Blog 4 Shamrocks and Kilts Tour.

We hit the beach a runnin boys, we turned those bikes around………well something like that as Johnny Horton sang. We rolled off the Ferry that took us from Belfast to Douglas on the Isle of Man at a leisurely 2.5 hours time frame. Arrived later afternoonish like 4pm or so. I had already bought food and had it packed on the bike, 15 packs of cookies and a tub of ice cream……okay kidding about the ice cream.

The island is actually very mountainous, so you get climbing right away.

Before I get to carried away with cycling antics, I need to tell you about Cheryl and Brian, because they weave thru my next few days of life like a kilim rug. Our meet begins in Belfast as we all sat waiting for the Ferry. A simple conversation, as is usual, begging with a comment about the bike and the direction. Well it all gets turned around pretty quick into a discussion of Trump, Christ, carbon foot prints, Al Gore etc. And I am confused, opinionated, but still confused. Confused because I am not making the mental connections as to, how these subjects and people are connected.

Just sitting on a sunny corner having a “flat white”, that’s a hot tea.

So, as it regarded Pres. Trump, clearly my two new friends had taken in everything the media had dished up as being a truism. I assured them he was not red headed villan in my books. And that what he has achieved thus far from a business standpoint, is well, nothing short of miraculous looking at the stats. Now, about Gore, I was not so kind and gentle. Albert is bag of wind, a catastrophe of thought and theory, a man riddled with negative anecdotes and not ONE SINGLE solution…….oh, and please send $7.95 to help me save the world would be my description of him. We all boarded pretty much amicably agreeing to disagree. I did find out Cheryl is the minister at cute little stone Church in Dalby.

A very typical piece of IoM countryside and a tiny village which is called “Balla” in Manx Gaelic

Up the road I go, and Douglas and Amarillo grow smaller in my rear view mirror. Traveled on an A sized carriageway for a few miles. As soon as possible I got off onto the smallest of backroads headed for Injebreck. Which as it turns out was once a fancy Hotel with a large pavillion where folks would come to picnic in the summer. Long gone now, the building is still glorious and the surrounding yard a botanical masterpiece. I know this because by pure God willed luck, I was out of water right at Injebreck…..and knocked on the only door around. A wonderful gal came to the door, Julie Stipple. She filled both my bottles with outstanding spring water, then gave me a tour of what used to be the old hotel. Outside she walked me thru her late husband’s garden masterpiece, with rhodendrens, honeysuckle, lilac and double Rose’s of every color.

ODT is the Gaelic abbreviation, or in “Hinglish” it is called an Old Dead Tree.
Winding our way up what I think is the base of Snaefell Mountain.
One of my better campsites, had a few rolled you downhill or inserted a tree root in the nether places.

A long and winding route up and around Snaefell, I was darn glad for a chance to roll downhill for a change. At least half the mountain top is fully exposed and the wind will RIP your hair out by the roots. Rolled down a mountain bike track for a couple miles, it was pretty rough on old Shirley, crossed a damn spillway and then roared down the mountainside into Thuly a Will. Wow, what gorgeous little piece of the world that is.

Pretty typical of the small roads that I tried to stay on while riding IoM.

Basically followed the creek down it’s very stony path for several miles. Waiting for a junction that would take me north towards Ramsey. Everywhere on IoM, is 5 miles apart, and Ramsey not much further than that.

There were some places that just took your breath away, rock,gorse, rain clouds.

Ramsey, sits at the north end of the IoM, and faces the north like a rampart set against the mountains that back it to it’s south. The flats that make up the northern tip of the island lay stretched out in front. Its estimated the flats were created by advancing ice flows during the ice age. Who am I to argue, I am just a guy on a bike. By the way, I am wearing normal hiking pants, and lined ones at that it’s been from cool to downright cold somedays.

Have no idea what flower these are could be blue bells, but they just covered some hillsides.

Backroads, mountain bike tracks would lead me now westerly and south. Balllaugh, I stopped at the Raven Bar to have a flat white and charge a few batteries up. My phone is dying a slow death me thinks, it does not hold a full charge for even half a day if I am not careful. And yes, I do keep it plugged into the hub at all times while riding..

The sage of the Raven Bar, there is one in every bar I think . He is the town’s unofficial greeter, self appointed world and local historian, and all round go to guy for the latest gossip or off color joke. I went for the joke first, then the gossip.. I found out some interesting possible stats about the island, that I have to say over time and meeting others they would seem to be quite accurate it seems. ITo begin with, it’s an expensive island to live on. The highest GDP of all Europe, the 9th largest economy in the world. Not to mention more billionaires and millionaires than you can shake a Wall Street Journal at.

Sheep handling corrals at the bottom of a ravine.

