800 miles, 16 bikes, 5 days, 2 ferry crossings, 4 tank fills.
First proper trip for me on the Tenere and the first big trip for my girlfriend since passing her test last Dec. Not my usual way of travelling as we were part of an organised tour, so had little to do in the way of preparing routes, stops, campsites etc. Instead we had the luxury of a hotel or B&B at the end of each day and a guide with a knowledge of where was good to eat and drink.
Without sounding too gushing I am very proud of my girlfriend who's riding improved 100 fold in the 5 days. I'm also proud that she got all her kit packed into 2 x US-10s, one of which I carried on top of my kit in a US-20. More praise for Kriega also, we had some rough weather at the end of the week and not a drop entered in.
Monday was 120miles from home using the Heads of the Valleys and then meeting the rest of the group at Pont Abraham service before carrying on to Fishguard. Relaxed ferry crossing with blue skies and kind seas
Disembarking we mustered and rode the short distance to the first hotel in Wexford. Food consumed we consumed some Guiness to aid our sleep in our 4 star beds...next morning a full fry up and onto...
Tuesday. Route from Wexford to Dingle. 200miles of mixed roads and glorious sunshine. Stopping for lunch in Lismore the two of us shirked the toursit trap of the castle and instead ensconced ourselves in 'Eamonn's Place' for a lunch of home made soup (a subject close to my heart), shandy and sarnies.
Returning to the bikes we had time to wander to the castle for a nose around and to dodge the busloads of american toursists.
back on the road and the roads got smaller. A lucky crash, ie. he was still walking after it, saw proceedings halted after one of our number cartwheeled his bike into a hedge. Once the wheels of recovery were put in motion we carried on. Up the Connor Pass and pausing at the top to drink in the heady views.
Downwards into Dingle and into an evening of far too much Guiness.
Wednesday brought a hangover and talk of rain. Leaving the B&B in brightness we carried on and took in the Ring of Kerry after a stop at Inch where I took the opportunity to have a little play on the sand with the Tenere.
We had a little drizzle but nothing heavy thankfully. Rolling into Rosscarberry we had another cracking hotel, only 3 stars this time, but still a pleasant sauna and swimming pool :eusa_whistle: a huge chinese in the evening provided a good finish. The skies had opened by now and we were thankful for the hotel-provided umbrellas for the walk back.
Thursday and after another hearty fried feast on we went. The weather was definitely on the turn but we got lucky for most of the day with just cloud. A stop in Kinsale gave us the chance to watch the Grey Mullet in the water and a chance to water the bushes...
Saddling back up we carried on to Cobh and were greeted by the scent of the sea long before we came close. Cobh was the last port of call for the Titanic and a chance for the 'lucky' ones to take up the spare places on the ship before it set sail across the Atlantic.
There's not much there now to make note of this sadly, and this morose Heron pretty much sums up the vibe.
After lunch I thought I'd give the camera mount on the bike a go. Sadly the vibes meant most pictures were incredibly fuzzy but I got one of this long low bridge over the water, with the girlfriend caught in shot too.
The planned route along the coast to Waterford was put aside due to very heavy fog so main roads were used to eat up the miles. Afternoon tea was consumed and the bikes were left under the careful gaze of the crossed up crow.
Waterford was quite uneventful and after a nondescript run to Rosslare and the fast-cat we mustered once more for the homeward stretch. Tea and tiffin at Pont Abraham and back up the Valleys.
All in it was a pleasant trip and certainly a good bunch to be with. There were precious few incidents and plenty of laughs. Both bikes performed faultlessly and the chance to do some intensive miles certainly helped with the girlfriend's riding.
Like all good trips there are a few stories that shouldn't be aired publicly but the chance to see new sights was an unmissable one.