This is it. The last day in Europe, the return to the UK day has finally arrived. Mixed emotions. Happy to go back and see my friends but not looking forward to having to go back to the life of get up, go to work, come home, sleep, repeat. What have we done to our society?
Breakfast was delicious and I drank plenty of coffee to get me going. My bag was already packed so I just needed to tie it to the bike and head off. I had plenty of time but wanted to arrive to the Channel Tunnel early in case I got caught up in traffic.
The bike was parked on a slope by the garden wall on a gravel car park at a slight angle so the back didn’t stick out too much. Another biker with a GS parked very close behind me and at almost a 90 degree angle to my bike. He was putting his panniers on and I strapped my tail pack to the seat. The tank bag was on and I was getting ready to leave. In front of the bike was the entrance to the garden and on the ground there was a concrete pipe that was half buried and half sticking out.
I thought with a little bit of manoeuvring the bike forwards and backwards I could get it out and leave. I didn’t want to wait around for the other guy to finish and move his bike.
So I pushed my bike forwards a bit, backwards a bit, forwards a bit as I usually do, standing by the side of it. But the bike had the bags already on it which made it heavier than normal and the floor was on a slope. And on the gravel. My left foot slipped backwards, the bike leant towards me. I grabbed it tighter and felt is falling lower and lower. I heard a click and the tank bag unlocked itself and went flying over my shoulder. I grabbed the tank to try and stop the bike from falling but it was useless. I laid it down as slowly as I could and nearly cried. My heart was in my mouth, beating so fast I thought it was going to jump out.
I instantly overheated, the sweat was pouring from every orifice and I just stood there in shock that Bella was lying on her side on the gravel. The other biker jumped to help and together we lifted her and checked her over. I fell a huge relief come over me when I discovered the only damage to the bike were a couple of scratches on the end of the handle bar and the break lever. I kept going around it to check for damage but couldn’t find any more. Phew! That was lucky.
By then the other guy moved his bike and I was able to reverse out of my spot and ride out of the car park without any further incidents.
I took a slight detour to enjoy the roads in Belgium before hitting the motorway where I pretty much sat on until I got to Calais. The winds were awful and Bella and I were struggling to keep a straight line but otherwise the roads were pretty quiet and we soon arrived to the check in at Eurotunnel.
As I typed in my details the screen offered an earlier train which I gladly took. That meant I was basically straight on the train without any waiting. I was first to go on of all the bikes but this time I wasn’t worried about it, I knew what I was doing. There were another couple of groups of three and four bikers all with huge panniers and lots of luggage and they all looked tired but happy.
We soon arrived to Folkestone and I set the sat nav to the hotel I was staying at that night. It’s a good six hour journey back to Wales and I didn’t want to make the last day too strenuous. I set off from the terminal and soon realised I’ve forgotten to change the km to miles on the speedo so I was merely guessing my speed all the way to the hotel.
Time for a shower and a wander out for a meal. I’ve learnt about the Folkestone Decimal Clock which still boggles my mind and had a few G&Ts.
And that’s a wrap, as they say. It’s been an incredible journey of ups and downs, learning a lot about myself which has been interesting. Turns up I’m quite good company to myself, too! I’ve achieved and completed my lifetime dream. It feels satisfying to have done it. I wish Sam would have been home to greet me as coming home to an empty house was a bit smack of reality and it’s been a hard time getting to terms that he’s not coming back but it’s been two months since that day and I’m slowly refocusing and plotting my next adventure.
Thank you all of you that are still reading my thoughts, I really appreciate it! I will start posting about my next adventure in a few days’ time and I hope it’s an interesting reading 😊