It seems that my annual trips coincide with the anniversary of my web hosting company closing down meaning that renewals and problems surround my leaving – for the last couple of years meaning its been a struggle to post this. Tonight I sail from Portsmouth to Santander from where I head across Spain to start the ACT Portugal route. I am intrepid about this so I am super prepared – with an expanded first aid kit, more tools, careful travel insurance and an In-reach emergency tracker and SOS-caller. What started out looking like an accessible route for large adventure bikes, now, on a bit more investigation, has become a route that you are warned not to attempt alone and with the odd Youtube vid of riders of low skill i.e. me making a pig’s ear of the steep and twisty route with high revs, clutch slipping and heavy breathing. So the key event of the trip will be those times when I have to make decisions about carrying on, attempting something outside my comfort zone, or turning round. Even the on-road roads look pretty entertaining from the maps I have so apart from self-esteem there is not that much to loose. So I head off with a mood of more than the usual uncertainty. Also its the first bigger trip on this bike after some untested mods and with a full load of luggage on a new system and new not scrubbed in tyres. The final ingredient – small but annoying – is the forecast of rain this afternoon for my ride down to Portsmouth and the wait to board. I’ve never started a trip in the rain and hanging out chatting in the queue to other people on bikes and interesting looking people (in the evening sun) has been an enjoyment. Finally, Brittany Ferries now seem to have added the cost of meals to the basic ticket which is annoying as they seem to want the trip to be more like a cruise. So lets see how this works out.