It’s the result of creating a income tax haven for corporations etc. For some islanders, this has proven to be a wise decision, while for others they feel that it has brought an income level that has changed the intrinsic feeling of the island. Hard to know, but I bet there is a double sided blessing to it for sure.

Heading up over the top and on towards Glen Rushen .

Heavy cloud cover greets me as I roll back the tent door ( I am beginning to get along better with my tent, hate to admit it, but it’s not really that bad) I rode what is left of an old rail line between Balllaugh and almost into Peel. It was fun, even exciting as you ride past sheep, sheep, then more sheep and a few overweight cows. I am not accustomed to seeing cows that appear to be RIB-LESS. They are standing there, almost bouncing, like helium inflated cow-ballons. Its unnatural it is.

Looking due south at the headlands near Ayr Lashlin, what an outstanding spot.

Rolled into Peel and it was early so I hit a tea shop, had a flat white and cranberry tea scone. Wonderful visit with the other 7 people who occupied the tiny shop. The morning discussion was about Police work, the dangers of it, and how so nobody had actually brought a pistol to the island. No telling what sort of trouble this could lead to? The citizens of this fIre isle are taught to immediately call FART, not to fart, but to call FART. of course, as a non-islander I am app,ying all sorts of thoughts to this notion. Finally it is just to much, these folks are. zrrying on about the tactical advantages of FART, The superior training ing………..and I am thinking I have never trained for farting, maybe that’s what I am missing. Turns out to be the police Fast Action Responce Team. And be it known that those who retire out of this unit are truly the ONLY ones to have actually earned the title of ……you got it, Old FARTS

Archibald Cox son, he is a world famous silversmith, you should go check him out says the man with but 2 teeth as he sips his fea. Still sitting in the tea shop I am. There is a big display of his work up at the cathedral, just oop the street lad. So I wander back up the hill, and make it to the Cathedral. I immediately run into a gregarious and jovial fellow named Henry as seen center below. To his right and seated is Connor who is a Music major, and specialist in pre- 1700 organ music. He didn’t know a lick of ZZ Top or AC-DC…..music schools these days fall so short on their promises. And lastly is Andrew, a Thoelogy Masters student, and soon to enter the Vickerage. Certainly looked at the Cox display of work, very impressive, not only his smithing skills but also his oils, drawings etc as well. Time for lunch said Henry, will you join us he asks. Certainly. The Vickers house, a multi roomed affair, with several men living within its rock walls. It’s not really a halfway type house, just an invitation to stop and stay should you feel like working for your room and board and possibly while their develope. closer relationship to Christ himself as a result.

HENRY at center, CONNOR seated, and ANDREW the would be Vicker someday.
And then the lad asks me was there any wind on the Island?

As it turned out, these guys also knew Cheryl and Brian whom I had met on the ferry trip over. We had fresh sea spinach, fried, very good. Shaved carrot salad with wild dill and Gorse petals ( which are edible as it turns out ) Sister Margaret’s meat loaf, also very good……..oh yes and French fries. 2 this is I have found synonomous with the island eating habits, TOAST and FRENCH FRIES. I thought Jeremiah has a serious TOAST addiction, but I am sadly la king what it truly takes. Henry as it turns out has a degree in environmental science, and came to the island to open an art store. He found the church work more rewarding and gave up the store front. And by the way he says as I depart late afternoon, be sure to stop in DLby and say hello to Cheryl and Brian for us.

I set out of Peel towards DLby, but its hilly. I had been having some chain skip issues, and looked things over several times to no avail. This evening however it would become k own. The bottom wheel on my rear driller finLly gave way, just hanging by a thread. I was done. Mostly downhill back to Peel, I went I. the morning and sat and had tea in my favorite tea shop till the bike store opened. Got my part…..sort of, it was a used item and did not actually match perfect but got me by. Took a moment to wash a few items before again leaving for Dalby. When I finally did make it, I seen the quaint tlittle rock church right away. Met up with Chryk

And bRian and wwent to there very quaint little cottage to have lunch with them, more talk about Christ working thru us, a little talk about the environment, and then it was time for me to head up the hill and into the forest heading south. Dalby 5o the top is steep…..sorry Brian, I know you said it wasn’t much of a hill, but it is a hill. As suggested I turned of onto a mtb track out today Lashlin, what a great place. You can see the headlands s they call it, the Calf of Man and a great blue vista that is the Irish Sea. Steep hills covered in bright yellow gorse and white cotton ball shaped sheep. Up to the top and turn right and head for Rushen, down thru that and into Ballakilpheric. Turned back notherly at Colby, and rode one of the bigger roads that I had been on, the A2. Maybe 2 or 3 miles, and took to the tiniest roads and tracks I could find. Douglas now lay in front of me, and my time on Isle of Man would come to n end, sadly, but it has to happen sometime.

