Friday, September 14, 2007

Road Trip!! (Don't Try This at Home)*

Well, not really that exciting: driving from North Devon to Chandler's Ford, Hants (site of some excitement yesterday)**.

After farting around Bideford and Barn'aple on the A39 "Atlantic Highway", we push south-east on Devon's own la via della morte or A361 North Devon Link Road. Before the link road, these parts could be reached by dirt roads and tractor clogged single track lanes only.

The link road meets the M5 (and civilisation) near Tiverton Parkway rail station. We avoid hitting caravans and peel north on to the motorway.

Rover hits 85mph on the M5 or to give it its proper name - the Caravan Clogged Motorway.

Time for a pit stop at the delightful Taunton Dean(e) Services. As usual, Cleetus the Slack Jawed Yokel was serving at Costa Coffee, so instead of waiting 15 minutes we ploughed onwards.

Exit 25 - Somerset Cricket and cider.

The A358 brings traffic 24/7 to the otherwise pleasant village of Henlade. There's a roadside cafe in a lay-by before you enter the village - no entrance from our side. Carved wooden mushrooms are also available.

The home of dangerous driving: the A303 Ilminster by-pass. Three lanes, alternating passing lane every mile or so. This is road design crying out for head-on collisions.

50mph speed limit through Chicklade.

The wide expanses of the A303, running from the M3 in Hampshire to Exeter, it is part of the main route from London to the South-West though it places it resembles a country lane.

Back up to 80mph on dual carriageway near Wylye, site of The Bell pub - excellent beer and food.

Stonehenge lurking to the left. This bit of the A303 is notorious for traffic jams. Got caught here for half-an-hour in both directions on my last trip.

The bizarre A303/A34 junction. Going eastbound to southbound necessitates a hasty exit, apply brakes, negotiate mini-roundabout, under the both roads, past a pub isolated by main east-west/south-north highways, another mini-roundabout and a very short entrance ramp.

Merging with the A33 just before meeting the M3 near Winchester. Another notorious bottleneck. There seems to be a plethora of white vans.

A particularly grubby windscreen as we pass over what used to be Twyford Down, demolition of which was one of the grubbiest excesses of Thatcher's Britain.

Entering Chandler's Ford, there were signs saying "Road Closed Ahead". Thought nothing of it. Parked at Waitrose to pick up chocolate and flowers. As I got back in the car, I switched on the radio to hear: "second robber in Hampshire bank raid dies." Thinks: "Hmm, wonder where that was?" Well, it was here and I was here.

On the way home, this was supposed to be a photo of Stonehenge.

Toilet break at the Little Chef near West Knoyle.

"The Devil-Tips" - Arab Strap
"Pictures" - Mojave 3
"United Nations" - Bobby Conn
"Nobody's Fault But Mone" - Led Zeppelin
"Satan" - Orbital
"Providence" - Godspeed You! Black Emperor
"Erik's Budding Romance" - A Minor Forest
"The Bends" - Radiohead
"Candlewax" - Spooncurve
"White Worms" - Dump
"I Would Hurt a Fly" - Built to Spill
"Along the Route" - To Rococo Rot/I-Sound
"The Girl with the Flesh Colored Crayon" - Aix-em-Klemm
"The Keen Teen Skip" - cLOUDDEAD
"Make Your Move" - The Delagados
"Pilot" - The Notwist
"Happy Hour" - The Housemartins
"Missouri" - Low
"Simple Halo" - Shipping News
...and 30 odd more...

* - the author does not recommend taking photos whilst driving at excessive speeds (except for artistic purposes)
** - nothing to do with me guv.

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:: Posted by pete @ 16:03