So, no trip can begin till you get all your luggage…well, as many of you know, what I was missing was my bike. Kind of a big thing on a bike trip. The airline was nice enough about it, a few rather short remarks on both sides. But in the end we made it. In just one day, I learned to swear in Gaelic…..and apologize in English. I just love that languages come so easy to me.
Camped out in a small grove of trees some 5 miles from the airport. I actually went over that direction to stay at some cheap rat trap apartment that I had found on line. I was told to call again when I got there and someone would open the apartment for me. Tried calling quite a few times and finally just gave up. Threw my gear over the fence beside the bus stop and walked a couple hundred feet out and behind some trees, set up my BRAND NEW tent and went to sleep. Rained all night, nothing new, it seems to do that every night….and quite a bit thru the day as well.
I have been wet steady for a week, I am seeing new green shoots just above my ankles.
So the following day was a day of total mis-direction, that’s for sure. Go here, ……sorry we have no idea, …….why are you here, ……..you need to see this desk, ………your at the wrong desk, …….have you called lost luggage that’s where to start, ……no, o, you need to go down that hall and talk to…….we have it, …….just kidding, …………please come thru here sir for a full rectal scan and pinger frinting process…….that’s a bout how the day felt and went. I actually got my bike at about 5pm from a very nice fellow who actually walked back and done a real visual search. By 8pm, I was out the door, bike fully assembled, and riding north on tiny back roads. Felt good to have frensh air blowing strait thru ( strait thru, I hadn”t eaten all day). I got about 20 plus miles in and it was getting too dark and rain ing to hard.
I have a new tent, it’s made by REI the maker of my last tent as well. My last tent was basically a superb tent except for its ability to stand heavy wind. Needless to say, I really liked it. This new tent is the newer version and the redesign sucks like a vacuum cleaner. I have set it up quite a few times now and can honestly say, if you think it’s going to rain, stop a day early and get started…..yup, it’s that much of a pain. There are a few other things that are really annoying. The inside walls sag to much, mostly because there is no tention across the front quarters of the tent. Secondly, the doors leak like a rain gutter when you open them and the rain that falls hits right at the edge of the sleeping bag. The gear vestibule on each side are large enough they can be seen, but not large enough to truly function for a biker with panniers, for that they are too tight. The footprint or rain stop, all it as you will. Does not fit the tent floor very well, and not enough locations to fasten it down. I do like the color, all joking aside. The color for those of us who wild camp (wild camping, is finding any spot that you feel is safe and secure that is not an actual camp ground ) this tent is a safe green color, Definately not worth the $299.00 price tag.
I write this, was a rather meandering course. From village to village, one tiny 2 lane road to the next. The countryside is a verdant green, and the trees here are just now coming into bloom as compared to back in California where the bloom is over. The houses, while quaint and cute for sure, they are also a much more modern dwelling. I would expect possibly the thatch grooves and white wash calendar shoots we are all accustomed to seeing, will be off on the west coast more so.
Some will say, holy cow, he is in Belfast already. Yup, I sure am……. it’s only like 100 miles so we shouldn’t be so surprised. I have an apartment for a couple days as I sit waiting for the ferry over to Isle of man, my next leg of this journey. For now, I am going to walk a wee bit of Belfast and maybe buy a new stove since I am having a heck of a time finding alchohol fuel to burn…….may even get wild and look at a better tent?..
The trip north to Belfast where I sit now as a write this was fairly flat to Dundalk, but then we done some climbing after that to get up and over into the Lagan River valley that is Belfast proper. Took in the Titanic Museum today, pretty epic really, the size and scope of that is amazing. There were actually 10 completed ships of the Olympic class built that same year that the Titanic was built. +How bout this Titanic story. Violet Jessup, she was on board and survived the sinking of the Titanic. Upon arriving back in England she swore her feet shall never stand upon another ship. She was a nurse, and early during WW1, nurses were badly needed upon the HMS Brittanica, also built by the same ship yard. That ship was torpedoed and sunk…..and again she survived. Pretty lucky gal right there, you can stand next to her in a lightning storm, just don’t let her pick out a ship to sail on.