Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Friday, December 16, 2016

Vermonster - Day 4 - what is that bright thing in the sky?

The final day of our four day tour left us wanting for more. More of this blue sky and sunshine, for sure. This was the weather we had hoped to have for the whole trip. But then the story wouldn't have been as interesting and the trip wouldn't have been as memorable!

We packed up and rolled out of our Airbnb and headed into Putney. Our first stop of the day was at the Co-op to get some (excellent) breakfast. Despite the second "B" in the name Airbnb, breakfast isn't part of the deal, due to regulations!

So it was into town for breakfast sandwiches and coffee. While waiting for our sandwiches, I took the time to do what I should have done the day before. I pulled out my iPad, remapped a section of route and reloaded it onto my GPS. One of the cool things about the Wahoo Elemnt GPS is you can wirelessly load routes from online tools like RideWithGPS. So while the Wahoo is missing the critical panning feature that makes changing your route on the fly easier, I have used the ability to alter a route online (mid-ride) using my tiny iPad and then re-upload to the Wahoo on more than one occasion, most notably when the original route proved too busy, or after taking a detour to somewhere interesting and then not wanting to backtrack. In this case, it was to avoid backtracking after breakfast.

Vermont is known for its covered bridges and we had several on each day. I'd like to say I planned to hit the ones we did, but it's actually hard not to see lots of them in Vermont.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Vermonster - Day 3 - I'm not certain the road I mapped out is really a road

We woke to the sound of silence. This was a good thing. There was no noise from rain or icy sleet on the roof. After checking the morning forecast, it seemed that we might actually get lucky. A milder day was predicted. Of course at this stage, I didn't have a whole lot of faith in weather forecasts, so don't ask me why I trusted this one!

And while we might have a hope of milder weather, it would definitely not be an easier day. Our route planner, SadiB, had plenty of great dirt climbs mapped out for us, with one very special climb, planned for right after lunch, just in case we needed extra help warming up again!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Vermonster - Day 2 - A Day for Badasses

Remember the soundtrack that plays when you are watching a scary film and you find yourself screaming out loud to the foolish person who is about to open the door, "Turn around!  Get back into the house!  Don't you know what's waiting outside?  Do NOT open that door!"

So, now that we've established the mood, let me tell you about Day 2 of our Vermonster ride.

When we left off, our six protagonists had turned in for the night, dreaming of good fortune, believing the worst of the weather was behind them.

Yes, there was snow on the ground, but Day 2 was to be an improvement on Day 1 and Day 1 really hadn't turned out that badly.

(Music from Law and Order - dun, dah, dun)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Vermonster - Training and Day 1

Back in the last century (I love saying that), skiers and cyclists could use the Amtrak Vermonter to travel with their bikes and skis from Washington, D.C. and points north so they could ski and cycle in various spots throughout Vermont. Sadly, after 9/11, the Vermonter removed its baggage car with little fanfare or publicity. I say "with little fanfare," because John and I only discovered the discontinuation of the bike service as we were planning a bike touring trip in Vermont in 2006. We had planned to cycle to Brattleboro and take the train to the northern terminus in St. Albans and then cycle back home to eastern Massachusetts. Unhappily, when I called to book our tickets, I learned we could not take the bikes after all. Don't ask me how removing a baggage car on a train to Vermont prevents terrorism! So instead of a trip covering the length of Vermont, we set out from home and did a round trip bike tour into southern Vermont. Have I mentioned that we did not own a car at the time?

The benefit of a remote start is skipping out on some of the nearby stuff we have ridden a million times already and it allows us to cover more ground farther afield. So, while we were bummed to miss getting into northern Vermont, we took the opportunity to ride areas in the south that we hadn't explored before. And it was an amazing trip. As a bonus, we happened to meet two ladies along the way with whom we have become best friends. We have biked together on numerous weekends ever since and taken a couple of trips overseas together also. So I am quite happy with how that trip turned out, but still hoped that someday bike travel in Vermont with Amtrak would be possible.

