Living in the beautiful County of Cornwall in the South West of England has it’s advantages. For example, we are surrounded by sea, well on three sides anyway! The scenery is generally fantastic, not like the French Alps, but very easy on the eye. The local produce, particularly the sea food and the famous Cornish Pasty is renown the world over. All of which at this time of year leads to one thing, yep that’s right, hoards of visitors, holiday-makers…or as we call them in these parts, Emmetts!
Most of the time these in-comers are pretty benign. They add millions of pounds to the local economy, which in turn provides jobs in tourism, catering, hotels and other service industries. The cost, however, is borne by the infrastructure and most noticeably the roads. We have a joke around here about public holidays, the extra day off is provided because you need an extra day to get anywhere! The last week most of the schools finished for the summer, so this weekend has heralded the beginning of “The Silly Season” as the liberated masses headed off on holiday.
Harley and I hit the road very early on Saturday morning and headed West along the A30, the main arterial highway through Cornwall. Every lay-by across the fifteen miles of Bodmin Moor was jammed up with caravans and motorhomes and even at six thirty in the morning the traffic was both heavy and driving along like total morons! The outside lane was busier than lane one as the overloaded masses lumbered towards the seaside disregarding all laws of the road….you all know my views about most British car drivers by now, but this was my worst nightmares all rolled out as one and right on my doorstep! Oh the joy of another six weeks like this, until they all go home for the winter! That said the weather was superb and it was great to be out, mind you I have ridden Harley just about everyday since returning from France…I just can’t get enough of that bike!
Later in the day we headed up to Plymouth Harley Davidson, via the A38, to buy some bits and pieces, the traffic was still heavy, but as we were generally heading against the flow of holiday traffic it wasn’t too bad, especially in ‘street fighter’ mode! Unlike In France, the British car driver always seems determined to make life difficult for us bikers; little tricks like driving over to the right as much as possible, blocking at junctions and racing at the end of a dual carriageway. Pretty dumb really, as most motorcycle riders are going to be quicker, much more nimble in an overtake and yes, better trained to boot and also as car drivers ourselves know the difference in relative performance between the two machines! Rant over, for now!
I said I needed some bits, actually I wanted to give Harley an oil change as we have been racking up the old mileage since the service in Spring. It has been said that oil is cheap, but engines ain’t, and I certainly buy into that sentiment! This afternoon I jacked Harley up on the workshop stand and set to work. It’s not a difficult job, nor, if you get it right, very messy…except for removing the old oil filter which is as messy as it gets, cos H-D designed the thing to lay on its side and when you unscrew it at least half of it’s contents of old oil have got to run out, it’s a gravity thing! This what it looks like when the filter is off.Yes, I’d cleaned up the majority of the spill! And with the new filter fitted it looks like this..
Three point three litres of this good stuff later.Once all the work was done and the engine was bench tested it was time for a road test, just to make sure all was well. So we headed out onto Bodmin Moor for a gentle(ish) test ride.
She felt fine, but the Emmetts were still in evidence! As I put in an overtake on a heavily loaded Peugeot, with a big Wigan Athletic sticker on the rear window I was treated to cigarette ash being flicked out of the window into my face, nice. Passing the idiot, I gave the driver a suitable glare as he flicked more ash out of the window with his right hand, whilst holding a mobile phone to his ear with the left hand! I can only assume that he had very cleaver knees or was concealing a midget in his crotch who was steering for him!!!! Perhaps his name was William, William Anchor!