A Highlander Returns Home. 200 Years Later.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Humunn, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    Back in the early 90s I developed an interest in genealogy. At the same time, distant cousins from the other side of the country were writing a book on the emigration of our family from Scotland to eastern Canada in the early 1800s. In researching and documenting the family tree, they were having a challenge finding the branch that ended up on the west coast of the US. They knew my great great grandfather spent time in Rossland BC but not much more than that. I few letters back and forth with historians in the area provided enough information that a letter was sent to my dad and then given to me.

    Genealogical research at that time was not what it is today. My cousins worked tirelessly, and I helped where I could on my little branch, until the book From Island to Island was published a couple years later. I received a copy of the book, thumbed through it a few times, and with a young family and life’s busyness, it found its way to the shelf and eventually to a storage box.

    Twenty years pass.
    #1
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  2. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    Reconnecting

    I’m not on Facebook but a couple years ago a cousin contacted me through my wife’s and daughter’s Facebook account. Said she was looking for information on her grandmother’s family (my grandfather’s older sister). In the process of exchanging emails over the next six months my interest in family history is rekindled and I develop a long distance email relationship with a cousin I’ve never met that lives in the state next door. This got me wondering about how many people I run into or am associated with on a day-to-day basis that I’m actually related to. I found this fascinating.

    At the end of an email exchange, my cousin and I suggest that we should get together “some day”. Usually this a way to say a soft goodbye. We do this all the time without any real intention of actually following through. But, into my 50s now, life is short and I start to wonder how many “some days” I have left. So, on a motorcycle trip up through Washington State, I make a pit stop and spend the night at my cousin’s farm near Bellingham. Several other family members are show up. It was a kind of surreal experience. Not sure if I had ever met any of them before when I was a kid but one of them ran around with my dad when they were boys. We had a great visit and stayed up late (way past my bedtime) talking around the campfire. It was a special visit I’ll never forget.

    [​IMG]

    More...
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  3. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    Memory Lane

    The next day I cross over to Whidbey Island to take a tour of “memory lane” where I spent time as a kid at my grandparent’s house. I hadn’t been on the island in thirty years and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Part of me wanted to leave the memories as they were and not risk potentially spoiling them.

    [​IMG]

    I had contacted and pre arranged a lunch visit with my Aunt Ginny whom I hadn’t seen in 35 years. Funny how relationships work; while it was so long ago the last time I saw her, in just a few minutes her voice, mannerisms and stories closed that gap like it was “yesterday”.

    [​IMG]

    A few miles away was my grandparents’ house which sat on one of four lots that was given to them, and my grandmother’s three siblings, by her parent’s. Most of my memories of this area are from the early to mid 1970s and my last visit was in the mid 1980s. My thought was to ride past, take a quick visual trip down memory lane, then head to the southern portion of the island and camp for the night. I wasn’t sure who lived here or how much, if any, of the property was still in the family.

    As I rolled around the soft corner on Harrington Road my grandparents’ house came into view. Not the same red color I had remembered but quickly I recalled the structural features. The visual set of a thousand memories that I hadn’t thought about in a very long time. Within a thousand feet I take a left down toward my great aunt’s places. I decide to park the bike and see if I can find anyone. Not likely I’d be back anytime soon so now was the time. No one answers the door so I head to the back of the next door house and there are four people on the deck visiting and cracking crab (the houses front the Puget Sound). I walk up to the deck without saying a word still in my hi viz moto gear and asked plainly if anyone knew who I was (later they told me they thought I was the crab police). My cousin says “Greg?”.
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  4. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    It is funny and strange how a span of 40 years can disappear almost instantly when you are reunited with family or friends from the distant past. Bill gave me a walking tour of our grandparents’ house (now his) and I was back in 1975, just like that. We finished the day enjoying fresh crab cakes on the deck overlooking the Puget Sound.

    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    Bucket List

    These new and renewed family connections rejuvenated my interest in genealogy. Since then I’ve reconnected with other another cousin, joined Ancestry and have submitted a DNA sample to learn more about my roots. One of the items on my “someday” list is to travel to Scotland and explore the lands of my ancestors.

