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Old 06-28-2007, 05:19 AM   #1
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American Hooliganism in Ireland for 10 days

“Its not gonna run much further”, said Hap pushing down harder on the gas pedal as if that would coax the dying van faster. “Let up on the gas and let it breathe a second then try again” I urged him. We were trying to keep up with the leader of our RotLE (Riders of the Lost Empire) group, Andy, as he zoomed thru the twisting roads somewhere in the vicinity of the Belfast Airport though quite possibly not heading directly toward our intended destination. We were trying to return the two rental minivans and rent the motorcycles we had all been dreaming about for months at Phillip McCallen’s motorcycle shop in Lurgen Ireland. The Riders of the Lost Empire group had arrived in Ireland the previous day on May the 8th and gone to bed early at the Girl Scout youth hostel near Port Rush that Andy had found to rest our weary bones each evening. Situated across the street from Dunluce Castle and catty-corner to an ancient cemetery and ruins of a roofless stone church the youth hostel served a purpose and no one complained about its utilitarian nature. Since we were about six hours ahead of our normal schedules it took some of us about two days to acclimate ourselves to the time change and picking up the bikes the day we arrived would surely have meant the demise of several of us as we were all dead tired.

“We turned the wrong way back there” Hap said quite confidently. “Well apparently the name of our adventure is at least accurate since now we really are lost in IrelandI mused. Hap chuckled and tried shifting the transmission into a lower gear. “Doesn’t do anything” he said, (as the engine sped up noticeably) and flicked it back into drive again. I wondered about the toll of too many years in the saddle on his hearing but said nothing. Hap was one of those experienced riders (and ex-racers) on the far side of 50 who actually go on vacations to ride the country. “Hap says you turned the wrong way”, I said to Andy on one of the GMRS radios I had brought along for the trip, but the response from the other end led me to believe we would continue in this direction nonetheless.
The temperature gauge had been swinging upward occasionally and would then retreat down now and then and once caused us to come to a halt along the side of the highway as it entered the red zone on the temperature gauge. After pouring water on the radiator from a water tank perfectly situated down the hill from our stopping point we started the van and found the temperature nicely low and proceeded. Every roundabout was an adventure thereafter though because the van would not accelerate as Hap hit the gas until about 3 seconds later when it would take off briskly like some poorly designed turbo setup with lots of lag. Then as we were watching the van driven by Andy recede into the distance trying to get quickly to somewhere even if it might have been in the wrong direction Hap looked down to discover the temperature gauge was pegged. “Our van is toast”, I called into the radio. “We’ll find some anti-freeze and come back for you”, came the reply. The engine was rattling a death knell and so Hap turned it off lest the tiny engine grenade all over the scenic roadway. Of course 30 feet further on we noticed a handy entrance to a cemetery (a scary harbinger) where Hap found the water and bottles people used to water the flowers of their departed loved-ones. “Kind of appropriate”; I mused as he began pouring the water on the deceased motor’s radiator cap. We tried starting it and though it eventually cranked it rattled like an old tractor so we turned it off.

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Old 06-28-2007, 03:29 PM   #2
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2nd installment

Eventually, of course, Andy returned for us and we all crowded into one van and eventually made it to Phillip McCallen’s wonderful motorcycle shop. Filled to the brim with exotic motorcycles for rent or sale, Phillip McCallen’s shop is a bikers dream. I saw a Kawasaki Super Motard there I had never seen in the American market (the new 08' Versys 650) and noticed few if any plebian bikes for mom and pop. After noticing the briskness of the air infused with humidity unknown near the Texas panhandle I purchased a head and upper chest sock and a windproof shirt and a wool Triumph beanie. Some other members of the crew searched for rainproof gloves and other such items as we one by one went thru the required paperwork and got our keys. Andy nabbed the vaunted 07’ black Tiger and Rick received the new black Triumph 865 Speedmaster while Billy and Bobby both got new white 865 Triumph scramblers. Hap got the bright red 07’ Triumph 955 Daytona and Dave got the naked CB 1300 Honda while I got the shiny arrest-me-red 07’ 1050 Triumph Sprint ST. Most of the bikes were either brand new and required additional break-in or had a couple thousands miles on them except for Dave’s 06’ CB1300 Grunt Thing as the custom McCallen license plate proclaimed it.
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radracer screwed with this post 07-16-2007 at 11:31 PM
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Old 06-28-2007, 03:32 PM   #3
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The next installment

