spins, trips, rants, raves, fotos, messin around and all that kinda stuff....
this thread is just to satisfy my brain.....so if you dont like it *****
im getting the apologies for the crapness of how this thread will turn out out of the way at the start and will fill in more as and when needed......
apologies apologies apologies
if i can get it (my confusions) out onto paper/screen then it frees my head up for other nonsense........so it has to be done
i will put in stuff about some of my trips or outings or tours and other opinionated stuff that floats across my vision every so often
please feel free to comment good or bad or both
it could be just a stream of consciousness and at least it is held in one thread which can be easily ignored
in the future time i would like to thank ADV for allowing me this form of therapy as most others havent worked for me and i am sure this one will..
and so to begin...
once upon a time / in the long long ago / fado fado
i am planning a trip to bonnie scotland beginning of this june - west of ireland north over glenshane pass, round north coast...dunluce etc...and down to larne....then over
the sea to skye (troon actually) and off up to the hi'lands like a choo choo train....!!! only a couple of days but the people i work with are driving me into the bloody
river (this trip is also a part of the ADV therapy)
i will get photos and all that jazz and post them here later........
- end of sidebar
for now.....i have some pics of this trip done last may
all the way to Italy from Ireland, and it went something like this...
I wanted away and have a good friend living over in Northern Italy/Swiss border area. He has a small garage where I could park up a bike for a while..ok..mighty.
planning was done and I thought the perfect bike for a distance like this was my vstrom 1000....not fast not furious but easy to ride all day...
broke the good news to the family.........it didnt go as well as i thought but no bother as ferry ticket was in hand and bags were already packed !
away away ...
first stop on the road for Sligo, dull grey day but it was dry between the showers
this one shows a castle somewhere near Limerick or thereabouts...got a cup of good strong tea and away again
another stop, another cup of good tea....see porcelain cup and saucer sitting on pannier somewhere in the republic of Cork
eventually i got to ferry terminal late as usual as you can see from the photo
I arsed about here for what felt like a week until it began to fill up with people dying to get off this rocky spit of wetness
I spotted a big range rover with swiss plates.......this country is so small this could only be one person/family.
I had the flick down sunglass things built into helmet/lid that i never get to use other than to act as a second layer of protection from the driving rain..
jesus sorry getting sidetracked
with me sunglasses flicked down
up goes i to the swiss man in the big jeep (suv to you cousins over dere) and did my best 'are you lookin at me....monsieur *****!!' -
im sorry to say i scared the crap out of him and his wife.....!! eventually i got the lid off and calmed them down. the poor man was hyperventilating !
they are a gentle french/swiss retired couple and come to ireland 3 or 4 times a year, but funny enough, I haven't seen them in a long while...
this is the luvly luvly luvly port of Cobh (used to be called queenstown when the brits thought they ruled the world)
- if you would like to learn how to use the cork accent please check out 'sminky shorts' on utube and enjoy cartoons at the same time....brilliant..!
this picture shows the last place the titanic docked before heading off to the land of nod, being late for the ferry i didnt see the museum which is supposed to be
it comes back to me now.....i watched the champions league final on the boat while chugging on its was to france !
there was rubgy on also.....got wrecked in the bar..oh and other stuff is coming back to me now.........
more of Cobh !
better shag off now and do some work, get someting to eat, take a leak, strain the spuds.........
that was day one done after a great day, off to a bed fit for a small mouse of not very big proportions.....
slept deeply and dreamt of fishes and loaves and holey things
to be continued...
heres a f*ckin rant for ya
just got off phone with an overpaid self righteous bitch gettin on my ass about submitting f*ckin statistics for da revenue people here.
i just dont understand their system and now im in the shit - i asked her can i be jailed for this bullshit - not immediately she replies the smug hoor -
but, she says, we can prosecute and eventually it may come to that.......
this is about f*ckin statistics......!!! no wonder the world is gone bloody mad
and another hoor i work with is givin me so much grief bitchin n whinin and moanin
thank god to get out on the road for an hour to clear the head.....a tank of petrol, its better than drugs !
rant now officially over -
back to story of going to Italy
next morning, with a maggoty head on me and after missing the breakfast on the ferry, i head down to get ready to go. the boat ties up
a whole hour goes by, every other conceivable vehicle ever created gets off the ferry before us dicks with our bikes in one small corner....!!
