UK Drifter Owners Group
18th - 20th April. 2008
Hmm, I seem to remember doing something similar to this at the same time last year. Right, first thing to do is load the bike up, making sure there is still room for such essential objects as a Ukulele. . . . you never know when you may need one.
Having got all the necessary tat loaded, the next move was towards the motorway. OK, so it's boring, but it gets me out into the countryside much quicker. The M54 turned into the A5. Time for a change, methinks. I rolled down to have a nose at the wonderful canal aqueduct at Trevor.
Having taken my fill of navigational engineering I then carried on. With perfect timing I arrived at Llangollen just as the steam train was leaving. Once again I took the opportunity to take in some wonderful engineering. All this had left me feeling hungry, so seeing as I was within striking distance of the Horseshoe Pass, and the Ponderosa Cafe, it would have been rude not to stop and feed.
The rest of the journey went according to plan, and by mid afternoon I had rolled up at the Swallow Falls hotel. As per normal, the place was devoid of Drifters with most of 'em off on a scenic tour of North Wales. I pitched the tent and promptly met up with Rod, from London, and his other half, Rannveig. By means of that wonderful piece of modern technology, the mobile phone, we ascertained that the rest of 'em were somewhere near Barmouth, and would be coming back along the A470. The plan was to sort of "head them off at the pass", or the cafe to be more precise. This cafe just happened to be a few miles back along the road at Ffestiniog ( well, at Tanygrisiau, but I can't spell that - why does this page suddenly seem to be filling up with words that my poor spell checker can't cope with ? ) Like all good plans, this one didn't quite work as it should have. It seems the run headed back to Swallow Falls and sort of forgot to pass our way. Luckily they sent Gino out on a search and rescue mission, and by early evening we were all safely back at the site. Some kind of bizarre ritual involving fire and food was taking place outside - I took the coward's was out and headed for the warmth and hospitality of the hotel. Having fed and watered, the next move was to inflict acoustic torture on those around me . . . hence packing the Ukulele earlier on. One poor soul was so overcome that he had to keep stealing the aforesaid Uke and playing "Duelling Banjos" on it. I can see much mayhem being caused later in the year - imagine what more than one would sound like in a confined space. You have been warned. It appeared someone must have told 'em I would be playing again on Sunday morning, for I emerged from my tent to find . . . . . . they'd all buggered off - or had it got something to do with me not waking up until around ten o'clock ?
I packed up, in a leisurely sort of a way. Loaded the bike up. Put on my waterproofs, after all, this is Wales and those big, dark, cloud shaped things were threatening to do what Welsh clouds do best. I rolled down into Betws-y-coed, only to find Rod and Rannveig sitting in the petrol station. Oh dear. It seems some kind of Welsh Gremlin had sneaked into the electrical system on Rod's bike and was eating the main ignition fuse. We traced this Gremlin back to its nest beneath the fuel tank, and by means of "technical adjustment" - or "pulling at a few wires" as we call it, we got the bike to run. I followed Rod back up the A5, just in case the Gremlin appeared again. ( which it never did, and Rod got back home with no further mishap ) We stopped for dinner just outside Oswestry, then I took the motorway, whilst Rod went "overland" on the "A" roads to meet up with the M42 further South. Once again, the rest of the journey home was uneventful.
May I thank all those involved in making this weekend a success. I do rather have a fondness for these small, informal rallies. Rallies that are more of a camping weekend than a true rally, and I don't mean that in any negative way. As much as I moan about certain aspects of my Drifter, it's these weekends that make me reluctant to sell the bike. In fact, I can see me doing yet another Drifter weekend in less than a week's time.