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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SpecialAgentNancy, Sep 26, 2019.
Heck yeah. Purchased!
I do two smiles. The big shit eating grin that I over exaggerate and the 'normal' smile.
Figure out which ones which?
big one is when the helmet is on.?
fewer bugs that way.
Next on to William Wallace Monument.
Well we looked at it from a distance. When we got close...all we could think about was the steep narrow road up there crammed with buses and tourists not used to driving on the left side....so we nixed that idea. Saw it from the castle.
For perspective on size as seen from Stirling Castle.
Got stung by a bee.
Too annoyed to pay, go in and tour.
I took nearly a dozen photos to get one that had the Scottish flag showing.
Obviously I failed.
This was the best one.
Not staying in hotels. It's tourist season.
Impossible to get a room at a fair price.
Plus I like to cook and wash clothes.
This was a very nice place. Inside.
Close to Edinburgh.
From the outside, looked like a Russian gulag.
Still, no one mucked with the bikes.
We both needed new tires.
Found Jim Allan motorcycles in Falkirk.
I got all they had, Michelin Anakees Adventure.
Vaguely remembered I had these once before and didn't like them.
Quickly remembered why.
Poor overall quality so no matter how many weights to balance the tires, the front tire bounces uncomfortably and they stink on gravel or dirt roads.
Michelin says they are well within spec that way. What BS.
Oh well....matched my Michelin man on the bike I guess and allowed for 3K miles more riding.
The Tiger without wheels.
L means Learner.
N means New Driver.
P means Passed Test.
D I think is Disabled.
I think they should make R.
R for Rental.
Driving Scotland roads in a rental car was considerably more harrowing that I could ever imagine.
Felt like I should warn others.
That's John standing in the back. He met me out front of the store as I pulled up, like that was his job. Within minutes looked up my website and quickly saw that I had been to Chicken Alaska and asked me all about it. Then showed me video of him riding to Base Camp to Mt Everest on one very scary road.
And this is the Falkirk Wheel.
Both sons of the store owners work there.
It's a way to move boats from above or below instead of a typical water channel.
It was amazing.
And some pretty terrible lamb whatever the heck that was...
Rotating. There is a boat full of people in each cylinder.
On to some pretty countryside.
And the clouds are less ominous.
It still rained, just less.
Scotland is known for its peat bogs and heather.
Purple flowers that blanket the landscape and make a whole mountain look beautiful when the sun hits it.
Beautiful rock formations.
On to the Glencoe and the epic Ben Nevis.
My little airbnb single room.
It was cozy and I got to wash the bike.
The Ben Nevis viewed from my window.
One of my more comfortable sleeps.
This ferry is the only one like it in the world.
It's a deck that is hand turned to pivot on the hull to line up with the dock.
See the dog? Nak.
He has his own facebook page and the skipper is a woman.
It was a short but rocky water crossing where we used Bob's extra block of wood to make sure my bike didn't tip over into the new expensive rental car crammed right next to me.
I hate ferries. But I read about this one and just had to go see it.
Reminded me of the hand pulled ferry I found talking to the Hot Mess last year in Latvia.
Headed into Skye. Stopped for lunch.
There were plenty of dogs inside. Yet no 'wet dog' smell.
I had quite possibly the worst chicken wings ever here. Like EVER!
Wall of bottles. Sadly, empty.
By the time we finished it was storming. So we decided to turn around and go back.
The long way. Mostly because our ferry was cancelled due to stormy seas....and besides we LOVE riding! The weather was too turbulent so missed Skye but saw this awesome castle.
And its fabulous toilets. (skipped the castle, too many tour buses)
This is Mallaig.
The port town that the ferry was cancelled from due to turbulent seas.
More stairs....but there was a pretty view.
Some rooms have things like strong racks, hangers or hooks sufficient to hang dry all the wet gear.
Those places get 5 stars no matter how many stairs.
A lovely view of the harbor.
Yep....rain and plenty of it.
Sadly no lamb.
But this will do.
In the Harry Potter movies, there is the Jacobite steam train.
It arrived just as I was sidewalk parking.
Ruining the photo op for a bunch of tourists fresh off the train.
That's OK because they also flooded the town, right as we were trying to find parking near our accommodations on a steep, narrow hill and some ding dong just stood there....I'll stop since this rant could be quite long but it did end with me yelling at her to just cross the damn street.
A perfect photo for me after I cropped the annoyed person Bob caught in the photo.
Now this was actually 'unimpressive'. The train bridge from the films.
