I woke up to a blue sky and sunshine outside the portal of the cabin. The guys were still asleep so I plugged in my headphones and listened to a few tunes whilst reflecting on the last 16 days. It was going to be weird not seeing the guys everyday, not packing up a tent and loading up the bike, not watching mile after mile of tarmac pass under my wheels. I had felt the most free and clear of mind I can remember for many years. Each day a new adventure, new roads to ride, new lands to explore, new sites to amaze us and a different place to call home for that night. This truly had been the biggest adventure of my life and I couldn’t wait to have another.
The others woke up and we chatted briefly before getting up and heading down for bit of breakfast. I went off with Paul whilst Roy finished washing and headed down to the café. On route I looked at the on board GPS map in the reception area, we were off the coast of Norfolk! I was almost home! I could actually see Kings Lynn on the map and it felt very close now.
We grabbed some coffee and breakfast and chatted about the trip and the rest of the journey home. I had originally hoped to ride to Wales and meet up with the Dander for Dosh group but I was tired and really couldn’t face driving across the UK then back again. When we reached Harwich we still had a good trip ahead although I would be back first with only a few hours ride to Norfolk while Roy had a good 4 or 5 hours and Paul even further.
We finished breakfast then went back to the cabin and got our bike gear on just as the announcement to return to our vehicles came over the loud speakers. I picked up my helmet and tank bag and walked down to the car deck, squeezed past the lorries and cars and loaded my gear into the panniers and top box for the last time. I untied the tie downs and got my helmet and gloves on just as the front of the ferry started to open. We planned to ride up to Cambridge and stop at the services where we had started the trip those 17 days earlier.
We rode out on to UK tarmac and got into a queue right away to get through passport control. It took quite a while to edge along until we finally reached the gate and the open road.
It felt very weird being on the left of the road again and took a few moments to adjust. The first thing I noticed was the road condition, it was terrible compared to Scandinavia! The tarmac was rough, pot holes all over the place, litter etc…
I lead the ride back up to Cambridge, re-tracing the ride from the start of the trip. I felt pretty emotional, flashbacks of the trip coming into my head. It felt strange not seeing Gregg’s headlight along with Paul and Roy behind me. I wished this was the start of the trip again and not the end!
We pulled into Cambridge services and rode up, parking the bikes exactly where we parked before leaving. We grabbed a coffee and stood by the bikes, grabbing a few last photo’s.
I could feel the lump in my throat as I knew I would be heading off on my own and I’d be really sad to see the guys ride off. I threw my empty coffee cup in the bin and we said our goodbyes, kitted up and headed off. The guys rode off ahead of me and I pulled over to adjust my helmet and compose myself. In about an hour I’d be home and the trip would be over.
I headed back out on to the A14 and headed back to Norfolk, passing lots of familiar places. An hour or so later I pulled into the car park at Costa where Caroline was waiting for me, at our regular haunt. After an emotional hug I sat down and started blurting out all the cool stuff we’d done over a well needed Coffee. We sat there for about an hour or so before heading home, the 20 minute ride back was pretty surreal as it started to feel like I’d never left. I pulled up outside the house, turned the ignition off and climbed off the bike. I turned to look at the steel horse that had just carried me around 7000km, no longer clean and unused but dirty and showing the marks of exploration! I smiled, turned the front door handle and walked in to a big welcome home banner and cool hand made cake! I slumped on to the sofa and sighed before eating a nice slice of the cake with a cup of tea…. the end…. NO not the end…. TO BE CONTINUED!!!