Sunday, August 17, 2014

2014 Road Trip


 For 2014 we decided to re visit Galloway as we had unfinished business on the Dalvine pass (A702).
When we were there in 2012, we had 4 rain filled days somewhat spoiling the twisty roads promised by magazines and internet site, so we planned to return. To save some money we only did a 3 night trip which gave us 2 full days in Galloway.
 We set off on a hot sunny afternoon, but an hour late as Col had an issue getting his pants into his luggage bag, we had arranged to meet Rich up on Junction 38 of the motorway by the lake district and we made good time reaching him. We refueled at the next services on the motorway, heading off Scotland bound. After about 40 minutes I realized I still had 1 more gear to go and had been running in 5th gear since the last fill up. We had to stop once more for fuel and that had cost me £1 more than Col on the same bike.
 We arrived at The Buccleuch Arms in Moffat and was met by John who showed us to the bike garages. We unloaded checked in and enjoyed our first taste of Innis and Gunn beer (Recommended).

  The following day we got up to a dry sunny day, the sky had a few big dark grey clouds lingering around but it looked mostly dry. Waterproofs strapped to the back seats just incase we set off straight to the Dalvine Pass. We decided "lets just do what we came for while its dry!".
 The road out of Moffat (A701) is a good warm up with plenty of twists to get you started. We then turned onto the pass which starts under a motorway bridge. We stopped under the bridge, reving the bikes making them sound sporty as the noise echoed and bounced off the bridges walls while we cam'ed up.
 We pulled out into sunshine, and headed for the hills. The scenery here is beautiful, but the road didn't give you time to see much as the ribbon of tarmac was smooth, dry and twisty. Col and Jon passed me as the road became damp and the pace was a little more careful.

 We head west and down the valley eventually joining the A76 and turned right up to the next road that took us back towards Abington. This road was similar to the pass through the lake district, with a Welshmans fantasy having lots of sheep on every corner. They were even waiting for a bus!

Locals waiting for the bus!
 We got to Abington and decide its was coffee time, so found a truck stop for a brew. Rich is not big on road signs and this became obvious when stopped here.

We set off in the direction of New Cummnock and joined the B741, definately the worse road of the trip. On the map it looked nice and twisty and scenic in reality its a patchwork of poorly filled pot holes, we were pleased to see the end of that section of road at Dalmellington and joined the A713, which was a little bit better but still had poor tarmac. We stopped for a chat along side Loch Much and noticed that we were in Ayr, the Tarmac for Galloway started only a few metres away and it was perfect.

We crossed the boarder, hungry so found a place for dinner in a village called Carsphairn. We set off and as about a dozen guys on BMW touring style bikes went past so tagged onto the back of them. 10 minutes later i cornered to find one of them had come off around a bend and was in the ditch at the side of the road. Two of his mates had pulled in just infront of him so we stopped to check all was ok. His bike seemed to be mostly covered in dirt and the guy was a bit dazed but no serious injuries were obvious so we carried on on way.
 We headed back along tha A712 to Dumfries and then back to Moffat. We had been lucky with the weather only encountering a few damp roads and dodged the rain all day.

 The following day we decided to visit Caerlaverock Castle after seeing it in a magazine in the hotel. We headed off via the Dalveen pass and hit some heavy rain so stopped to shelter under the motorway bridge. The sky was blue over the pass so as soon as the rain cloud had passed we set off riding through some prettys damp conditions but fun was still had. We rode down through Dumfries and down alongside the river Nith eventually arriving at the castle bathed in hot sunshine. We stopped for a coffee before having a look around and then using the castle which made a stunning backdrop for some photo's.

 We headed back the way we had came, the weather now was with us, we turned onto the A702, stopped at the bottom and prepared for a dry run.
 I had the camera on the bike, so sent Jon 1st, then Col, Rich and me at the back hoping to get some good footage of the bikes leaning one after the other into the corners.

 We got to the best bit just at the bottom of the climb over the mountain, I saw Col pull out to pass Jon and thought I am going too. I knocked it into 2nd and opened the throttle, my bike kicked into action and 170 horses all sprang into life, Col was now passing Jon.  I quickly passed Rich and caught Jon at the next bend, out of the bend I could hear the GSXR's exhaust wailing as he tried to keep infront but my Fireblade was in a gear lower giving me the run on him, the next corner approached and I followed him around opening the throttle slightly earlier and got past. Col was now 50 metres ahead, I hung onto the gears catching a metre here and there until the unwelcome damp roads stopped our fun about three quarters of the way up. We slowed to a more suitable pace for the conditions stopping at the bridge with big grins and heroic stories.
  We decided we had still time to go to St. Marys Loch, for a coffee and another great photo opportunity. The wet weather was catching us, so we split up. Col wanted to go back to the hotel, the rest of us wanter to pass the Beeftub along the A701 another cracking bit of road. Col left us and we carried on. The A701 was fun the corners are all open and easy to read we were getting some good lean angles along there until we caught up with some traffic. Jon was at the front but passed the Beeftub layby so Rich and me pulled in for a look. After a few minutes we carried on back towards the hotel and the rain started. I absolutely hammered it down. I dont think I have ridden in rain that hard since the first trip to Germany. It lasted all of 5 minutes but the water was dripping inside your boots and i could feel my toes getting wet.
 We arrived at the hotel, it was hot and had missed the rain so we put the bikes away, hung the leathers in the shed and went to find our evenings entertainment.

 Jon told us the next day he needed to get moving early as he was doing a night shift at work when we got back!
 9am the bikes were loaded and ready to roll, Col sat on his bike but the rear tyre was flat, but not totally so we went to the petrol station filled up with air and fuel and set off to the motorway and the 1st services. Cols tyre was holding up, loosing 5lb pressure here and there but we got back just in time for a last 10 minute soaking. Cols tyre had started to degrade having lots of tiny splits around the centre for about half the circumfrence. Rich's front tyre is now done and needs replacing. Jon's and My bikes both went good.

 Fuel wise.
 Rich's ZX6R was cheapest to take
My Fireblade was next (apart from the 1 section of motorway where it was in 5th gear)
Jon was next
Col seemed to be putting a minimum of 50p - a maximum £1 more than me on most fill ups.

 All in all it was a good few days, I wouldn't have been the same without you guys, thanks and see you next time : )
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