We have travelled with our tandem and single bikes on trains throughout Europe with ease. But in the USA -with Amtrak - ease is not the word that comes to mind. We've managed to get our coupled tandem onto the train in Eugene, Oregon, but not without a bit of hassle and warnings that there would be complaints about our lack of box from conductors at journey's end in Portland. We've also used the Downeaster service to get back to Boston from Portland, Maine, but the Downeaster baggage car disappeared earlier this year, and there is still no news on a return date. On the plus side, if you live someplace called Portland, you're in better shape than most!

As you might imagine, we were thrilled recently when roll-on bike service was announced for the Vermonter, which has a stop near our home in Greenfield. Various articles appeared in my news feeds promoting train/bike tourism in Vermont. This was set up as a trial, so we figured we should take advantage ASAP, before the trial might be terminated.

Well, loyal blog readers know that I was off in Ireland all summer, so we only got the chance to try it out this fall.

We'd heard success stories from friends in Vermont who had used the service, so we were optimistic. Then I looked on the Amtrak web site and saw that tandems were not allowed... And that only three bikes in total were allowed per train and there is only one train per day. Also bikes must be hung in a special bike cubby, with the front wheel removed, which sounded unnecessarily complicated. I surmised if we decoupled the tandem and bought two bike tickets that we could just hang each section by a wheel in an individual bike cubby. So we booked our tickets for a weekend away in mid-September. 

We planned to take the train north on Friday afternoon and then cycle back home over the next two days. However, given the mileage and just having two days with limited daylight, we decided to head for Montpelier, rather than going all the way to St. Albans. We could go up to St. Albans on a future trip.

Friday afternoon arrived and we pedalled our lightly loaded tandem the mile and a half over to the station. A short delay meant we had plenty of time to decouple the tandem as we waited on the platform. We were using a frame bag, seat pack and bar bag. We left the frame bag in place and removed the others. The tandem was also equipped with lights and fenders. 

The conductor was not happy with us and didn't see the humor in our claim of two touring unicycles when telling us that tandems aren't allowed. Surely the reason for this is the length. Since we'd decoupled and paid for two bikes, it seemed reasonable to me to allow these two bike parts. He let us on, but not without major grumbling on his part. 

Once on the train, the first thing we discovered when trying to make use of the bike cubby is that the hooks are tiny, and will not accommodate even mildly fat tires. Ours were 50mm. Don't think of bringing your fat bike or even your mountain bike. It is not going to fit! I don't know what they are thinking. No mountain bikes or fat bikes in Vermont? Really? 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Packing List - Ireland 2016

OK. I am on an airplane, so I finally have some downtime to complete my long awaited packing list for my two month tour in Ireland. If you followed me this past summer on Instagram or the blog, you likely noticed that I was traveling quite light. You might have assumed that I was doing day trips, given the lack of panniers. But I am proud to say that I travelled around with all my gear neatly stored in my Revelate Terrapin Seatbag and my Dill Pickle Gear handlebar bag

John and I started in Dublin together. We rode down to Carlow for his brother's wedding, then continued south to the coast. We headed west for a week before taking the train from Killarney back to Dublin for a concert. We returned the next day and continued to Galway, where John again hopped on a train back to Dublin to fly home. I pressed on alone and made my way up to Donegal before turning back south and more inland to wind my way back to Carlow and then Dublin. 

Here's a map of the area I covered. 


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Coolies - Ireland 2016

My last real riding day had the best weather of the trip. I'd been apologizing everywhere I went for the cool summer, certain that my mere my presence all summer here had caused the less than summer like weather. I assured locals that things would improve on August 19. Luckily for me, awesome conditions arrived days before my scheduled departure.

Our friend Declan knows every small road around and can always be counted on for a great ride. So I asked him to put together a ride for us on Tuesday. He graciously drove down to Dublin to pick me up and we head up north to Dundalk for a loop around the Coolies.



