And so from the wilderness of rough camping to the delights of running water, toilets and organisation, yes I took Bean Counter camping once more but this time to an organised rally in Ripley Derbyshire. On the Thursday morning our magnificent trio of Ted Magnum, BC and yours truly headed off to Lumb Farm in Ripley for the annual Horizons Unlimited meeting or the HUBB as it is known. It has been running for nine years although this was the first time I had attended. Arriving at noon with no hold ups or mishaps apart from the odd bout of cramp we made good time in a little less than two hours. We would have been considerably quicker but Rhonda was heavily laden and stability was somewhat lacking on bends and tight corners.
After arriving BC and me went into a highly organised drill of me setting the tent up and she got the camp fire on the go and made tea. Running water was readily available and the toilets were so near the tent that BC remarked they were practically en suite! With camp set up it was off to the shops for the all important provisions consisting of a couple of cases of beer, a few bottles of red wine and a bottle of Jim Beam. The organisation at these HUBB meetings is incredible and a vast array of speakers on various subjects from packing light to going half a million kilometres around the world on the same bike had been arranged over 3 days and evenings in 3 separate halls within the grounds of Lumb Farm. A huge bonfire of Tedstock proportions was on the go from before we arrived to when we left 4 days later.
There were road kill cookery demonstrations and squirrels, rabbit and pheasant were peeled and cooked before our very eyes in a most entertaining manner by an incredibly knowledgeable man and I can say that all the animals were dead before he skinned them. Amongst some of the delights were cooked crayfish and trout and these can all be caught in local waters and cooked easily. This guy knew his stuff and presented us with wild garlic and herbs that can be found in the wild in the UK. The talks and presentations were hard to get to, let me explain. With over 500 people all walking around and talking to each other you soon forgot what time it was and I missed most of them because I was busy talking to people about my bike or their bike or what gear we had or used and the time just flew by.
I did manage to attend 3 of the events though. The first was about packing light and the speaker was an extremist down to cutting his tooth brush handle in half and then drilling holes in what was left of the rest to make it lighter. He was an advocate of no tent and no cooker. Sleep in the open and eat cold food. Definitely not my idea of touring but it was entertaining nevertheless. The second one I managed to attend was by Ted Simon who toured the world over four years nonstop and then did it again when he was 70. It was a fascinating talk from the man who has done more to inspire people to travel around the world by motorcycle than anyone else and he was the inspiration behind Ewan McGregor and Charlie Bormans tours. The next one I managed to catch was held by Austin Vince of Enduro Mondo and Terra Circa fame. This was the funniest lecture I have ever attended and no comment or description from me could ever do it justice except to say that even if you hated motorcycles you would have enjoyed his lecture and slide show. He tore into BMW owners and touratwat with a humour that was appreciated by even the intended victims.
There were many sights that will stay with me and I only took photos of the ones that I felt were exceptional. One of those being a Vincent parked next to my tent. I have not seen one of those on the road for over 40 years. The only ones I have seen were in a museum. Sadly of all my mates the only one who I felt would really appreciate this sight would be Billy Whizz who passed away a few years ago and for an hour or so I became very sentimental thinking about my oldest friend and wishing he could have been there but it was never meant to be. The meeting taught me a lot and I spoke to people who been around the world on numerous occasions. I consider it a feat Just to do it once but some people had done this many times and some people who had done were intending to do it again. I also learnt that of all the equipment I have bought much of it is of no use for motorcycling. My tent is far heavy and bulky and so are my sleeping mats and sleeping bags. I had of course bought what I could afford as I attempted to catch up with people who had gathered their equipment over the course of many years and made mistakes along the way. It is probably a good job my own trip has been postponed for another 18 months. It will take me that long to collect all the correct equipment.
All too quickly Sunday morning arrived and the realisation that the party was over hit us all. TM had been ill for a few days and so he packed up and set off home early. BC and me made the decision to pack at a more leisurely pace and leave a few hours later. TM was already home by the time we left. Again regular readers will know of my inane lack of direction and to no one’s amazement we got lost on the way back home. The mileage there was 104 but we managed to take 150 to come home. I started worrying when I saw signposts for Sheffield and we drifted all along the dales and peaks. The satnav absolutely refused to let me set a course that would take us onto the M56 and then the M53. It continually tried to take us via Manchester and the M6 to the M62 and through Liverpool. Once again it was only BC who managed to stop me throwing this absolute piece of junk into a canal that we were passing. At the risk of being sued by Garmin I can state the Quest is the single most useless piece of shit it has been my displeasure to purchase and operate. If they want to sue me then let them. I would welcome the sight of a judge trying to make this piss poor excuse for a navigational aid work at all.