im rarin to go but cant get out
i figure to do 1100 km today, get clear across france as near to swiss border as possible and it is already 9 am and im standing in a metal box blowin a head gasket.
eeeveentually - we're off....up tha ramp and away like frig
all headin the one way and as miles go up each separates down a different road, it is cloudy or misty or whatever the french word is.
the head clears slowly a bit like the mist and soon im on these huge freeways heading for paris
of course no manners and the fuel runs out very fast, stop for snack, no shaggin tea here, just cafe ! monsieur ! cool !
first stop, havent a baldy where this is and dont much care either
mother of jaysu but it is turning out to be a massively boring ride, just big wide flat roads all the bloody way across the country, i was falling asleep and it
wasnt even lunchtime. lunchtime, time for a stop and third refill..
stopped here, got coffee no sorry cafe from a massive freakin machine, a huge thing covering a wall, not very french really and i got a croc monsieur
i think thats what it was called, it had everything in it -
ham, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, tuna, corn and on and on - it tasted like total puke !
i thought Autogrill would be good because in Italy you get good stuff to eat and it is fast but this was worse than home, way worse.
so away again with a now very achy tired head
eventually of course , the bleedin rain started and the thunder, and the lightening - a total freakin storm
i was wetter than...well i was very wet
i remember being stopped forever at a toll booth and it was pissing down and about 3 inches of water on the ground, lightening brightening up the dark cloudy sky
and a kid was in a car near me looking over and laughing and pointing, well little kid, ive got a message for you - i know where you live you little bollox !
got into another rest stop, stopped, dropped my arms took of gloves and about 2 gallons of water ran down my sleeves, great bloody time, more french people
laughin ! bollox.
this is turning out to have only pics of rest stops, i know you like them so heres one more, but thats it - you'll get no more after this.
it was getting late, i reckoned i would go as far as Belfort (i think thats the name of the town), it was near the border and i had clocked up the 1100 km by then.
so i stayed in the best part of town (as you do !)
sorry - intermission -
the cattle need feeding !
to be continued
back again, no grass this year so mostly nuts !
this was a forlorn kind of area to be in and all services could be bought at most street corners so i made for a hotel nearby as i really needed to dry out by now..
spotted a best western hotel with secure parking, opposite train station........perfect !
train station, as seen from one of those street corners mentioned before.
i know it is a bit daft putting a pic of a train station on here, but there you go. it's part of my life's experience and all that.
so i go into reception, through the secure area !!
and started to negotiate a good price for a room with a view !!
very quickly i had made a great bargain of the exact going rate (take it or leave it monsieur !) for an incredible room with an amazing view !
see the amazing view below...
well spotted you bright things...it's a view of the train station....!!!
i stripped off leathers (in my room), they weighed twice what they should have....like the idiot i am, i kept thinking the rain would stop, the
air would dry me off..so i didnt put on the waterproofs that were sitting folded in my bloody panniers.........big lesson in life, get off the damn bike and put them on if
it starts to rain....such a simple simple rule but i couldn't even get that one right.
i hung leathers, boots, gloves and my mormon underwear in the bathroom and it started to drip drip drip.........ten minutes later floor was a mess, towels, wiping etc etc
i used the hair dryer for every purpose but the right one but feck all use it was....
i got pissed off and went down the street for some great french cuisine....!!
mega choice of slice of pizza or kebab..........the cordon bleu society is alive and well for sure !
settled on a slice or two of plain pizza and tin of fanta....!!! it was a joy to behold, and lo, all the hunger was satiated, and man once again could burp with a
feeling of total satisfaction coming from his loins (well, not total satisfaction, but nearly).
the rain that had come forth in such a deluge continued into the night making it difficult for me to converse with the pretty ladies who hung out by the street corners.
that, and the fact that i have no french, made it an early night for me.
besides, my arse was a bit numb from riding all that way from the ferry.
and so to bed, but first another round of trying to dry my clothes......i was up every hour or two using dryer/towels etc cos i knew it would be the worst feeling in the
world to put this crap on again, get on a bike and ride through switzerland and up over the cold alps (i know that you know what i mean)........which is what i was planning next day !
i dreamt of watery things, wet things, warm things and other things...!!
bonjour to the new day....feck all sleep really..........i am naturally a happy person as you can see from this monologue, the grumpiness is just fantasy really
And lo, the sun arose over the french city, but no one saw it, hidden once again behind grey grey greyness.
up ya good thing.
