Leaving Grantham the way we arrived - by train - we headed up to York. The Queen was making a trip to the Minster and we hoped to be able to get out of the station before she arrived. Ahead of us was a 100km bicycle ride back to Stockton-on-Tees and we were looking forward to another sunny day... what we hadn't expected was the cold. No sooner were we riding than Carol's cough started back up. And to make matters slightly worse, the only route we really knew went through Easingwold, which meant a horrible section from York on the B1363 past Wigginton...
It seemed to take forever to get to Easingwold and I wasn't particularly impressed when we got there. The cold and the headwind had sapped Carol's energy and my mood tends to feed off hers. We stopped for coffee and tea at a small cafe, but I had to buy a big container of soya milk from the Co-Op next door. With the increase in lactose intolerance it's really starting to bother me that we often get the response, "oh, no, we don't do that sort of thing" when I ask for soya milk for Carol. We left Easingwold with the thought that if Carol didn't get stronger we'd drop into either Thirsk or Northallerton to pick up a train home. But as we continued, with some quite stiff little climbs to Coxwold (and from there all the way to Knayton), Carol seemed to find her strength. As we passed through Coxwold we remembered a good pub not much further on and decided to head for it.
We must have mis-remembered though because it took us a lot longer to get there; it was all the way beyond Coxwold to Felixkirk. But it was worth it - more great food and more great vegetarian choices - this time a mushroom burger with relish. Mmmm. The Carpenters Arms
Fully fortified with good food we continued to Northallerton and stopped for coffee...
As we drank, Carol made it clear that she was determined to make it all the way home. So we carried on, weaving through the Northallerton traffic jams to get out via Brompton and on to East Rounton. With the final leg in sight Carol was not sure she could get up Rudby Bank without pushing so we stopped for a refresh near the church... and that done, promptly both made it up without stopping.
With 98km showing we rolled into the drive and the warm welcome of the kids.
A brilliant cycle tour, brilliant time together and the perfect example of not letting our plans get in the way of having a good time. We were flexible and it paid off - we had a perfect holiday.