones Aug 28, 2006 2:14 PM

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