Day 34 – Monday, May 28th

Our last views of the Dales

This sign means that the roads are really curvy.

Maybe the “Cracked Pots” need this one (what do you think ladies)!!!!

“HELP….what do we do here!!!!!”

Today is a holiday in England……Bank Holiday (the second “Bank Holiday” this month). I have finally figured out that they call EVERY holiday “Bank Holiday”, even if it is to celebrate another purpose. Unfortunately, the weather is cold and threatening to rain. The news is saying that it is 17 degrees C (30F) COLDER in London today than it was a week ago!!! The locals are amazed at how strange the weather has been this year.

We had planned to spend several hours in West Burton at their village festival that started at 1:00, and we were looking forward to seeing a Maypole, Falconry exhibition and Morris Dancers (men wearing bells and dancing with sticks). However, we realized that it was going to be REALLY cold, windy and possibly rainy, so we regretfully decided to head back to Oxford.

As we left our B&B, we spent a few minutes talking with our hosts (Steven & Julie) and also with Barbara and Larry, another couple that we had met at breakfasts each morning. Over the mornings, we had raved about the sausages that we had for breakfast, and to our surprise, Julie brought out a package of them for us to take home for dinner. It was so sweet of her to do that for us. When we drove out, we felt like we were leaving our family behind. It was a wonderful place to stay and we would highly recommend it to anyone traveling this direction.

We drove over the highlands one more time, stopping to take yet more photos, and then took as many small roads as we could find to get out of the Dales. It was a sad occasion when we finally met the M1 Expressway and had to join the throngs of people heading South.

The biggest difference that we found in Yorkshire, as opposed to the rest of England, is that the people there are friendly. They smile when they talk to you and they ALL want to talk and to learn where we are from and what we think of the Dales.

We loved the names of the pubs that we saw, including “The Green Dragon”, “The George & Dragon”, “The Hogshead”, “The Forrester’s Arms”, “The Bay Horse Inn” and, our favorite, “The Fox and Hounds”.

The town names were equally quaint, and it was fun looking at road signs showing mileage to Leyburn, Winksley, Ellingstring, Aysgarth, Newbiggin, Gammersgill, Askrigg, Ripon and Reeth.

Driving in Yorkshire was an experience as all of the MAJOR roads are only two lanes wide…one each direction. Then you get onto some of the minor roads and they can be only a narrow lane. We laughed at one road…. we were talking about how narrow it was and then we saw a warning sign that the road was about to narrow again….we didn’t see how it could get smaller, but it DID. When you met a car on these roads, you simply pulled as far to one side as possible and squeezed both cars thru the hole. On one of the roads, they had painted striped lines in the middle of the “single” lane thus making it a TWO lane road. There were many one lane bridges, some of which had stop lights and others just showed which traffic direction had the right of way. We also came across many walkers out on the roads along with horse riders and, of course, sheep. This whole area is part of the “Yorkshire Dales National Park”, so the property is open to the public, even though it is privately owned and is still being farmed. It was not unusual to have to slow down for sheep to cross the road ahead of you.

We saw an amazing array of warning signs, including ones with horses, cattle, tractors, and even “elderly people”. There were also some that simply had an exclamation point…..never did figure out what those were for, but I am sure that they were important!!!!

Stop lights were interesting because the yellow light shows twice during the light cycle. The first time is in the same manner as ours…..as a warning that the light is about to change to red. The second time it shows is when the red light is about to change to green, so you can go ahead and start if the way is clear.

Most of the villages had public car parking areas, but you had to “Pay and Display”….. buy a ticket and place it on the dashboard.

This Yorkshire trip has been a wonderful experience and the fulfillment of a dream for Michael and I that started when we first began reading the “All Creatures Great and Small” series of books. This has been a marvelous 5 days!!!

The drive back to Oxford was uneventful…which is a good thing!!! The only time that we got lost was coming into Oxford, but I saw a highway sign that mentioned a street that lead onto “High Street” ( by our house), so we simply followed that into town.

The roads here are named with the letters “A”, “B”, and “M”. The “M” indicates that it is a major divided expressway, with the A’s and B’s indicating smaller roads. The national speed limit on the Expressways is 70 mph, but most people were doing 80 to 90 mph.

They have “Services” areas about every 30 miles along the Expressways. We stopped at one and found it to be a very interesting place. There is normally a petrol (gas) station to one side, and a large building that contains bathrooms, a grocery-type store, a restaurant or two, an entertainment area (video games) and places to sit and relax. The parking lot was full and everyone seemed to be enjoying their rest stop.

We got back to our house about 3:00 and spent the rest of the day answering emails, posting the blog and washing clothes.

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