It was a short walk. Walking is good for you, right?
Loch in Scotland is essentially lake. Saw plenty of these.
Sometimes didn't see them because of all the forest growth.
This photo shows the heather a bit better in the forefront.
We eventually got there after the scary, narrow, steep road...and I do mean scary road.
The 'Bealach na Ba' (pass of the Cattle)
If you watch the clip, the fun starts at 1 min. This person had a car.
And good weather.
After maintaining my grip of death on the handlebars through the pass, stopped at the famous Applecross Inn for fish and chips.
And....finally. The furry, fluffy, fun highland cows.
Arka called them the rockstar guitarist cows.
Yes, the females have horns too, only smaller.
They were rubbing their hides on the guard rail for a scratch.
Man were they 'cute'(?)
Bob kept talking to me in my helmet.
Recommending I don't piss off the big one with the giant horns.
Then promptly said, if I did, he'd be sure to get it on camera.
Notice I am in full gear, helmet on?
Many of the stops for the night had farm dogs or working dogs.
This dog was a bit more normal than our host.
Gorgeous big house in the countryside. Michael, our host does 'energy healing online'.
We think his wife just humors him and lets him do it to keep him busy.
They also had a parrot that we thought was a screeching baby for the first 10 mins upon our arrival. And shoes off...that sure does make unloading the bike and getting settled in a lot more complicated. I'll add that to my pre-qualifying email to future airbnb's.
My twin room.
Grindle made some friends.
The next day, started the epic North Coast 500. Bob took these.
Thanks King Bob.
It was a fun day. Except I lost something.
For those who tour, you already know how difficult it can be when I lose something.
This time a black silk glove liner. I need these to make the best use of my heated gloves.
Lost it on a windy day on the west coast.
Went back for it the next day, hoping to find it in the bathroom where I last remembered having it.
Nope. No luck.
But found this sweetie in a dog carrier.
Calm and friendly.
Would you be calm and friendly in a cage on the back of a motorcycle?
Later that day, rode around a bend and heard bagpipes.
There was a group of them performing for a bus load of tourists.
For you John Wick fans. Made it to the furthest point of the North Coast 500.
John o'Groats. The next town is Wick.
What was the big deal? Not sure.
But did meet this interesting character. A local Scottish man.
Riding a two stoke motorcycle that looked like a bicycle.
He had about 3 teeth left in his mouth.
Then he went over and looked at our beasts.
Then left for home.
Another pretty castle?
I'm almost sick of those...
This countryside home was nice. The dogs barked into the night.
However I was handed a terry cloth robe for my shower.
It felt 'too civilized' so I didn't use it but thanked him profusely.
I said I'll take the downstairs room...stairs remember?
He had just gotten some hens. Seems the previous ones had been eaten by a fox.
They were tiny little things but so yummy.
The eggs, not the hens.
They looked more like turkeys. Saw many wild grouse loitering on the side of the road.
Didn't hit any.
The next day, we followed our hosts advice and found a 'wee bonnie road' to ride.
Then I found another wee bonnie road.
Paper maps. I love using those.
Something about hearing aids transforms how wonderful the sound of folding/crinkling paper sounds.
Seriously though, paper maps give you a better perspective on options,
quicker than zooming in and out on GPS.
I have GPS too and google maps on my phone. 3 is better than 1.
And what turned out to be a very old structure.
Then it was the not-so-wee-bonnie road out of there with too many cars coming the opposite direction on a single track road. Fast. I had a couple yelling matches with drivers coming the other way. Gorgeous valleys everywhere.
Stopped for lunch. Beautiful white sand beach.
Complete with some very happy dogs and their humans.
Next was a remote train station that had a mini museum inside.
All about that region's peat bogs, describing the environmental importance they have.
King Bob said this is not true. Engineers.
Motorcycles park for free.
Next Culloden. It is called the battlefield of Culloden.
I know the history quite well and to me it should be the massacre of Culloden.
Nevertheless it was a dramatic place.
The heather only grew on the Scottish side of the field and burials.
These clever markers showed the different regiments and their exact location in the original formation.
See the silver square on the right bottom corner? That's where this clan stood.
The Scottish burial tombstone markers.
I lingered at this one for a bit then decided to touch it. Mind you I was already feeling the sadness of this place. But when I touched it, my heart clenched in my chest, my eyes teared up and I felt a great weight of sadness overwhelm me unexpectedly and suddenly.
I've had friends visit places like Auschwitz and describe the same feeling of deep sorrow.
I did not imagine this would happen.
