One month to go before I leave the USA for Scotland - I leave on October 1 and will arrive on October 2. First stop Heathrow, then Edinburgh.
Sadly, I do not think I will be doing the Prince's Trust Palace to Palace charity ride. This is an annual bike ride from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle and is 45 miles (there is a longer route of 90 miles also), but I can't go unless I get a sponsor to pay my entry fee, pay the support fees, and pay for my train to and from Edinburgh to London. That was to happen on October 5. Yes I will still be miserably jet-lagged with the 8-hr time difference but I'd be flying on adrenalin just to be in the throngs of other British cyclists! Oh well. I'll catch up with the Breeze groups. Also on that same day at 1:00 in Hertford was a screening and Q&A of Sherlock: His Last Vow with guest speakers Martin Freeman and Amanda Abbington. Honestly didn't know how I was going to get from Windsor to Hertford in time unless I took a super expensive taxi for me and the bike. Yikes. I had a ticket in my hand for the screening but let it slip through my fingers in indecision... and now I'm on the bloody waiting list to get in. Probably waaaaaay down the list. So, I will probably pass on that opportunity as well, darn it. I've seen that episode probably 40-50 times and would have had some ripping in-depth questions to ask. Maybe there will be another screening and Q&A somewhere in Britain before S4 airs. Please. Please.
However, I did manage to fight my way through the fangirls earlier this month and procure a ticket for October 27 of 2015 for HAMLET at the Barbican. That was a fight! Finally it just got to the point where I said frantically, "I don't care how much it costs or what time or day, just get me a ticket!" That was me talking to myself, and finally I got one. And shortly afterwards all available tickets were sold out. Then I felt like dancing around and singing, "I've got a golden ticket!" Yeah, I'm keeping that with my passport.
In the meantime I still have a ton of stuff to get rid of, but I got rid of one of the big things - the upright baby grand piano. Just gave it away and someone paid professional movers to pick it up.
I tried to call the airlines today to find out about the bike box issue and the cost, but got a busy signal. Arrgh. Might have my guys at I. Martin Cycles help me pack it up. I think Ryan would help. I need to see how everything needs to come apart so that I can put it all back together again, and I will probably film them doing it because I'm just such a virgin about such things. Need to get a whole lot more savvy about working on my bike. I did stop in the shop yesterday because I need to cut off part of the foam grips so that I can mount the headlight in a different place, and I also asked Ryan about the broken spoke problem. The back wheel has had three broken spokes since I've had the bike, and my other bike never had a broken spoke. I asked if it was a weight-bearing issue, and he said probably, as sometimes I've put 50+ lbs of dead weight back there when I go grocery shopping. He suggested maybe getting a rim with more spokes, but I can't do anything about that now. I just have to wait until I get to Scotland. I still have more Ortlieb stuff to also get while I'm in the UK. Yes, I will travel with my disgustingly huge Coleman sleeping bag, but I am setting out in the winter, and I hate mummy bags, and this one supposedly goes down to 20 degrees. Will also have a wool blanket with me. I should be fine if I have to camp out anywhere, and I sort of hope I do get to experience a little winter camping.
So, I plan to leave Scotland in January and take the train to Wales and begin touring there. After Wales I will head over to Ireland, tour nice and slowly, then head to France to see my friend in Paris. Or I might head to Amsterdam first, then work my way down. I plan to tour in Europe until sometime in August, then head back to Scotland, specifically to John O'Groats on the northern most coast and do the route from there to Lands End. Should take 3 weeks, but I may take longer and just enjoy the slower pace so that I can just soak it all in. Then it's back to Scotland for a few months... with a slight intermission in October for Hamlet.
We'll see how it all works out. I hope I develop some good stories to write while on the road. I need something new to write.