The final last long ride.....yeah, I know I said it before.
I have been invited to ride along with an old friend on his 2018 ride to Alaska. Now I know I've said I'm getting too old for long rides but maybe not. You see, this guy is one of the Goldwing Guys who saved my bacon during my 2013 ride Dust to Dawson ride. Two issues though: he is riding with a couple other guys on Harleys. Now I have nothing against their choice of rides but I dont like riding in large (more than two) groups. Oh, the other issue? I'd like to ride to Dawson for what I think is the 25th D2D and would like my friend Chuck to go with me. So I'm going to see if I can plan it so that I ride some with Jim and his HD friends and most of it with Chuck.
Well, best laid plans of mice and men....etc. I've decided, and already started making reservations, to do a very different ride. A ride that I've dreamed of for years that I've finally decided I can do: Ireland! The deciding factor was the fact that Chuck is doing a family cruise next June and not available for riding. Plus, he did a three week Euro tour this fall.
That's right, a motorcycle tour of Ireland. Not all of it, in fact, not a lot of it but some of the most scenic and teriffic roads. My trip will begine with a flight to Dublin and a bus ride to Limerick. There I'll be picked up by the folks I'm renting a little bike from. The company, RetroVentures, rents primarily Royal Enfield but also, in their 'adventure' line, a Benelli. I'm torn between the Benelli TRK, a fuel injected 500 cc twin, and the Royal Enfield Himalayan, a 400 cc carburated single. Both are small and relatively slow but on the narrow roads of Ireland, not a lot of speed is needed nor wanted. But I have lots of time to make the MC decision, both cost the same, 100 € with basic liablility included. Five hundred deductible collision is an additional 30 € a day but I got a veteran discount so total rent will be 120 € a day or $1318.00 US$.
After picking up the bike, and completing some paperwork, I'll head for my first night's lodging at a rural B&B outside Cahir. I could have made it to Middleton same day but not sure how long it will take to get on the road and I don't want to rush the first day. My lodging in Middleton is at a B&B (all my accomodations are B&Bs) just a few blocks from the Jamison Distillery that Cathy and I toured in 2015. I might go to the store but won't take the tour again. I DO plan on finding a close by pub and starting my Guinness regiment! Third night is in Glengariff near the start of the Wild Atlantic Way. I'll follow some of it all the way to Donegal thought I'll leave it often to explore back-country roads. Next is Dingle though I may ride the Ring of Kerry, undecided at this point, will probably just see how it is going. From Dingle I'll take Connor Pass on my way to Listowel for the night. This will be an interesting day as I'm going to try to find my great grandparents old home. I have a pretty good map and enough time (I think) to explore. I may stop at Jack's Pub in Asdee to inquire about local Kennedy cousins. I found a Holly cousin by asking there! In Listowel I intend on visiting John B. Keane's Pub where my Holly cousin, Mike Joe, sings on occasion. We missed it in 2015.
From Listowel I'll head out to Tarbert and take the ferry across the Shannon River. On the way to Tarbert I'll stop off at Lislaughtin Abbey cemetary to visit my great grandparent's grave, maybe drop off some fake flowers if I can find any.
After crossing the Shannon, I'll spend nights in Spanish Point and Galway. My plan is to ride 'cross country' to Donegal, crossing into Northern Ireland at some point, and then loop back to Westport for my last night on the bike. After that I'll head down to Limerick and turn in the bike, taking the bus back to Dublin for my last night in Ireland (poor planning cost me a day of riding and an extra night in Swords to catch my flight back.)