soggy leathers on, soggy boots on, soggy feckin gloves on....worst feeling known to man.....
soggy arse planted upon seat...no no no ......still tired from yesterday and all the pretty girls were gone home too.
off, off and away we go, up the road to the border.
loads of big trucks, queued up for miles, i slipped on by everyone.....a great pleasure, right to top of the line !!
welcome to switzerland............!!!
first thing is i get pulled over by cops or whatever they are called, roaring something at me in a foreign language (well, foreign to me anyways !)
about money and tickets - WTF, send in the bloody clowns, this is not the touristy, yodelling, choclatey freakin welcome i had in mind !!!!
of course it was all about money, isn't it always. i had been robbed by tolls all day yesterday and these feckers wanted more.......!
can't argue with buffoons in uniform in a language you can't speak while sitting in a shroud of wetness.....i just couldn't do it, so i paid the man.
we spend our lives just paying the man, always some man, just paying him, always. then you go home and you have to pay her (don't get me started on that)
so it costs me 50 something euros for a stupoid sticker which will entitle me to ride slooowlly across this tax haven for the (man) shameless.
it lasts for a year, i need it for a day......tough shit jonny foreigner ha ha ha !
and the change i got was some huge bloody silver coins big enough to skim across one of their big flat blue lakes...great. not.
away, away...they cant take my soul, well not yet anyway.
they drive slooowwly in this part of the world........so i hammered it past them to a fading song of beeps, toots and raised fists.......50 euro, i'll get my money's worth !
the weather like my mood is starting to brighten (both were in the shitter to be fair)
i enter zurich, their motto should be - easy to enter, totally impossible to leave !
can't get a handle on this city at all........pull in, eat a toblerone, drink a hot chocolate and move up the road.
stopped again as nature was calling.
cafe/coffee/jo and a bun/croissant/donut, but no smile, no have a nice day, just a blank look of 'ive more money than you, piss off'
switzerland could only get better...........and it did, it really did.
as i ate the sweet thing (not that sweet thing) i noticed it had jam/jelly right through it, see pic below....this was ingenious i thought (we're not very inventive where i
i actually spent many hours later that day trying to figure out how they got the jam/jelly in while high up in the mountains going a bit demented !!
(in my country we still can't figure how they get the figs into the fig rolls (type of cookie/biscuit/biscotti sweet thing)
and it was very tasty
by now it was hotting up, after much time passing i finally got out of zurich by using the correct road (doh !)
it was getting up to 30 degrees, steam was rising from the leathers and it felt very squirrely inside them.
so i pulled into next service station, filled up, 1 euro to take a leak in a very fancy restroom/diner place with nice view, see below
no, the pic isn't of the fancy restroom, it's outside the fancy restroom. it was only 5 euro just to sit in the diner here but i wasn't feeling too charitable by now.
sorry, gotta go
usual story, cattle need feeding again...
apologies for lack of pics and too much ranting.
this is further pic from rest stop, amazing colours of the water and mountains.
it was very hot by now, my jacket was actually hot to the touch on the outside and wet to the touch on the inside, strange but true.....!!!
more mountains and stinky jacket.
I think I was heading towards a place called Chur, but truthfully I didn't care as at least I was moving and that helped cool things down.
It was as I had imagined, big skies, big mountains and big everything.
I kept her lit and eventually started going uphill, gently, gently, but definintely uphill.
The snow capped mountains were nearing and rising ever higher and closer in front of me. I was happy and apprehensive as I am not mechanical in any way
and didn't want to be breaking down somewhere up there.....
The weather closed in a bit I was thinking but really I was just going so high I was going into the clouds.
It started to look a bit like the sound of music, well sort of..!
By now - I was very tired - after shitty sleep the night before and melting in Zurich. I didn't pass or go through Chur and I didn't even notice.
It was just a slow steady climb.
Then I could see the road was getting icy, slippy, icy again. the corners were getting tighter, road getting smaller, steeper, much colder and mistier !!
And i was getting very tired but as all paddies do I just kept going, no stopping to put on some warmer layers, no turning back to get some coffee or shelter.
It started to snow.....jaysus this isn't funny anymore.......it was as cold as the proverbial witches tit and then I was in the snow level.
