There were two more of those sheltered climbs and descents, and the second one took us into the picture-postcard village of Looe. Cars displayed number plates from several European countries, and accents from all over the UK entered earshot. People were generally jovial in demeanour and dress, as they wobbled between chip shop to cafe, and from cream tea to post cards. Everyone seemed to be eating as we were, carb overloads and as-many-calories-as-you-can-in-one-sitting, so we joined in. Cappuccino and a scone with a frankly ridiculous amount of clotted cream.
From Looe it was a straight forward B road adventure through to Boddinick, where we caught the days second ferry to Fowey. Rather than viewing these floating vessels as 'cheat kilometers', we view them as our respectful testimony to following the scenic route, and you should, too.
From Fowey it was more B roads and less hills. We were making great time until the lack of snacks to go became a choice to regret. The coffee and scone wasn't enough, and my biological red light had been on for a few kilometers. As I began to feel quite faint, we saw a Tesco Extra, and salvaged just about enough energy to cycle through the car-park and collapse on a bench at the front of the store. After sitting and groaning for a few moments, i shuffled around the store in my socks, and purchased a cheese and pickle sandwich, two pork pies, some salt and vinegar Real McCoys, a bottle of sparkling water, and some chocolate. We shared most of it in a delightful fury.
Upon leaving the store, Em's progress menacing rear tyre had gone soft again. Luckily, we were on the outskirts of St Austell, and much like most towns in the UK, the big supermarket is located in the same soulless patch of concrete as a Halfords. Endless grey with white painted lines was a showcase for the family hatchback. Almost like a hastily arranged museum of ordinary cars. We skirted the car-park, and passed the usual logos - Boots, B&Q, Next, Argos - and finally cycled into Halfords. The tyre hissed out all the air we'd put in with the pump, so in a respectfully honest admittance, we informed Steve that if we were left to our own devices, fitting a new inner-tube would cause much swearing and a possible break-up, we politely asked if he'd do it. He would, there and then, and for the sum of £9. We were in complete agreement.
After that little delay, the roads to St Mawes were both kind and fast, and one more of those glorious downhills threw us out in continental Europe. White houses, sparkling blue waters, a bright azzure sky with a few splashes of white fluff, and even people swimming in the sea. The sun was out, and Britain was Great. We purchased two Magnums - one espresso and one white chocolate, and two ferry tickets for the 20min crossing to Falmouth.
Falmouth is another quaint gem on the south coast, and our B&B was a short ride along the coastal road. After a shower each, we walked back into town, and requested bread & olives, beer, wine, and the wi-fi code. While sharing all of the above we booked two nights in Penzance for the last day, and a rest day, and reserved a car to drive back to Northampton on Friday. Usually, we'd do no such thing as swap our pedal powered modes of transport for an automobile, but it worked out at precisely £143.70 cheaper than train tickets, and, traffic/roadworks pending, will be much quicker. After the shared starter and logistics chores were done for the night, we found a beautiful Thai restaurant, and shared a Massamam chicken curry, and more wine.
There have been plenty of nights throughout the past 2 weeks where we've collapsed into bed, and declared the days cycling the best ever, and today was another.
The penultimate day's digits...
99.6km's completed (running total: 1560.4km)
5:07hrs riding time
19.5km/h average speed
68.4km/h top speed
3 ferries used