Frosty Paws? More like Frozen Bo**ocks
Casualty number one, was my good lady Atilla the Hun. Our house/dog sitter, (Atilla's younger brother), rang to say he had a mates birthday weekend planned. So Atilla opted to stay at home with the dogs and would miss out on the glorious wet, windy and cold experience. She was gutted, (as if?).
The Sleeper Caravans were packed, Trikes fired up and Flash, Mother and I set off in search of Chorley. Opting for the A- Roads as the wind, rain and hail was horrendous, we wanted to avoid open motorways, the spray and wind would not have made for a relaxing motorway trip. Now you all know about our sense of direction, both Flash and myself, it's well documented in just about every trip we do. I won't go in to detail, but this time we surpassed ourselves. What should have been an hour and a half's journey took us........................................... 4½ hours. Yup that's right 4½ hours. In weather that was more akin to sailing the Baltic, we missed signposts and turnings, took wrong roads, headed in the complete wrong directions at times. No blame was apportioned as we were both as bad as each other. Even Flash's Trike decided it had enough, and refused to start on one occasion, resulting in a bump start.
This was not a good sign as the hail and biting rain took it's toll, we began to suffer big style. I was first to fall by the way side as the cold got to my spine and my back started playing up, the cold then claiming my fingers as they went completely dead. Mother, (AKA Deb's), was not far behind as she began to shiver uncontrollably as the cold took hold. Flash, as usual, said little, but was suffering in silence. It was not a pleasurable trip by any stretch of the imagination and put a dampener on the proceedings straight away. Suffice to say when we did find Chorley and the Rugby Club site, we were in a very sorry state. To add insult to injury, the site was water logged and we had to park the Trikes and Sleepers on rough ground behind the club house. Those who were in tents were at the mercy of the elements even more. The ground was saturated and tents were being erected on rougher long grass where there was some drainage! Possibly an egg cup per hour of water was draining away, whilst 15 gallons a minute of rain and hail came down on your head!! By the time tents were erected, most were complaining that their gear was already wet, and water was penetrating the inside. We booked in and took to the club house. The beds in the Sleepers were already made up so we had no preparing to do. About 6 cups of hot tea/coffee and we were ready to have a few beers. As the evening progressed, various other YT'ers arrived who were camping? Mandanut & Wayne with their two little girls, Chorley Paul, Donnakebab with daughter Evi. Baloo, (Martin), Mortis, (Mick) and Jill planning on arriving on the Saturday.
Chorley Paul brought his mob in the People Carrier, he had his daughter to think of. Mandanut and Wayne came up in the 4x4, they had their two little girls to think of. And if someone had warned me of the likelyhood that I would have trouble walking by the time I got there, I would have taken the Van and the full sized caravan on the back. Anyway I'll let this one become a discussion for you all on a personal level. All I know is that on the first night, we were all guilty of making inner thoughts of getting home, warm and dry. There was no band on the Friday, but the DJ kept us entertained with music, the bar kept us topped up with alcohol, (or tea/coffee) and we sat and chatted and steamed as body parts warmed up. I had a good warm and dry nights sleep in the Sleeper, and I think Flash and Mother were okay in theirs. However the camping was a different story. On the Saturday morning we gathered in the club house for a cup, (or several), of something hot, then climbed in CP's bus and headed in to Chorley for a Tesco breakfast. We dropped the Ladies off at the Botany Bay Shopping Centre to do some R & R, whilst Chorley, Flash and myself dropped in on YT friend Ex-pig Pete. Numerous coffees and Teas were consumed whilst we inspected his project Trike sat in the garage. Then an angel in the unlikely guise of Bomber Stu arrived. He was going to be staying over at his partners house over near Bradford that evening and gave us the keys to his house should we decide to break camp and find warm centrally heated sanctuary. CHEERS STUART, IT WAS BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY BUT WAS GRATEFULLY AND READILY ACCEPTED. On collecting everyone back together we got more bad news. Atilla phoned from Bradford to say it was snowing heavily. It wasn't expected to settle for long but it was snowing with a vengeance. Then as we got closer to the camp the hail started. Then Chorley got a call from Mandanut and Wayne. Their inner tent was wet through, all their gear was wet, and quite rightly, they weren't prepared to stay another night with the two little un's. They were packing up. “Oh and by the way Chorley, your tent poles have snapped and your tent is collapsing !!!!!!!” We got back to survey the damage. By now I was having trouble walking, Mother, (Deb's), was still cold to the bone and was in obvious discomfort. All our riding gear was wet. We met in the clubhouse for coffees and a party. The long and short of it was we were to head home and get warm and dry. The over generous offer of Bomber Stu's house, although inviting, was turned down in favour of getting home to our own beds. All the same, thanks once again Stuart. Chorley's tent was beyond redemption so it was offered to the weather God's in a sacrificial burning on the Rally Fire. Somehow the God's didn't get the message as the journey home was to prove. Baloo, (Martin) and Mortis, (Mick) and Jill had only just arrived in their cars to hear of our plans. Obviously disappointed, they chose not to try to put their tents up. By now there was standing water everywhere. We packed up and got ready for the off.
My Trike insisted on firing on 3 cylinders, choosing to rest one at any given time. Flash's trike faired no better with the occasional misfire. Baloo offered to shadow us home as we were to take the quickest route, straight back on the Motorway. CP, Donnakebab and Evi, Mick and Jill were to catch us up on route. Mandanut, Wayne and the girls headed off home. I have been riding more years than I care to mention and can honestly say that the weather conditions were amongst the worse I have ever had to endure on any journey. Gale force winds and persistent, (beyond belief), rain and hail drove through everything we had on. Hypothermia took over on the last part of my journey as I uncontrollably shivered. There will be men out there that will secretly know that feeling of just wanting to cry in your helmet with the cold and pain, (but of course I didn't??? After all I am a Bloke !). The motorway speeds were down to 35 and 40mph in some parts, not helped by my constant misfire and lack of power. Also not helped by those who are of course immortal's, thundering past at 70+ mph with visibility that would have a rat struggling to check out it's crown jewels. I knew in the event that something went wrong, I could stop, but I was constantly in fear of some f***ing muppet ramming the sleeper and trike through the back of my skull without my permission. Flash was bearing no better and his trike stuttered and spluttered on occasions. On seeing the Brighouse exit from the M62, I took it. I was just not capable of getting the trike up the next rise on 2 or 3 cylinders in order to make the Bradford junction. At least this way people would find my cold sad body at the side of the road. It also meant I would pass my daughters house, should I be unable to make the last 3 miles. All this time Baloo shadowed my every move ready to jump in when needed.
The long and short of it was we all made it home safely as I rang around everyone and got the reassuring sounds of happy people getting warm and planning hot deep baths.
I hope those brave souls that ventured out on bikes or tikes got home safely. I hope those who stayed the full weekend had a good time. I hope the Wyld Hartz plan another. Sorry we didn't stay, but health comes before Glory in my book. Perhaps someone from another club can drop us a line with the write up for the Rally proper.
Two Showers © Feb 2008