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Old 07-29-2013, 01:15 PM   #1
Don T OP
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There and Back Again - Southern England and Ireland on 2 V-Stroms.

My girlfriend an I have traveled around Europe on motorcycles almost every summer since we met 16 years ago.
I have always done most of the planning (taking into account her ideas and wishes) both before and during our travels together.

Riding and planning together involves some compromises to make both parties happy - in our case the main issue have always been, how much time we should spend riding compared to time out of the saddle to explore the places we visit (I never get tired of riding).


Earlier this year I did a 2 weeks/9.000km solo ride to Morocco, where I didn't have to make any compromises and thus got my desire for long days in the saddle saturated (for a time) - the result was, that my girlfriend and I agreed to let her decide everything and do all the planning for this years summer vacation

She quickly decided that the destination should be Ireland - one of the few places in Europe we still hadn't visited on 2 wheels.

The 25th of June we took off on a journey that in many ways was different from any of our earlier motorcycle trips together - a journey with happy reunions, unexpected issues, new friends, great riding, challenges, breathtaking scenery and a bit infidelity...

Stay tuned.

Don T screwed with this post 08-03-2013 at 12:17 AM Reason: Trying to change the title of the thread.
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:49 PM   #2
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Leaving mainland Europe.

First stop on our way to Ireland was in Dudeldorf/Germany to say hello to Jim (fellow inmate jbar28), that I got to know on my ride around Morocco 2 month earlier.
It was great to see him again and meet his wife Sandy - and to introduce Katrine for the guy I had shared some of my Moroccan adventures with.

After a pleasant evening in good company, a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast Katrine and I was ready to continue our journey.

Jim giving me advice on an interesting route through the Ardennes:






There was only 450km from Jim's house to Calais where we had an evening reservation for the Eurotunnel (connect Calais in France with Folkestone in England), which allowed us to take scenic routes for most of the day.



Riding the small roads we still made good time and ended up arriving at the train station in Calais almost 2 hours before schedule.
Instead of spending 2 hours waiting for the train for which we had booked tickets, we were waved directly aboard a train that was just about to depart.



25 minutes later we disembarked in Folkestone and headed for a hotel in the center of town - taking it easy while getting use to the left-hand traffic.



The hotel we had booked prior to leaving home, turned out to be a time warp from the 70s - but it was a nice place, and the owner told us to park the bikes in the garden, where he judged they would be safer than in the street.



After having checked in and parked the bikes we headed for the nearest pub to get a few pints - When in Rome...

Don T screwed with this post 09-02-2013 at 03:11 AM
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Old 07-29-2013, 04:01 PM   #3
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So far so good. Looking forward to reading of your adventures in the British/Irish isles.
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Old 07-30-2013, 01:17 AM   #4
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Good stuff, going to enjoy this
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:44 AM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback guys.

I have a lot of stuff going on at the moment, but I'll add new chapters to the story whenever I can find the time.
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:27 AM   #6
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Waiting not so patiently..
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:57 AM   #7
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A little flashback:

About a week before departure I was servicing my bike to make sure it was ready for the trip. When I adjusted the chain, I noticed that the axel nut ran tighter than normal when I loosened it. It turned out that the threads was damaged and both axel and nut needed to be replaced. When I tried to order the parts from the local dealer, they told me, that the axel was on back order from the Danish importer, and expected delivery time was 2-3 weeks – not good!

In a situation like this the www can be a real life saver.

After sending out requests to several dealers around Europe, I finally got a positive response from Sam at Pro-Bike in Berkshire just west of London, who promised to get me the parts in time for me to replace them before departure. She was a real pleasure to do business with and I received the parts as promised. In her last email to me, she told me, that I was welcome to pop in for a coffee if I ever happened to be in the neighborhood.



Back to the RR…

The next morning we packed the bikes before enjoying the first full English breakfast of the trip.



We then hit the highway to get around London in the direction of Holyhead where we were to catch a ferry to Dublin the next day. It turned out that Berkshire was on the route and around noon we parked our bikes in front of Pro-Bike and popped in to say hello to Sam and get the promised cup of coffee. Sam was surprised (to say the least) when she found out who we were – it was not every day that customers living 1000 miles from the shop dropped by to say hello.



After a cup of coffee and a good chat with Sam and some of the other sales people working at Pro-Bike we continued our Journey towards Ireland.

The rest of the day we took the smaller roads and before long we entered Wales riding beautiful twisty roads surrounded by stunning scenery. The night before we had booked room at a B&B located in Brecon Beacons National Park. The place turned out to be a real gem - a tiny 700 years old church converted into a B&B with 2 guestrooms in the attic.



When bikers move in with all there stuff:



The host couple was a retired teacher and his wife who really knew how to make their guests feel welcome. We spend the evening doing a 1 hour hike to the nearest pub, to get a meal and a few pints – a nice way to build up an appetite.