    That “someday” came to reality a few months ago when I was invited to go on an unrelated trip that included a five day stint in the UK. After studying maps I realized I would have enough time to make a legit journey around Scotland and even detour to the little island of Colonsay where my family emigrated from in the early 1800s.

    I opted to leave the group and make my own plans for those five days.

    Solo. And on a motorcycle. Of course.
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  6. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    Plans

    Someone once told me that maps were what you looked at after a days’ ride. Being planner and wanting to not miss anything I had a hard time following this thinking although I’ve always found it refreshing when I can “go with the flow”. Given I only have five days on this trip I decided to do a little of both. Have structure around ferry and flight schedules (places and times I am committed to) but leave the rest subject to change.

    I’ve rented a BMW 800 GT from www.rentamotorcycle.co.uk and with the help of a couple ADV inmates, countless YouTube videos and the Motorcycle Scotland website, I’ll start and finish the trip in Edinburgh later this month.

    I’m planning to use this RR to document and journalize the adventure in real time.

    More to come...
    #6
  7. Richarde1605

    Richarde1605 Long timer

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    The F800s are nice and punchy, still have my second one. Have fun :-)

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
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  8. refokus

    refokus Hmmmmmm

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    I’m IN!

    Sounds like a fantastic journey.
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  9. 97707

    97707 Go Long Supporter

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    :lurk
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  10. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    Route

    Clockwise out of Edinburgh

    upload_2018-6-11_21-18-0.png
    #10
  11. Apple Jam

    Apple Jam Forest Flyer Super Supporter

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    Look, ^^^ The UK has a "Paisley" township also!
    Have the time of your life, and thanks for sharing it with US!!
    But for your own sake...post less, ride more.
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  12. cmcteir

    cmcteir Adventurer

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    Fáilte! Looks like a fantastic trip!

    On the day you're heading for Ullapool be aware that the Bealach Na Ba (the road up to Applecross) will be closed in the evening from 6pm. The following is from the Applecross Inn FB page:

    REMINDER
    BEALACH NA BA
    CLOSED FROM 6PM -7.30AM*,
    EVERY NIGHT FROM TONIGHT FOR UP TO 6 WEEKS.
    ...
    The timings of the closure are:
    from 6pm till 7.30am (everyday)
    from Monday the 11th of June till Friday the 20th of July.

    *With the exception of Monday the 18th and Monday the 25th of June when the road will be open from 7am.

    There may still be works occuring during the day so traffic management may be in place so please plan your trip accordingly.

    The coastal route is not affected by this closure so it should be used if the Bealach is closed. See map for the green line!
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I only know this as I'm off up there on Saturday morning.
    Really hope you enjoy your time here; Colonsay is somewhere I've never been but I know several people who say it is a beautiful wee place :1drink
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  13. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    What a fantastic premise for the adventure, and how truly amazing to reconnect with extended family in the opening posts of your report. I'm definitely in and look forward to the updates, stories, and images you'll share.

    I've heard stories from my east coast relatives that are similar; our ancestors migrated from Scotland around the same time frame and landed in Nova Scotia. One family theory I'v heard is they were smuggling weapons, not sure if we'll ever know the truth of that (lol). I believe there was some alcohol smuggled.

    How cool to be presented with an opportunity to go explore like you will, especially on 2 wheels.

    Excited to follow along :nod:nod
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  14. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    Do you suppose they have a Mosquito Fest like "our" Paisley?

    20140726_214735.jpg
    #14
  15. Apple Jam

    Apple Jam Forest Flyer Super Supporter

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    I'm bettin' they wear different hats there
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  16. Sleepwhenyoudie

    Sleepwhenyoudie Running from the pillow

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    Great prelude to a bucket list adventure! Keep good notes and maybe we'll go back there someday with the whole stinkin' crew!
    Subscribed :dukegirl
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  17. WeegieBored

    WeegieBored Been here awhile

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    Oor Paisley has more guns.
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  18. WeegieBored

    WeegieBored Been here awhile

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    Humunn, cracking route there. An almost perfect choice of bike there too, light, grunty and a bit sporty . Happy safe travels.
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  19. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    Feet are on the ground. Adventure starts tomorrow. Stoked!
    IMG_20180626_164857.jpg
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  20. Montford

    Montford Been here awhile

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    Weather forecast is great for the next few days,enjoy your trip !
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