Following on from “The First 6 Months” it’s taken me quite a while to figure out, where on earth I have been to rack up 20,000 miles. Scanning through my Blog history it all came flooding back, rides with the Manc Rider, trips around Derbyshire (my beloved home county), a few IBA rides plus the Brit Butt Rally & a quick lap of the UK, a trip to Spain & back, a 1000 mile spin around Ireland, not to mention the rides I don’t feel warrant blogging about. Then the penny finally dropped!
Waking up to the sound of rain on canvas for the third morning in a row was not what I’d signed up for when I filled in the online registration form to attend the Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting back in 2011. Would I have changed it if I could? Not a cat in hell’s chance!
Did I mention it rained, A LOT!
Who would not want to spend a full 4 days in the presence of such “Over-landing Legends” as Ted Simon, Austin Vince, Sjaak Lucassen, Ed March, Matthew Cashmore, Paddy Tyson, Graham Field and not forgetting my good friends Bruce Smart, Sam Manicom & Birgit Schuenemann. I’m sorry if I have missed your name off my very short list of stars but you can rest assured, I have you all dancing around in my head. Screaming at me “just travel the world Raymondo!” Thanks’ for that!
Prizes on a postcard
if you know who's pannier this is!
In 2011 I had only managed to spend a day at Lumb Farm with my Dad, both of us having an amazing time meeting so many inspirational people. This year I was determined to soak up far more of this intoxicating mix of worldly adventures. At that time we spent quite some time speaking to a fellow Yamaha Super Tenere XT1200Z owner who also just happened to be called Ray. 3 Ray’s around on bike discussing travel, modifications and just getting on like a house on fire.
This year I really wanted it get involved so volunteered to assist Sam and the team, I was dully placed on “Recycling Duties!” I laughed to myself when I received the duty rota simply because low and behold who should be in charge of the Recycling Team, but Ray.
You've just got to love him
Been there, done that.
I had a fantastic time, if you’re reading this Ray (somewhere on the planet in your wonderful Land Rover with your home on the roof) I’d just like to say thank you for making the 2012 Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting unforgettable. You’re the one who should be writing the book all about your life, from what you told me it’s a guaranteed “Best Seller” in the making!
I love travelling, just getting on Mr T and taking off all over the place. Europe now actually feels like my own personal motorcycling back yard however the folks who attend the Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting are in the premier league when it comes to travelling. Stories of ‘Around the World’ trips come at you from every angle. Travelling on bikes both motor and pedal powered, trucks, vans, Land Rovers you name it they are all there to meet, talk to and be inspired by. I know I rode away just pleased my passport was well and truly tucked away in Jeannie’s desk at home.
Thought I'd just call in on our way around the world
Next stop, China!
If your planning on a trip, no matter where or for how long I can guarantee attending a Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting will give you more of an insight into “The Real Deal” than reading a library of travel books. Most of the authors of which will be stood around you in that very same meeting. One final word to end my Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting ramblings is, “Attend!”
Unbeknownst to me the next 4 months of my life where just about to be gobbled up in a blur of sheer commitment to one singular task! That task was inexplicably linked to “The 2012 Olympic Games”. If the truth be known, after watching the amazing spectacle that was the Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony on Friday the 27th July 2012, I like so many others was just mesmerised by what took place. Danny Boyle pulled off an absolutely World Class Ceremony follow by the most amazing Olympic & Paralympic Games I for one have ever seen. I know for a fact that both events will live with me and millions more for the rest of
August / September / October & November
Other than having a full Ohlins Rear Suspension System fitted to Mr T by Kais in Atherton, seeing my friend Bruce off from London on his own "Around the world journey" better known as www.TeaPotOne.com, attending the 5th annual Ride to the Wall, RTTW with Jeannie & the Manc Riders, it was a quite couple of months, NOT! I even managed to squeeze in three days of car washing, creating the second Wardle Wash which I do in aid of “Children in Need”. This year raising over £200 (which I’m quite proud of).
October 1st Bruce's Mum's Birthday
A day that will live with me for many years to come
However my life was consumed by just one singular challenge. That challenge was to visit every single post box that was officially painted GOLD by the Royal Mail to honour our Olympic & Paralympic Gold Medal winners.
Initially the challenge appeared to be just a simple ride to visit and photograph Mr T at the side of the 29 gold post boxes, this was during the early stages of the Olympic Games themselves. I like many others never belived the challenge grow and grow to an unbelievable 110 Gold Post Boxes by the end of the Olympic & Paralympic Games.
The challenge was further intensified by me deciding to visit them all within 22 days of riding. Now I must stress at this point those days did not run consecutively due to the simple fact, “Life still had to go on in the Walton household”.
What I’m slowly coming to realise is that in achieving my goal in just 19 days I’ve surpassed all manner of personal achievement. My riding has changed, well not changed but reverted to what I used to be like 32 years ago when I first stepped onto my Suzuki 125 Stinger. Ride, stop, take pictures, visit interesting places and now to top off the whole experience, Blog the entire trip, that’s as long as it isn’t too boring, that is.
I’m very proud to say I rode 6739 miles in total, visiting every single one of the 110 Gold Post Boxes which are spread as far apart as Northern Ireland in the West, The Island of Sark in the South, Lossiemouth - Scotland in the North and South Belton near Great Yarmouth in the East, not to mention a trip to Wales and the Isle of Man and writing no less than 19 blog entries about the ride. Due to this vast amount of information I decide to write a separate review covering the whole of the challenge ride which loving became known as
The Wandering Walton’s Quest for Olympic Gold ……. Postboxes “Obviously”.
I am delighted to inform you that www.KeepBritainBiking.com chose to publish my own review of the ride on their very informative site. The three instalments are already available to read and can be found at:-
Please take a little time to have a look at these and numerous other interesting motorbike related blogs by some very individual bikers. It‘s easy to join, log in, leave comments about the blogs and even post your own incredible achievements on site.
For now though here is a very poignant YouTube Video my great friend LBK put together for me, enjoy! Many thanks indeed LBK you did a superb job.
1 Man, 1 Motorbike, 1 Mission
110 Gold Post Boxes
19 Days Riding
All this brings me nicely bang up to date. December has been quite a relaxing month give or take a the odd jaunt out and about in Lancashire or Derbyshire on Mr T. All I’ve done is carrying out a little more work on Trinity by fitting parts that have been sat under my bench for over a year. Mr T has had a new cam chain tensioner fitted on warranty, after he’s had his 24,000 mile service.
An Original Akrapovic
Carbon Fibre Exhaust Hanger
Carbon Fibre Chain Guard fitted at last
Last Friday 21st I fitted Mr T’s Christmas present in order to restore the equilibrium in the garage. This was because I’d bought Trinity a full Akrapovic exhaust system last year I thought the least I can do this year was to treat Mr T to an Akrapovic Slip-On Exhaust this year which has finished off the “Farkling” process to perfection.
Mr T's Christmas Present
I would like to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to visit my blog and read all my ramblings, I really do appreciate it so very much. Thank you so very much.
What a way to round off a perfect 50th
It just leaves me to wish each and every single reader the Merriest of Christmases and an absolutely wonderful and prosperous New Year.
Merry Christmas Everybody from The Wandering Walton’s