Rolling in last week to Essex with a barely holding together Yogi and a feeling of absolute accomplishment, I didn’t think life could get much better. Now that I have had a solid week off the road, some sleep and plenty of home cooked food (cooked by me!) I can tell you all the full story of last week’s sea adventure.
As most of you would know, either by my own admission, or from reading the blog, the ferry crossing from England to France was something that had caused me a great deal of angst prior to starting the trip. I convinced myself that it was most certainly going to end with both Yogi and myself on the ground. Having spoken to a number of riders here, who have regularly used the ferry, it turned out my fears weren’t completely unjust as the metal decks on board are notoriously slippery from endless cars, buses and trucks dropping oil and mixing with the sea water. My initial crossing had been without incident and I was relieved to say the least.
So last Saturday as we rolled up to the ramp, I couldn’t have been more pleased with myself, my confidence levels were 100% higher than 4 months prior and it felt great. Once again I was the first to board and I was marshalled by the crew into the special area for motorbikes to be strapped down. Taking off my helmet and putting the stand down, I went to hop off so they could secure him for the trip. Just as I lifted my foot, I felt it catch on one of the tie down hooks and before I even knew what was happening, I had pulled both Yogi and myself onto the ground!!
Lying sprawled out, on the still empty floor, I motioned for the crew to come help as I was stuck underneath. They came running and lifted Yogi back upright and picked up my luggage that had been thrown all over the deck. Re-arranging everything as they tied him down I thought to myself, wow I am hungry, I need sandwich. So with that I looked at Yogi, whose handlebars were now so bent he was almost un-rideable, shrugged and went to the on board cafe.
It was almost poetic justice for me to drop the bike. It was an ironic final confirmation for me that day of how far I had come. Not only in the vast number of km’s, but also within myself. Had that of happened, as feared, on my first day on the ferry I would have had serious doubts about continuing. Now, 4 months on, I hadn’t even finished fixing everything back in place before I had moved on from it. To say it didn’t phase me would have been an understatement. My foot got caught, the bike went over. He’s fine (sort of), I’m fine, so why waste time worrying about it. I had a proper laugh to myself as I sat there watching the Calais port disappear, it is amazing what can happen on a few short months, if you make it happen.
After somehow making it to Essex, the mechanics wrote a long shopping list for new parts and we all headed back to Elain and David’s for a cup of tea and catch up. Sunday was spent visiting a classic car show and strolling the 4km round trip on Southend Pier in glorious sunshine eating ice cream.
Since I have been gone, David has started his new house build on the site where the garage we worked on Yogi once stood. It was great to be able to be of some help as the existing house was getting ready this week for new tenants. Helping to clean and move things out was a really nice trip back into ‘normal’ life and although I didn’t get through my boring admin list I didn’t really care, I actually needed a break from the trip.
With Yogi scrubbed and sent back to the two Brian’s for a full make-over, he came back to life like new. With a set of straight handlebars, a new chain, sprocket, rear wheel bearing and a fork, he looks like he has only popped down the shop for a pint of milk, not ridden two thirds the way around the world.
Not having his road worthy certificate current, he was loaded into the van for an hour long drive to Heathrow cargo. After an unnecessarily long wait for paperwork, we moved into the warehouse where he was very happily received. The guys from Air Canada were really excited to see him and assured me they were going to park him up next to a nice Ducati they also had waiting for a flight, so he wouldn’t be lonely.
With Yogi on his way, I have spent the remainder of the week very happily doing the cooking and making myself right at home here. Elain and I spent a lovely few hours on Friday doing jobs before treating ourselves to a blow-dry before heading out to dinner with David and their friends Paul and Joan. I met them when I was first here and it was great fun to see them again and catch up on stories and hear about their canal boat holiday they have set off on today.
Today I had planned to take the train down to the seaside town of Brighton to see Darren, who I bought Yogi off all those months ago. However there were significant delays on the lines and it was going to take me 4 hours each way to get there and back. Darren agreed it was too much time, so he very graciously came to London and we perched up in the pub for a cider and big catch up. He was the first friendly face I saw here in England after leaving Australia back in May, and having his help that first day when I dropped the bike only 10 minutes into the trip, was absolutely amazing. Catching up today felt like I was seeing an old friend.
I can’t tell you how many people have made the statement, ‘You’re so lucky to be be able to do something like this’. At first I smiled enthusiastically and agreed, yes I know I am so lucky. Now after coming back and waiting to start the next leg of the journey I have realised actually, no, I am not lucky at all. There has been nothing lucky about my being on this adventure. That’s not to say that perhaps my life circumstances at this time allowed me to take the opportunity to go, however it isn’t luck. I wanted to do it, and I did. It really is that simple. Whilst I have faced a number of hardships along the way, I know that I am achieving what I set out to do and that doesn’t come from luck. It comes from making a decision and following it up with actions.
It has also made me realise how incredibly fortunate I have been to meet the people that have become a part of my life as a result of those actions. Even with one handlebar almost at a right angle coming off the ferry last Saturday, the feeling like I had in many ways, come home, made that seem insignificant. Home is definitely wherever you feel loved and cared about. So maybe I am a little bit lucky because I have made new friends for life, people that I know I will never lose touch with and if that was luck and I have used all of mine up, I would be more than happy with that.
Two more sleeps until I meet Yogi in Vancouver, which I am incredibly excited about. I know I promised to reveal our Canadian and North American plans however I have been too busy being ‘normal’ this week to get to that. By this time next week, we will have already covered some of the most beautiful countryside Canada has to offer, and I can’t wait to share it with you.
Love Kylie and Yogi x