Isle of Mann

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Dieselboy, Jul 14, 2007.

  1. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy Journey not Destination

    Sep 29, 2003
    Port of the Gasparilla
    Isle of Mann Trip. 27 May to 10 June 2006.

    This is the photo journal of Nick and Beth traveling from Unterpleichfeld, Bavaria to the Isle of Mann, Great Britain.


    We traveled for 16 Days and covered approximately 5,000 miles on a BMW R1150GS (2001). I wrote notes on my Palm Tungsten 5 on the road (so that accounts for any grammatical errors) and then shelved the manuscript for an entire year. During this past year we left Germany and are now back in the States. The 1150GS is now a 12GSA. Happily, Beth is still with me.

    One day, I might actually turn in my receipts and witness affidavits for that Iron Butt 50CC I did back in 1999...I like to ride...everything else is extraneous.

    Hope you enjoy this even a fraction of what we did. :beer
  2. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy Journey not Destination

    Sep 29, 2003
    Port of the Gasparilla
    (The first couple of posts will be light photos because we were close to home and didn't take many. There will be many to come.)

    We left Untcrpdeichfeld at 0911hrs. Beth slept in and I went for a run. It was a leisurely begining. The rain has held off for the time being, but the winds are outrageous. I'm getting pounded and Beth's helmet wind noise continues to mute the music. But so far so good. I'm cruising at 120KPH and trying to relax. We are heading for Brussel. Having shipped the Volvo yesterday from Frankfurt, we had to return to home because the Garmin software had disappeared from the laptop, probably because of my restore on it which reset the programs.

    28May 2006 Belgium sucks! :puke1 That's my first impression: A76 is a horrid road, but now I can't remember if it was BE or NL. We passed our exit and had to double back. (Never actually found it.) There were no maps at the rasthof that we pulled into for help. We stopped at an airport hotel for directions, which they had in print (same hotel chain - holiday inn) but those did not match the ground. After several wrong turns, Beth (who navigates frequently when we travel two up) hands me a map of Brussels that she got from the hotel. After navigating some of the worst designed intersections I have ever seen :baldy (and I've seen a few) we made it to our hotel.
    Second impression: Brussel is a quaint town (as long as you aren't driving). We had an awesome Italian dinner and the hotel staff was excellent. Bonus - we parked secure in employee parking. (That always makes Daddy happy.) I managed to run for 20min in the area. Upscale shops and lots of cars. When inquired at the desk about routes, I was told that I could join the annual 20Km race that was scheduled for Sunday. I declined.
  3. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy Journey not Destination

    Sep 29, 2003
    Port of the Gasparilla
    1141hrs. We board the train to cross the channel. 1230hrs. We are gassed and riding on the left side. First stop- McDonalds! We have no pounds but this particular MD accepts euro. Up "the" M25 to M3 and towards Bournesmouth we are heading to Blandford Camp to stay the night with the Ginns. Glad I've got the GPS.

    If you ever have the opportunity, try the train under the channel. This was the second time we have used it. We crossed back in the 90's enroute to Scotland. Sorry no pics. The great thing about the train is they load the bikes last. You end up throwing the kickstand down and trading war stories with the other riders. It is a wonderful way to start the tour of the islands.

    This was the first of six water crossings.

    We swing south of London and parallel the channel to about the middle of the country. We are passing through back roads and some interesting terrain.


    The sign for the "New" Forest said to beware of the animals. I'm thinking, deer maybe sheep. What we actually found were herds of horses. We managed to get a shot of a couple:

  4. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy Journey not Destination

    Sep 29, 2003
    Port of the Gasparilla
    29 May 2006
    Target- Liverpool.
    At 0830 we had breakfast in the officers' mess of the Royal Signals School, Blanford Camp, Dorset. The Ginns (Patrick, Renee, & Tyler) carried Beth by motorcar to Stonehenge where Nick was patiently waiting with motorcycle. Worth the trip- yes...but too crowded to appreciate it properly. It was well run even with multiple busloads simultaneously arriving.




    The only rain, as of lunch, came as we stopped for gas & quit before we pulled away. We motored to the north and paused at the Red Lion in Avebury for a bite.