I believe I felt the sadness pass through time to me.
The small 'hills' that underneath have mass graves are easily noticeable.
Except to ignorant, idiots who walk over them to get the next stupid photo.
This was the outer wall of the visitor center.
The wall has raised blocks of stone that represent the number of fallen.
The Scottish side.
This short section was the English fallen.
It was a stark and disturbing visual of the profound loss of life.
On to happier moments. I saw these gin bottles in the gift shop.
I can't fit anything on the motorcycle so I never buy anything.
However, it's still fun to look. They had interesting flavors so I found their distillery and it is just outside Edinburgh. Arka and I tried to make it fit into our schedule but it was not meant to be.
Doesn't mean there aren't two happy, well insulated bottles in my suitcase, ready to go home.
There is never a motorcycle trip without motorcycle drama.
The tire change was easy and expected.
The heated grip controller on my bike shorting out from the rain wasn't.
I have Raynauds as many of you know so this was bad news....fortunately I pack spare heated gloves.
Now with a missing silk glove liner.....for those who ride in wet weather, you know how hard it is to put wet hands in gloves with fleece or soft cloth lining.
Daytona heated grips still work and it was just the controller which eventually gave out in the constant deluge of last year in Scandinavia and this year in the UK.
So we stopped in this 'hardware' store to try and find a switch.
Finally. Got to have my hardware store visit.
I love going to hardware stores. I love fixing things.
Dad was an electrician. I love tinkering on old cars and my motorcycle.
It was a bit disappointing. It was more of a homegoods store.
They didn't even have a simple switch!
There are many small, very funny moments that happen on motorcycle rides.
Somewhere along the east coast of Scotland, I saw a small black gloves on a pole sticking up out of a wall as though waving to people going by and exclaimed "There is my missing glove from the west coast from yesterday!".
Man was THIS cute.....I could almost think of a way to attach it to my big top box.
Yep, had to walk to it.
A lot of farming goes on here.
The wheat is cut and then rolled into what I call 'Green Giant Marshmallows".
Finally saw the machine that does that. I call it, the marshmallow maker.
Next airbnb was....another farmhouse!
Complete with a cat that could sit up on its hind-legs like a meerkat.
This happened because a young girl rode her horse in the field opposite...and it just baffled and scared the cat a bit. It was hysterical.
No photo unfortunately.
Just the memory of a good laugh.
A bit of a dark photo but see the rack in the ceiling?
It was a drying rack for clothes that was set up on a pully.
Wish I would have gotten a photo with it crammed with our drying clothes.
The unspoken arrangement is King Bob waits for the !#&%@#*&##!! three hour wash cycle to end and he hangs the clothes up to dry overnight while I go to sleep early.
The next morning I make sure to have a cup of hot coffee ready for him.
That's the deal. Works great.
Anyhoo. Just love ingenuity wherever I see it.
Grindle really liked this bed.
And the very important hair clip found by one playful dog.
Next on to Queensferry and it's impressive bridges.
An ADV inmate suggested we head to a hotel with a good parking lot view.
The old bridge.
The new bridge.
I didn't get a photo of the bridge I really wanted to capture.
It's a train cantilever structure that is quite famous. Oh well.
Next Rosslyn chapel.
The Da Vinci Code movie.
Well that scene in the chapel was cool!
Given that you can't take photos inside....watch the movie again or go to Scotland!
No matter how long I waited at this place, I could not get a photo without people in it.
The stone was gorgeous.
You have to see it to believe it.
There was a 'talk' at noon.
It was a woman, "speaking English with a Scottish accent".
To which I said, Brava!
I had the most amazingly good salad in a cafe nearby.
Of course I could have eaten my hand off at that point but truly it was delicious.
Boy did I need to pee....so I sent King Bob down the stairs.
While I found a nice little area....KIDDING!
These sheep were very vocal.
Especially this one. He was quite freaked out.
He would just not stop baaahhhhing!
See the funny colors?
King Bob told me this ridiculous story of how they put colored chalk under the male sheep so they can tell which one they have been humping.
What utter nonsense. I went along with it the whole trip.
He'll have to read my RR to find out I was heckling him all along....
Loved this place.
Old barn converted to restaurant.
Why did I love this place so much? Right...you know why now.
Quite possibly the best lamb shank ever.
And lamb shank is a really inferior cut and usually overcooked and tasteless.
Not this one, that was one happy lamb.
Especially after I was done with it.
This place, like our Irish stone house airbnb, was quite special.
We stayed a second night.
