Wednesday August 22nd
Dear Family and Friends,
Our trip is moving along smoothly. Ray has recovered from his surgery and is in good spirits. His son came over and is escorting him home. Also the Isle of Man travel agency has agreed to refund his ferry tickets and hotel room costs so that is a help.
Monday we left Inverness and found a terrific route to Edinburgh. It was about a four ride through a Scottish national forest. Great roads, plenty of turns and twists, and spectacular scenery. From wind blown hill tops in the highlands to deep lush forests with streams and lakes in the lower elevations. We passed through quaint stone villages and past ancient castles. With no rain or wind it was one of the best rides of the trip!
Marc, Brian, and I settled into Edinburgh. Duane decided to stay outside of town and take it easy for a couple of days.
That night we walked into the center of town and found a Brazilian BBQ. One of my favourite meals! It was my birthday so it was a great way to spend it with good friends, good food, and good wine..
After diner we said our good byes to Marc since he was going to Ireland now instead of the Isle of Man.
The next morning we got up and I was still so full from the night before. Luckily Brian and I like to walk so we did a major hike through the city to the castle, and a couple of museums.
Edinburgh is a very lively and exciting city. We happened to be there during their International Festival so there was lots going on. Street fairs, music, and lots of theatre.. In one area there were three satirical plays about our president…. I won’t get into politics but I think it is safe to say he is extremely unpopular here.
We went to The Conan pub. A pub I have always wanted to go to. It is named after Sir Author Conan Doyle, the writer of the Sherlock Holmes stories. I have always been a big Sherlock fan so I wanted to see it. Supposedly Doyle lived near it and visited the pub many times while writing his stories..
After that we walked back to the hotel for an afternoon nap (we were both fighting a cold) and then walked again that evening to diner. All and all we walked 7.5 miles that day, according to my pedometer, which at least put a dent in the dinner from the night before.
The next morning it was just Brian and myself (we are meeting Duane in the evening). Today we are riding south toward Liverpool where the next day we will catch a ferry to the Isle of Man for the Classic TT! But before we leave Edinburgh there was one stop I needed to make at a small but very special museum that I promised a friend I would see…
My friend Milt is one of the coffee group men. An incredibly accomplished and smart man. Every time I spend time with him I feel fortunate to learn something new. It is like hanging out with your favourite professor. When I told Milt I was going to Scotland he asked me to visit the James Clerk Maxwell museum. I had heard of the man but I had no idea how amazing he was.. Truly one of the great scientific minds, right up there with Newton and Einstein. He is famous for his wave equations that led to many modern uses of energy such as light, electrical applications, radar, radio, and all sorts of energy transmissions. His discoveries in electrical theory makes almost every electrical device we have today possible. He was also accomplished in structural engineering, art, poetry, mathematics, and many other aspects of science. He seems to have had it all, smart, accomplished, very wealthy due to family inheritance and well educated and respected but no one has it all. His mother died a slow and painful death from stomach cancer at the age of 48 and in the end he went the same way at the same age.
The museum was inside his childhood home. The home was beautiful and looked quite comfortable for a home built 200 years ago. I have taken lots of photos to better display what he accomplished so see them in my blog.
After we left the museum it was time to start riding south. We left Edinburgh around 12:30 with a light rain going. Let me tell you that cobble stone streets look a lot nicer when you are walking on them, rather that riding a motorcycle in the wet on them. Very slippery!
As we left town we had about a four ride through mostly national forest. The roads were good and the country side great even though it was raining fairly steady. After a couple of hours we left the forest and got onto a main highway. I thought at this point it would be a quick easy ride and we could dry off…. wrong!
After about 30 minutes the GPS took us off the highway and onto a very small “B” road. It was a beautiful road and would have been fun in the dry but by now it was raining hard the road was very narrow, twisty, and slippery so the going got very slow. After about half an hour we started to climb out of the valley and up a mountain. Near the top the rain was letting up a bit when we came around a turn and there was a motorcycle down on the road. We immediately came to a stopped to help the downed rider. We had to stop and help him, he was another senior citizen biker like us… Luckily I know some first aid and applied CPR, once I revived him I got my travel sewing kit out and stitch up several wounds, and then I used my tire pump to give him a small blood transfusion using my own blood. Once I revived him we lifted his motorcycle up (which left me with aching muscles tonight) and got him going to the point he was able to ride home.
