Picture of Ken and Linda with their tandem

Title: End to End by Tandem. Ken & Linda Hardy

 Day 3: September 12 th , Princetown to Taunton

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Today dawned clearer and cooler. So far, although we'd covered some miles already, we didn't feel as if we'd made much Northerly progress since the roads so far had been almost due East along the southern peninsular. From today we started to turn North.

Leaving Princetown we headed across Dartmoor through beautiful scenery on quiet roads, quickly starting the descent off the moor. There were a number of fast downhills, sometimes followed by a sharp uphill which we were able to coast over without being slowed down too much - very satisfying after the frustrations of the hills of the previous two days!

However, one of these descents nearly became our downfall - it ended in a sharp left hand bend. We had slowed down for it but not quite enough and the surface of the road on the bend was rather rutted, AND there was a car coming the other way! The steering went wobbly and the front tyre protested, however we got round OK but not without a significant release of adrenalin! It didn't take us long to arrive in Moretonhampstead (quaint and attractive) where we stopped for a short break and a provision restocking.

From here, a steep, long uphill took us over towards Exeter. Will these hills never come to an end? Lovely stop at a garden centre seemingly in the middle of nowhere for a cuppa and scones and cream. Yum! Then more hills, but they were getting less and we soon could see Exeter in the distance, on flatter ground!

Exeter was the first big city and we were expecting traffic problems and for it to take some time to cross. However, the fuel crisis meant that the roads were very quiet indeed and we got across very quickly. Nearly all the garages were displaying "No Petrol" signs.

From Exeter we followed the B3181 which parallels the M5 (with hardly any traffic on it) for much of the way. After only a few miles from Exeter the gradients eased considerably until the road was more or less flat - a very welcome change. Stopped in Cullompton for provisions - more queues for petrol. It was quite amusing to see them all scrambling for a commodity for which we had no need at all! However, the supermarket shelves were rather poorly stocked due to uncertain deliveries and panic buying, which did cause us a little concern (unfounded as it turned out).

Continued on the B3181 to join the A38 (very quiet) taking us past Wellington and on to Taunton. The previous evening we'd tried to phone some friends of ours, David and Edwina ("Eddie") Swain, who'd invited us to call them if ever we were in Taunton. Unfortunately they were out that evening but we called them again today as we entered Taunton. They were in this time and kindly offered to put us up for the evening, even though we had called at such short notice and taken them by surprise. We spent a very pleasant evening with them (delicious evening meal, thank you Eddie!) and had another comfortable night.

Weather: cool in the morning, hot and sunny afternoon and evening.

Day 3 - Mileage: Day 59; Cumulative 165