Saturday, September 26, 2009

BBQ Autumn and Rough Track practice

Only 5 weeks (minus one day) to go before flying out to India and time to start thinking about what kit we will need and getting in some off-road practice. Most of the important stuff has been dealt with. The holiday has been paid for, a slight complication was that Far and Away is a US company, but Bob was flexible. The flights have been booked and paid for, we will fly into and out of Bangalore on a British Airway flight. (Their timings were better for us than Virgin in this particular case. having submitted out Visa applications on Monday, through our travel agent - Trailfinders we received our passports back this morning duly "VISA"d. I chose to go with the travel Agent, because they have always been good when dealing with holiday and flight bookings and as I had some Visa issues when when crossing from Cambodia to Vietnam last year due to a typo I felt that it would be useful to have experts involved. It costs more money, but with only 6 weeks to go (when I submitted them) if anything did go wrong I felt it would help to have experts on our side. It was certainly straightforward and efficient dealing with the Indian Authorities and their nominated Visa Processing System. My son also got his typhoid jab, he had to get it from a Travel Clinic as he could not visit our local Doctor's practice. As a result he had the full description of all of the potential illnesses that can afflict the unwary traveller.

Just as I assume that everything is working on my Garmin Edge GPS unit I had a memory full message - this might genuinely mean that I need to delete some of the track history, or like last time it might cause other problems. In the end I did a hard reset and that was 2 versions of the Operating system ago. I'll keep an eye on it but I would prefer it to be fully functional for the India trip. I will probably do a hard reset a week or so before the trip, it means having to re-program a few parameter but should sort things out.

The BBQ Autumn seems to be continuing, in fact it has been quite warm and sunny but what we have really noticed is that there has been no rain. As I have only 5 weeks to go it seemed a good idea to go out and cycle a few of the green roads, by-ways and farm tracks. I went out on my Marin (a hybrid bike) and pootled around on a lovely sunny late afternoon. I think I am going to have to think about carrying a front light though as the nights are drawing in and I don't want to get caught out in the dark. I always have a rear light on the bike though - and I turn it on before it gets dark - in flashing mode - you can't rely on the twilight vision of some motorists.

Back to the sunny afternoon - it was a pleasure, cycling along tracks not having to worry about cars, vans and lorries whilst the sky was blue with some wisps of cloud in the sky. I was surprised that there was quite a lot of stubble around as well.


One of the tracks; this sort of thing is fine on my hybrid bike and not too bad on my touring bike, I have to concentrate a little more on the touring bike with its drop handlebars though. There can be some potholes and loose stones that require some respect.


It amazes me how fine the farmers manager to till the soil, although there was an article in the Times advocating no-till farming to protect the soil. Certainly when the soil is very dry a lot of dust seems to blow around.


The track where the above photograph was taken - loose gravel, good experience when heading out to unknown parts of the world. (Well unknown to me)


Later on a cycled along a by-way near Lode - although it was a by-way it would appear to only be used by walkers and dog-walkers so that there was only one undulating mud track - good fun, but requiring even more concentration and some of it best negotiated when standing on the pedals to absorb the bounce of the track.This picture is taken just off the track and is three pictures stitched together.


Later, just after White Fen I followed a farm-track which was very dusty, so much so that the wheels occasionally got bogged down in it. The width of the tyres on the Marin where 25 mm/1 inch I will probably use wider tyres in India, they might be a little slower but tend to be a bit more forgiving on rough tracks. The sky stayed blue though!


One of the "crops" grown in these parts is turf, here a Farmer is towing a gang-mower, used to cut school playing fields. It would seem to me that quite a bit of soil would be lost when the turf is cut so I wonder if there is concern about the soil being "eroded". I must check it out.


One last niggle, Zoundry Raven, which I used to write this Blog off-line, stopped showing the pictures in the off-line version. After trying a few things I ended up creating a new off-line version and down-loading the Blog again, something it does remarkably quickly. All seems to be fine again. I must go and cut the lawn - despite it not having rained it is starting to look a bit scruffy. I spoke (wrote) too soon, Zoundry failed to publish this Blog - but it was a problem I knew about - you have to make sure the is a "return" at the end of Blog and not stop on a sentence. If you do it complains of an EOF error (End of File), the fact that this is readable of course shows that I fixed the problem.

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