It was coming at me sideways and road was so slippy, great fun but as paddies do, onwards thick paddy.
by now I wasn't thinking straight at all, it took all my concentration to navigate the tight turns and the icy snowy stuff on the road but it felt great anyway.
it felt a long way from the nice rest stop way below. i met no cars, trucks and no bikes in all this time.
i suspect sane people were watching the forecast !
As I rounded one corner it was clear up ahead and I saw 2 men standing beside their bicycles and one bent down over a gas thing and pot, looked like they
were making tea or coffee, one was an asian man the other caucasian and both were in their cycling gear. God they must be frozen I thought and how did
they get up this far on those roads.
Nevermind that I said to myself, I wondered could they spare a sip of coffee, so I came up to them slowly, they saw me and smiled. I stopped carefully and took off
my helmet and when I looked round they were not there !! gone !! what the F**k !!
By now I knew I must be tired. I had pulled in beside them, they had even smiled at me for god's sake.
So, not a sip of coffee, I was getting jittery !! mighty fun indeed.....this was now an adventure !!!
Nothing else but keep going and eventually I went over and started down the other side, I still don't know which pass or road it was but next time I
would be more prepared for sure and better dressed.
I whizzed down the other side, I think I was in Silvaplana Saint Moritz area but not so sure. Either way I was soon headed for Chiavenna in the great country
of Italia !!
It poured down all the way into Chiavenna but my mind was resolutely fixed on one thing (well, mostly on the one thing) - food !! drink !!! food !!
I knew a place just south of Chiavenna called the Moreschi Bakery - it is one of the best coffee houses I have ever been in.
And by the time I got there I would have eaten anything, I didn't feel the cold by now as I was down to my core, no feeling in legs or arms.
I know you guys have been to this level ! it goes with the territory.
Pulled in. didn't see any cyclists making coffee !!!
spremuta arancia - pure fresh squeezed orange juice, done while you wait.............!!!!!
cappuccino, due crema brioche..........!!!! fantastico !!!
definite must for anyone within 50 km of Chiavenna - Moreschi Bakery, it's big, it's bright and it's perfect......lunch, dinner or snacks....and staff are very cute !
almost human again, two more coffees and i was getting there but i was a soggy mess again.........did i say i had learnt that i should put on rain wear if it
started to rain..........thick as an ass and now i was wet as an ass.
So back in the saddle again and riding out on the range....feeling much much better even in the downpour.
next stop - lago di como.....!!!!
. ciao ciao
i made my way easily south to the lake, even in the crappy weather it is beautiful.
this was to be the bikes new home for a while and i introduced her around to some of the nice places, great roads and hills.
so far on this trip she was perfectly well behaved, not a word from her, first time starts everytime !!
so i took another snap for the album..
this one is down by the ferry area in Varenna...so nice and tranquil......i just sat in the rain and soaked it up (the atmosphere, not the rain !)
this one shows Bellagio in the background and the clouds moving about down Mr Clooney's part of the lake.
what more could you ask for ?
food, of course and some vino, to be sure !!!
no time to arse about....
i headed on but had to stop at a famous stream/river which only flows at certain time of year...!! it is called Fiumelatte (milk river ?) and is quite a torrent when
it gets going.....it seems it is from the melting ice high up and goes underground much of the way down to surface just south of Varenna.
The great man Leonardo da Vinci tried to find its source but could not....or so it is said. and how could i argue with that !
and another of this milky river...
went to get back on her ladyship but saw this so another photo, crappy but it kind of shows what a cool place this is at anytime..
food for god's sake, get going..
slipped down to Mandello del Lario to Albergo Grigna.....highly recommended, friendly, good food and all that.
reason i went in there the first time was, i saw some workmen heading in there at lunch time one day and these guys would know a good spot for sure.
i ordered black pasta ravioli with salmone or at least i think that was what it was......!!! very good, with some bread and wine and big dessert to follow..
I don't remember where I spent that night, but it will come back to me eventually.
next morning it was sunny, i went into Varenna to look around the piazza..
very nice.........and the victoria hotel has a great pizzeria it's in the background of the photo above.
tiny church (there are churches everywhere) only about 14 feet wide i think
another church..this one has really old drawings of the devil himself on the walls inside...........a bit creepy but it made you think !
I think it is called San Griorgio church, not sure though.
Right So.....I have a whole day to kill now....so i headed round the lake going north and back down the other side just for a spin...
stopped here near a marina north of Menaggio somewheres
the worst part (and its not a major thing at all) is not being able to speak the language......I have enough to get fedded and bedded but no more than that.
