Monday, October 10, 2022

[Civic] Road trip - Cornwall, England (days 1-3)

[note: I am going to try a different format here compared to previous road trips, breaking the days into multiple posts for easier reading. Due to the blog's default sorting format (new to old), the posts will actually be inverted so that it flows correctly from the reader's perspective]


In August of 2021 I purchased a 2000 Civic Type-R in the UK. You can read about that here. I bought the car remotely with the help of a friend, who stores the car for me and keeps it registered, insured, and in good running order. The Civic won’t be legal for US import until 2025 so the intent is to use the car for European adventures in the meantime.

I started planning the first trip shortly after purchase, targeting something in late summer/autumn of 2022. It made sense to align the visit with an item that has always been on my must-see list: the Goodwood Revival. This helped pin down the dates for the visit, and I set about drawing an itinerary that threaded from Stratford-upon-Avon (where the car lives) down to Cornwall, then back toward Chichester for the Revival. Why Cornwall? Simple really - it was generally in the right area, and a good friend of mine grew up there and recommended it.

The route



My wife and I do a 2-week international holiday each year, but for this trip the budget was less - about 10 days total.  The US is not a world leader in holiday leave, and being fairly new at my job, this was the best I could muster. Here is our itinerary from the trip:

Days 1-2: London

Day 3: Stratford-upon-Avon

Day 4: Stratford-upon-Avon to Bath

Day 5: Bath to Fowey

Day 6: Camel Trail by bike

Day 7: Cornwall loop

Day 8: Fowey to Chichester

Days 9-10: Goodwood Revival

Days 1-2: London

The tone of our trip, particularly our opening leg, changed drastically when Queen Elizabeth II died a few hours before our departure from the US. We arrived to a somewhat muted London, and our hotel, next to Buckingham Palace, offered a front-row view to the tributes and special activities. Arriving around 1pm on Friday, we spent the afternoon walking and visiting the sights. In the evening we met friends for dinner and drinks.

On Saturday we visited Camden Market and Regents Park, met our friends again for dinner and caught the final performance of Much Ado About Nothing at the National Theatre. I’ve never seen Shakespeare in a modern adaptation and it was fantastic, so much easier to understand and enjoy the quality of the writing. In the US schools we usually read these aloud in class and try to decipher what old Bill was trying to say, with mixed success.

Day 3: Stratford-upon-Avon

On Sunday we set out on a combination of trains and buses from London to Stratford-upon-Avon to reunite with my friend Chris, and finally meet the Civic.

What a pleasure to finally see the car and appreciate its condition! The previous owner Mo loved the car and it’s apparent in the quality of his care. With 150k kilometers on the clock, the car is clean, complete, and very stock. In preparation for the trip, and based on feedback from Chris, we swapped the Spoon N1 muffler for a stock piece, and pulled the BC coil overs in favor of a stock setup. I prefer the balance of these cars in original tune, so I wanted to experience the car “as Honda made it” and make sure that my wife and I would be comfortable on this trip. The car retains a Mugen header, and the driver seat rail has been swapped for something lower - more on that later. The stock wheels are fitted with slightly lower-profile tires (195/50), so the ride height is a touch low and the speedo’s as honest as a used car salesman.

We took the car for a very quick spin around the block, then put it away and went into town for some sightseeing and dinner.

The next morning we set off on the first leg of the road trip.

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