    The town sports its own stone ring and a six-story long barrow. Tomorrow being the queen's birthday, today is a holiday so the roads and stops are filled. It is nice not to be the only English speakers in a crowd, even if we don't understand it all. Things need translation like the road sign "catseyes removed" which refers to road surface reflectors and not mutilated kittens.

    1604 hrs. Just south of Birmigham on the M5 we hit patchy rain and the temerature dropped so we stopped at service center for tea. Clouds ahead promise more of the same. (This will turn out to be the only period of precipitation during the entire trip.)

    2139hrs Liverpool. We made to Beatletown. The GPS took us right to the hotel.


    With little fanfare we occupied a spacious room with a harbor view of Albert Dock, apparently a salt warehouse previously.
    Now it is a series of offices, hotels, bars, and restaraunts overlooking an enclosed quay.


    Unfortunately the Beatle museum was closed so we were unable to experience the town's modern favorite sons.


    One of the little differences in the English and American versions of the same language- humped zebra crossings. Perhaps I was just tired, but I laughed a great deal at this sign.


    On the docks we found the Lusitania's propeller.


    Interesting architecture.

  5. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy Journey not Destination

    Sep 29, 2003
    Port of the Gasparilla
    30 May 06. Liverpool.
    Steam Packet Ferry. We are the first bike to pull into the port...we were not the last.


    There were at least 50 motorcycles loaded with us and more kept trickling in.



    There were definite differences in riding skill. We watched one Duc tip as the rider rushed to mount. Not sure about damage but he appeared to be okay. I saw many riders moving onboard with helmets off . Several riders did the lowspeed waddle/wobble. Once on the deck we parked in file along a padded railing to which the bike were lashed with rope.



    All told a good deal. We had several hours of conversation with several bikers.
    The boat is a superseacat. This is a fast craft, 100m long, and stern loaded. The ferry is much like a plane or train only bigger.



    1400hrs Isle of Man.



    Landfall! We disembark the ferry with at least 150 other riders into georgeous weather.



    Our hotel, The Sefton, sits on the promenade less than a mile from the sea terminal and our room has a spectacular view of the bay.




    There are motorcycles everywhere. It's not as dense as Daytona but we've only penetrated a mile so far. I expect to find madness closer to the race course. After a round of fish & chips (Beth had a burger) we hit the Manx Museum. They were about to close so we started with a 20minute film, intending to return to see the rest. The island has a 10,000 year history of habitation; was occupied by Celts, Norse, and Scots; was finally claimed by the English. The TT has run here since 1907.
  6. dirtypumpkin

    dirtypumpkin "Monster Truck Bike"

    Jan 25, 2005
    Northern California
    Thanks for sharing, hope there is more.:freaky
  7. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy Journey not Destination

    Sep 29, 2003
    Port of the Gasparilla
    31 May 06. TT course. We left Douglas at 0800 and headed out initially to see the Tynwald (The oldest sitting parliament in Europe), but ended up following the race course around the island. Beth snapped pictures while I negotiated the route.

    Note the orange route markers.


    Hmmmm. Everyone thinks they are Hailwood. (Pardon the focus.)



    This sign removes any previously posted restrictions. On Mann it also includes removing the speed limit. I hadn't realized that this existed outside of Germany. Needless to say, quite a few British bikers let us know that this was a popular day trip for them.


    ...and speaking of German- Links Fahren is telling the Deutschers to stay on the left side of the road.


    Nicely buffered.


    Waiting for race day.


    Beth intentionally put the thumb in the frame to clue her as to when we left the course.


    We ended up circumnavigating the island. Though chilly at first, the day turned perfect. Because we started so early we had very little company initially. The actual course was well marked and we didn't see any other bikes until we left the route.

    Oh my, gorgeous!






    Small diversion to see a tomb.




    Big water wheel.




    In the south of the island.



    The TT is situated in the north and center and we followed the coast down the east side, around the south lthrough Port Erin, and back up west to Peele.

    We stopped at The Farmers Arm for food around 1100. The chalkboard menu listed various dishes but the proprietor said they hadn't updated the board and were currently serving breakfast.


