As the light filtered through the curtains, birds chirped outside the window, the Hobbit House was stirring as the realisation that ‘The Day had Dawned”.
Excitement started to bubble inside my stomach, my consciousness becoming more awake and reality started to set in.
I rolled over and gently woke Yellow Thunder-
“Hey…wake up. We have to get ready”
He turned and smiled-
“Yes Sal. You have to pack.”
Unfortunately as I slowly lifted my head from the pillow, I realised that I was still a little bit foggy from our tea with Aprilia Mille (Green Jacket) and Miss Sunshine, The Organiser and a number of glasses of gin and tonics. We went to the same restaurant/pub that we had been the year before- The Cross-House Inn. This is the place that last year The Organiser told me was “just down the road”. We ended up walking to Scotland and back. And yes it is still the same distance from The Hobbit House. It has not mysteriously moved, it is still a hike. This time I was not bogged down with ‘The Jamie-flu’ so I did not complain, I quietly and meekly followed behind.
With a cheeky smile, Yellow Thunder bounded out of bed and I knew I had a huge day ahead of me- trying to pack two weeks worth of clothes into two pannier bags. And we all know who’s got more clothes than me and must have the opportunity to choose between at least two similar articles of the clothing where often it is just the stitching that is different.
Slowly I emerged from the bed, looked at the huge case and again wondered how I was going to condense it into two tiny bags.
We could hear the kettle boiling as The Organiser was preparing breakfast.
Padding down the stairs, heading into the kitchen where the cheerful bustle and skipping footsteps of a Master Scrambled Egg-Maker at work brightened my mood and made my mouth salivate in anticipation.
I was given the task of measuring the milk using the broken half eggshell while he whisked the eggs. Yellow Thunder was tasked with buttering the toast as tomatoes were sliced and popped into another pan. A feast fit for an army was created.
Breakfast done, dishes done, second cup of coffee done….the Boys left the house to check on their babies.
Excited chatter could be heard coming from the garage as once again the key was inserted into the Yellow Mille and it roared into life.
I headed upstairs to gather washing that needed to be done before I could pack. I gathered some of The Organisers washing and headed to the shed.
Climbing over an assortment of bike paraphernalia, man toys, greasy tools and The Organisers phone chirping, I made my way to the washing machine. With trepidation born from my run-in with the vice the day before, blonde strands of curly hair still attached to the handle, I bent to put two pairs of jeans and an assortment of tops in for a wash. Now realistically I would have had all of this done prior to the day we were heading off on our adventure. But reality was not bearing witness in my life at the moment as these jeans we had been wearing throughout Italy and I had not had enough time to wash them.
We were not leaving the house to meet up with the other guys until around 5pm, so I thought I would have heaps of time to wash and dry them- alas I was unaware of The Organiser’s plans and the needs/wants of Yellow Thunder.
As I headed upstairs to once again pack the pannier bags, I marvelled at how talented I was and how I had finally ‘given in’ to rolling the clothes rather than folding them flat. Strangely I was able to fit more into the bags than I had first thought. I could even fit my toiletries in.
Standing admiring my skills I was summoned downstairs and informed that we were going for a spin. Now logically I should have declined and explained that the washing only had about 10mins to complete. However we all know that logic is not something that is a strong personality suit of mine. So with excitement and bravado I climbed onto the back of the bike and we headed off.
Down to the supermarket, getting an internet connection to contact people was the aim. The hidden course was to get me used to the bike. This was yet another different ride to what I am used to. The seat is a tad higher so I can peer over Yellow Thunder’s helmet and actually see what is coming toward us. This is not necessarily a good thing. Take into account that we travel long distances, down cobblestone roads, up hills, down dales, along beaten tracks, roads covered with fallen rocks and loose gravel, and add “The Germans” into the mix and it is a melting pot of adventure.
After about an hour, taking the scenic route, we arrived at the supermarket and thus the ‘connecting to family and friends’ (ok Facebook) saga began.
I won’t bore you with the details, but I will say that after another hour, walking into a phone store and letting ‘those who know’ connect us, we became active again.
We made it back to The Hobbit House, I had one hour to get two pairs of jeans dry. So into the dryer they went (forgetting that when we dry things on high in the dryer, shrinkage tends to be abit of a problem. Also eating Italian cuisine for nine days and now eating English food-what hope does a menopausal woman have?)
Packed, bike loaded, gear on, perched precariously on Yellow Thunder we headed off to meet the guys at Honda VTR SP1’s and his beautiful wife- Miss Smiley’s house where Suzuki GSXR 750, Aprilia Mille (Green Jacket), Honda VFR 750 (this is a new mix to the fold-this is guy grew up with the boys, he currently lives in France and is getting married in a few weeks. So this is his Bachelor Party), The Organiser on his beautiful MV Augusta all waited patiently for Aprilia Tuono to arrive.
