So... 22 days, 9 countries, circa 6,000 miles... And I'm home. What a trip. What an adventure!
I awoke early on the ferry, worried about waking up late and missing the entry up the Tyne. I got up and packed up my things. Suddenly it hit me... I was home. After all I'd been through on the trip, this was it. It didn't feel like I'd been away for 3 weeks. I had some lonely and down moments on the trip but thinking it was coming to an end was sad too.
As the ferry approached the breakwater, I went out on deck to see my town from the river and also to try and spot my welcome home party. My wife Kirsty had drummed up support for me coming home to make sure I had a welcome to rival my send off 3 weeks earlier.
After (just)seeing my party in the distance as the ship rolled up the river, I went down to the car deck to de-strap the bike. This proved a bit premature as it took me around 5 minutes to de-strap the bike and I ended up waiting another 45 minutes to get off the ferry. Tusk. I got the same feeling in my stomach as I'd had 3 weeks ago at the lighthouse, excited but nervous.
3 weeks might not seem a long time to some, but for me to be away from my pregnant wife WAS a long time to me. Knowing I'd be greeted by my friends, family, and film crew, I was doing my best to control my emotions and be safe riding the bike.
Then, the ship doors opened and I rode down the ramp, back in blighty, and headed out of passport control. Then I saw my crew and knew I was home!
I rode the bike up full speed, stopped, kick the side stand down, flipped up my helmet and looked for Kirsty. A hug and a kiss the perfect tonic for the 3 weeks of emotion and adventure. I then jumped off the bike to 5 fives and hugs from my friends and family, and it felt great! I was then presented with the best present of all... a can of Irn Bru! :D original and best!
I then jumped straight into an interview with my film crew from MPH Studios for the Arctic Ride movie. We did this straight away to ensure they captured my true emotions of being home!
I was lucky to get any filming done at all after the Port of Tyne refused to let MPH do the filming, even in none restricted areas. Luckily Jon and Phil are true professionals and took this on their stride and still got the shots needed.. Cheers guys!
After the filming I got on the bike and headed the 10 miles home. Clicking the bike into gear, I knew these were my last miles of my Arctic Ride 2014, so I opened up the throttle and bombed home, remembering to ride of the left hand side of the road (and be safe of course ;) ).
And I then I was home. I pulled the bike up next to my garage and got off the bike. I think it will take a good few days for it to truly sink in what I've done. Not only the miles and the actual ride, but all the pre-work, blogs, and social media updates. And most important if all, the ever rising total (now above £3,500) for Cerebra.
But this certainly isn't the end of my adventure even though I've ridden the miles. A week on Thursday (26th June) I'm having an after party at the Brewdog Bar in Newcastle 7pm - late - all invited so please come along and join me.
Then I'm going to showcasing the bike and trip at the Bikewise Motorcycle Show in Durham on 20th July. Again pop down to the North East's best bike show.
Of course I've also got the Arctic Ride film. While I've been away the past 3 weeks I've been filming my ride, doing video diaries, and other shots, so that I can share my adventure with you all through the medium of television... More details to follow.
I must finish with a massive massive thanks. Thanks to everyone who has followed my adventure, to those who have kept my spirits up and sent messages of support, to everyoe who has donated to Cerebra, to those who have given their time to give advice and support, to Cerebra for their support and making me an ambassador, to my wife Kirsty for supporting me and my dreams, to all my sponsors, to my new Norwegian friends, to my bike for getting me there and back in one peice, and to my little brother Robbie... The lad who inspired me to do this challenge and who rode every mile with me in my heart. I thank you all!
Until the next blog, and as always, ride safe!