As the group pulled out into traffic and away from the first stoplight I managed to kill the engine on the Sprint being more used to my torquey Suzuki DRZ 400E than my own 01’ Sprint ST at home. Well that and the fact it still had the stock 19 tooth countershaft sprocket on it whereas mine now sports an 18 for better acceleration. Of course Phillip McCallen was watching at the time and as I quickly thumbed the starter button and sped away using a lot more revs than the first attempt, I could just imagine him shaking his head at the folly of renting high performance motorcycles to Americans of dubious skill levels. With Andy leading the group we triumphantly sped toward Port Rush and the Girl Scout hostel with our first mission accomplished. When Bobby and Hap turned the wrong way on a roundabout however I became worried that our illustrious leader seemed oblivious and was continuing in the direction he had decided on unabated. Concerned I sped up and eventually caught up to Andy to alert him that our group was half its original size. After sitting awhile the rest of the group fortunately reassembled itself directly behind us. At that point one of the group told me of a missing bolt in the license plate of my Sprint and I vowed to get a bolt quickly lest I find myself tagless in Ireland in violation of laws I could not imagine. With license plate dangling precariously we headed off again to Port Rush. Eventually I found a bolt and nut at a hardware store in Bushmills and made the plate rigid once again.
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radracer screwed with this post 07-16-2007 at 11:33 PM
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Old 06-28-2007, 03:53 PM   #4
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The next installment

We toured the Bushmills Irish Whiskey distillery (The World's oldest being founded in1608) the next day in a drizzle rain that made us glad we had our rain gear with us.
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Old 06-28-2007, 03:55 PM   #5
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Next one

The tour of the distillery was very interesting and we all thoroughly enjoyed it as well as the half glass of whichever of the three types of Bushmills Irish whiskey we chose.
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Old 06-28-2007, 04:00 PM   #6
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Next one again

Realizing I had brought no “actual coats” with me and that ventilated riding jackets would only get me so far I bought a green faux suede Bushmills country jacket.
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Old 06-28-2007, 04:13 PM   #7
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and don't forget to get yourself one of those hi-viz vests that all riders wear over there
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Old 06-29-2007, 12:12 AM   #8
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Well the cops wear neon yellow raincoats (which one of our guys bought from a hardware store) but the rest of them dress just about like us. After Billy bought that coat people kinda got out of our way thinking he was a cop

Headed out of town for 4 days. LOTS more to come starting Tuesday! The NorthWest 200 race was awesome! Pix and videos of that to come!
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Old 06-29-2007, 04:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radracer
Of course Phillip McCallen was watching at the time and as I quickly thumbed the starter button and sped away using a lot more revs than the first attempt, I could just imagine him shaking his head at the folly of renting high performance motorcycles to Americans of dubious skill levels..
That will the TT racer Philip McCallen then?

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Old 06-29-2007, 04:37 AM   #10
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Great ride Richard

So glad you had a chance to make the trip. I am going to get on my BMW and ride out to Dallas ASAP. Barbie says hi.

Thanks for posting your ride reoprt.
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Old 06-29-2007, 08:03 PM   #11
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Thumb Philip

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast_Boy_Slim
That will the TT racer Philip McCallen then?
Yeah that would be the same one pictured here with my riding buddy Barb and myself.
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Old 06-29-2007, 11:35 PM   #12
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The Myth

Later that day we toured up to the Giants causeway and viewed the mythical ancient lava-formed monuments known as the Giant Steps Later that day we toured up to the Giants causeway and viewed the mythical ancient lava-formed monuments known as the Giant Steps which are the Giants Causeway. Legend has it that the Irish Giant built a giant causeway of steps in order to fight the Scottish Giant consisting of tens of thousands of octagonal steps (lava formations).
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radracer screwed with this post 06-29-2007 at 11:58 PM
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Old 06-29-2007, 11:37 PM   #13
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Giant steps

When he crossed it and saw how HUGE the Scottish giant was he freaked and ran back home. When he got there he had his wife dress him up as a baby so that when the Scottish giant came looking for him he thought to himself, "The Irish giant must be enormous if the Irish giant's child is this huge " So he ran back home and destroyed the causeway so the Irish giant could not follow.
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Its not Left Vs Right. Its the State Vs You!
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Old 06-29-2007, 11:55 PM   #14
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The Pub

Afterward we went to the pub out front (there was ALWAYS one around somewhere) and enjoyed more of that silky ambrosia known as Guinness draught at the neighboring pub. Here the girls conspire to go shopping.
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Old 06-30-2007, 12:07 AM   #15
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1st day of practice for the NW 200

Later we proceeded to watch practice in Port Rush of the Kennedy Northwest 200. http://www.northwest200.org/ The Coleraine & District Motor club puts on this notable race each May from Port Rush to Port Stewart and over to Coleraine in a triangle shaped course equipped with super long straights and a few hairpins thrown in to keep the bikes from reaching dangerous velocities in the gentle turns along the coast and inland straightaways.
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