I left work at 4pm on Friday and arrived at the hotel in Calne at 7:30, having taken 3 hours to do the first 100 miles of my journey and half an hour to do the much nicer final 30 (which included cresting a hill at Avebury to see a Hercules flying low and slow across the fields towards me).
I found the rest of the party about to head from bar to restaurant, and tagged on. Howard appeared soon afterwards, having travelled over from Dorchester, and we enjoyed a really tasty meal followed by a couple of drinks.
In the morning Steve led us to the start point, glamorously located in Morrisons car park, but the sight of Paul coming the other way on his Integra told us we'd gone wrong somewhere. After a scenic tour of the local roundabouts, during which I formed part of a splinter group that somehow ended up at the ride's finish point, we were all gathered together just in time for it to pour with rain.
Waterproofs donned, we set off into a mixture of sunny spells and heavy showers. Paul had arranged some lovely country roads, scenic views, and only one U-turn. It was lovely to wind our way through the hills with a white horse in chalk appearing and disappearing ahead, and to pass through villages waving at the tourists.
It stopped raining after lunch, but I played it safe and kept the waterproof trousers on until the tea stop. Lunch was in Frome and tea in Marlborough, both very pretty. (Tea included a meringue the size of my two fists; I had to take half of it home in a box.)
Although we are still the X9 Forum, very few of our members still ride X9s, and on this trip mine was just one of an unprecedented three Integras. Here they all are: