Off to the Isle of Wight!

A quick ride down from Peartree, with a stop en route at Tothill to pick up the Newbury contingent, saw 9 of the HOC Oxford family arrive at the Southampton Ferry Terminal for the 11 am sailing to the Isle of Wight.  Off to see Roger and Jill and chat about old times at the Foxcombe Lodge Hotel, our meeting venue for several years up until it was sold for re development.  The weather was lovely and sunny as Pete, Jen, Terry, Mary-Ann, Greg, Carol, Gerald, Erica and Huw rode their bikes onto the ferry for the one hour journey.  Arriving after a sunny trip, off we rode around the island to the beautiful Freshwater cove, with golden sands and white cliffs. 

After completely filling the ‘m/cycle parking’ area in the car park, due to the cheekily nicknamed ‘two wheeled car’ alias the rather fine silver Gold Wing, everyone trotted off to the cafe for lunch, unfortunately it was closed so, after asking around, it was an amble along the sea shore and up steps to a hotel which also housed a cafe where refreshments were enjoyed before returning to the bikes to continue the ride around the island’s coast.  The route was however interrupted by a road closure due to a landslide and, after most of the bikes ventured down the unused road for a while before turning round to find the Diversion, we all re gathered and continued to Sandown, with one or two stragglers getting there a bit late!    
The Trueville Hotel was very welcoming and right on the sea front with a ‘secure (?)’ car park at the top of the slope.  Everyone settled in before Roger arrived to offer a lift to those who couldn’t quite manage the hill climb to their lovely house and garden for a sumptuous buffet and alcoholic and non alcoholic Pimms, both of which were most enjoyable.  A pleasant evening was spent eating and reminiscing about Foxcombe Lodge days. Toddling back down the hill to the hotel was much easier and a good nights sleep was enjoyed being lulled by the gentle sound of the lapping waves and a fresh sea breeze.
Sunday arrived, a little grey weather wise, but a very hearty breakfast of fruit, yogurt, cereal, full English or……. soon got everyone feeling ‘ready for the off’.  Bikes were loaded and we waved goodbye to Sandown.  With one or two taking a detour to the ferry, everyone arrived in time for the 11.30 am sailing.  Not quite the weather for sitting on the top open deck but but the time we arrived in Southampton the rain had stopped.  Onto the the bikes, through Southampton for a petrol stop and onto the A34 for a quick ride back to Tothill where everyone stopped for a break and lunch before continuing the journey to their respective destinations.
All agreed, it was an excellent weekend and a very enjoyable visit to see Roger and Jill, having promised that we would make the return trip next year to do some more reminiscing!

Erica Gassor