Coventry or Purgatory

The issue really was only the small matter of getting the hell out of Dodge. It shouldn’t have been so hard.
However, on Sunday, it probably took us as long to get on the route we were seeking and get out of Coventry as it did to reach our final destination once we found the route. The first gate to get onto the canal path in Coventry was far too narrow to negotiate with our bikes, so we tried to find a way around, which proved to be a tremendous challenge.
After leaving Peter’s house around 11, we finally managed to get on the canal path (aka the bicycle route) at 1. I’m kind of amazed we only added a few miles to the route given how much time we spent trying to work with the GPS, printed maps, and Google and Apple maps on the phone to try to get on our way, but we sure added a lot of time.
Once we were on the route, it was relatively easy, but for reasons Angie will explain later, still pretty challenging, so we didn’t take many photos.
With “only” 1000 feet of climbing, we made it to the Ravenstone Guest House at 6:00pm. The owner, Ann Thorne, came out to greet us, relieved that we had made it at last. A matronly-looking woman with a very proper accent, she and her husband John have run the place for over 20 years. She made us feel so welcome throughout our brief stay. We particularly appreciated her opening the garage to store our bikes (and closing it again!), and ordering pizza for us, since It’s not often easy to get something to eat on a Sunday night in English villages. We each inhaled a small but generous individual pizza before showering and falling into bed.
The house in which we were staying was an 18th-century farmhouse, and the plumbing was at least a little more up to date than that. The decor was definitely English country cottage, with draped fabrics and some chintzy patterns. The dining room was packed with historic knick-knacks, and literally packed: glass shelves in the windows filled with glassware, a wall full of horse brasses, a scythe hanging over the doorway (hm), among other things. Angie found it a bit overwhelming, especially after a tough day of riding.
We were the only Sunday night guests and Ann told us it was not common to have people on a Sunday, but she assured us her establishment was a far better choice than any of the hotels we could have picked in Coalville, just a bit further along our route!
While I think the breakfast we had at the Parcel Yard was the most flavorful so far, the breakfast at Ravenstone was a close second, mainly because KIPPERS! Once I knew kippers were on offer, it was a no brainer for me, though Angie demurred. Kippers are herrings that have been cold-smoked. I don’t care for herring in any other form, and they can sometimes be too oily and smoky, but this kipper was wonderful.
The entire stay was pretty good thanks to our excellent hosts.
I forgot to mention another of those moments that makes one’s trip. We met a cool young man on the train on Saturday while hanging with our bikes, since they would not fit into the designated bike spots, and not just because of the panniers. He was on his way back to Arbroath, Scotland, from Reading after visiting friends and purchasing a new downhill bike. We talked bikes and bikes on trains for our entire 25-minute journey. Many British trains, like gates on trails apparently, appear not to be set up for loaded touring bikes, though one would think that was what you’d see on a train most often.

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