    This was perfect so we grabbed a table. The waitress asked "so that'll be two breakfasts then? Coffee or tea?" Beth said one of each and the young lady spun away. Beth and I glanced at each other in amusement. I had visions of the movie "My Cousin Viny" running through my mind except in our case, there wasn't even a menu involved. Our orders aparently placed we settled in and listened to local discussion of the livestock auction that normally took place outback that, for some reason, was not happening this particular day. The meal soon arrived and we enjoyed: ham, eggs, sausages, toast, beans, and boiled tomatoe. It was good and filling.

    In Peele at its castle we met George Wilson of Northern Ireland. He was sporting a red R12RT with 200miles on the clock. It was a typical meeting of enthusiasts.




    After saying our goodbyes to George we motored back towards Douglas and managed to find the Tynwald which had been our objective to begin with. Beth walked the site snapping photos.


    We continued on to the hotel rejoining the TT course.


    At this time of day bikes and other traffic were quite heavy. We even passed a police radar trap. Our 100 mile day was well run and missed most of the later congestion.

    1800hrs. We head out for dinner. Rallybug, a.k.a. Ben, from the asylum had called to arrange a link up at the Paparazzi Italian restaraunt. We had loosely discussed this meeting some months previously when he had responded to a couple of my questions about the UK.

    It was a delightful experience. Following dinner he led us on a wonderfully convoluted route up the mountain to watch race practice in session. The route up was incredible and the vantage was equally amazing. Thanks, Ben!


    The day was 127 miles long. We have seen what we came to see. Total success.
  8. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy Journey not Destination

    Sep 29, 2003
    Port of the Gasparilla
    1Jun06. Lazy day. I ran on the promenade and then rode the TT section that crosses the mountain interior.






    I made a few video runs. This is done with the camera in my left hand while I drive with the right. The tunnel vision of the camera makes this seem much faster and on-the-edge than it actually was. Remember this is left side driving.



    Beth and I then went to breakfast at the Jubilee Cafe. We had a pleasant chat with Joe & Patricia who had just arrived by ferry from Dublin. They were sporting a gold embroidered "Jordan" patch which was the icebreaker. Turns out its the name of their riding club and is named for the local castle. We finished there and walked the shops and the carnival that had opened on the promenade.
  9. usgser

    usgser Long timer

    Nov 6, 2005
    Westside WA
    Wow is all I think to say! What a cool trip! :thumb
  10. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy Journey not Destination

    Sep 29, 2003
    Port of the Gasparilla
    Joe, thanks. It was amazing. Living in Europe was a very special opportunity.
  11. Chanderjeet

    Chanderjeet IndiYeah !!

    Mar 15, 2006
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Amazing amazing amazing.

    TT is the mecca, the heaven, the everest of all motorcycle racing. Dieselboy, i loved this thread. I compliment on your trip and must say that im a longing for the day when i would do a similar trip to the Isle of Mann.

  12. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy Journey not Destination

    Sep 29, 2003
    Port of the Gasparilla
    2July06. Northern Ireland.


    We checked out of the hotel in Douglas at 0100 and headed down to the ferry.

    A couple of hours later, amazed, I stared as a 10-story (horizontal) skyscraper floated into harbor, spun on a dime, and coasted to the dock with a sigh.

    At 0306 we watched a parade of 201 motorcyles and few cagers file off the ramp then our one motorcycle and nine cars loaded.

    A couple of thoughts: 1- the IOM TT race actually starts later today. Race fans, I'm sorry, but I came to ride the course not witness it. So I'm leaving before it becomes impossible to ride. On Sunday, "Mad Sunday", if you so choose, anyone can actually race the course for time. Don't allow trip reports to be your vicarious life. Go to Douglas and race the IOM TT. 2- the ferry ground crew told us that the next ferry would disgourge an estimated 500 motorcycles. I can only imagine the pain and the party.

    Three cold hours later we unloaded at Larne, Northern Ireland (just north of Belfast). What little sleep we garnered was interupted by 3 demon toddlers at their shrill game of tag to which we were unwilling witness.

    We followed the costal road north out of the port- georgeous vista.




    The sights: Torr Head- closest point to Scotland, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, The Giant's Causeway- unique hexagonal rock formations.

    Torr Head. I like to take pics of signs. That way I can remember the details.



