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Thread: "Left to Live" - A 23-Day Motorcycle Adventure Around UK and Ireland...

  1. #16
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Day 5 - Tuesday, 28 Aug:

    We woke up, broke camp, and were on the road by 7:40AM. It was not more than 1 mile down the road when Chantil’s mule overheat light came on. Shucks!


    High temp light. The crazy thing is that we don’t have any other indications of overheating. Could it just be a failed sensor?

    We pulled over in a quite parking area and went over options. Our model of motorcycle has a history of coolant pump drive shaft problems. Was it our time? Unfortunately, we don’t have this part with us. We called around from 08:40-09:10 and finally found a part that could be in Liverpool by tomorrow morning!
    Now how to get to Liverpool and back? It’s three hours away making a parts trip at least six hours of riding - a whole day lost 😞! Perhaps we can let Chantil’s bike cool and try to get us both there or at least closer to Liverpool?


    Only 210 km of riding today as we make a straight shot to Liverpool to the BMW Motorrad dealership.


    As we passed through Brecon Beacons National Park the view was too good not to capture the beauty via the drone.


    Even though we didn’t stop much, the roads offered plenty of great scenery.


    During our first fueling stop we ran into James and Laurence who recommended Greggs restaurant chains. Nice guys! In fact, everyone we came in contact with, here in Wales, has been really super nice. Anyone else feel this way about Wales?


    Funny hay bales on the side of the road. When I first saw them, I thought they read “We support Terrorism!” Thankfully not.

    Riding to Liverpool together turned out to be a good plan because we got more than half way before the light came on again. We stopped to grab a quick bite while waiting for Chantil’s mule to cool down.


    I ordered lemonade and this Sprite tasting beverage showed up in a glass. Is this the UK version of lemonade?


    Enjoying the open road.


    Part of the fun of a new country is trying different food items. Oaty Bites! Little biscuits full of good fun!

    We arrived at the BMW dealer about an hour before it closed. They were all wonderfully nice people who did their best to accommodate us.

    Gary and Harry at the BMW dealership. Both super helpful and very generous with their time.


    Ted, one of the mechanics, was also incredibly nice. He is also a motorcycle traveler and has ridden from Europe to South Africa via the east side of Africa: http://www.touringted.com/

    We left Chantil’s mule in their care and then rode two-up to the hotel nearby. We enjoyed some good Mexican food at a nearby restaurant and then made plans for the next day.

    If all goes well, we’ll have Chantil’s mule back and be on our way to Ireland before the end of the day tomorrow...
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  2. #17
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    Outstanding report and photos! Thanks for taking the time to post.

    BTW, you'd make much better time if you didn't stop quite so often to take photos! Great camera work. I'd be interested in what camera/lenses you took with you.
    Terence
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  3. #18
    RK Ryder
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    This is an excellent travel log. Love the photographs!
    Last edited by Paul_F; 11-06-2018 at 01:21 PM.
    Paul
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  4. #19
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by terham View Post
    Outstanding report and photos! Thanks for taking the time to post. BTW, you'd make much better time if you didn't stop quite so often to take photos! Great camera work. I'd be interested in what camera/lenses you took with you.
    Thank you. So true about photos and time; I wonder if it would be frustrating to travel with a photographer who's always stopping to take photos? To answer your question about gear - I won't carry a large camera and lenses. If it's not easily assessable, I just won’t bother using it. So I use a Canon G7 X Mark II, a GoPro Hero Session, and a DJI Mavic Pro. I don't use the drone as much because it's a pain to remove and store each time.
    Last edited by travisgill; 11-08-2018 at 06:49 AM.
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  5. #20
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_F View Post
    This is an excellent travel log. Love the photographs!
    Thanks! I enjoy editing the photos for posterity. Glad you're enjoying them.
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  6. #21
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Day 6 - Wed, 29 Aug:


    Today’s route: 270 km with a bit of sightseeing around Liverpool and then to the port in Hollyhead where we boarded a ferry to Dublin, Ireland.

