After two and a half years of travelling, we decided that it was about time to go home. We set San Francisco in our sights for our final destination and booked flights for three weeks’ time, hoping to arrive with time to spare for a visit to Yosemite National Park with Cat and Mike.
We arrived in Gatwick Airport early on 15 November, unpacked our bikes from their boxes and set about building them up under a giant Christmas tree in the Arrivals hall. Despite temptations to jump on a train or phone home for a lift, we decided to cycle back to complete our journey. We found some lovely winding country lanes through the Surrey Hills, passing through picturesque English villages – we had forgotten how lovely our own country is.
It took slightly longer than expected to negotiate the twists and turns, occasional wrong turns and muddy footpaths of the National Cycle Network route 4 along the Thames, and almost gave up as we arrived in Maidenhead in an evening downpour. The rain eased to drizzle, and after a welcome cup of tea and toasted teacakes at David and Kirsty’s house (who were quite surprised to find us on their doorstep) we had just enough energy to carry on home to surprise Jules’ parents.
Our return was well timed for a Vulcan reunion in Snowdonia for Jules and cousin Craig’s wedding for Mark, three early Christmas gatherings with friends and of course Christmas with our families. We have been thoroughly enjoying spending time at home with family and friends, relaxing, walking, mountain biking, canoeing and sleeping in a bed every night!