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The Great Out Back 

      A bicycle  trip from Perth To Bairnsdale, Australia.

       My first week is spent resting up in Perth. Here are some pictures:

       

    
    
    
   

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COVENTRY GARDEN and SAVILE ROW, LONDON and JUDE May 26

 I take the tube to Picadilly Circus and walk to Coventry Garden. Regent street and the whole Westminster area is a zoo – street musicians, acrobats, beggers ect. The performances don’t interest me much. They’re all the same yet crowds of people watch them. It’s  like Las Vegas. New Years Eve is every day in London. I finally sit down at Le Blanc Brassiere and eat a good wholesome lunch for a change. 

    Afterwards, I am restored and get lost trying to find SAVILE ROW.  I am frustrated and hail a taxi. It takes me there.  

   The men’s clothes stores blow me away. The suites fit me like I am inside a skin suite ready to ski the Olympic Downhill. I love these clothes. They move with me. I do the arithmetic and am shocked. How could a suite cost six to twelve thousand dollars? Michael Jackson, Elton John, Rolling Stones, Beatles, presidents ect . wear these rags. 

    At 7:30 PM I meet up with Jude.  His week in Scotland was wet, windy and cold and hilly. He made it to John Groates Scotland but had to leave his bicycle behind. This would have happened to me only I would have to had paid $525 dollars to have it brought to me in twenty – four hours. I couldn’t count on them even delivering it when they were supposed to. This one of the reasons why I came back a week early. I had and still have no confidence in the train systems in Great Britain. They’re a pain in the ass!

  After dinner, I say goodby and head back to my hotel. I leave fourteen hours from now.

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MY REFLECTION  of LAST THREE WEEKS May 25

    Did you know London was and still is the center of power to all the Medieval monarchs up to the present day. Well , yeah, but now we have democracy. Intrigue, disaster, ambition, violence, back stabbing all went on in these feudal kingdoms. 

I bicycle toured through most of England’s counties – Cornwall, York, Lancaster, Wilshire ect. These parts of England served the King.  He would go out to visit his land and his people.  They would have to pamper him.

   On my bicycle ride from Lands End to Edinbourgh, I saw castles, old towns, churches and tilled fields that have been around before 1500 A.D. The Monarchs fought over this land. Borders were changed over night. 

       Now a days, all these Old realics lare still being used. The castles and big houses have been restored and remodeled. The old stones walls are  still used as a facade.  I look around the corner and I see a tennis court.  I ride along and see these estates immaculately cared for. The gardens are impeccable. Every branch, every leaf, and every flower has been manicured. I don’t see any weeds. The churches have grave yards with grave stones over three feet tall. In the afternoon the sun casts it weary shadow over them. Different hues of brown shine vividly against the green grass. Inside all the churches and cathedrals  the English being the holy rollers they are spend lavish amounts of money in the look of the church.  We do it too in the US but I haven’t seen   gravestones that go back to 1703 like I do here. 

Q:  If I were a king  what is the worst punishment I can give a countess or a dutches who is a devout prude? 

A:    I would send her to a brothel for life.

   Public foot paths cross these properties.  Jude and I road through fields with dirt roads so we could bike on another highway. Instead of cycling in a square, we cycled in straight lines. I rode amongst heards of cattle and sheep. Flowers particularly the bright yellow one called Four Seed used in Margerine highlighted the landscape. I camped next to fields of it.  Stonehedge lies around it.  This monument is tiny.  It didn’t hold my interest.  We stayed in Amesbury at an old 1800’s bed and Breckfast nearby. 

     Great Britain’s land is a mix of wildness and cultivated land. The further south and north I go there is more wildness. The hills and highlands are bare.  I can camp anywhere in these regions but not in the central part.

  There is a rail road station in practically every town. For instance, Jude had a bicycle issue the day we were supposed to ride into Liverpool. So, instead of cycling there we rode to Stafford and caught the train. We had thirty minutes to get there to catch it. We did! 

    The UK and US are civilized. I can get something fixed or go to a hospital with in an hour.  When I was in Asia or in Africa, I had to deal with it in the field. 

    Rock en roll will never die.  The Cavern Club where the Beatles played will keep Liverpool on the map. I could see my self up on stage playing my harmonica and singing.

  Bournmouth will always be a beach town. Jude’s dad lives there.  The English Channel has surfing as does Lands End. It touches the Atlantic.  Waves are as big as 35 feet roll into its beaches.

