American Hooliganism in Ireland for 10 days

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by radracer, Jun 28, 2007.

  1. radracer

    radracer Riding since 68'.

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    92
    Location:
    North Texas
    “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 <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place><st1:placeName><?xml:namespace prefix = u1 /><u1:place><u1:placeName>Belfast</st1:placeName></u1:placeName> <st1:placeType><u1:placeType>Airport</st1:placeType></st1:place></u1:placeType></u1:place> 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 <st1:country-region><st1:place><u1:country-region><u1:place>Ireland</st1:place></st1:country-region></u1:place></u1:country-region>. The Riders of the Lost Empire group had arrived in <st1:country-region><st1:place><u1:country-region><u1:place>Ireland</st1:place></st1:country-region></u1:place></u1:country-region> the previous day on May the 8<SUP>th</SUP> 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 <st1:place><st1:placeName><u1:place><u1:placeName>Dunluce</st1:placeName></u1:placeName> <st1:placeType><u1:placeType>Castle</st1:placeType></st1:place></u1:placeType></u1:place> 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.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    “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 <st1:country-region><st1:place><u1:country-region><u1:place>Ireland</st1:place></st1:country-region></u1:place></u1:country-region>” I 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.<o:p></o:p>
    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. <o:p></o:p>

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  2. radracer

    radracer Riding since 68'.

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    92
    Location:
    North Texas
    Eventually, of course, Andy returned for us and we all crowded into one van and eventually made it to Phillip McCallen&#8217;s wonderful motorcycle shop. Filled to the brim with exotic motorcycles for rent or sale, Phillip McCallen&#8217;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 <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:State><st1:place>Texas</st1:place></st1:State> 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&#8217; 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&#8217; Triumph 955 Daytona and Dave got the naked CB 1300 Honda while I got the shiny arrest-me-red 07&#8217; 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&#8217;s 06&#8217; CB1300 Grunt Thing as the custom McCallen license plate proclaimed it.

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    #2
  3. radracer

    radracer Riding since 68'.

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    92
    Location:
    North Texas
    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&#8217; 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 <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:country-region><st1:place>Ireland</st1:place></st1:country-region> 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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    #3
  4. radracer

    radracer Riding since 68'.

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    92
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    North Texas
    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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    #4
  5. radracer

    radracer Riding since 68'.

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
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    92
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    North Texas
    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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    #5
  6. radracer

    radracer Riding since 68'.

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    May 22, 2007
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    92
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    North Texas
    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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    #6
  7. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
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    :thumb and don't forget to get yourself one of those hi-viz vests that all riders wear over there :lurk
    #7
  8. radracer

    radracer Riding since 68'.

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    92
    Location:
    North Texas
    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 :D

    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!
    #8
  9. Fast_Boy_Slim

    Fast_Boy_Slim Don't call me Wighty

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    Isle of Wight, England
    That will the TT racer Philip McCallen then?

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. OldBMWMaster

    OldBMWMaster Banned

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    Location:
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    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.
    #10
  11. radracer

    radracer Riding since 68'.

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    92
    Location:
    North Texas
    Yeah that would be the same one pictured here with my riding buddy Barb and myself.

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    #11
  12. radracer

    radracer Riding since 68'.

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    92
    Location:
    North Texas
    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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    #12
  13. radracer

    radracer Riding since 68'.

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
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    92
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    North Texas
    :deal 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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    #13
  14. radracer

    radracer Riding since 68'.

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    92
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    North Texas
    :clap 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. :huh

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    #14
  15. radracer

    radracer Riding since 68'.

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    May 22, 2007
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    North Texas
    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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    #15
  16. radracer

    radracer Riding since 68'.

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
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    92
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    North Texas
    There were European racing celebrities galore at the event and if you knew who you were looking at you might have every reason to be impressed :eek1 with the caliber or rider you were watching. In fact I got Ian Lougher’s autograph (and pictures)

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    #16
  17. radracer

    radracer Riding since 68'.

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    92
    Location:
    North Texas
    and we had breakfast on raceday at the Ramada sitting 12 feet away from Michael Rutter whose practice and race speed (once they moved the radar gun to the right spot) touched 204 mph! :norton

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    #17
  18. radracer

    radracer Riding since 68'.

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    92
    Location:
    North Texas
    The first 2 days we watched practice and qualifying of the NW 200 road race at such notable restaurant pubs as McDuffys or spent the time quaffing copious quantities of Guinness, Tenets, Harp, Black and tans and other fine beers every evening at the Port Rush Coach Inn where our Irish brothers in leathers, Arthur and Trevor, were staying. As we watched the bikes and riders hurtle past McDuffys at about 160 mph most of us tried to take pictures of the bikes while cringing at the thought of one swinging wide since we were all standing on the outside of the turn! Even though we were behind a chain link fence I doubted it would do much to slow a 450 pound missile (and rider) going 160 mph so I scoped out places to dive behind should a rider’s wobble get out of control. :eek1 After a few Guinness’s though I realized that at the speed the bikes were going we’d scarcely have one second to dive behind the brick wall we were all standing on so I consequently gave up all hope of survival and relaxed.:freaky Picture taking proved a more daunting task than we originally assumed and thanks to our new digital era cameras many pictures of a vacant street were deleted and eventually replaced with actual pictures of speeding motorcycles.

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    #18
  19. Fast_Boy_Slim

    Fast_Boy_Slim Don't call me Wighty

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    Cool guys a legend.
    #19
  20. radracer

    radracer Riding since 68'.

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    92
    Location:
    North Texas
    A legend and a super nice guy. He had dinner with us on our final day and regailed us with all sorts of stories. He's really sick of Aprillia's lack of support for their bikes though. Loves Triumph. The stubborn Italians won't even provide him with contracts in English and he refuses to sign one in Italian. Terrible parts support too.

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    #20