    We decided to make the best of this minor delay and try to see some interesting things in the Liverpool area, so we both hopped on my mule and rode two-up.


    No wonder Chantil wanted her own motorcycle almost immediately after I bought one! Just look at the view taken up by my fat head!!


    The morning was cloudy but dry…


    … until we reached this section named “Scotland Road”. Is this a sign of things to come once we reach Scotland in a week?


    We arrived early enough at Crosby Beach in Liverpool that it was just Chantil, me, and...


    ...100 cast iron figures facing towards the sea. Each one labeled with their own number.


    The 100 human figures are a modern sculpture called Another Place by Sir Anthony Gormley. The figures are modeled after the artist’s own body.




    Another Place was first exhibited on the beach of Cuxhaven, Germany, in 1997 followed by Stavanger in Norway and De Panne in Belgium.


    As you walk further out to sea the figures take on a very different look...


    ...because the sea starts to create its own version of the statues.




    Even the statues furthest from the ocean are sculpted by the harsh wind and blowing sea spray.


    Chilling out with Sir Antony Gormley.

    As far as art goes, this is one of the more interesting pieces because it covers such a large area and allows the viewer to draw their own conclusion on the meaning. What does Another Place mean to you?


    One of my favorite vehicles is the Land Rover Defender. The UK has its share of them. I would love to find a decent one to bring back to the USA.


    An advantage of a motorcycle here is that many tolls are free. Thumbs up!


    We then rode over to the area that inspired the Beatle’s song Strawberry Fields Forever.


    There used to be a Salvation Army here that housed a children orphanage.


    John Lennon grew up near here and one of his childhood treats was the garden party that took place each summer - on the grounds of Strawberry Field.

    We returned to Chester BMW Motorrad to pick up Chantil’s mule. They confirmed the high coolant temperature switch was bad but didn’t have the part until next week. We asked them how much we owed, and they gladly said “Nothing, we didn’t fix anything. Enjoy the rest of your trip!” Admittedly, I felt they should have received at least some payment for the labor of troubleshoot the sensor, but they refused. I hope that I can repay their kindness by putting the good word out to the world – Go to Chester BMW Mottorrad, their service department is excellent and their customer service is awesome! Repeat… Go to Chester BMW Mottorrad, their service department is excellent and their customer service is awesome!!


    It’s shaping up to be a beautiful day!

    Next stop Denbigh Castle…
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  7. #22
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Day 6 Continues...


    Denbigh Castle sits on a hill overlooking the small market town of Denbigh. Small Welsh town = very narrow streets.


    Denbigh Castle is part of a fortifications built to control the lordship of Denbigh after the conquest of Wales by King Edward I in 1282.


    After being raided and burned through multiple wars all that stands today in the ruins.


    Personally, l like exploring ruins more than a finished caste.


    The ticket area and small cafe also has some dress-up clothing for children like me. Here I am looking tough in a plastic helmet for kids!


    Incorporating a modern cafe into the ruins seemed well designed and provided a chance to raise money in order to preserve the grounds for future generations.


    The large central well is about 40 feet deep.


    Chantil enjoying the view and the sunny day.


    The Welsh flag flies proudly overhead the ruins.




    On our way out, we had to take this adorable picture of two sisters having fun.


    Overall, a great break from riding and definitely worth the £4.00 access fee.

    After the castle, we made a quick pit-stop to this unique place:


    The village known as Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysilio gogogoch!! Try and pronounce that in Welsh!?! The name means "St Mary's church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the fierce whirlpool of St Tysilio of the red cave" in Welsh!!! Crazy!

    After passing through the town’s name I’ll never be able to pronounce in my lifetime, we bagan the process of boarding the ferry to Ireland.


    My mules boarding pass to Ireland ����!


    Passing the long line of trucks waiting to board the ferry with goods for Irish merchants.


    Our two mules were the only motorcycles on the ferry.


    Boarding the ferry to a new country!


    All strapped down for the 2 hour, 15 minute journey.




    We rode the HSC Jonathan Swift, a fast ferry that was built by Austal Ships in Australia.