    The swatch of pavement behind the ruins is where the earlier pictured sign is located. The hill top is the actual point of interest.


    What's Ireland without sheep?






    Giant's Causeway


    This oddity of rock also is found on the Scottish side. As the story goes (abbreviated version), the Irish giant built the path to get to the Scottish giant so he cold defeat him, but the Scot was so large that the Irish giant ran back and hid in his baby's crib. The Scot in pursuit came into the house, saw the massive size of the "baby" and fled. He destroyed the causeway on the way back across claiming that if that was the size of the baby, he didn't want to meet the father.


    We turned south after the causeway and dipped into Belfast, finally ending up at the Hard Rock in Dublin.


    The day's distance was 260 miles.
  13. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy Journey not Destination

    Sep 29, 2003
    Port of the Gasparilla
    A note on route planning.

    As you may notice, there is a lot of the country not pictured between the coast and the Hard Rock. We did look for suitable pictures but nothing popped up that struck us OR we couldn't get the camera out fast enough.

    Another point is, we went to ride not visit plots. The plots add theme and substance but are not the reason for the trip. As my tag says: journey not destination.
  14. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy Journey not Destination

    Sep 29, 2003
    Port of the Gasparilla
    Lunch this day was a roadside pub. Saw it. Stopped. Ate.

    The place looked a little seedy but we were hot and hungry and needed to hydrate. I was after some protein and order the biggest slab of dead cow on the menu.

    Funny thing is that just as I plopped the first hunk of flesh into my mouth the local TV station started a report on the death of a local from Mad Cow disease.

    Undeterred, I devoured the entire slab-o-meat. But it does make for an interesting story.
  15. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy Journey not Destination

    Sep 29, 2003
    Port of the Gasparilla
    3Jun06 Trim, Ireland. In the county of Meathe and near the River Boyne is the Castle Jordan. We searched but did not find it.


    Notice the arrow point ahead to Kinnegad? There was no road that way. It was worth a chuckle at the time. I opted not to go straight even though that was my destination.


    Traveling from Navan to Kinnegad we traced the river and stopped at the heritage center in Trim to inquire about Castle Jordan.

    The ladies there had heard of it but were unsure of the location. As we left the center, we passed an R1200GS on the side of the road. We circled back and met Bill and Carol who had stopped to adjust their Autocom. They did not know of Castle Jordan but did tell us that King George's Castle, which we had just left in Trim, was used in the filming of Brave Heart.



    Although we did not find our objective, the effort was well compensated by the relaxing ride through picturesque Ireland.

    From north and west of Dublin, we next charted course through Tipperary and on to Cork in the far south, near where lies the Blarney Stone.

    This ride was equally lovely of view but several long queues at congested town rings detracted from our enjoyment. An uncharacteristically hot and clear Irish day mixed with long kilometers of stop-and-go clutch action made hard work of an otherwise pleasant journey.

    Here we've stopped to pour ourselves out of our gear. Traffic off-screen to the left is completely stopped and runs for miles.


    The shaded grounds of Castle Blarney were a very welcome relief.



    We wandered along a stream to the old keep and climbed the narrow stone spiral to the top.


    Beth partook of the enchantment and I recorded her ascendancy to gab- heaven help us.



    The rectangle of light at the top center is where the stone actually is.


    As we retraced our steps out, Beth stopped to congratulate a young couple taking photos on their wedding day. I stopped the groom, shook his hand, and offered my condolences. He must have told his bride as immediately thereafter we heard a squeal of disbelief. Beth looking back said the look the bride gave me was classic.

    As evening fell we had traveled to Kinsale on the south coast. It is apparently the oldest town in Ireland.

    The heat had done me in. This was the extent of my site seeing in the town of Kinsale.


    We didn't linger but immediately wound northward to Limerick. By day's end we'd covered 373 miles.
  16. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy Journey not Destination

    Sep 29, 2003
    Port of the Gasparilla
    4 Jun06. Cliffs of Moher.

    It was hard to leave the hotel in Limerick.

    It was definitely 1st class but we had to get back to the north to catch the next ferry, so of course we headed the opposite direction first and strike the west coast and the Cliffs of Moher.


    The cliffs were definitely worth the look.