(the Italian people are obviously so very kind, loving, family people and tolerate us masses of tourists all year long, but it would be nice to shoot the breeze a bit
with them. I think you learn a lot about people in watching the way they deal with their kids, it speaks volumes..!)
(And in Italy they treat kids so well, it is amazing.)
the green and the blue...
spotted a big house on edge of the lake - it was used in a Bond movie - casino royale - i think...at the end Mr Bond shoots some guy outside this house ?!
sorry, the picture below is a better one....cool looking house though.....i thnik it is split up as many luxury apartments now.
Earlier I had met up with my very good friend and as is his way, he came across the lake in his red speedboat.....very cool...!!!
He picked me up and we motored to a great lakeside resaturant - Varenna Caffe.
this was just one of the dishes on offer, and man did we eat some good stuff there !
this is the view from where you eat !
So to continue back round the top of the lake, it was very bright and time was marching on.
Stopped to take pics of lake and villages, see below.
I had to fly back home soon so was getting a bit of a downer by now.
some stuff i cant recollect (my memory sucks when i need it to !) but I had figured to go up to one of the passes the next morning just for the halibut !
so blank blank blank and soon it was morning again !
You ride rough, eat pretty good, go to some great places, and you take damn nice pictures. Thanks.
thank you for your very kind comments.
i do appreciate it big time. i thought i was out there all alone. i just kept writing and talking to myself and all that stuff.
so, thank you - made my day for real !
photo near my home, weather as always is poor, land is poor, people are rich with time and otherwise too !
650 vstrom go anywhere bike !
I spent time many moons ago in Fayetteville NC as a friend of mine was in the military based there. it was beautiful - we used to spin over to the beach cities
and wow.....real good times......!!!
if you are SC - i am jealous, the weather, the freedom and the ladies - would love to go back.
i worked in the US for a few years, every minute of it was cherished, every single minute ! great country.
used to take road trips all over, couldn't get enough of it.
apologies for rattling on, thank you again !
took this last night...late....evening sun.
island in background is told to be the first inhabited place in ireland.....!!!
long time ago, someone called partholan landed here at mouth of river erne in north west ireland and he was the first or so the history dudes tell us !!
it is a tiny island, big enough for only one house where no one actually lives...
the bike is taking me to scotland - sunday morning i leave and head north, can't wait, weather is improving too...!!
bigger view of river..
enough of now, back to my trip...
next morning I just wanted to get up into the mountains again, to the twists, turns, and the snow..!
so back up towards Chiavenna again, this time stopping of course at Moreschi !
much cloudier today and cooler, but of course i was not thinking about that, all I wanted was the open road.
this is where you turn left to go up to splugen pass, straight ahead is real nice place to ski called Madesimo, very friendly too.
in case you were wondering about the yelllow arrow - i put a little arrow on my windshield using some electrical tape - just an arrow pointing right and writing 'keep right' on it as sometimes i dont be
thinking too deeply....!!!! it keeps me right on track (most of the time)..
it changes from warm to cooler to cool to cold to f**kin freezin almost unbeknownst to me at times and i was at the splugen pass in no time flat
cos i was having such fun on the twists..
stopped for a look around, took couple of pics, boring boring boring i know but you gotta do it just to admit you were there and all that nonsense
I was tempted to head on into the swiss again but the call from the other side was so much greater and time was the enemy
this is the view into the swiss, the top of the pass was the border but no border guards !!
got interrupted, sorry
it was time to make like a shepherd and get the flock outta here..
see my 50 euro sticker on the windscreen...and my lifesaving yellow arrow !!
at home we drive/ride on the other side so i needed a reminder of which side to be on....it can make for wierd riding on the twisties as not alone are they tight,
and steep and tricky enough without feeling you have to be on the wrong side of the road too...!!
so, on the way back down hill
dam big dam - with hardly any water in it........must be waiting for the big thaw (it was already may, time was getting on for a thaw !)
it slowly started getting greener as i came down the hill and a bit warmer too..!!!
this trip could be summarised as follows:
cold cold wet wet warm wet cold wet warm cold cold wet wet wet warm hot hot hot very hot very very hot too hot warm again
of course this could be used to summarised many relationships too !!!
it was lonesome enough up here, no cars or even cyclists to be seen anywhere !
great run down to the warmer bits and the air was thickening up a bit too, wierd but at the top it does feel rarefied and thinner !!
but maybe thats just cos it is so cold you breathe harder to keep warmer, who knows
back down to the bottom at a small place called Isola, not much here but in winter they have car races on ice, the track is like a massive donut...looks mighty !
but now it is melting hot.
this is where the icy races take place
i was looking up and could see some arches and how the road is really cut out of the side of the hill.....looks impressive to me anyway !
