You know when you imagine worse case scenarios and your mind starts plotting all the possible coping strategies to compensate? Well that was me D-Day minus 1 when all I could hear was 70 mph winds and wondering how it would play out on my first ever trip. D-Day itself started out with blue skies (even if only 3 degrees) but with the right clothing and heated grips, all was fine. The ferry was ‘interesting’: wet tyres (lots of rain by the time we got there) + metal decks = squeaky bum time. Managed it though and one less thing to worry about next time.
Note 1 to self – always buy good kit. Might cost more but worth it. Gortex works and the dry bag does what it says on the tin – happy days. I quickly learn how to negotiate (‘circumnavigate’ says Tim – even if we end up going through the middle) towns. Note 2 to self – I love Ireland. Folk don’t wait to be invited to chat, they just do it and its great. Note 3 to self – I might be a new rider but I’m easily distracted and amused. I LOVE the helmet-nod-biker- acknowledgement and use it at all times but have yet to fully master the leg extension greeting which, I believe, will be a must in France.
3 things I now realize. 1. I usually only have a cooked breakfast now and then. Not on this trip. The full Irish has introduced itself, moved in and is now planning anniversary events. Justification? We don’t then need lunch – true but flimsy all the same. 2. Castletownbere is fantastic and so are Len and Mary. Didn’t manage Murphy’s (sad face) but did do the Healy Pass – slowly – (happy face). 3. Irish pubs are a bit dangerous – not in a bad way but in their friendliness, easy availability of good music and singing and easy access to Guinness and Irish whiskey – not sure where the latter has come from. I blame (and love and thank) Dad. The slippery slope was easy to see coming with an hilarious charades incident. Not a cob or a bap, Tim, a pie – remember? Walking back to the hotel was painless….
Being part of a vintage tractor rally is a definite highlight – as too was the hotel manager in Clifden who literally found us an empty shop to keep the bikes in as there was no parking spaces! Epic. Lessons learnt today: bumpy roads are ok but bumpy roads and corners are a challenge. When you are stuck in traffic, a bike is amazing for sneaking up the queue on. When you are stuck in traffic, some people move over slightly to aid the sneaking and some feckin well don’t. When you are stuck in traffic and some don’t move over, it is very gratifying to open up the throttle and leave it all behind….
Lot’s of ‘firsts’ on this trip but can’t wait for the next one. Must do more and more often. Join in when you can!