The other day I noticed by the power of Facebook that it was the first day of spring, while rain was hammering down on the roof of the campervan. How ironic. In the last couple of days we’ve kept one eye on the weather hoping to avoid being totally drenched and miserable which led to some evasive action this morning. Torrential rain beat down on our roof most of the night and into the morning so we planned an alternative start to the day. First job, complete the morning tea-making ritual, second job, collect all our dry washing from the campsite washroom. Third job, head back into Tregaron and find a cafe for brekkie.
Tregaron didn’t disappoint, as we found a 400 year old Inn on the square to satisfy our need for carbs and somewhere dry to take shelter from the rain. Right in front of our table was a huge old fire place with a log burner nestled inside, which was quickly lit as an added bonus for our breakfast stop.
Every half hour we were checking the weather and at 12 o’clock we reluctantly decided it was time to make a move and get the bikes back on the road. Amy took the first leg with Aberystwyth as the end goal. It was quite a slog out of Tregaron but 5 miles in and she was motoring along and the rain had completely stopped. Things were looking up.
The smiles on our faces today were a combination of not riding in rain and being treated to roads that were less “undulating” than previous days. There was even a hint of blue sky! A couple of miles outside of Aber and there was actual blue sky and proper sunshine which felt so bloody good on the skin. Dizzy and I stopped in a lay by where we got our first view of the sea and we soaked up some sunny warm rays together before heading for Aber promenade. By the time we got there, the weather had changed so much that we couldn’t believe we were watching rain bounce up off the pavement in Tregaron this morning.
Meeting on the promenade meant that Dizzy could have a run about and Amy could have a rest and munch on some food in the sun. In Dizzy’s excitement to play, she grabbed her favourite green bone from the van and started dropping it at the feet of strangers passing by, while I was getting kitted up for my leg. This is her usual tactic wherever she is, just to maximise play time by tugging on the heart strings of strangers. Who can resist those big brown eyes? When the flow of strangers dried up she dropped it towards me, over the wall and before I could reach down and get it, the bone rolled away into the storm drain never to be seen again. She was mightily confused by this, despite my explaining that it was now on its way to another dog over the sea in Ireland.
When we drive about in our cars, we barely pay attention to the inclines and descents that we take every day. Going up hills we just drop a gear or two, give it a little gas and away we go without a second thought. Leaving Aber and heading north towards Machynlleth, there is only one route and that’s generally up up up and up a bit more. By now, we’ve both relaxed into our hill climbing mode and this beast was no exception. The sunshine most definitely helped me to haul my own frame and bike frame up and out of the seaside, and I tried not to think of Amy relaxing in the sun eating chicken sandwiches. What goes up must come down though and I made full use of the generous descent to pick up speed and click through the miles.
You know you’re in rural Wales when a quad bike comes the other way driven by a farmer with his sheepdog on the luggage rack hanging on for dear life. The one that shot past me was particularly amusing as said Farmer was actually driving one-handed at a good lick of speed, while his other hand was shielding his eyes from the sun. A few vehicles later and a pickup truck sped past with two more sheepdogs hanging out the side, lapping up the oxygen-fest and sunshine at 50mph. The road to Machynlleth was kind and funny and sunny and fast. I was making good time ahead of the next rain storm coming in. “Powys!” I could see the county sign ahead of me and Amy had pulled over for a quick photo. We had a mini fist pump then I sped off for the last few miles, looking ahead towards the spectacular mountains of Gwynedd which were rapidly coming into view. The sunny day ended with finding a lovely farm campsite where we’ve just overdosed on pasta ready for a jaunt into Gwynedd tomorrow.