Bath is pretty. Jude’s mother lives there in a row of apartments on a cobbled  

  stone street right  out of the OLIVER movie. She was a great host. Music and theater flourish here and every where in Great Britain. 

        The National Bicycle Paths criss – cross Western Europe and Great Britain. They’re great. There is a variety – rail road paths, canal paths, A -roads and country roads every where. There is something for everybody here. 

    The food is good. I ate enough pasta for three people. I didn’t get sick like I did in Asia three times. 

      Jude led the trip.  He’s a local and would use his iPhone to access the route.  He didn’t use paper maps. How he did it was by figuring the route out on the Internet and then unload it into his Android.  A lady would tell him when to turn right or left. I had a few words with her. “You’re a world of knowledge.  You lead us ten kilometers out of our way.” Jude had to know what she wasn’t telling him in order to figure out where we were going in certain instances. 

    In the last few days of the trip we were cycling to Edinbourgh, Scotland. Great Britain’s infamous rail road company was going to strike. This would have been for the first time in twenty years. The nation was going down. 

  The highlight of my two weeks was cycling ninty- eight miles the second to last day to Edibourg,Scotland. The wind blew from the East in the morning. By the afternoon, it blew from the South pushing us at over thirty miles per hour for fifty miles through the Scottish Highlands. The sun was out in full splendor. I couldn’t ask for more!

      Reaching Edinbourgh put me on the fence, I chose to come back early on account of the crippling train strike. It hurt me! It hurt me!! I know now I will always travel with a flexible air line ticket. Adventure equals unpredictability. 

    Only one more day remains until I leave for Houston, I have immersed myself in seeing all the tourist sights and  learning about my roots while I have been here. The museums are fabulous. London like Houston is a menagerie of culture! Whew!!

     

     

     

      

     

 

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I DREAMED A DREAM May 24

I catch the 27 bus to go to Chelsea Park to see the flower show. The bus passes by the Victoria Albert Museum. I decide to go take a look in there instead. 

    I spend all day in it. The Medievial and Renaissance exhibits fill in the gaps in my education.  The Bronze Age, the Reformation, The Counter Reformation and much more European History is shown to me.  I hungrily read all there is to read until my head swells. The silver, jewelry , luxery and fashion exhibits teaches me  how Europeans live right up to the present. 

The theater, film, opera and acting exhibits excite me. I listen to a museum guide talk about the performing arts. I write down how to create a character. How to read a script. 

After spending five hours inside I leave at closing time.  I walk around outside aimlessly for half an hour. I have to decompress. Above me where I am standing is the British Flag. I pull out the city map and stare at it.   

  I am over whelmed. I go inside a restaurant and read the tattered map. Where do I go next?

      Kensington Garden in Hyde Park is what I’ll see next. So, I catch the 431 bus. It travels up Bayswater Road past Harrods.  There are so many people clogging the sidewalks. The street isn’t much better. Eventually, my bus stops. I get out and walk into the park. I try to rent a bicycle.  The instructions on the meter are complicated and take to much time to sort out. I end up walking through a rose garden. I stop to smell the roses.  

    Their rich fragrance takes me into relax mode. I lay down and see the world through Rose Tinted Glasses. 

  I dreamed a dream of flying over Great Britain seeing every where I have been these last three intense weeks. I see fields of green, flowers of red, seas of white waves crashing, and hills where wind and rain obscure the horizon. 

 I wake up a few minutes latter. It is getting dark. I can’t read the map. I wander aimlessly around in circles struggling to find my way out of it. I feel vulnerable. What a great feeling.

       

     

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MORE TO SEE May 24

London provides a list of things to see.  Today I’ll go to the Victoria Albert Museum. I’ll read more of my English Mystery Novel. 

 

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WINDSOR CASTLE May 22

Everyone needs to see Windsor castle. It is like walking back in time. Shakespeare and Bernard Cornwall take me back to the day when the Monarchs are  feuding. and where the Dukes and Ditches are backstabbing each other. 

       Antiques, weapons, paintings, rugs, flags, cover the palace. Silver tables and mirrors shine. Statues of lions dominate. Colors of gold, royal blue, violet and creamy yellow highlight the flags and tapestry. 

    “Glory To God In The Highest, ” echoes from the rafters.  The choir blasts the walls down in St George’s Chapel.  

    Windsor Castle ‘s dynasty is a must see.  

       

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