I made my way back to the lake knowing my trip was almost over....i had time to clean up the bike, sort out my stuff and go get a train for milan.
i didn't want to go but shit there was work and family and so many shitty commitments it felt like my chain had been yanked after getting such freedom..!!
what was also ringing in my ears all this time was when i was leaving my little girl, the youngest was hugging me and with her beautiful big sad eyes she said
'bye be daddy, i'll never see you again....'
how do you deal with that ? i wasn't the better of this little mouthful for a long time
and there is a saying ' out of the mouth of babes....'
now, every time i go on a bike trip she says the same thing.....she is an anxious little girl but i always come home to her, always.
if i didn't go on these trips i think that would also be bad for her also ?!! anyways
I always travel alone, i think i am good company for myself !!!
have to post this now, third time, got timed out or summat like dat
just to finish off this trip timeline
i parked up the bike as stated, tidied her up etc etc and rolled her into my friends garage, put cover on and kissed her goodbye...
i promised her i would be back to ride her later in the year and to be a good girl until then !!
trudged down hills and paths like this
with vegetation like this...
my legs were shaking like leaves from going down hill !!! easy knowing i had spent days just sitting on my ass !!
my friend H rang and said he would meet me in milano......!!!! we were going to party.........!!!!
usually with H anything goes, but one sure thing always - it would be mad !!! and you could end up anywhere, and i do mean anywhere !!
i have woken up in different countries next to people i never even met !!!!
so i had to steel myself for the fun to follow....!!!
sitting on the train was relaxing, i like the rhythm of the train, it kind of lulls you into a sense of letting go....
il treno pulls into milano centrale and i realise i am wrecked - wrecked but content - content but concerned about what might unfold tonight !!
you know what they say - what goes on tour stays on tour
but this was one of the watering holes we ventured into after that it becomes a bit of a blur...
we met up with some of H's friends - french, belgian and others, language barriers came down after the fourth or fifth drink and one of them
is a well paid salesman for a big chemical company...
we were in line at an open air niteclub don't know where.....lot of people queueing...no chance to get in but hunnys everywhere.
he flicks out his credit card, asks a bouncer to check it out, and suddenly we are in, escorted to top vip area and ladies start walking by as if on a catwalk.
just your usual saturday night out - !!
it seems money buys anything and once his credit card went through their system they knew he was a good punter...!!
just to get in and for the drinks below was around 1,000 euro........!!!! jesus, what a crime...!!!
anyways there were good times had there and many other places, but to tell the truth it wasn't my cup of tea really...!!!
even the sky turned pink.
H had booked me into a hotel near the airport and when I got there at 6:30 in the morning, I just had time to shower, change, pay the bill and check out...!!!
so i am sitting in the airport with a big sore maggoty head on me. then i could hear bells, church bells....man i was not well....but they were bells....it was sunday
and there is a church in the airport and I was sitting near it....!!! i hadn't time to go and give thanks but i'm sure the man above understands..
still recuperating and many coffees later... i look up and spot this beside me !
it was the only pussy i remember seeing on the whole trip.!
end of trip !
thank you for your time.
back from spin to bonnie Scotland..........home of the deep fried mars bar and some very fine scenery.....!!!
I left home and headed up the road last sunday morning, of course it was raining, just what I had ordered !! was excited to be getting away and then thought I
better start taking a few pictures e weather.
first pull up was at this bridge which overlooks the town of ballyshannon/belashanny and the winding banks of erne !!
there was a festival going on there - the rory gallagher festival - a guitar legend who was born there in, a hospital, hospital was called - the rock hospital !!
the lcals are known to call it the (o)rg(y) festival but it really attracts many fans from all over europe every year.
fantastic guitarist he was and died way too young.
this is the big bridge which allows you to bypass the town and this was to be my ride, first spin in a while on this one.
the panniers aren't great (small) but good enough. i brought my tyre repair kit and compressor (12v) and bits which filled one side. Not sure if I should bother
with the repair kit and comp as if you get a flat how far away from reality are you likely to be at the worst of times.