    The Holyhead Breakwater Lighthouse was our last view of the UK.


    There were not that many people aboard; one of the advantages of traveling at the tail end of summer.


    On our way to a new country! Ireland ����!


    Time to put away the Queen’s money until we return to Northern Ireland. Ireland had endorsed the Euro since 2002. We will also have to switch our GPS units from mph to kph.


    Poolbeg Lighthouse in Dublin Bay was built in 1768 and marked our arrival to Ireland!


    We arrived in Dublin and made our way through town. I can’t imagine how people navigated on a motorcycle before the age of GPS. Dublin would have been very difficult with all of its one way and narrow streets.

    It was well after dark when we arrived at the campsite, so we quietly set up camp and then drifted off to a well-deserved sleep.

    Tomorrow will be our first full day in Ireland! Perhaps, with a little bit of Irish luck we may have a surprise in store…
    Last edited by travisgill; 11-11-2018 at 01:13 PM.
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  8. #23
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Day 7 - Thu, 30 Aug:


    410 km today as we go from Dublin to the west coast of Ireland, stopping along the way at Kilkenny, Blarney Castle, Killarney National Park, and the first portion of the Ring of Kerry.

    Great day! We woke up to an email from www.skelligrocks.com; one of the few companies that boats folks to Skellig Island. When we started planning our trip back on May and June, all of the landing boat trips to Skellig were booked. We booked a standby, crossed out fingers, and hoped for some Irish luck. It turns out that there were some cancellations for Friday! Perfect timing for our trip!! Now to get from Dublin to the pier in Portmagee...


    Cloudy skies this morning.


    Ever wonder what happened to Popeye the Sailor Man? He lives in a camper van in Ireland! Funny saying on the back of the van.

    Side story: I had an extremely elated moment this morning. We were riding under grey clouds; the sun and blue skies were just ahead of us promising for a beautiful day. At that moment, one of my favorite songs started to play - U2’s Where the Streets Have No Name. The beginning of this song is incredible, especially if you’ve seen their Rattle and Hum concert. Anyhow, here I was, riding a motorcycle, on a beautiful day, with my best friend and wife, Chantil, in the same country where U2 came from!! It was a bit overwhelming. I hope everyone can experience pure joy like this someday.


    Life is good!

    About mid-morning, we stopped in Kilkenny. When I hear the name Kilkenny, I immediately think of South Park - “They killed Kenny!” Anyone else?


    Interesting how the shade on this wall caused the vines to fade from green to red.


    Close-up of the red leaves.


    A Scottish Terrier in Ireland 😆!


    Kilkenny Castle, Ireland was built in 1195 to control a fording-point of the River Nore and the junction of several routeways.


    Just an idea of the detail that went into something as simple as a balcony.


    Most of the rooms were restored and decorated in the fashions of 19th century nobility. This room shows the original wallpaper design only is small sections. It needed to be restored but artists decided to show the difference by just using outline art.


    Close-up of the original (middle) vs the outlined art.



    This is how the rich or nobility ate meals. Which utensil am I supposed to use?! What one of the four glasses are for water??


    The wallpaper and curtains are all custom made to match.


    Fine wood and craftsmanship are shown throughout the home.


    A tapestry room to display all your fine art.




    Even children had high end toys like this doll and custom doll-sized chair.


    Just an idea of some of the artwork and level of detail in the wall coverings.


    Close-up of the graphic like quality of the wall-papering.
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  9. #24
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Day 7 - Thu, 30 Aug (continued...):


    Carvings at the ceiling are even exquisitely done.


    More of the stairwells showing the dramatic colors and level of details.


    A tapestry showing the overly glorious death of Decius, the Roman Emperor from 249 to 251.


    (drawing of castle with trees)


    The kitchen area used for the workers was converted into a great coffee shop...


    ...with delicious baked goods.


    The garden area was also impressive and well designed.


    A pigeon relaxed in the garden area.


    The castle stands central and above the city below.


    The rose garden was as beautiful as you could imagine.


