We had a good nights sleep in a lovely B&B. They had previously refused our booking as we only wanted to stay 1 night and before the start of their season they were only accepting a 4 night minimum. Lucky for us, the poor weather meant that they were now a little more flexible and took us, it was right on the route, so perfect. The B&B I had booked was 3 miles off route and was insistant that Jake stay in a stable on his own, but at the time it was all I could get. We phoned the day before to cancel and I sent £50 in cash 2/3 of her rate. We were all happy! 6 miles saved plus 2 in and 1 on, the bed. We had travelled 880 miles thus far, TOGETHER as a team, to put Jake in a stable for the last night would have been wrong.
We had a lovely dinner which included gluten free apricot pudding, with custard!!!!!! I (Martin) was sooo happy!!
We booked breakfast as early as we could and got on the road at 8.20. Because of the slight route change, plus Mr Garmin messing about a bit we were a bit concerned that the anticipated 45 miles might turn into something a lot longer, plus we didn't want to be arriving after 4 or 5pm.
The route proved to be as hard as the previous day, up and down all day on single track minor of roads, seemingly avoiding towns. It was hard, hard, hard and a bit soul destroying having to waste all the energy getting to the top of the hills as the downhills were all twists and turns so we were braking hard on the hills as opposed to swooping up the other side.
We finally came across a coffee shop, great coffee (double Macchiato for me) and the loveliest people. We got talking (obviously) tandem, dog, JohnO'Groats, etc etc so we found out how really lovely they were. The 35'ish year old son has a 14 year old Alsatian who has lost the use of his legs, so the son sleeps on a camp bed in the kitchen to look after him! Not soppy people, just very very kind.
We were on our way again with about 12 miles to go to Penzance. Up and down and up and down, Granny Gear for virtually all the hills. About 5 miles from Penzance the course exited at a roundabout onto another single track road, or right on a gentle downsloping dual carriageway. I can't remember the words that I used (fortunately) but I steered us to the dual carriageway and it was a gentle down, down, down, just an easy spin virtually all the way to Penzance, Ahhhhhhhh.
As we soon as we stopped riding, I couldn't stop shaking (and crying). The shaking was a shortage of suggars, the tears were or gratefulness and happiness. I was cold too. As soon as my meal and the Cola and all the other stuff that I ate and swallowed started to take effect I felt OK again. I would have written, 'fine again', but after 900 miles, that would be a lie. Truth was I was broken. Caffiene, protein, Berocca, energy gels, Red Bull, sweets etc etc, nothing seemed to make much difference to me. Quite simply one nights sleep is not enough for me to recover these days.
Off after lunch for the final bit, the 10/11 miles from Penzance to LANDS END! Happy to know that this is it. Once out on the open road we found a good breeze coming from behind us so when he were on high ground (it was obviously still up and down, it's Crornwall), our general 9/10 mph turned into 14 or 15, it felt like a present.
Our good friend Martin Day had offered to meet us at Lands End and so he did, camera in hand, ready to record the occasion, plus a lovely bottle of champagne, what a star!
And that was it, or so we thought. 927 miles pedalled with 35 kg (inc Jake) on our trusty tandem, now named 'The Crumpet Crusher' by Carine. All we had to do was the photos, me buy a pint (Hayden knows why), then get a lift from Martin Day in his stunning new Porsche flying machine to Penzance where I'd parked the van nearly 3 weeks ago.
Martin kindly dropped me off very close to our trusty old van, in the Council car park, we shook hands and I waved him goodbye. Great, lets get back to pick up Carine, Jake and the bike. Key in the ignition, wruugh, wruggh, wruggh, not enough juice to start the engine, w***. There were a couple parked next to us who were just leaving so I asked them for a jump-start. More lovely people. A retired couple who knew the battery was somewhere in the boot of their Audi but not sure exactly where. Whilst removing the content and panneling from the boot of their car, I told them our tale. Jump-start completed, they then gave me £5 toward our Monty/Macmillan collection. So kind.
I drove to Lands End where the car park attendant waived the £3 parking fee as he recognised me as 'the man on the tandem with the dog on the back'. I parked the van and Carine pushed the tandem round to load up so we could be on our way. We had just got the tandem loaded and secure when a passer by pointed out that the van's radiator was spraying it's contents out of the front of the van, double w***!
We phoned Green Flag and their automated service said that they would answer our call within 20 minutes, what! When we had changed from the AA I was a bit disconcerted that you don't get a list of numbers or membership card so I was really worried now and dissapointed I'd moved our business. We waited and they answered within 5 minutes. Name, address, vehicle, 'yes you've got home recovery, we're sending a firm from Penzance with a recovery truck and a courtesy car for you to drive yourselves home in', amazing!
The truck arrived, unloaded a car for us, we loaded our panniers into the boot and were on our way home. What an amazing service.
So that was it, 927 miles. A box ticked for me and my amazing wife supported me in my challenge, what a gift from her, I love her so much, she's a star.
I'm going to add another blog entry later with my personal thoughts and observations of our journey but not for a few days.
Thanks for reading our story as it has unfolded, we've enjoyed sharing it with you.
Don't forget our fund, I really want to get to £850.
Sincere thanks to all of you who have already donated. Love from the 3 happy travellers xxx