At the end of this month, a younger cousin of mine is getting married. The wedding and reception are going to be in the Newcastle area, and of course I will be there. The wedding and reception are in the same hotel, so I have booked in for the night before and the night after as well. I don't see my family often, so there will be plenty of catching-up to do, and I foresee some alcoholic consumption as well.
So, how to get there? Well, the obvious answer is the car. Warm, dry, comfortable, Radio 4 when I got bored, and plenty of CDs for when The Archers or a 'radio drama' comes on, plenty of room for luggage, hook over the back door for the suit. Satnav, hands-free phone, drink and snax on the passenger seat.
So I'm going on the bike. It's a long time since I did a long journey at this time of year on two wheels. I ride year-round, but from October to March it's generally only commuting and errands, with the occasional fun run. This will be 340 miles each way of mixed A-roads and some of the busiest motorways in the UK. On a Friday. And with less then ten hours of daylight to play with. It will be cold, although not midwinter cold, and the possibility of rain is quite high.
On the positive side, I have got all the kit to keep me warm and dry ("Up to a point, Lord Copper") and the bike is easily capable of the journey. I have two decent-sized hard cases to carry all my stuff, and an Ortlieb dry-bag if I can't get my suit in the cases. I can rig up a power lead to run the satnav (useful for route-finding at the far end, plus planning fuel stops and so on) and the Ride Logger iPhone app. I can't mount the TomTom like I did on the Pan, as the Bonnie has no fairing, but it can live in the tankbag and I will consult it when stationary.
And the hotel has dedicated motorcycle parking. In fact, when I read that on their website, it's what made me decide to go on the bike in the first place. It would seem rude not to.
I am also planning to call in on an elderly relative in Richmond that I haven't seen for a long time, and on one of the legs, depending on time, I plan to take the pretty route across the Yorkshire Dales and the Forest of Bowland. That's a landscape that I don't see enough of.
I'm looking forward to it. If your life doesn't bring you much adventure sometimes, you have to make your own.