Accompanied by a friend who had volunteered to pioneer us out of the town, we made a start for this day at 4.50 a.m.
At Ridgeway he left us. He had put us right on the main road. We should have been certain to have gone wrong had he not been with us, finger-posts being conspicuous by their absence. A driving rain, which lasted about an hour, was very welcome after the heat of the two previous days. It settled the dust splendidly, and thereby tempered the heat which followed.
Brenthridge (15 ¾ miles) had been fixed upon as the stopping place for our first meal. When my attendant left to order breakfast, it was with the understanding that he came back again to meet me; but he did not work exactly to orders. Instead of riding back, he left his machine outside the hotel door, thinking it was impossible for me to miss the very conspicuous green handles; but this is what happened. As I passed through the village, I looked for a cyclist riding to meet me, and missed his machine, which must have been hidden behind a cart, or something of the kind; at any rate, I lost my breakfast, and was forced to go to Totnes (23 ½ miles) for a meal. Moral:—"It is the little foxes that spoil the vines." When we did get a meal at a neat refreshment house, I was amply repaid for my wait, as both the host and hostess were anxious to do all they could to help us, placing their best room at our disposal.
At the Clifford Hotel, Chudleigh, famous for having been patronized by royalty on more than one occasion, a fine dinner was provided. The hostess of this place introduced us to the editress of the local paper, who pinned a favor in my coat and wished me "good luck" en route.
Six miles before entering Exeter, a fine view of the town was obtained. There a finger-post which read "Three miles to Whiteway" reminded me of my quiet retreat in the Cotswolds, and of those awaiting my return there.
The Osborne Hotel, Exeter, was entered at 6.18 p.m. In the bathroom I was rather startled to find that my right heel showed distinct signs of blistering. This alarmed me somewhat; but my anxiety was needless, as the next two days proved.