    A farmers market in Kilkenny had delicious breads…


    … and other foods.


    Waiting at a cross-walk in Kilkenny.


    The flag of Ireland. The orange stands for Irish Protestants, the green signifying Irish Catholics and the republican cause, and the white representing the hope for peace between them.

    Back on the bikes. We’ve got to cover at least 400 km today…


    Riding through Kilkenny.


    Along the route we saw this cool globe in the middle of a round-about. Inside the middle looking out at North America.

    Our next stop Blarney Castle…
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  10. #25
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Day 7 - Thu, 30 Aug (continued)...

    You can’t go to Ireland without a visit to Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone. Can you?


    Blarney Castle (Irish: Caisleán na Blarnan) is a medieval stronghold in Blarney that dates from 1446.


    Beautiful designed grounds full of colorful flowers.


    There is much more to the area than the castle and stone. There are gardens, miles of trails, and many modern sculptures that decorate the grounds.




    There are three main structures that remain of Blarney Castle; the main castle keep, and two smaller towers.




    A good reason for visiting in the off-season. This is easily how long the line can be in the summer. We only had to wait about 15 minutes. Worth the 15-minute wait – not worth an hour wait.




    One of the grated windows was decorated in yarn doilies.


    Close-up of some of the doilies.


    People, unfortunately, carve their names into the walls, but all these carvings also have an artistic quality for some reason.


    The castle walls and windows as we head up the tight and narrow stairs to the roof of the castle where the famous Blaney Stone resides. No picture of the stairs because your “nut to butt” in the narrow staircase.


    Selfie at the Blarney Stone (shown just between us in the background).


    While you’re waiting in line to kiss the stone there are some great views and plaques that have some stories about how Kissing the Blarney became so popular.

    The process of kissing the stone is a bit silly. You lie on your back, on a stone parapet, hang onto a metal railing with your head lowered between a slot in the rock wall, bend over backward while reaching out your neck to plant your lips where millions of others have kissed before. A bit silly, but perhaps that’s the fun of it. Is herpes fun?

    After the stone, we took some time to enjoy the surrounding gardens and walking trails.


    A detail of the sculpture that goes into something as simple as iron fence.


    The Blarney House is also on the property, but we did not tour it.




    There is a small walk that takes you around some modern sculptures.
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  11. #26
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Day 7 - Thu, 30 Aug (continued)...


    A fun little wooden mushroom with its tiny door and...


    ...wishes from people around the world. We quietly stole all their wishes after taking this picture. I kid, of course!




    Butterflies were flapping around in the light breeze and this one even stopped long enough for me to take this close-up.


    We found this rabbit running...


    ... from this fox.


    A wonderful summer day with a slight breeze. Perfect!


    Before leaving I made a wish before tossing this five-euro cent coin into the wishing stream. Not going to tell you my wish until it comes true.


    Ireland has a lot to see. The poster shows all the things you can do...


    …like Killarney National Park. Beautiful and FREE! National parks here don’t have a fee to enter like they do in the USA.


    We discovered a narrow road that took us through some dense forest land.


    Flying the drone to capture some video and this image of Chantil riding through the forest.


    Great narrow and twisty roads perfect for motorcycles.


    Enjoying the open road with minimal traffic.


    We did notice a lot of small same-brand motorcycles traveling though the national park. All of the riders were smiling – just like us!


    Left to Live. Your life is to short not to make your dreams memories.


    We found a campsite, at Glenbeg Caravan and Camping Park. A great spot right on the beach to finish our first full day in Ireland.

    Tomorrow we’ll see if the “luck of Irish” continues with favorable weather…
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  12. #27
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    Travis:

    Really enjoying another fabulous trip report; particularly as you trace part of the route my late wife and I travelled, on her last trip to Ireland.
    Rinty

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

  13. #28
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rinty View Post
    Really enjoying another fabulous trip report; particularly as you trace part of the route my late wife and I traveled, on her last trip to Ireland.
    Sorry to hear that your wife has passed away. Glad that you have the great memories of traveling to Ireland with her.
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