Monday, August 15, 2016

Glendalough to Dublin - Ireland 2016

My final day into Dublin would have me climbing up the Wicklow Gap and then finishing off on the Sally Gap. It was a brilliant crystal clear day for it, with endless views and blue skies. It seems I finally remembered I had a camera and was inspired by the glorious weather.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Tullow to Glendalough - Ireland 2016

Well enough of those gentle DaveB routes. Time to let SadiB back at it. Although she can't fully take credit as she took most of the route from JohnBs brownstuff 400km, but in reverse.

The route headed south first taking in the climb up to the Nine Stones on the shoulder of Mt Leinster. It then crossed over into County Wexford briefly to tick off another county before climbing over the Shay Elliot with the final descent down into Glendalough.


The tearoom at Huntington Castle fueled me for the climb up to the Nine Stones. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Tullow - Humewood loop - Ireland 2016

As usual one can never trust the forecast. It called for sunshine, but I had a mix of showers and clouds for my short loop out to Humewood.

This was another DaveB route and one designed to give me a break before heading into the Wicklow Mountains tomorrow.

Don't let the lack of photos fool you. The scenery is splendid.



Friday, August 12, 2016

Tullow Lumpy Loop - Ireland 2016

Today, I decided to take advantage of local knowledge and got my brother in law, Dave, to create a couple of loop routes for me to do in County Carlow. Most of John's extended family live in the area, so we visit here a lot. It is a gorgeous and underrated part of the country. It ha nice rolling hills and lovely views of mountains.

Dave called the route lumpy. I was nervous that DaveB might design routes like SadiB, seeking out roads crossing closely spaced contour lines. But he was very kind and plotted a gentle route with several coffee shop options. It was nice to have an easy day after so many hard ones. And the loop meant I didn't have to carry all my gear.



Thursday, August 11, 2016

Clonmel to Tullow - Ireland 2016

Wow, suddenly time is speeding up. I'm getting close to the end of the trip. It seems like ages ago that I was in Tullow at the wedding of Dave and Siobhan, and now here I am on my way back to Tullow with plans to have dinner with the newlyweds and catch up with family.

This has really been an awesome trip. I've had the chance to explore so many areas, but have really just scratched the surface. I now have a long list of places to come back and explore even more. One of the purposes of the blog is for me to look back and see routes and photos to jog my own memory and provide launching points. I have 10 years worth of tours already planned. I missed so much!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Cahir to Clonmel - Ireland 2016

As I finished my ride yesterday, I rode up to the Swiss Cottage just after the last tour of the day. Knowing the tour was worthwhile, I came back at opening time this morning. The Swiss Cottage was built as the country house for the Butler family a mere two km from their castle in Cahir. It  was designed to be informal and blend with nature. I like the tree trunk columns and thatched roof and different window shapes, but the crooked door and window frames were a bit odd. I was also put off by the idea that they dressed like peasants when they were here, yet had a fleet of servants in the basement attending to their needs. And despite the fact that there were two bedrooms upstairs, Lord and Lady Butler never slept here. They just came out for an occasional sunny afternoon party. I asked if that meant just twice a year!

After completing the tour, I rolled back into town and picked up some snacks for the day. This was a good choice as I had a hard day, with lots of climbing and strong headwinds and minimal services. 

I had a favorable wind for a while, but given the almost loop nature of my ride, I knew I'd face less favorable ones for the second half. When I took the turn for Mahon Falls I realized I would be climbing, but had no idea I was about to do the 4th most difficult climb of the whole trip. A very stiff headwind and extended sections of 20% gradient made for a tough ride up to the falls. But I seem to be well trained now and made it up and over. The boardwalk out to the falls was packed with school kids, so I passed on getting a closer view.

The descent into Clonmel made up for the antagonizing headwind and soon I was at my B&B. 