away up the road and weather was not great, dark and mizzly ould rain see crappy pic below of 'barnesmore gap' - aka 'the gap'
the ferry i was to get would be later in the evening so i thought go up thru glenshane pass up to north coast, see portstewart and dunluce castle and down thru
cushendall all the way into larne, perfect, it might clear up too !! hope reigns eternal.
passd by this old lump of a big house, probably from the landlord days of olde, somewhere in tyrone i think.
close up of the house, i really do wonder what kind of lives they led behind those walls ! they must have been well off in many ways or did they know the price
of everything and the value of nothing and were they happy really. it's all gone now.
glenshane pass, what a pisser that was, i thought something like a european pass, tight hairpins or at least a twisty or two...one big f**in straight busy main road !
pic so that you see what i mean.
eventually i get to portstewart, wee town on the north coast - nice place !
starting to get hungry, so went for coffee and cake at great place called morelli's - they have a few branches of morellis in the north ! good ice cream too !
apologies for the quality of pics, many reasons for this including camera was acting up and eventually quit and used phone camera and weather and bad head..
my feast !
pleasant wee harbour in the town.
looks like good beach too..
soft white chalky rock in places which allows for the fairy bridges and such created by the waves and the sea.
sometimes a watery grave doesn't seem such a bad thing, lots of piracy round here in the olde days !
these young girls were frolicking in the fields showing off their arses and their designer number underwear !
there was lots of this kind of thing to see, dunluce castle is the ould house on the right of the pic.
some of the aforementioned fairy bridges in the making !
gotta run, to be continued. thank you for looking in.
this is Dunluce castle from east side, dull, cloudy and typical weather to be looking at castles !
as i headed on east and north i came upon a famous name, in the whiskey world anyway !
the visitor centre here was mobbed so a quick wee dram and away we go again !! sooner than i expected i was upon the giants causeway.
famous place for sure but now big gates, visitor centre, slides, videos, trinkets and all the crap you can imagine to sell to the poor unwitting tourist !!
properly f**ked it up i do think, but that is what we call progress..
i didn't even have the heart to linger there so you are just getting the signpost instead !
anyway, these little guys were far more entertaining running about and messing around....
more nice, easy on the eye scenery, it is everywhere up these parts..
and it was starting to warm up and brighten up.............it could get better !!
this is nearside the carrick a rede rope bridge, which is what it's called and brings you out to a wee island...popular on the touristy trail too.
I was too lazy to go the 100 yards to check it out but you know how it is, i had places to be and things to do !
more rocks and such..
soon enough I was in Ballycastle where the locals speak with a really soft scottish like accent, nice beach here also...
in the wee north there are catholic towns and villages, protestant towns and villages and mixed towns and villages. it seems to have been this way for
hundreds of years. each religion has their own separate identity and some cling tight to it to preserve all that is good about their community. in the south of
ireland this has dissipated very much and we now all worship at the church of mc donalds, supermacs, sky sports, alcohol, gambling and other notable religions !
but up north it is rangers, celtic, g.a.a., bible worship, new frontiers, queen, country, free state, sterling, the euro and all such stuff. it can make for a heady
cocktail but the people here have endured such hardship for so long and now are making their way in fine style. take for instance even the sport of golf -
not my cup of tae but they have GMAC (graeme mc dowell) and rory mc illroy to mention just two. then formula one, rugby, musicians, poets - they do punch
way way above their weight for such a small place. the greatest musician/poet living today in my humble opinion is none other than Van the Man, Mr Morrison who
has crafted some of the most visionary music in my lifetime without a doubt.....!
enough self opinionated stuff, apologies for raving on like john donne, after all i was heading 'way up to caledonia, way up from denmark' !
next stop was cushendall, pic just shows one side of the coin in that the locals show a proud heritage of their past in murals, there are many others of every kind
but this one was an easy one to get..
and cushendall sans murals..
away up the road and soon some glens of antrim were unfolding and disappearing behind me, the roads were good, no loose gravel so far..
i met this guy in transit, he was very big and very gentle..
i think this place was called torr head, it looked good in the distance anyways.
just to show you how good the road surface is here..
another of torr head a bit closer, it was a kodak moment quite frequently on this bit on road, so i had to just stop and take it in..
another town, another harbour !
and another picture of the 'another' harbour in the 'another' town !
