Sunday, May 28, 2000
Kiln Green to Oxford
At 5:00 a.m., on a trip to the washroom, Kevin notes that it is still raining. When we rise out of bed three hours later, it is still raining! We lumbered over a breakfast of fried eggs, sausage (that looked like it was stuffed with sawdust), and dry cold toast - probably the greasiest breakfast either of us had ever seen, let alone eat! By 10:00 a.m. the rain had stopped. Our Old Devil companions helped us chart a route to Oxford and we were off. The wet shoes we had left to dry in the food storage area were still damp, but we were elated that the rain was gone.
After a short stint on the A4 we turned onto a "B" road through Wargrave and then joined the A321, following the Thames River valley to Henley-on-Thames. Some rowers were on the river, but there was certainly no regatta for our viewing. We continued west on the A321 until we joined the B480, which lead to Oxford.
The B480 was a quiet country road with a gradual rise through a picturesque valley. We continued to face a stiff headwind and now, for the first time, we were cycling up a long hill, appropriately named Pishill. How could we resist - we turned back and took our obligatory photo in front of this now famous sign.
The hill steepened for the last kilometer and then once at the top, it was downhill the rest of the way into Oxford, about 25 kilometers away. We restored our energy with some lunch, then continued to cycle the B480 to arrive in Oxford about 3:30 p.m. A visit to the crowded Tourist Information booth and our lodgings were easily arranged at a not-so-nearby hotel - The Hawkwell House Hotel. This hotel, located at Church Way, Iffley, Oxfordshire OX4 4DZ was offering a special rate for the night of only 40 pounds, including breakfast in the morning. Once checked in and shed of our sweaty spandex, we were ready to tour Oxford by 5:00.
Our late start and lengthy time to check-in left us little time to view Oxford. We ambled through some colleges and marveled at their detailed, intricate architecture. We walked into the New College courtyard and were politely, but sternly, ushered out by a proctor. We passed under Oxford's version of the Venice's Bridge of Sighs, then paused to view Edmund Halley's former observatory. We continued to stroll about the university town. We regretted our short stay in Oxford and wished we had additional time to learn some of Oxford's history.
Distance: 56.1 K, Time: 3 hours, 5 minutes, Average Speed: 18.1 kph.
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