Day 3
May 15th, 2005
Heathrow Airport
London, England

The 777 touched down right on schedule, now it was time to see what London is all about.  

Two members of the ST owners club are standing by for our arrival.  Moff a police officer near London, and Paul N. a retired policeman also from the London area.  Their job would be to get us to our motel, and to show us around London.  Both have been in contact with Uncle Phil the last few weeks, and on the ST forum.

The fact these 2 guys would spend their off day on such a mundane task was amazing.  We were very thankful for their presence and all that they were doing for us. 

After clearing the secured area I could see Moff and Paul waving frantically at us up ahead.  What a great feeling it was to land in a strange city and country and have someone greet us so warmly.

​                                  The "Moff."  London area policeman and STOC
                                   member.   He and Paul had the thankless job of
                                   securing us at the airport, and showing us around
                                   London.  Great guys and good friends.

                                  Paul Narramore (green jacket) shown here
                                  with Charly Boorman (he rode around the world
                                  Ewan McGregor).  Paul is currently planning his
                                  own around the world ride on his BMW. 
                                  photo: Paul Narramore

After introductions, we made it to Moff's car and threw our stuff in.  He took us to our motel, The Brewer's Inn, a unit with a motel on the upper floors and a pub on the ground.  Common in the UK.  The unit is only a few miles from the center of the city.  The houses in the area were at least a hundred years old.  They were crammed together big time.

I used the drive time from the airport to get a look at what we would be encountering on the ride out after picking up the bikes Monday.  It was going to be chaos.  The roads were narrow in the city.  Three lanes were in the space of 1.5.  In America these streets would be one ways, no way 2 American cars could pass each other.  But here they do, and just for fun much of the space is consumed by the bus lane.  Chipping off more room that a car could use.

We made it to the hotel and checked in, then quickly set out on foot to explore the city.  Mass transit is good in London, they pretty much don't want you driving, and you can forget parking a car anywhere near the center of the city.  Heck, you can forget parking a car anywhere close in a 50 mile radius.

Even walking is tricky for North Americans in London.  You HAVE to remember to look right before stepping off the curb to cross the street, or risk being a hood ornament.

We took the bus to the nearest underground, and headed for the center of the city.  I was looking all about trying to take it in.  I love seeing things for the first time.

I'll let the following pictures tell the rest of story about out London tour.
This picture was captured as we strolled across the bridge heading for the center of the city, the famous Tower Bridge in the background.  The ship moored on the right hand side is the HMS Belfast, and played a pivotal role in the D Day landings.  It seemed odd to see it in person after so many years of TV and film.

​A better picture of the famous bridge.
​Charles and Diana's wedding took place in this church.
​Here we are at Trafalgar Square.  It was a beautiful afternoon.
​Big Ben in all its glory.
​Buckingham Palace.  The queen was not present according to the flags.
​A young guard carrying out his duties for the tourists.
It doesn't take much for Londoners to get some sun.  Despite cool temps in the 50s, and a gentle breeze, these jokers headed to the park for some rays.  I didn't have the heart to them it would take weeks to tan with the low intensity sun rays in England.  Miami it ain't.

fter walking most of the center city we took refuge in a pub not far from the square.  I had the fish and chips.  They brought Moff 3 different orders before bringing the correct one.  It was comical.

Our walking tour probably covered 4 miles.  It was great, Paul and Moff were gracious hosts.  We darted for the nearest underground and worked our way back to the hotel. 
They dropped us off, and we said we would see them Wednesday in Exeter for the ST rally.  It was a great afternoon.

Uncle Phil and I ate supper at the hotel's pub.  I had the baked chicken.  We discussed our plan for the next day.  I kept thinking all day about how great the weather is and how we should be riding, but we needed to see London before leaving it.

We talked about my choice of bikes for the upcoming tour.  Phil has the ST 1300 and I have the pick of a VFR or BMW K 1200LT.  Talked about radical choices.  I can't make up mind and put the decision off till I sit on both bikes.

Supper was over and it was time to get some sleep.  I'd been up almost 24 hours and was starting to feel it a little bit.  It wasn't even dark when we went to bed.  I was anxious to pick up the bikes and start riding.  We are off to Scotland in the morning.