Farmhouse. Our hosts were very interesting free spirits themselves who did have a strong opinion on what privacy meant and even wrote about it in their rules to the point of scaring us a bit.
Everything was fine. We even had a couple gin and tonics once we found where the freezer was...under the staircase of course! (where else would it be)
Including parking for the bikes out of the rain!
The simple pleasures...dry bikes.
Lovely wood fireplace.
The dog house.
For those guests behaving poorly.
Seriously though, we almost didn't stay here.
The posted rules were, well...a bit intimidating and threatening.
He turned out to be quite interesting and great host.
My room was very 'Nancy'.
Dark red walls.
Black out curtains.
Soft lighting and bed.
Found this awesome valley.
The Elan Valley....Beautiful dams.
Three of them in fact.
Had to stop and get a photo next to this van.
What a great business name!
And no trip to Scotland would be complete without the Michelin Man in a kilt.
See my little orange Michelin Man on the back of the bike?
I fell in love with these in South America where all the truckers have them on their side mirrors
or in Scotland I saw a few on the light bar above the cab.
Next on to Wales.
For the last installation.
Finally someone visits the Falkirk Wheel!!! So cool!
Great RR too:)
Two things. Are you out of sync? Elan Valley dams are in Wales, you havent got there yet in posts. Number 2, Bob is correct about the coloured marks on the sheeps backs. Great RR by the way, really enjoying it.
Yep....Elan was in Wales. Just realized that. Whoops.
Still don't believe the sheep nonsense.
Wales. (and as tbird649, the Elan Valley was in Wales...things do blur together after enough weeks)
The last country.
And one more 'unimpressive' stone circle.
Getting used to a new GPS can be frustrating.
When I set up a series of stops....it's not any good at saying when I've made it to the first stop.
So I rode right by this thing.
I was so laser focused on avoiding hitting all the distracted people crossing the road, parking, wandering, reading their stupid smart phones.
Gee....you would have thought I'd realize I was in a tourist spot.
Ya know, near a famous thing like a stone circle...
Went right by it...until a voice said in my helmet...you just rode right by it!
Great photo of the sky.
I just loved the cloudy skies.
It was ok that it rained on me nearly every day.
Just to get this gorgeous dramatic stunning sky.
This was a BIG circle and did not disappoint.
And the token sheep....
I first noticed this in Scotland.
I saw something glowing and sort of "lite-brite"ish in the cabs of lorries.
They are called lorries in Scotland.
The glowy thing?
Dylan was the drivers name.
So went online and found where they get these.
I want one for my 68 Cougar XR7.
On to the 'highest pub in England'. OK OK it's not in Wales yet but we sort of crammed Southern England and Wales together.
Tan Hill Inn.
At first I wanted to stay here.
But it was kinda nasty.
Pfffttt...even the fish n chips were only OK.
The dog menu looked better.
They did have the requisite wall of weird signs.
This is what really caught my attention.
At one time you could sleep in these weird things.
Supposed to be rescue equipment for cold weather areas.
Another ruined castle.
Sick of them yet?
This was in the Yorkshire Dales.
Gorgeous area. Didn't stop for photos.
Really did not like the super sharp uphill hairpin turn but King Bob let me know it was clear.
On one of our obscure, remote backroads, we passed a graveyard.
King Bob does a great job of finding these.
This cross caught my eye and warranted a U turn.
I SUCK at U turns on these little narrow, blind turn roads.
Especially with the snot grass in the middle.
Wish I had kept going and not stopped in this town for lunch.
The only place open was mobbed with old guys on their bicycles.
And they could not get my order right no matter what I said.
Even King Bob had to agree that this time it was not my fault!
I loved these owls.
They are wood.
King Bob really can't take a straight photo?!?!
Got there early....from quite possibly the nastiest airbnb yet.
After we finally found it....wished we wouldn't have.
It was an unparalled level of nasty, smelly, guy sweat, cat urine, crusty dry food,
nasty "farmhouse" and it cost as much as the prior amazing farmhouse stay.
So made up for it with finding the fanciest place in town.
For the fanciest breakfast possible.
And a very strong coffee to wake me up because I didn't sleep.
I felt like I had dozens of tiny bugs biting at me all night long.
Had the place to ourselves.
Everyone else was still sleeping.
Not us, we couldn't wait to leave the nasty place.
I feel better already. Phew...got that off my mind.
Beautiful old buildings.
Cute marina and more fortified walls.
Just loved how the new modern town sprouted up around the original stone fortifications.
