Thursday June 21st
Dear Family & Friends,
As I said in the beginning of this trip, I have no schedule and no fixed destinations…..
So I got up Wednesday morning in Galway, Ireland, facing another windy, drizzly day and thought to myself…. I think I have seen enough of Ireland.. After two weeks of riding, all the coastlines, cliffs, beaches, and bays are starting to look the same. Every town no matter how big or small looks about the same, just more or less of it. And how many Sullivan, Murphy, or McCarthy pubs can you go to???
So I looked at the weather and decided it was time to head south.. all the way south back to southern England.. I figured the weather was much better there, and there were a couple of cultural events I wanted to attend (I will report on them) a couple of friends I wanted to see, and I need to be back in London a week from today to meet Bonnie, Hannah, and John.
I set my GPS to Rosslare, the port city on the southern coast where I could get a ferry back to the UK and set of. I thought maybe if I hurried I could make the afternoon ferry.. One fundamental flaw… I had my GPS set on no Highways or large roads.. And it wasn’t deviating from that one iota! I didn’t think you could make a couple hundred miles I needed to travel any longer. In and out of tiny villages, back roads, trails, and less.
At one point I was on top off a mountain pass on a road that was half as wide as my driveway and so far out in the middle of no where I hadn’t seen a car in an hour or more.. That’s when you realize this may have not been one of my best ideas.. If the bike broke down or something worse it may have been weeks before they found my body…..
At one point I did stop to take a panoramic photo that you can see on this link….
I did eventually make it to Rosslare but only just in time for dinner. I booked my ferry passage for early the next morning and went out for a nice glass of wine and an Italian dinner..
At least Rosslare was cool but clear. I got up the following morning to a bright sky which immediately cheered me up and went down stairs for my last full Irish breakfast. I had to be at the docks at 8am for loading.
All cheery and excited I got to the dock only to find out the ferry would be leaving 2+ hours later. It wasn’t late arriving because I could see it so something must have been broken.. Just what you want to know on a ship your boarding.
I got my motorcycle in the boarding line and went into the terminal for a morning coffee. When I came out there was an E Type Jaguar convertible parked next to my bike, I went over and started talking to the owner who turns out had just bought the car in Ireland and was a classic car dealer in England.. So we talked for about an hour and made some business contacts.. He was also a motorcycle collector and rider so we had lots to talk about. Even the professionals can screw up.. He bought this car and didn’t check to see if it has the special knock off tool required to remove the wheels.. It was missing and he developed a leaking tire so he was stopping every 50 miles to add air.. Very professional…..
Once we boarded the ferry it was an easy sail. I did meet a group of Irish motorcyclist and of course they had lots of questions about my rides once they saw all the stickers from all over the world and the California license plate. A great conversation starter.
Every time the first question is how I get my bike here, and I always say I rode it over in early spring before the polar ice caps melted.. That answer always gets a look of amazement before it turns to a look of “your so full of it” and then a laugh….
So we finally set sail and I knew it was going to be a long day because now we were arriving 2+ hours late and then I had another 5 hour ride to the B&B I was booked at. I emailed them to tell them I was going to be late and they said fine but they stop serving dinner at 8:30pm so I had to make it by then.
When I got off the ferry in Wales it was nice and sunny and reasonably warm. The night before my Google Maps said it was about 4 hours to drive to where I was staying but when I turned my GPS on it said less than 3 so I was excited to get there sooner and relax. If all went well I would be there by 6:30pm
I started down the M4 motorway which is big like our Freeways. I was making good time for about an hour when suddenly the traffic backed up and then completely stopped. I don’t mean slow, but completely stopped.
It was heavy traffic and my bike isn’t exactly light and nimble so lane splitting is not easy. I was making a little progress when suddenly all sorts of sirens came blasting up behind me. It was several policemen on their motorcycles and with their sirens blaring people started inching their cars out of the way so the police could get through….. so obviously I just darted in behind the police bikes and followed them for about 5 miles until we came to a barrier and ahead of it the highway was completely closed as far as the eye could see. By this time there were all sorts of emergency vehicles coming through so whatever happened it was bad.
At this point the police directed all traffic off the freeway and now all the streets within miles of the freeway were blocked, so much for an early evening…
It was a long day, I finally got the the B&B a bit after 8pm, so 12 hours of traveling.. the last hour I was really beat and ready to get off the bike but what kept me going and enjoying it was by now I was in beautiful English country side. Little traffic, well paved twisty roads, great scenery, classic British buildings, and best of all the sky was wonderfully blue and it was actually quite warm out even at 8pm.
When I finally got to the B&B it was way out in the country and it did not disappoint. It was a classic British B&B. I checked in, got my riding clothes off and went out side and enjoyed a gin and tonic and a good order of fish and chips.. Also met a nice group of locals there having a drink and of course once they saw the motorcycle I had questions to answer and it started a nice conversation.
A great ending to a long day!!
Exploring the mountain passes of Ireland, alone,,,, very alone.By the way they call this a two lane road.. really???
Time to board the ferry to the UK, at least I thought it was time.
Meeting a new Jaguar friend at the ferry stop.
The bridge over the River Avon near Cardiff. That is one BIG bridge with it’s own weather patterns.
Nice sunny, warm southern English countryside..
The British do know how to do old…
This is the street in front of the B&B I am staying at tonight..
Ohhhhh, it felt so good to park the beast for the night and get off!!
Never has a B&B looked so good.. 🙂
My room tonight… 🙂
The lobby and the socializing area of the B&B
“The name is Bond,,,,,, James Bond”
A very traditional meal of Fish and Chips but with an unusual and very good spicy tarter sauce….