I have been told that “you ain’t been to the Isle, less ya tried some Queenies, smoked Kippers and had ya some Davidson’s Ice cream. So last night I had the Queenies, which are on friend baby scallops laid over a crisp slice of sour dough toast, then they pour a white wine and mustard sauce over all that. The sauce has lemon grass and bits of bacon in it. Fabulous, and JW is not a fish lover………….I don’t remember where it says it, but I k ow God said eat beef, I made fish for the cats. Today, apart from getting this blog posted, I will find Kippers and dang sure find that ice cream. I am officially having a heck of. time with my new Go-Pro Hero7. It does take stunning images as well as video for me. But the app that connects to my phone is a tedious little bugger and always disconnects or becomes unpaired. And lastly, I was going to edit on my tablet but my tablet OS is not capable of doing such. Job. Apart from that folks, I am feeling healthy, blessed indeed and fortunate that there are some out there praying for me and reading the blogs. Thank you all, and my prayers for all who mY be reading this.

The dry stack rock building is the handi-work of Henry at the Cathedral,
This happy fella called Garrett` stopped by my tent to check k on me and see if I was okay.

Blog 3 Shamrocks and Kilts Tour

Once again I have been fighting to get the images downloaded off my camera from the SD to my tablet. Finally got that done today, and I think the issues are resolved going forward. So with that in mind, this post will be primarily images. All images have been taken between Dublin and Belfast.



The last ship built by the same firm that built the Titanic, same company has gone on to build huge wind turbines today. They are hoping to sell a bunch to AOC….. and see if they can SINK AMERICA.


The splendid Capital and Parliment buildings of Belfast.
Splendid piece of wall art here in down town Belfast.
Cutting across town in Drogheda, went thru the rail station. Was told to be extra careful as there is a big Gypsy drug war going on in our town……” it’s a wee bit like the bloody wild west doan’cha know!”. So indeed I was careful and rode with my slingshot out and at the ready.
This was a beautiful scene, but you wouldn’t know causing my image was badly out of focus. So I out of focused it even more and put a frame around it.

The rest of these images is for the folks with an artistic bent, no matter if it’s engraving, wood carving, leather carving. I just love old buildings especially Cathedrals. They showcase a level of art and craft that the new rectangular Lego Block shaped buildings -YUCK









BLOG 2 Shamrocks and Kilts

South of Dundalk Ireland on the Antrim coast.

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.

Yes, in my sleeping bag working at getting warm.

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.

Look at the size of the man between the Titanic boilers.

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.

Representation of First Class Cabin on the Titanic.

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.

William, pronounced “Wulyam”, also an avid cyclist.

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.

Blog-1- Kilts & Shamrocks Tour

The Kilts and Shamrocks Tour- commences Monday, May 6th of 2019. If all goes well, meaning that I am not turned into a hood ornament along the way. Then the trip begins in Dublin, Ireland, and the ride starts by heading north towards Belfast. Once we are far enough north to hitch a ride on a ferry I will get over to Isle of Man, ride its length north and then a second ferry to get to the coast of Wales. The plan is to ride the tiny back roads, so the going may be a wee bit slow. In the UK they have these remote cabins or cottages called Bothies, I plan on sleeping in a few if at all possible.

Credit for the image goes to Dmitrij Paskevic.

From Wales we ride south basically, a few spots I would like to hit like Snowdonia, and Cardiff by the sea for instance. On into England and further south, heading towards the coast someplace near say Plymouth. From that point we turn to the east now and ride on or close to the south coast all the way round until we hit Hadrians Wall and cross over the border into Scotland.

Credit for the image goes to Bjorn Snelders and Unsplash image service.

Before I cross over into Tartan and Bagpipe country, Colleen will fly over and meet up with me in England’s Lake District, we will spend a week or so touring around and enjoying some time together. Once I get started into Scotland, its up around the east coast crossing up over the top and headed back towards Scotlands western coast. I will finda ferry to once again take me back over to the northern end of Ireland.

Thanks to Unsplash and photographer John Finn for a western Ireland image.

After blog post 1- all images for better or worse will be my own and not used from the photo service known as Unsplash. The end game is to ride around the western coast region of Ireland and on into the south, where Colleen will again fly over and join me for a week or so or relax and enjoy some time together. It will feel good to pry the cycling foam out of the crack of my butt for a week I am sure. After Mom leaves, I will continue on and eventually make my way to Dublin once again, dismantle my bike and get headed home. I have to say thanks to our very loyal customers who keep our business going and who tolerate my absence. Thanks to the friends and fans who follow along, take a moment to comment and make the whole trip more enjoyable. And I have to say thanks to the Lord above, who sustains me on a trip such as this.

JW- self portrait in Jahyece, Bosnia, part of the “Round the World” Tour.