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Old 03-24-2013, 11:02 AM   #1
Chrismeka OP
Joined: Mar 2013
Oddometer: 1
A Friend In Need

Ride through England and Wales, get the Ferry from Holyhead to Dublin, ride to Northern Ireland, spend a few days exploring Northern Ireland by bike then reverse the outbound route to return home.

That was the plan.

I know all plans are subject to change, and this one certainly remained true to form.

An early start on the morning of the Ferry was necessary to allow me to use the Welsh mountain roads I had planned to arrive on time for the ferry. Unfortunately the rain greeted me as I dragged myself out of bed at 0500 hrs, however not to worry, there is no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing choices! As I began my journey the rain continued to fall steadily reminding me that no matter how much a glove manufacturer claims “100% Waterproof” they are all liars! The wet conditions driving through England gave me little hope that for the upcoming Welsh mountain roads, however, alas, as I travelled across Wales the sun began to shine. As the sun shine increased so did my confidence and the ride to the docks ended on a high. This was the last time I was to experience the sun shine.
The ferry journey was very standard except for the Swiss lady who bought me a drink (first time for everything).

Arrival In Dublin and a quick blast up the dual carriageway saw me at my house in Northern Ireland within an hour and a half, an early night was had so I could begin exploring the country by bike tomorrow morning.

A few of my plans involved riding the coast road to Portrush, the Dundrod track, the NW200 track, a scenic tour through the Mourne Mountains and paying my respects to the legend Joey. Due to “variable” weather conditions only some of this was possible. I can report that the Dundrod track was lovely to ride and Joeys bar serves a great pint of Guinness!

The real fun started when I began my return journey, a thick dusting of snow ensured an interesting trip to Dublin to catch my return ferry. I am used to riding my KTM EXC in slippy conditions and am even beginning to enjoy the feeling of the back end sliding, what I do not enjoy is a front wheel sliding..... on Bandit 3 inches of snow......whilst trying to ride up a hill, to take a positive from this the increased heart rate certainly kept me warm. Luckily the main roads were clear of snow, my journey was kept interesting by high winds blowing me into the other lane and overtaking cars/lorries covering me in slush, thanks Mr car driver who I am absolutely certain has never ridden a bike in his life.
On this journey I was also introduced to the joys of carb icing, just what I needed, however I made it in time to sit around and wait for the delayed ferry to depart.

Through phone calls to my wife who was in the increasingly snow ridden England I was keeping up to date with the condition of the motorways, mostly clear was the theme of my updates. Excellent, I thought, a nice trundle down the clear motorways was just what I needed. The ferry departed 2 hours late which was not bad everything considered and we made good time to Holyhead, however due to the high winds we were unable to dock, a further 4 hours circling off the coast of Holyhead waiting for the wind to die gave me time to practice the art of sleeping with 150 screaming and restless kids running around a ferry, I’m not very good at it it would appear! Finally we managed to dock, I was happy that although it was much later than planned I was able to begin the long journey home and would be in my own bed within a few hours.

As I rode off the boat I was pleased that although it was wet there was no sign of snow. Exactly as I expected...I’m so clever.
Or Maybe not.....
The roads, although clear of snow could of been used as a wind tunnel by the Mercedes F1 team! I found myself riding my bike with my arse in the knee down position, more commonly used on a race track(so I’ve read in magazines) just to keep the bike within my lane of the dual carriage way. When I passed a blown over lorry at the side of the road I thought it might be a good time to stop and get a room for the night. A quick risk assessment told me to man up so I slowed down and rode with my hazard lights
Luckily the wind died down to a more acceptable level.......I’m so clever.
Or Maybe not.....
What I was exposed to 30 miles later was snow that I would now class as “unsafe to operate a motorcycle In”. Due to the rate it was falling (instantly covering over tracks made my cars), the consistent wind (blowing me out of the track I was trying so hard to stay in), the inside of my visor freezing, slightly impairing my vision and the feeling gradually leaving my hands I felt that now would be a good time to pull over and get a hotel for the night. Great idea.
Unfortunately the roads off the dual carriageway were, not surprisingly, worse than the carriage way itself, back to the front wheel slipping that I was growing to love so much...NOT! Luckily I was pointed in the direction of a nearby hotel, only 200 yards away, finally some good luck. I made it to the hotel...slowly. and dropped the bike in the car park, I was prepared to leave it there only I had to pick it up so I could get my left hand pannier off!
Upon arrival at the hotel reception I learned that most drivers had arrived at the same decision as me and decided to get a room for the night, leaving no more vacancies, great. It would appear my lucky streak was short lived! Once I got the feeling back in my hands a quick telephone exercise was called for:-
Are there any other hotels locally – Yes
Do they have any vacancies – Yes
Can I order a taxi to take me there – No, Taxis aren’t running due to the adverse weather conditions!
Can my brother in law come and collect me – No, his jeep is broken
Would my friend Phil drive and collect me? He has a van..... that is probably a good vehicle for driving in the snow.......But it’s a 4 hour journey from his house to where I am now....Would he be willing to do that for me?.......Can I even ask him to do that?........Given the circumstances I think I’ll give it a go.
It’s times like this you find out who your true friends are. When you ring someone with a request as stupid as mine and their answer is – certainly, that sounds like an adventure! You know they are a good friend. Some hours later we were both in the van with the bike in the back on our way home, cutting through the snow covered motorways and jacked knifed lorries.
My total journey time door to door was 25 hours, it should have been 8! I travelled through 4 countries in one day through the worst biking conditions I’ve ever experienced and was eventually brought home by my friend. I remember reading a long time ago that you don’t necessarily have to go far to have an adventure.

Never has a truer word been said.

Thanks for reading

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Old 03-24-2013, 12:47 PM   #2
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Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Miss,
Oddometer: 1,067
Wow,Really turned into an ordeal [adventure],glad u made it home safe.
IBA#54495 Patriotism is supporting your country all the time,and your government when it deserves it.Mark Twain.
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