It was a really nice hike to the pub





Just as we left the B&B heading for the pub, an Israeli couple arrived to check in at the other room in the attic. We met them again at the pub, and we ended up having dinner together and afterwards they gave us a lift back to the B&B in their car.

Dinner at the pub




Don T screwed with this post 08-01-2013 at 01:52 PM
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:05 PM   #8
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Nice one Tonny, nice to see you enjoying the UK.....ive stayed at the Wycliffe in Folkstone a couple of times, but going the other way for me...UK to EU
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Old 08-04-2013, 02:00 AM   #9
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Thanks Wal2.

The UK is one of my favorite destinations when going on motorcycle vacations - the weather is not always the best, but it is amply offset by all the other good things the place has to offer.

The next chapter of the RR will get posted soon...
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Old 08-04-2013, 02:02 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Don T View Post
Thanks Wal2.


The next chapter of the RR will get posted soon...
Good, good
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Old 08-04-2013, 04:39 AM   #11
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Living in North America it's really nice to read the RR's from the UK and Europe. Thanks, looking forward to more
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Old 08-04-2013, 02:54 PM   #12
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When we fell asleep it was to the sound of rain drumming against the window - a sound which fortunately was gone when we woke up the next morning.

This days riding started on some really nice roads going north through the Brecon Beacons National Park:



The pace was leisurely, allowing us to enjoy the scenery and we often stopped to take pictures and soak up the atmosphere.









We stopped for lunch at a cafe in Caernarfon right next to the town’s impressiv castle.
If you are in to castles, Wales is the place to go – with over 400 in all shapes and sizes scattered throughout the region.



Late in the afternoon we arrived at the port of Holyhead, where we were going to catch a ferry to Dublin.
In the queue for the ferry we parked next to an Irish couple – Liam and Trish - who were on their way home from a 4-week motorcycle tour around Europe



When the bikes were secured on the car deck we went upstairs to share a table in the salon during the crossing. They came up with several good suggestions for places and routes we could explore during our stay in Ireland.
Just before we disembarked in Dublin they invited us to stay at their place in Tralee if we came to that part of the country. We thanked them for the generous offer and exchanged phone numbers before we said goodbye to each other.

One of the reasons for us going to Ireland was to visit Katrine’s brother who had moved to Dublin with his wife and kid a few months earlier. His wife is from Dublin and at the time of our visit they lived in her parents’ house.



We checked in at a B&B nearby and spend the weekend hanging out with the family and playing tourists around Dublin.

The Jeanie Johnston:









From one of the many parks in Dublin:





Dublin has more pubs per capita than any other city in the world - and of course we had to visit some of them


The V-Stroms took a well earned rest for a couple of days in the back yard of the B&B:


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Old 08-05-2013, 12:14 AM   #13
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Enjoying this, thanks
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Old 08-05-2013, 02:29 PM   #14
Don T OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novaboy View Post
Living in North America it's really nice to read the RR's from the UK and Europe. Thanks, looking forward to more
Quote:
Originally Posted by rockydog View Post
Enjoying this, thanks
Thanks for the positiv feedback
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Old 08-06-2013, 03:12 AM   #15
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Monday morning after having spend 3 days in Dublin, Katrine and I was eager to get back on the bikes and start to explore Ireland in earnest.
The plan for the day was to head north into Northern Ireland and then follow the coast west to Galway, where we had booked a room for the night – but that plan was soon about to change…

We had just left the city and hit the freeway when the engine on my bike suddenly died and the dash looked like this:



I pulled the clutch and was able to roll onto a lay-by, where I started to look for the cause.
When I turned on the ignition the fuel pump didn't prime and the dash looked like above.
It turned out that the fuse marked "fuel" was blown and when I replaced it with a spare, that one blew too – I then decided to call roadside assistance.




As you might have deduced from the picture, I was not thrilled with the situation.
The V-Strom was only little over a year old with 20.000 miles on the clock and had been meticulously maintained, so I was really disappointed that it now left me stranded like this.

After waiting 4 hours on a tow truck, I was picked up and transported to the Irish Suzuki importer (Priory Motorcycle) located nearby, while Katrine follow on her bike.



When we arrived at Priory Motorcycle they dropped everything to help me out and after 1 hour of troubleshooting, they discovered that there was a short circuit in the diagnostic wire at the back of the bike caused by rubbing against the supframe. The mechanic found that the problem was caused by the original routing of the wiring and would report the problem to Suzuki.



He then repaired and relocated the wire, replaced the fuses and 1 hour later the bike was fit for fight and I was ready to hit the road.



The mechanic who save my day (and our vacation):



As the bike was still under warranty they didn't charge me for the work, so in the end the entire incident only cost me 6 hours, a lot of swearing and a missed opportunity to visit Northern Ireland this time around as it was now mid afternoon and we had to head directly for Galway in order not to arrive too late in the day.

After a long and troublesome day we finally arrived at our B&B in Galway, where we were accommodated in a big and really nice room with a view over the bay, before heading for the local pub to get dinner and the mandatory pint of beer.




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