Forgot to mention this before but since no one, (well maybe except drug dealers who can't afford burner phones),
use actual phone booths anymore, they have been turned into defibrillators.
I still can't say that word.
But I can type it.
Just don't ask me to say it.
That and Worcester sauce.
King Bob wanted to pose for a photo with a massive, greasy, unhealthy burger.
Yep, another moody, wet sky.
Here I am trying again to get the country flag photo.
I really loved the Welsh flag.
Best one....deleted the other dozen.
Never did get a decent photo.
And the smallest house in Great Britain.
Just how small?
Insert Nancy for perspective.
King Bob looked like a giant next to it.
Remember that small rant about attaching things?
Took this funicular thingy where, ahem, someone left behind their camera bag.
At the top. This was 'unimpressive' but still a fun experience.
This little house was quite enjoyable.
Except no cat piss smell.
Or stinky farmboy smell.
Or saggy mattress.
Or bathroom with non functioning sink.
Yeah, still reeling from that last night.
Cozy room. Grindle's starting to look a bit worn and tired.
View of the babies from my window.
Those closest to me understand my utter love of Looney Tunes.
One of my favorites is "Deduce, you say" with Daffy Duck.
My favorite character...he's right on my windscreen for you observant folks.
So when I saw we were close to Shropshire...well we HAD to find a sign and pull out my knife.
The Shropshire Slasher!
Then we found the devil's bridge.
Which was in fact, three bridges from different periods.
Built one on top of each other.
Nope. We won't pay to go down stairs to see it closer.
Nope I'll be happy with this photo of not quite sure what...
Wales was a country of pretty rolling hills and farmland.
Took this photo multiple times as the sun and clouds moved and changed the color.
OK OK one more.
We'd come along this ridge by chance the day before.
It was so lovely, I wanted to make sure we saw it again.
This time without the rain.
Stumbled on a lot of cool stuff.
I got a bit lazy in my trip planning when I got to the 3rd week.
Found some great stuff.
So on to the Elan Valley (again)....it was so beautiful that it's worth mentioning again.
There were three of these.
Here is that valley again....this time in full sun.
Figures, this is my last day of riding (for fun).
The rest was too sad....It was the end of the ride.
I had one last ferry back to Ireland to bring my precious Tiger back to Motofeirme with Martin in Cork to hopefully sell it and say goodbye. Although... no one's bought him yet so I might be back next summer after all.
And say goodbye to King Bob. He was nice enough to get a place in the port town of Fishguard where I washed my gear after nearly a month of riding, it certainly needed it. Glad I put multiple layers of industrial strength scotch guard. Made a difference.
So all ended well. No injuries. Some lingering moldy smell from all the rain.
Only one failed ADV homestay invite.
Some happy gin bottles ready to go home in my suitcase and one last fish and chips.
This time....I didn't choke on the little tiny bone when I found it.
Farewell and thanks for riding yet another epic ride with me.
Nice report and I had to laugh at this quoteI stayed at Martins and yes it is a guys farm house. I also cut and installed the siding on his front porch extension.
Great pics and great memories I’m sure. Thanks for putting in the effort and taking us along!
Great ride report, and glad all the rain didn't put you off.
BTW you seemed to get from Yorkshire to Wales very quickly. There's some neat stuff in between.
And received...had perfectly poached eggs today!
Like I mentioned in my post, the skies were always so dramatic and I really don't like the sun. The rain here is light and stops and starts a lot. It's not the deluge we got in Scandinavia the year before....we did ride a few hundred miles that day, we just don't stop for photos all that much but we saw plenty.
Depending on whether I sell the Tiger or not, may return for southern England and Poland/Ukraine/Belarus next year.
very surprised you didnt
visit orkney - many stone circles and castles and ruins
visit the isle of man
see the kelpies while you were at the falkirk wheel (its across the motorway)
visit dundrod or the NW200 :)
wheres the next adventure
you mentioned norway - where did you go?
edit the scottish guy on the moped - its an NSU quickly (they dont)
We saw the kelpies.
Guess you didn't see my constant disdain for ferries over and over on my posts....so no, didn't take yet another ferry for Orkney or Isle of Man, but will go back the normal 'tourist' way (without the bike).
Not sure what NW 200 is. But hey, want to do my trip plan for me next year?
Australia (depends on if I sell the Tiger or not)
Scandinavia RR here.
Dundrod, NW 200.
Given that it has an American homologation there may be conversions necessary before it can be registered in Europe.
Shame I missed you back in March, hope you had a great time!
Another grand adventure. My thanks for posting.