Journey Ends—Stories Begin

7:30 AM, August 1, 2018 – Depart from home, Fort Bragg California

A 3-hour auto ride to Sonoma County Airport; a 2-hour, 45-minute bus ride to SFO. Almost 6-hours in, and I was just arriving at San Francisco International.

I cruised through, bag check, passport verification, money exchange, and security. And thank you SFO and British Air, there was a bar overlooking my departure gate. An 11-hour flight later, I landed on-time in London.

The next 30-days passed more quickly than expected.

I drove out of London less than 24-hours from arrival. I knew immediately I had not adequately prepared for this road trip adventure. What did these road signs mean?

I drove hundreds of miles; stayed in 23 hotels, B&Bs, and cottages; ate in more than 80 restaurants and pubs. I explored castles, churches, museums, farms, breweries, wineries, vineyards, estates, gardens, and a tea plantation. I traveled by train, jet, glider, auto, foot, canoe, punt, tour boat, van, bus, GPS, and just dumb luck.

Throughout my journey, I made notes, accumulated reference material, and photographed everything. I shipped 10-pounds of books home from Canterbury. Nearly 7,000 still photos and 47 videos need reviewing and sorting. There are over 15 stories that require writing.

I won’t share everything here, I haven’t processed it all. I’m still ruminating over the entire trip, I suspect it will take the rest of my life to fully digest.

Over the next months I will share the adventures, people, places, and culture I was privileged to experience in the stories I’m assigned.

For now, here are a few teasers in no particular order.

canoe riv severn-01 24x BY CHARLEBOIS
The canoe adventure began here. River Severn at Bridgenorth, Shropshire, England

I was christened in the River Severn. A full immersion, when our canoe flipped in fast, deep water. My two canoe companions and I were unhurt, just a bit surprised. Nothing was lost or damaged. The day’s temps were sweltering. The Severn was warm. My wet clothes provided an air conditioner for the remainder of the 10-mile trip.

arley to bridge north-01 24x BY CHARLEBOIS
Arley steam train station

We made our way back upriver from Arley to Bridgenorth by steam-train after a pub stop for a warming beverage.

Instruction-02 BY PAUL
Pre-flight check with the pilot before gliding the Long Mynd in the Shropshire Hills, England

I went gliding on the Long Mynd in the Shropshire Hills. An angelic experience that I want to do again.


I met Eaton, King of the Herefords. My research on the cattle breed was more interesting than I figured. I met passionate breeders and producers, including the providers of exceptional grass-fed beef served at my hotel.

The Queen’s Box and her throne was my seat of honor at a jousting tournament in Kent. That night I slept in a thatched cottage.

queen mary-01 17x BY CHARLEBOIS
Queen MaryGo

In Herefordshire, the Country Fair President Tent’s wine and cheese was blue ribbon. I tried archery, tasted ale, tasted cider, and set eyes on all manner of prize-winning livestock and produce.

I dined with an European Parliament Member, toured the family vineyards, and slept in the estate’s 500-year-old Gamekeeper’s Cottage.


A farm where strawberries are grown at waist height was quite a sight. Acres and acres, all grown under white hoop houses. It made for cool and comfortable picking.

kilpeck church-01 17x BY CHARLEBOIS
Kilpeck Church, Kilpeck, Herefordshire, England

At a remote 11th-century church, I had a chance encounter with an expert on Pagan carvings. Our meeting place had Christian symbols inside and Pagan carvings on the exterior. She was knowledgeable and quite a character.

Hope you liked these teasers. Check out my Instagram and Facebook pages to see more. I’ll post many stories as they are published.

Thanks for riding along,


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Karen Griffin says:

    Can’t wait to read your stories!

    1. Thank you Karen. I’m writing, and writing, and writing. 🙂

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