Then the dreaded phone call-“I cant get the bike started”.
Everyone mounted their bike, the cavalry was on their way to revive Aprilia Tuono as time was ticking by to get to the Leeds wharf, climb on board the ferry and start the adventure.
As it always happens when a motorized vehicle is running well then all of a sudden stops. As soon as we entered his street, his bike roared into life. So off we went.
We made it to Liverpool without any incidents.
As we lined up with the other thousands of enthusiastic, excited riders, all taking our place in the designated line, waiting with overwhelming excitement, I could not believe we were about to start our adventure again.
I dismounted, readjusted my backpack and climbed the gang walk to enter ferry. One thing I forgot was I have to take my jacket and backpack off and walk through an x-ray machine. This means that the Samsung tablet I have down my front, the sling bag I have under my jacket which carries all my ‘girlie paraphernalia’ the extra jumper I am wearing, the camera body I have slung over my shoulder and laying like a monkey on my back all have to be taken off so I can be examined.
I finally repacked my body, putting all of the things I had taken off back on, being weighed down again by all the necessary items we ‘couldn’t live without’ nor fit into our panier bags.
I followed the pointing fingers to enter the ferry. Hoping Yellow Thunder would find me and I would be able to secure twelve seats. This was my only job to do on the ferry. So I thought.
It was noisier, busier and more colourful than I remembered.
Being a part of something as awesome as hundreds of different bikes, different helmets, different leathers all crammed onto a floating device makes you wonder how buoyant this ferry really is.
The sky was darkening and turning grey. The sea was starting to match the sky in color and was becoming more choppy with little white ‘seahorses bobbing along the tops of the waves’. The wind was picking up and I gazed out of the window and prayed I would not succumb to seasickness.
I found a couple of seat with tables and placed my gear on them. The room was filling up rather quickly. I could not find seats all together so I spread out as much as I could.
Announcements came across the speaker “Please ensure no gear is placed on the seats”.
Oppsie….oh well I will smile and state I only understand ‘Strayan’
I heard a familiar voice giving salutations as she walked through the room. Here she comes.
Here comes Curls.
My face mirrored hers as I looked at her smiling, shining face. I couldn’t believe it. It has been a year and she has not changed one bit. She epitomises being a lady wearing biker pants with helmet hair. Though she is able to have helmet hair and NOT look like she has had a helmet on. Whereas I on the other hand had a definite helmet look with my hair all matted at the ends- rats tails is one descriptive word that comes to mind. Her nails are done in a blood red shade and never chip over the two weeks. She makes a beeline towards me and I know that nothing has changed over the year.
After cuddles and European kisses, we settle down, chatting nonstop, and wait for the boys to arrive.
Suddenly we were inundated with arms, legs, helmets, jackets, bags, boots and greetings from all the boys. It was like a family reunion. There was not a moment of silence.
After we set sail, I looked at Yellow thunder and stupidly asked if he wanted something to drink or eat.
There are times when you should never open your mouth and ask questions which in your heart you hope will not be answered in the affirmative. I wandered over to the kiosk. Looking at the baymarees and smelling the food, I remembered how last year Curls had produced a delectable array of nibblies for her and Aprilia Mille (flat black). My mouth watered as I remembered what they had, yet my stomach turned as I looked at the food presented before me. When I got back to the table I was to see that yet again she was so well prepared. I really need to get my act together and have something similar prepared.
My ears were pricking up as I heard a familiar twang. Are Englishmen taking Australian speaking lessons? There seems to be a lot of Aussie sounding people on this ferry. I smiled and ordered coffee and bickies.
As I came back to our group, there was a strange couple sitting at the table. I smiled and started chatting to them. It seemed that there was an Aussie contingency onboard. A large group of Aussies had bought a tour and were headed to the TT. Does this mean people have been reading my blog and decided to join in on the action? (Ok I know that is egotistical of me-but a girl can dream)
There were a number, a huge number of red cap wearers sitting in clusters around the room. I smiled and listened as the couple were being quizzed by The Organiser. There were more red capped wearers than naked heads.
For those who are unsure what I am trying to say- there were a hell of a lot of Aussies on the ferry. We found out that there were potentially four different tour groups, all with different participants from around Australia all descending on The Isle of Man. The numbers were in the hundreds, with different activites they could do- walking the pits, being at an interview panel with the likes of Cam Donald, John McGuiness, Guy Martin, Michael and William Dunlop – be still my beating heart. Last year I got a cuddle with Cam Donald- “sigh”.
After listening and chatting and watching the boys all interact with each other, I knew our adventure had finally begun.