back out on the road it seemed everyone was doing something on their sunday off...walking, running, bicycling, climbing and this looked peaceful, canoeing.
soon enough i was in the town of glenarm !
it seems the roads can get clogged up after all...!!
i was getting hungry now and stopped at 'half way house' ?!...and this is their view !
this was parked outside...i was thinking, mother of god if you dont eat all of your dinner here you will be in trouble with the police !
i needn't have worried, it was no bother to eat it all up..!!
these wee red beaked fellas were jumping around on the rocks outside by the sea.
in a blast i am in larne and follow signs to the boat...no problems...i didnt even have my ticket, just an email from the ferry company - no bother, on you go !!
hot now and the wait isn't easy..chatted the only other biker going on the ferry, he was coming back from the isle of man tt races and had a blast !!
as you can tell the ferry was full and there was standing room only !!
soon we're underway and saying adios to dear old ireland !!
to be continued, thank you for your time.
the ferry ride over to troon was pretty uneventful...
and the weather was definitely improving.
except for the poor smokers.......!!!
they had to wait 25 minutes until the observation deck opened up so that they could sort out the craving....!!!
it really was an intense 25 minutes for these poor guys and as i sat there i couldn't but help feel sorry for them....
once the observation deck was opened there was a clamour for the door and by the time i got up to it the place was like a fog of cigarrette smoke !!
but the people were definitely starting to cool down and relax..
i headed down to watch the 'in-flight' movie and it was a good laugh 'the zookeeper' - i had seen it before but it helped pass the time easy..
ferry docks........awway like mad up the road......any road.....high road.....low road.....except i took the wrong road.........and ended up in Largs !!!
beautiful place with massive marina........i had sailed up these parts....the clyde..hebrides......islands.......on a sail boat many years before in my youff !!
the sun was setting now and i had planned to get as far as a town with a mighty name - Balloch, pronounced Bollox roughly translated....!! So only quick look
around Largs, couple of pics and offf again...
big church type place in Largs
ferry boats and bikes and sun and girls
nice place to hang out in the evening...
i would have liked to shoot the breeze with this crew but Ballochs was calling...so steamed up a nice road over hills and round bends till i made the erskine bridge
cool looking bridge...the scots are supposed to be mighty engineers and proof of this is all over the country with bridges, ships and such.
eventually Balloch- situated at the bottom end of loch lomond........at the beginning of the loch tourist experience...nice...!!!
as i was so late getting here i went into the balloch house hotel, cool oldy worldy place and got a room at a price i could have argued about but didnt...!!
the photo above is from the hotel so i was in magical land by now......too late to get food there...so i went a hunting for a chippie........nae bother...!!
house hotel, poor photo..!!
the chippie had everything from fish suppers, burgers, deep fried mars bars to haggis......i was only up for a bag of chips by then...!!
went back up to lakeside and shared them with 2 ducks....mallard......the female sucked all of them up leaving bugger all for the male.she was just too fast..!!!
i knew his situation, i felt for the shiny green and purple little guy.....!!
this is the view the ducks have every evening......not too shabby...
next thing you know this little guy and his mate appeared and hung out with me to watch the setting sun..
last photo before dark......in for some beer......!!!
real nice room....real nice hotel....very higly recommended....at least i liked it and it was in a great spot for touring...there were other bikers staying there also
so it is on the biker map....!!!
i should explain the suzuki jacket versus the triumph bike......but i can't !
dreamed dreams of wildly watery things in envelopes of not so watery things.........confusing - even for me....!
room with a view........!!!
just so you know , if ever you are in balloch this place will look after you for sure......!!! (no, i have nothing to do with them at all)
it's morning time and i want to get going a.s.a.p. - so no delay.....head north up the west side of bonnie loch lomond...in the gloamin'
and it is a bit gloomy...or overcast anyways
this was a wee house of many colours in their garden in a wee place called luss..
and then more of the loch.....
looking south at loch lomond...
and looking north.....
by now i need to put in a picture of a bike, any bike and the tiger looked well by the loch, even if the camera was playing up like puck and the weather was poor..
....gotta go.....thank you for your time.
This is a cracking ride report. Looks like you are getting decent weather up there. Keep the pictures and stories coming.
Perhaps Isle of Man TT Champ in disguise/ pen-name?
Is it just this particular Yank or is this like reading the transcripts from a Guy Martin interview? :D
Really enjoying your Pics, ponderings and mental meanderings
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