    Only this being a "bank holiday", all of Ireland decided to join us. Still, it was a good stop. There were local musicians playing on the walkway. In particular there was a lady playing the harp and singing beautifully.


    The site was under construction and the completed product will be very well integrated into the lay of the land, not to mention functional. As we departed I had the opportunity to talk with a fellow rider, Joe B. from Connecticut and living in dublin. He was sporting a lowered R1150R. He said the sunny weather was definitely an oddity, the best he'd seen in two months. A mutual wish for safe riding and we separated ways.

    While the trip in was a conga line of cars, busses, and caravans, the route out was worth the price of admission.





    We ran 40+ miles of incredible twists and dips with almost no company. From the cliffs to Galway was leg one. Once in Galway we turned north and ran 200 miles up to Ballygally on the northern coastal road.

    This video is tough to watch because of the instability of your perspective and the noise. However it does show a small part of my heaven that day. (Watch at your own risk.)


    Along the way we got caught in not-too-rowdy football celebration in Langford. We expected a sleepy Sunday atmosphere but instead got a Marti Gras street party.



    With the attendant traffic jam, opted to take the road less traveled and bypass the popular routes.

    Near to Cooktown we stopped to assist two ladies whose muffler had decided to drop. With a few zipties I was able to secure it and they limped noisily on their way. Back in the green hills of Northern Ireland, we made our way to the coastal road for our final night on the island.

    The sweeping sea views that we first enjoyed as we landed days earlier was the view we closed our too brief tour of this beautiful isle.


    Door knob at center.


    We rode 12 hours and around 300 miles. Unlike the day prior, this was a very relaxed ride.
  17. rallybug

    rallybug Local Yokel

    Apr 10, 2002
    North Salt Lake, UT
    Nice to see your pics at last, DB - all seems so long ago now :lol3

    Say hi to Beth for me :wave
  18. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Aug 16, 2002
    Thanks for the great pics and for the grand tour of the Isle of Mann in picture!! :clap
  19. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy Journey not Destination

    Sep 29, 2003
    Port of the Gasparilla
    Rallybug, yeah. It was a while back, plus you were running into the Dolomites shortly after we were there. How'd that go, by-the-way? I have had this project on my mind for the entire year because I partly felt obligated to pay back your generousity with the tale, such as it is. So I'm glad you have seen it.

    Gadgetboy, you're quite welcome. Stick around. Scotland is next up and it is one of my favorite places on Earth, which is saying something considering the great company it has with Manx and Ireland in the neighborhood.
  20. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy Journey not Destination

    Sep 29, 2003
    Port of the Gasparilla
    5June06. Amazing sight of the morning: watching tens of 18-wheelers roll off of the ferry. It was like a circus act with clowns climbing from a car. How did they all fit? Very novel.

    We leave the Emerald Isle heading to ancient Alba.


    The first view of Scotland is a fog shrouded coastal finger as our P&O ferry crosses the Irish Sea into the Firth of Clyde.

    We land at Troon (south and west of Glasgow). Unlike the Irish coast this vista appears flat for a good distance. Once actually on land we find it is not completely flat but it lacks the precipitous approach of the Irish coast.


    Besides nearly throwing us into the path of an oncoming lorry in a roundabout, the march to Glasgow is uneventful. We had visited Scotland once before in the late 90's, our impression then is reinforced today in that there appears a marked propensity to build with stone.


    Point and case- we round a corner and discover a large cathedral, nothing odd about that in Europe, but Beth doesn't get the camera on until we are passed it (it has a slow processor) and about to turn left. We make the turn and are confronted with another massively impressive stone structure.


    Because the camera is on, she snaps a photo only to discover as we come abreast of the engraved label that we have just immortalized a high school. In a place where bus stops look like monuments, it is often difficult to gage a structure's historical value at first glance.

    North of Glasgow we meander into the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. I had no prior knowledge of this place and quite frankly picked it based on a map reconnaissance. It was worth it.


    The Blue Bells are quite the attraction and the hills are covered with them. I wish I had a better photo of the vista, but these of the flowers are good.




    From the terrain map you can see the features we are dealing with. It's a great ride.


    ...and welcome to the Highlands.