Yeovil Breakout Weekend

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  Southern Section diary

Who’d have thought it? A Club weekend and the weather forecast has a Yellow Warning for high winds and rain! Rest assured however, we’re not fair-weather riders in the BMW Club – all 4 of us made it to Yeovil and the Penn Mill Hotel. As is often the case, the routes had been thoughtfully prepared by Mike and Lesley and distributed to all those participating (us two). We also found ourselves in the fortunate position of being able to use the weekend to evaluate a new BMW R1250RT as an alternative to our trusty GS.
We took the first leg of the ride, Cranleigh to The Haven, to get accustomed to the rather different handling of the RT. The only real
incident was a slight under-estimation of the bike’s turn-in as we attempted to flick round a roundabout only to find it didn’t flick in quite the same way as the GS!
Following a coffee break at our first meeting point, The Haven, near Salisbury, we rode, cross-country, through the squall until, with some relent in the weather, we arrived at The Haynes Motor Museum at Sparkford. None of us had been to this fascinating display of historic cars and bikes previously and were surprised not only by the size of the halls but also the quality of the exhibits.
No neglected vehicles requiring cleaning and tyres inflating here, everything was beautifully presented looking ready to run in any type of parade. Offering a record of John Haynes and the history of his vehicle

Saturday saw a slight break in the weather in that, whilst overcast, there were only occasional light showers to punctuate our ride. Cutting across country, through the hills of Somerset and Dorset, we wove through Crewkerne, Broadwindsor, and Bridport, before turning left before West Bay and along the delightful Jurassic Coast Road. The undulating weave of the route following the line of the World Heritage Coast was a great treat, especially having become very comfortable tucked behind the screen of the RT. As we descended into Portland, the views across the bay with the famous Chesil Beach in the foreground and many ocean liners at anchor, were spectacular.

maintenance manual publication business. The vehicles largely comprise of his personal collection built-up on the back of his self-made wealth. Another coffee break over, we mounted-up and wended our way the few further miles to The Penn Mill Hotel, Yeovil.
We dropped down onto the link road to the Portland Bill headland, heading for a delightful cream tea stop at the Lobster Pot tearoom overlooking the choppy seas of Weymouth Bay.  Following a short respite from the unseasonal weather, we took a brisk wander round the desolation of the Portland Bill. The wind was keen with occasional showers, but, even without the weather conditions, the landscape was almost alien with large, mechanically cut, rocks littering the ground.
There was a surprising number of visitors meandering around, some climbing the rock outcrops, while others watched presumably waiting for some greater drama. We got the impression that the area would become very crowded in better weather and would probably be worth a miss if you like a bit of solitude when you’re touring.
Mounting up, we headed North, through Weymouth and Dorchester, following the ‘twisties’ until the junction with A352 and a diversion to view the Cerne Abbass Giant. This chalk hill carving is of uncertain origin but seems likely to originate from the 10th Century, around the time of the founding of the local Cerne Abbass Monastery. Views complete, we returned to the Hotel for rest and refreshment, being joined by Chris and Sally, and Dean and Lesley for our evening meal.
Sunday saw us have a light breakfast before check-out and Sunday lunch at a nearby pub. We eventually hit the road facing a freshly brewed storm of more high winds and torrential rain. The 120 mile route saw no let-up in the weather and, for Mrs M and myself, 2 drowned rats arriving home. The sub-text of our weekend, the assessment of the 1250RT, concluded that whilst a superb bike for the rider, the pillion needed to be a double-jointed, 6 foot, Olympic gymnast to both mount and remain comfortable on the pillion seat, but a leotard would probably prove inadequate as biking gear.
Morning (left) and afternoon on the return journey (above)
Portland Bill in a gale but not stopping a bit of exploration
Views across Weymouth Bay
Haynes Motor Museum with the masked speedway rider ??
The R1250RT on test
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