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Cahir - The Vee - Ireland 2016

Last night after checking into my B&B and getting cleaned up, I wandered around Cahir enjoying the great light before dinner. When mapping out my route for the day, I decided I would tour the castle before my ride. Then I'd finish off with a tour of the Swiss Cottage. I'm not usually one to do the guided tours, but both places were nicely preserved and the only way to see the inside was on a tour. In addition to these local attractions, My hostess at the B&B also mentioned cycling over the Vee. I found the Vee on the maps and plotted a route that approached it from the south.

The castle tour was very interesting. I learned all the ways one could die trying to attack a castle like this!



Monday, August 8, 2016

Tipperary to Cahir - Ireland 2016

John teased me when I told him my plans for the next few days. Each day I'd end up only 15 to 20 miles from where I started but would cover 60 or 70 miles getting there. We had several days like this on our first tour together in Ireland. At the time I jokingly made some coments about his poor navigation skills when upon reaching our destination, I saw distance signs clearly indicating we had taken the roundabout route. John should be pleased now that he's had such a great influence on me.

Leaving Tipperary town, my plan was to ride through the Glen of Aherlow and then head west along one of the regional cycle routes out to Kilmallock for lunch before turning back east aiming for Cahir. 

Cahir was an amazing find with a very well preserved castle and the nicely restored Swiss Cottage and great coffee and nice restaurants and a lovely walking path and several interesting churches.  I liked this town so much that I decided to stay for two nights. I really lucked out and found a fabulous B&B that had been modeled after the Swiss Cottage. My hostess there shared loads of local knowledge and gave me a few tips for things to see that only a local would know! This was my favorite B&B of the trip. 


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Killaloe to Tipperary - Ireland 2016

Looking at the OSM Cycle maps I noticed lots of routes in County Tipperary, so I decided to aim for Tipperary town with plans to explore this area more. It happens that there are lots of very touristy towns in the county, but Tipperary town isn't one of them! In retrospect I should have aimed for Cashel or Cahir, but I did have a very nice host at the B&B who invited me in for tea and much good craic. Hours after going in for tea, I headed out and again, despite thinking I'd get a few blog posts done due to my early arrival, I barely managed one! Now there is nothing wrong with that. It's been great exploring and meeting and talking to people. I've found that I end up in far more conversations because I am traveling alone. Don't get me wrong. I love touring with John, but when you are with someone, you may not be as likely to strike up conversations with others.


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Claregalway to Killaloe - Ireland 2016

I've mentioned my routing strategy a few times.  I use ridewithgps and the OSM Cycle maps. The OSM maps are great because the busy roads are clearly marked and one can put together an amazing and quiet route simply by connecting the white roads or lanes. With no real local knowledge I've been able to put together great routes. I've had exactly one dead end, where the map showed a through road. I've found a couple of gravel and dirt roads, and some roads that local cyclists don't even know. I had quite a few times in Donegal where I was certain I had just turned into someone's driveway, but the road was indeed a through road.

Well, my luck didn't run out, but I did find a few gravel and rocky forest roads on this day. It was the only time I really thought about issues of traveling alone. If I crash on this descent, no one will ever find my bones! So I picked my way down a couple of gnarly rocky trails. (John was tracking me with the Wahoo live track feature and find my iPhone, so he could at least tell emergency services where to start the search for bones.)

Despite the rough surfaces, this was one of my best days. And one worthy of my Honey Allroads bike. So if you are looking at my routes on ridewithgps and thinking of following my tracks, just bring fat tires and disk brakes for this one. And food. There are NO services. Fortunately I'd stopped at that great restaurant in Athenry and stocked up withn muffins for the day.



Friday, August 5, 2016

Westport to Claregalway - Ireland 2016

After our very noisy experience in Westport a couple of years ago, I wanted to avoid staying right in town, so I picked a hotel well out of town. The views were lovely and it was definitely more peaceful than being in the city, but sadly my room was right over the refrigeration units for the restaurant, so my sleep was not as uninterrupted as I'd hoped.

My goal for the next day was Athenry hoping to return to The Barracks, arestaurant we had enjoyed on a few occasions. But every room there was booked. So I finally decided to try Airbnb and found a nice place in Claregalway. 