Once we left him I thought it was going to get easier but at the top of the mountain we were suddenly riding INSIDE a cloud. We could hardly see 20 yards so it was very slow riding.
As we came down the other side of the mountain in the distance we could see the weather clearing. Within the hour the rain stopped and it was an easy ride to our country inn for the night.
Tomorrow we ride to Liverpool to catch the ferry to the Isle of Man for the motorcycle races!!
For lots of photos of both Edinburgh and the James Clerk Maxwell museum go to my blog at:
PS: My father in law as a very successful TV writer. He used to tell me “never let the truth get in the way of a good story” … so honestly we did help the wrecked motorcyclist lift his bike up but he was totally uninjured and was able to ride off. I do have a few sore muscles tonight though since BMW GS bikes are not light!!
Some of the scenes as we rode through this national forest area. The “Gang” enjoying the day.
The Earl of Scone’s Castle.. Lots of castles in Scotland.
Wonderful riding roads with little traffic. And no rain today!!
We stopped in this small village for a warm up tea. The local villagers came out to greet us the tell us about the best motorcycle riding roads in the area.. Very friendly.
My daughter Jessica wanted to join me on my birthday so she photoshopped herself into the day.. very clever.. 🙂
Here we are entering the city of Edinburgh. A beautiful, historic, and lively city. They have many word class universities so it attracts students from all over the world.
A view of the city from atop the Edinburgh Castle.
These cannon balls and cannon were the state of the art weaponry in its day..
Inside the castle where King James and Mary Queen of Scotts once lived. Very classy.
The “Grand Hall”
My birthday diner, a Brazilian BBQ. I am not sure if that was our 9 or tenth helping they were serving. Luckily we were drinking lots of red wine so the diner was healthy….
My birthday cake.. I shared it three ways so I wouldn’t over do it.
Street performers everywhere..
The pub dedicated to Sherlock Holmes..
My very special visit to a special museum for my friend Milt..
The James Clerk Maxwell Museum.
The museum is only open by appointment. It was just us, the other couple and our guide was a retired physicist. Knowledgable but not the most exciting speaker.
A diagram showing all the current technology made possible by his work.
This is the equation that made all modern electric technology possible.
The entry way to the house he was born in. A very elegant and still livable home. Not bad for 200 years old.
Paintings of all his family members. All were quite accomplished in their respective fields. A very smart and talented family.
Some of the devices he developed.
This is the original drawings he did for a formula he developed to draw an egg shaped oval. It was his first published paper.. Not bad for a 15 year old!
Some more of his original papers including poems he wrote.. So talented in so many areas.
His portrait a few years before he passed away at age 48..
Some of his mathematics awards from school.
He studied colors and how they function and decide to make this purse for his mother to show the primary colors.
Here is the first color photo he developed in a three part process.
Some of these books were part of his library including an 1800s Encyclopedia and original books by Sir Issac Newton!
He mathematically explained the rings around Saturn.
He designed the first transatlantic cable. Purse copper was too expensive but if it was made with the wrong alloys it would have to much resistance so he developed the equations for calculation resistance. Unfortunately Mr. Ohm got the credit.
He developed engineering formulas to build bridges. Was there anything he couldn’t do???
His work made a bridge between Newton and Einstien. Truly one of the greatest minds of all time.
Many of the paintings in the house depict either family members or other famous scientist. Most of the paintings were done by women in the family. Very talented.
Above is the building used in the photo for booking the hotel on-line, below is what it actually looked like. Not old, classy, or interesting. At least it was clean.
As you can see below Trump is very well known here. Just in one area there were three satirical plays about him. His reputation is terrible and the people I meet here just can’t understand how he got elected, neither can I.
As we left Scotland we stopped for lunch here. I guess it depends on how you approach this cafe it is either the last cafe or the first cafe in England.
Below are three posters for play in Edinburgh making fun of our president…
Mmmmmmmm… Haggis bon bons.. Doesn’t that make your mouth water??