Day 19

Widnes. Wet Widnes. Rain was forecast but still not nice to wake up to. It was mild with no wind but no matter how you try to put a positive spin on things, riding a bike in the rain is no fun. Our first stop of the day was Widnes Extra store, just across the road from our hotel. Despite previously making contact with the Store Manager, the Duty Manager wasn’t aware of our impending arrival so we just had a quick photo and set off for Widnes DC just down the road.

We had a warm welcome from John Pennie and Ged Rooney. We had a coffee and a chat in the canteen before an interesting tour of the site. We left with plentiful packed lunches and a generous collection made on our behalf. The rain was even heavier now and we were forced to give in to the waterproofs. Most of the roads south out of Widnes are main arterial routes and the only practical crossing over the Mersey is over the Runcorn bridge. The road was busy and we were slow but contrary to the opinions of some of the passing motorists, we were allowed to ride over it.

We stuck to B roads wherever possible and stopped for lunch in a pub car park for lunch after 25 miles. Karl’s shoulder is still giving him a lot of problems and he put an ice pack on it but was determined to carry on. The rain was relentless and got even worse when we set off again. We could hardly see where we were going and were soaked through. We arrived at the store in Stoke virtually dead on time. It soon became clear that due to a mis-communication somewhere along the line, we had gone to the ’other’ Stoke store. Too late to change it now. Photo done, day done. Tomorrow sees us visit Lichfield DC and a stopover at Tamworth. Monday can’t come soon enough for any of us.

Simon