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Day 4, Drive day.

Today was a drive day. Usual nice breaky at the hotel and then a cab to Euston Station. That part was easy. The first hard part finding the actual rental car booth. Turns out it’s a shelter thingy in the parking area. OK good. Now we just need an attendant and maybe our car. I looked around and there was no wagon. A nice Mercedes but not a wagon to be seen. Hmm. A sign on the door said to phone a number should no one be around. What happens if you don’t have a phone or want to pay roaming charges??? I had my phone off but turned it on to make the call. Eventually they found the guy. Turns out he was getting our wagon from some where. We ended up with a Kia Cee’d. Pretty nice actually.

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Now that we have the car it was time to drive to Carlisle (500+ km, around 6 hours). But first we had to get out of the underground parkade and get the satellite sync’d on the gps. I knew driving a manual transmission on the opposite side of the road would be strange. I didn’t figure how far left the shifter had to go to find 1st. I tried driving up the ramp, stall. Again, stall. WTF I’m thinking. This car is gutless. Lots of throttle, feather the clutch alot and stall half way up this time. Lots of “interesting” words. Kids know to stay silent. I’m sure Kris is rethinking this idea right about now. Turns out I was in 3rd not first. So after finding where first actually is and smelling a little clutch now, we’re off an driving. Or at least winding our way out of the parkade. Except now we need to figure out where we are as there is a bunch of traffic that won’t like me sitting in the middle of the road while the gps get’s it’s act together. Good thing Kris knows the area via looking at home. We’re off and good. A little stressed maybe but moving. I had entered in all our waypoints into the gps at home so a quick menu clicking and off we go. Life is good. I’ve got the shifting figured out, the car is easy to drive and the traffic isn’t so bad. Pretty soon Kris’ and Google directions start disagreeing with the Garmin way. Oh and the traffic is now busy meaning I can’t think as much as drive with the flow. Garmin thinks slowly and we end up making some interesting turns and maybe a U turn. Garmin wants us on the M1, Kris wanted us on the A40. Since we’re now pretty lost/screwed we decide that M1 it (we can see signs at least). So what should have been a 30 minute drive is now well into an hour. But we’re heading north. There are some nice rest stops along the M’s. Lunch was at one of those rest stops. McDs for Ryan and a sandwich shop for the rest of us.

And because we can’t do just one thing per day, about 30 km before Carlisle, at Penrith, we stopped to find the Castlerigg Stone Circle. 38 stones make up the outer circle, 10 stones make up the inner rectangle. 3000 – 2500 BC (1000 years older than Stonehenge). Legend says the stones are local men petrified for their sins. Pretty cool sites and you can walk right up and touch, sit etc.

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Then off to the Crown Hotel in Weatheral for the night. Small old hotel with lots of charm. But free wifi 😉 Dinner was up the street at a quaint restaurant where the staff was friendly and meant well. Food was good though. Our bus girl obviously had been told not to clear until we’re all done. I was finished as she came by and was going to have a couple of Ryan’s leftover chips. She couldn’t take my plate as we weren’t all finished. So she move my plate to Ryan’s place. Then when we were all finished she couldn’t take all the plates in one trip and came back for mine. Like I said, she was very friendly and nice.

Short day for action today. Tomorrow we’re back to seeing stuff. Like Hadrian’s wall. I am looking forward to that a lot.

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