Friday August 17th?
Dear Family & Friends,
First an update on our fellow riding friend Ray.. Yesterday he had four stints successfully installed. He made need more in the future… His son flew over to sort him out so he is in good hands. He will need a week of rest and then he can fly home. We will miss him at the Isle of Man.
Today was a great day… but first a couple of ponderings.
The motorcycle riding has been spectacular but certainly challenging at times.. Very narrow roads and heavy rain with limited visibility. It really makes me appreciate by BMW GS. I really think it is the best all around motorcycle touring bike made. It can go anywhere and do anything reasonably well. The brakes are faultless, great suspension, the ABS and traction control with good tires makes the rain and pot holes no problem.. I think back to my first motorcycle , 50 years ago, and it was a Triumph. Weak brakes that were none existent in rain, skinny hard tires that would slide out in any water, and hard limited suspension. I thought if I was on that bike this week I would have crashed within the hour… then I remembered it had Lucas electrics so it would have never started in this rain.. perfectly safe.
So this morning after a delightful night in Ullapool we met up and started to plan the days ride.. I was flattered at first when everyone insisted I lead the ride today. I thought it must be due to my excellent riding skills? Excellent navigational skills? or my trusty GPS.. Once we took off I realized I was being used as a sacrificial lamb!! The roads were so many blind turns, narrow with many pot holes, roaming lambs, and no place to space to pass that they wanted me out front to find the trouble! 🙁
The big plus for the day was there was no major rain. Just an occasional light sprinkle..It finally gave my riding gear a chance to fully dry out. My helmet was starting to get a moldy!
After leading the ride for a couple of hours on roads I thought were as narrow as road could possibly be we stopped for coffee.
While discussing where to go next a local made a suggestion. He said ride about 5 miles and then take a left turn on a small road that had no name…It would take us over the highlands and drop us down through a beautiful valley back to the sea shore. So we thought why not?
So we took off full of delight and excitement at a new adventure. I did find the road with no name, turned on to it and discovered a road that in California would be labelled a trail! So narrow that two motorcycles couldn’t pass on it without one pulling off, and there were no pullout areas either. The road, or what was left of it was VERY narrow, slippery grass in the middle, lots of pot holes, and lots of slippery gravel. The shittiest road I had very been on, and I mean that literally, it was covered with sheep shit.. All and all a challenging road.
The plus side was there was no one as daft as us to take this road so we never saw another car or motorcycle. The road wandered up into the Scottish highlands and the views of dramatic mountains, mist, streams and lakes were tremendous.. All and all a great ride.
At one point we stopped at a ruin which looked like castle turret made of stone. The plaque there explained that it was a house built there around 2300 years ago! Who ever lived there were some tough people.
After about an hour there was a fork in the road. I took one route but when Duane’s GPS said it added an hour to the ride time he turned around and went the other way. Brian and I continued on because we came to ride! The route did not disappoint us. As we dropped out of the mountains we rode down a valley full of lakes, streams, and quaint villages. Eventually we made it to the North Sea and rode along the coast until we arrived at our destination, the Y-Not Inn in Thurso.
We all met up that night for our evening gin and tonic, a meal, and a walk around town.
All and all a very satisfying day.
Tomorrow we continue along the coast to John Groats. That is the northern most point on mainland Scotland. After that we start working our way south again and out of the rain!!.
For photos of today go to my blog at:
PS: One week to the Isle of Man.. I am getting excited!!
Scotland certainly has some wonderful countryside..
This road was actually one of the LARGER roads we went on.
Almost a sunny sky by Scottish standards. I thought August would be the best weather but I was told August is already the start of fall weather in Scotland. That blue sky lasted about 15 minutes and then it was gone. The storms blow in from the Atlantic so fast that the weather is always changing.
One of the better roads,, narrow but decent pavement and plenty of turn outs for passing on coming traffic.
This “house” was built about 2300 years ago. It originally had several stories and housed up to ten people. A large family or maybe two families? That hole you see at the base was the front door so I am assuming you crawled in. I am guessing the small door was either for defense or to keep in the heat in.
Narrow narrow roads. A full size American pick up could not go down this road.
My hotel in Ullapool and some one was staying there with a classic Porsche!
Getting shaggier by the day! 🙂
This is the view out my hotel room. I thought we were staying on a lake until this cruise ship pulled in. We are about 75 to 100 miles from the Atlantic and this bay goes on the way inland that far.