Dear Family & Friends,
I am not even sure what day it is.. I have lost all concept of days and dates.. sign of a successful vacation!
So to get you caught up. Yesterday we were finally got to see the Isle of Skye. Five years ago when Duane and I were on a motorcycle trip here we attempted to get to the Isle but the weather was so bad we turned back. This time we brought better rain gear and went in August, best time for weather, right?? Well as we were told there is only two types of weather in Scotland, rainy and rainier… So there was plenty of rain on the way here. Yesterday morning actually wasn’t to bad. Just light drizzles. The one big down side to travelling in August here is the tourists! We couldn’t’t get a room anywhere close to the isle so we had to ride two hours to just get to the bridge for the island. We finally arrived and went to the first small town we came to to have lunch and figure out where we were going to go.. That is when I realized I was in for another disappointment.. All the good sites were on the other side of the island. To visit any of them would add 3-4 hours of riding to our day which was already going to be a long one. If we had taken the ferry over from the other side we would have been on the right side to see things, but do to tourism the ferry crossings were completely booked. As we discussed it further a really nasty storm started to blow in. At that point I figured it was time to leave. Again due to tourism that night none of us were staying in the same town let alone the same hotel so we each had a solo ride to make in terrible conditions.
So before I left I made it to a souvenir store so I could get a Isle of Skye sticker for my bike and a refrigerator magnet and tea towel for Bonnie… I know she was dreaming of that…
Before I left the isle I did come up with a theory on the name for the island.. I am sure the ancient inhabitants of the island worshipped the sky as a god.. It makes perfect sense, they know it is there, they know if affects their lives, yet they have never seen it….
So with a little disappointment at not seeing much of the island I set off on a hour and half solo ride to my next stop. By the time I left the wind was blowing and the rain was really starting to come down heavy. The first third of the ride was over a mountain pass. Going up wasn’t to bad but going down it was a narrow, twisty road that was more river than road with all the rain. All you can do in conditions like this is take is nice and slow. When I reached the bottom of the mountain the road because a narrow twisty single lane, and I mean single.. There were cut outs about every 1/4 mile and if a car was coming the other way someone had to move over….
Finally the last third of the ride became a normal two lane country road and the rain started to let up a bit. All and all when I reached my wonderful inn on a lake that I am staying at I was relieved. The ride took far longer than I expected and I was glad it was over.
I didn’t go out again for the rest of the afternoon. I sat in the reading room, read, worked on my blog and sipped a gin and tonic. Felt like a true country gentleman.
At dinner I met three couples from Scotland. They noticed my motorcycle with all the stickers and California license plate so they were curious about me. I love it, that bike always draws people into good conversations.. We talked about the weather, California, life and of course politics. One thing I have noticed in Scotland is that they hated Trump long before he became president. Evidently he bought a golf course here and acted like his usually bully self trying to develop the area which the locals didn’t want. I think the locals actually won but he certainly didn’t make any friends. I rode past the course but didn’t stop…..
So today I am off on what I expect to be a beautiful coastal ride. I am officially on what is called the Scotland 500. It is the northern most coastline of Scotland and it is supposed to be spectacular.. I will definitely be taking photos.
I have managed to post photos from the last few days so go to my blog to get a feel for the Lake District, Portpatrick, and the Scottish Highlands.
PS: I have to say I am feeling very fortunate to be able to make this trip. At my age to have the health and stamina required, to have the resources to afford it, to have friends to ride with that will put up with me, and most importantly to have a wonderful supportive wife! Thank you Bonnie!!
PSS: As an up date my friend Ray with the heart attack was transferred to Glasgow for a stint procedure.. A lousy way to end a vacation. He does seem in good spirits but this is going to be one expensive vacation for him. If anyone is interested in flying over in the next few days Ray will make you a good deal and the balance of his motorcycle rental, ferry tickets, and rooms at the Isle of Man. We can meet you in Scotland and ride with us.
Here are a few photos of the villages in the Lake District. They look like something out of a fairy tale.
This is where we stayed.. First class. I like roughing it on a motorcycle but in the evenings I like my comforts.
We made a day trip to Keswick, the next town up from us..
Two “Gentlemen” enjoying an afternoon tea and scone…
This guy was staying at our hotel. One night he had the nerve to block our motorcycles with this cheap hunk of ….
Gine and tonic time. Even though it is quite rainy even in August it is not to cold.
These walls are amazing. They are all over the place going for miles up and down the mountains and through the villages. All hand made by stacking stones, no mortar! Just carrying the stones to the locations would be tough but then to stack them. Even the buildings are made from stacked stones.. Must be a LOT of stones in the area.
We stopped at this ancient church and grave yard as we entered Scotland.. Sad that so many graves and monuments were from wars.. Will humans ever learn? I doubt it.
Finally riding along the Scottish coast line.
If you look at the faint bit of land out in the ocean that is Northern Ireland.
Ray still enjoying the ride. Little did he know the excitement waiting for him that night.
This is where we stayed in Portpatrick. A great traditional pun and in right on the harbor. My room was on the top floor inside the roof. That meant I had to duct when walking down he hall was the roof line cut into the hallway, then duct the opposite was when I was in my room as the roof line slanted the other way. I hit my head a few times that night. And before you start sending me email Portpatrick is spelled as one word!
As we were riding north we went through a national forest. Went the rain let up so we could see something it was beautiful. Along the road we stopped for a coffee at this pub. As you walk in there is a sign saying ” Best pub built in 1707″. Did I mention this country is old??
Here we are officially riding in the Scottish Highlands.. Absolutely gorgeous.
I Gnome I found on a rock in the Highlands…
Lunch on the Isle of Skye.
The view out of my room after a long wet ride… Nice and warm and cozy.