We arrived in London 10 am and took a car to the BMW dealer in Guildford. Easy pick up, and we loaded up the new BMW GS1200 and took the back roads to Oxford as it was into the afternoon and I didn’t want to ride too far on the first day. It took a while to get the swing of riding on the left hand side of the road and dealing with the traffic but we were soon spinning through the English countryside.
The drivers are all consistent and courteous and very predictable. Having a cell phone in your hand will get you six points on your license here, so I immediately feel a lot safer and after an hour of meandering through small villages and towns, we pulled over at the Hare and Hounds for lunch. A leisurely affair in the beer garden, more from the snail pace service than our need to rest, but it was fun chatting about our memories of the last time we traveled together, and P was pretty tired so was not objecting to relaxing in the warm afternoon.
By late afternoon we rolled into Oxford, and battled the after work traffic for a while as we made our way to my friend Shelby Tucker’s house. I met Shelby Tucker traveling in Nicaragua in the early ‘80s and have been a sporadic visitor to his simple, Oxford home ever since. This is the first time he has met Patrick though, and his wife Carole happened to be home, so we enjoyed an evening catching up with an excellent meal in the small garden.
Shelby has traveled significantly in over 135 countries in the world, written two best selling travel books about his experiences in Burma and Tanzania, and is working on a third about hitch hiking too India at 25 and then 75 years of age. (Two Roads) This book is the inspiration for the journey Patrick and I are taking as I recall my life and thoughts from 30-years ago when I first rode motorcycles here, and then left to travel the world. I’m just able to have another perspective from my 12-year-old son who is seeing from the saddle of a motorcycle for the first time. With a bright eyed smile and constant enthusiasm for the journey in some ways it’s new to me again. Shelby sleeps early, so I talked late to Carole....not much of a traveler compared to Shelby with only 65 countries visited, but a great conversationalist nonetheless. Then it’s time to sleep and get some rest for a big ride to Scotland tomorrow.