Sunday, 11 March 2018

Seven More Sleeps

As I unfetter my complaining body from the last in the chain of uninspiring budget hotels in France, I wonder when this bag got so heavy and how it gets heavier every day! I have happily carried this luggage with me all over the world, and now on the final leg, I am almost unable to carry it to the bike for the injuries and general lethargy I feel with every move. 'Just a few more miles and I'm there!' I tell myself. 'Just a few more miles!'. In the absence of my friends, who would normally point and laugh at my pathetic-ness at this stage, I laugh at myself instead. Talk about limping home! Europe is supposed to be the easy bit! I am here though. I am alive and the lines are almost touching! Full bloody circle baby! GET IN!!!!!!! :)

I must admit the last leg through Italy and France has not been quite as I imagined. I hit Europe far earlier than planned as I had been worried about my injuries getting worse and so now had to brave the last of the wintery weather. My mission was now just to get through and as quickly as possible. This meant taking the dreaded toll roads and motorways. Rhonda is not designed for this, with her dual-sport tyres and tiny engine!  I lost the Pinlock from my visor several thousand miles ago too and so I can't see a thing in this rain! Still - it took half the time to get through and I managed to save a fortune by ducking and diving my way through the gaps in the toll booths in Italy (best not go back THERE for a while!). The French don't leave gaps though, so I was collared and eventually forced back onto the back roads. The Monotony was only adding to my pain by then anyway, and motorways almost felt like cheating!

It really is a strange feeling being back in Europe. I am so excited about seeing everyone and being home for a while BUT it seems some kind of anxiety (for want of a better word) is kicking in. I wake every morning in a confused state, unable to decipher where I am. I have to work backwards starting with the continent, before eventually pinning it down to a country and a town. Perhaps the vibrations have finally got to my brain as well as my joints! Perhaps it is only natural to feel a little strange at this stage! Who knows, but I have a feeling that in a few days, everything will be calmer - at least for a while.

Today the sun shone on the French countryside and the winding roads led me happily closer to home, reminding me what I love about Europe. In three days I will meet up with my parents (who are braving the cold and rain on their bikes to come join me from Wales) and a couple of my friends, at Moto Breaks in France. I can't wait to see them and plan on a few beers there in honour and gratitude of my friend and sponsor Tim (RIP mate), before heading over to the UK where we will meet up with a few more bikers for a ride into the Ace Cafe in London.

The plan is to leave from the Premier Inn, Newhaven @9am sharp on Sunday 18th March, and finish at the Ace Cafe London Ltd.  It will be a convoy lead by Blood Bikes from several groups from across the country. I am so spoiled and honoured to have them (as well as my friends and family) join me on the last leg, and VERY grateful for the moral support.  

Straight forward route A23, M23, M25, regroup at Cobham services and then up M25 to M40/A40 straight to cafe. 

Welcome to join us along the route if you want to brave the good old British weather! 

I am looking forward to a decent cuppa and a bacon butty (maybe a little physio!) at home before I crack on with my next adventure! :) - What will it be I wonder???????


  1. Congrats on a great ride. You're an inspiration! I fully understand the reluctance to finish... I did a two year tour photographing the 92 courthouses in Mississippi, and when I finished, I felt very out of sorts. As much of an accomplishment as the RTW trip is for you, the end must be a little anti-climatic. Let your wounds heal, and then find another great adventure. XOXO Your fan, Kathy Wilkinson

    1. :) Thanks you Kathy and thanks for understanding. xxxxx

  2. Be careful! i've always heard that the end of the trip was the most dangerous as you are tired and kind of let your guard down. This has been an incredible trip that you shared with the world. Congratulations!

  3. Amazing. Well done (from sunny South Africa)

  4. Next trip? How 'bout a sunny beach with pool boys bringing you endless Margaritas? Failing that, you're welcome in Vietnam anytime. We're still smarting from missing you first time 'round.

  5. Hi Steph
    I am a member of the Ribble Valley Trail Riders and a Honda 250 xr rider.
    When you get home will you be doing any talks/presentations and if so we would be intetested in organising an event The last one we organised was with Austin Vince
    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Allen Mitchell

  6. Yes precisely, take it easy on this last leg of your yourney, we had a nasty car crash once on the way home, but otherwise be happy happy happy!!! You did it!!! You have braved the World and built the treasure within yourself that is yours only and it will last you forever!!! Or at least until the next adventure. But take One Steph at the time!!! We are very happy for you!!! Tatjana and Wagner (Namibia)

  7. Congratulations!, such a fantastic ride, I came across your blog late but have been enjoying to read your travels :)

  8. well done steph!.... wow! .... you did it!.... rest, savor, enjoy!...

  9. Words cannot express how much of an inspiration to others you are. Well done Steph!! When you left in 2014 I promised myself a brand new CRF250l when you returned. On 22nd March I pick my new Honda up as a little sister to the 1200GS. Now I just need to name her. Your return coincided with my retirement so now my adventure begins. Thanks for letting us share your adventure.

  10. Great to meet you in person yesterday after all the reading and following your travels, I'm sure your hardships and achievements will change other peoples lives forever as they realise what can be done with grit and determination.

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