Springing Forward and Coast Update.

Hello everyone!

OK, apologies first…

It’s been nearly a month since I last posted on the blog; that old problem of life just getting in the way of everything again I’m afraid! I’m sorry I have been “Off Air” for a bit, but I’m back now and have some lost ground to make up.

So what have I been up to?

Well, the seasons are marching on and here in the South West corner of England Spring is setting in with a gentle vengeance. We have lambs joyfully leaping around in the field behind Dookes H.Q. celebrating their new care-free lives; the trees are bursting into leaf and the early cherry and crab-apple blossom is beginning to show from dormant buds. Birds are busy squabbling over the best nesting sites and I have even had to cut the not inconsiderable acreage of grass at Dookes H.Q. a couple of times too. The last of the post-winter garden tidy up is nearly finished and best of all, the sound of my Harley Davidson’s engine has been singing it’s “Milwaukee Music” around the country roads that I love!

Yep, it’s always good to ride… but sometimes in the Spring is best of all!

A couple of weeks ago I took a long, meandering, ride over Dartmoor. Instead of heading for my normal haunts of the high ground, I thought I’d take in some of the valley scenery before the hoards of tourists arrived!
This is Holne Bridge over the River Dart near Ashburton, taken just before the trees started to really green up.P1030487

I have certainly been clocking up a few miles and not just aboard the ride-on mower either. The world, for me, certainly looks better from behind a set of handle bars. It gives me time to get my head clear of all those things that we often think are important, but in reality are not. Time to concentrate on staying alive and living this one life in the way that I choose.

The longer days bring the bonus of light evenings and the opportunity to watch the sun take it’s daily dip into the Atlantic Ocean in often glorious golden hues. Last Tuesday we popped over to Bude on the North Cornwall coast about twenty minutes from Dookes H.Q. by Harley and were treated to a delightful sunset.

The remaining section of the old Bude Canal enters the ocean by a sea lock and provides interest to the scene.P1030510
Whilst in the bay boats rest on their moorings as the sun disappears into the sea; if you listen carefully you can sometimes hear the hiss!
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To the left and noticeably lower than the canal, the River Neet runs it course, whilst the old rails of the narrow gauge hay tramway glint in the last rays of the sun.P1030508
All that was left to do then was to mount up and enjoy the ride home, life can be tough sometimes!

“See me ride out of the sunset, on your coloured TV screen.”

Catch you all soon.

Dookes

Taking The Long Way

The wonderful summer weather is fast becoming a mere memory as we slip firmly into autumn. Sticking out into the Atlantic Ocean our county of Cornwall certainly gets more than its fair share of storms and gales, this last week we got the first one of the season. To be fair it was more like 24 hours of squalls, but the leaves started to spin off the trees as the rain came down in whipping sheets.

Not surprising then that Harley and I haven’t been out much in the last two weeks. I’m not at all bothered by whatever the weather is when I ride, but sometimes if it’s just for pleasure and its chucking it down I’ll pass and wait for the clouds to scud by. Coupled with other life pressures I really have not had time to get out on the road. Actually its the longest period of time that I have not ridden her since March this year, shocking, absolutely shocking!

This weekend I have made sure I got everything else done and today I carved out some time to go get mellow, on my beloved Harley.

We needed a few supplies, so I took a right and headed up the A30, crossing the border into England and pointed to Okehampton on the northern side of Dartmoor. It was good to blow the cobwebs away, but hell there were some real jerks in cages out there on the road! A quick stop for supplies and a complementary coffee, some of you will guess which supermarket I shop at, then time for a decision.

I really wanted a chilled out ride, without having to street-fight the cages, so I took the West Devon Ride back towards Cornwall. This is the old A30 road, the one that existed before the dual carriageway trunk route was built. In fact it follows the old trade route that dates back before the Romans. It runs from Sourton on the west edge of Dartmoor to Launceston on the east edge of Bodmin Moor and is twenty five miles of really enjoyable riding. Today it was empty, very like some of my favourite French roads. Harley was able to sit at a legal yet quick pace and I was able to get stuck into some nice corners whilst enjoying the changing autumn colours and the great scenery. The air is beginning to get a bit of a chilly bite to it and I was pleased to be able to adjust my heated jacket to stay snug. Passing through a couple of villages the smell of wood smoke showed that we were not the only ones with the heating on! After Launceston we kept to the back roads, taking the long way and just enjoying ourselves. Those bends were just great! No photos, I was too busy having fun!

OK you want a picture? Not the best but hey, I’ve spoilt you all in the past!

Well, last Thursday evening at Plymouth Harley Davidson we were invited to the launch of the 2015 models. Big emphasis was the new Road Glide, which to be honest doesn’t really do it for me. There is a big boxy faring on the front that I just can’t quite appreciate, but each to their own. I do however, like the Rushmore Electra Glide and also the new metallic blue colour for this year. This is the blue on a V-Rod muscle bike.

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…and this is the 2015 model of the Electra Glide Ultra Limited.

P1020643.JPG Silver and black looks nice, but for me it really needs to be a solid colour. These are big bikes, 103cubic inch (1690cc) engine, dry weight of 398kg, 2.6 metres long and a top speed in excess of 120 mph. Nice!

Gotta say I’m pretty smitten, I think I feel a test ride coming on. Can’t hurt to try one, can it????

P1020644.JPG I can just see myself sitting here!

“I always find my way somehow, by taking the long way around”

Catch you soon.

Dookes

True Hope Is Swift and Flies With Swallows Wings

Hello everyone.

Where has the time gone since we returned from France? Before I had got used to being back north of the English Channel, wham, it was the Easter holiday! I believe that here in the UK, Easter has now become the number one D.I.Y. weekend of the year. Oh yeah? Not at Dookes H.Q. with the weather forecast that we had, is wasn’t going to be!

Well OK, I did have to tidy up a small paved area between the kitchen garden and the house and then cut the grass…..then get out on Harley!

So Saturday lunchtime saw us flying east along the A30 to Okehampton and a quick dash around Waitrose for some essentials. The town is charming and historic, situated on the northern edge of Dartmoor. It grew wealthy through the medieval wool trade and still much of its life still revolves around agriculture, I really like the place. It’s also only about 15 minutes from home, depending on the right wrist twist! After our short shopping spree, Harley and I took in the scenery at Sourton Tor.

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Lovely day, eh?

Anyway, Harley and I set off in search of a little more open road and it seemed a good idea to head north-west and take the long way home. That’s when it occurred to me that I had forgotten something from the shopping list. Oh well, better go a bit further out of our way to Holsworthy and another Waitrose store, did I mention that they give away free coffee? That’s when I noticed that we were being escorted aloft by those wonderful harbingers of summer, the dark blue Barn Swallows.IMG_0324Thanks to Malene Thyssen for the use of this lovely photo!

These are one of my favourite little birds and their return to our shores each year is a clear sign that summer is really on its way. I really felt good, lifted and content; Harley was purring along happily, the Swallows wheeled and swooped as if they were also enjoying the day. The warm spring sun shone on us, life can really deal you a good hand some days! It was just what I needed after the somewhat ‘heavy’ tone of our visit to The Somme. Big John told me that he thought some of my blog posts from the last trip were a bit dark; yeah you are probably right mate, but now:

I’m just glad to be here, happy to be alive!

Catch you all soon.

Dookes