Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Adjusting Back to Life in the UK
The other thing that has been hard to adjust to is the weather. At the end of my tour, I had grown too accustomed to the warmth of California and the sudden lowering of temperatures, the snow and frosts has come as a shock to the system. Last week it snowed and this caused chaos as it usually does here. We are just not geared up in the UK for dealing with snow because it is pretty rare, so when it does snow, many things seem to grind to a halt. Wisely, the country does not spend a fortune preparing for snow, because to make a real difference we would need to invest a great amount of money to properly deal with the few days of snow we get. However, when the white stuff does fall, we are quick to complain that we are not equipped to deal with it. On the whole, I think we have got it just about right, but it can be frustrating when things like the road gritters we do have don’t get deployed in time to make a real difference. We should be better using what few resources we do have, but we don’t seem to be able to get that right.
As might be imagined, the list of things I need to look at after being away for four and a half months is considerable and I am still only part way through doing what needs to be done. I like things to be organised and I enjoy making lists. I now have a list of all of the things I need to do, but I spend too much time just looking at this list worrying about how long the list is. I tend to first tackle the easy, generally not so important things, simply because they are easy! I am having trouble getting back into getting things done.
I received some news this morning that despite being delivered 22 days ago, the Leading Ladies are still at the shipping agent in Los Angeles and not on a boat making their way back home as expected. It seems that the US Customs cannot find any record of my bike being imported into the New York, so they are saying it cannot be exported back to the UK until it is re-imported (on paper) once again to the US. Needless to say, I was not impressed, especially as I only heard of this problem today. I cannot quite believe what I have been told and I will be checking with the shipping agent every day from now on until I hear the bike is on its way back. The first thing I want to know is exactly how is the bike being stored and is it safe, covered and being properly protected?
I have been thinking a lot about the book. I haven’t fully decided, but it looks like each state I visited is likely to have its own chapter and I am pleased to have got the first of these, South Dakota, written. I deliberately chose one of the states I went to in the middle of my tour as the first I wrote as that is more typical and I wanted to see how it came out. My plan is to write about one state per week and as I went to 27 states, that will take me to the middle of next year to complete the book. This seems about right and I will try to keep to this as a target.
I seem to have lost the energy I had during the tour and I feel very lethargic at times since I have returned. I haven’t even wanted to walk the dog much but I put some of this down to the weather. About ten days ago, I did play Badminton for the first time in about 35 years and my shoulder still hasn’t recovered yet from the shock of been used in ways it is not used to. I want to continue playing each week, but until it gets better, my aching shoulder will prevent that.
Jackie and I have a place in Spain and we flew out there for a long weekend to make sure the house was okay. We hadn’t been there for over 6 months so it was good to see that everything to do with the house was alright. We did get delayed coming back due to the bad weather. I have been very lucky with flights for the past few years and I had forgotten just how bad it is to have to wait 7 hours for a flight. We arrived home at 3am this morning. Groan!
Tomorrow I am having lunch with my pal Ian Solley of 7 Ages Custom Motorcycles. Ian has recently completed building another custom bike, a cafe racer, so I am looking forward to hearing about that. I did travel into London last week for the lunch, only to realise when at the restaurant that I was a week early! It seems my organisation skills have gone down the pan while I have been away!
Well, it didn’t take me long after being back home to start to think about my next long-ish bike ride, which I have decided will be across Spain. Well, from the top of Spain to the south and then back again to be more precise. I have invited a few friends to join me in the ride which will take place next July. I will post more on that ride as the plans become more fixed, but it looks like it will be for two weeks and hopefully will cover many of the great Spanish mountain roads.
Being pretty busy has meant I haven’t posted anything for a while, nor have I had the time to read other blogs, both of which is very remiss of me. I feel bad about not keeping up with other blogs, but to be honest, I have needed a rest from blogging for a few weeks. I still have one more post to prepare from the tour and I must get around to that soon. In the meantime I am wondering if I need to start a new blog where I can write about my biking, or whether to keep posting on this existing “USA Tour on a Harley-Davidson” blog. There are pro’s and con’s of each way....
Must dash - I need to go and look again at my long list of things to do....
Posted by Gary France