I cobbled together a ride using routes from a few rides we did in 2014. The route would take me over a few hills and set me up for lunch at Ashford Castle in Cong. Then it was onto Ross Abbey before hitting the village of Claregalway. 


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Foxford to Westport - Ireland 2016

Because I've been riding on tiny off the beaten back roads, I rarely see other cyclists, so it was a real pleasure to find these two tandem riders checking out of the B&B at the same time I was. They had a guidebook and map from a Dutch author. I'd seen another couple using this book in Sligo the day before. We chatted for a while, comparing notes. They commented on my light load. I refrained from asking what all they were carrying in all these bags. Given that we were all at a B&B, I don't think they had camping gear. They told me they were heading for Clifden that day. I pointed out they'd be missing some great scenery on Achill Island, but I think they had an itinerary to follow. I had a very circuitous route planned, with accomodation pre-booked just outside of Westport. Our last stay in Westport had been rather eventful with a naked guy bursting into our room at 5AM followed by a loud party going on until 3AM the next day. So I found a hotel well out of town that at the very least should be a bit quieter.

I road along with the tandem briefly, but parted ways when I headed north to go back over Windy Gap again. It was so nice the first time, I decided it would make for a nice route back south.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Sligo to Foxford - Ireland 2016

Of course, I took my rest day on a sunny day. The next day was the worst weather of the trip, with cold sideways wind. But it was also one of the most enjoyable and memorable thanks to the epic conditions. I did not get a lot of photos thanks to the conditions, and many show rain spots on the lens, but I can't have folks thinking it never rains here.

I've had lots of days with occasional showers, but this was my only day where it really poured all day long. And after having mostly favorable winds coming up the coast, I suppose I had earned some proper headwinds. I also encountered all the standard obstacles, steep lanes with grass growing up the middle leading to some wind farm on top of a mountain, and lots of free range sheep roaming in the middle of the road. I sort of yodel to get their attention, because if I don't warn them, they dash across the road in front of me at the last minute. I don't want to end my tour felled by a startled sheep.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sligo Lap of the Lough - Ireland 2016

A few people have asked if I am getting tired. The legs have held up quite well. I really have not been pushing beyond my comfort level. No speed work while touring. I'm climbing lots, but keeping it at a sane pace.

I've also gotten into a good routine. As soon as I check in to a B&B or hotel each night, I shower and wash my shorts. Then I look for dinner, and try to map out future rides, or work on the blog. However after afew long days recently, I decided to take a break and stay in Sligo for two nights, with a short loop ride on my rest day. I could explore town, and get caught up with photos. Despite all the down time, I still managed to do only one blog post. But I wandered all around Sligo, and the day off left me eager to get back moving.



Monday, August 1, 2016

Omagh to Sligo - Ireland2016

I again had trouble finding accommodation last night, so I decided to eliminate a little stress by booking ahead. The downside of this was that I picked a place 110 km away and found a lovely town around halfway. One of the reasons I prefer not to book ahead is exactly this. With no set plans, if I see an interesting road, I can explore, and if I see a cool place to stay or cool town, I can stop there. But given the last two evenings where I spent hours trying to find something, I went for peace of mind. I really enjoyed the roads around Sligo on previous visits there and wanted to ride through the area west of Sligo, so I booked a hotel there. I ended up staying two nights, taking some time to explore the town the next day.


I continued to follow some of the sign posted long cycle routes in the area.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Derry to Omagh - Ireland 2016

SadiB looked at maps for hours in Derry, trying to decide where we'd go next. I had tossed out the possibility of heading up to Giants Causeway and continuing around in Northern Ireland and then making may way back down the east coast, but as SadiB tried to find quiet ways around Belfast, she just saw way more congestion that I wanted to deal with.

Also I had missed a few interesting spots on the way up, and wanted to hit some of the mountains a little ways inland from the coast, so I decided to head back south and explore a bit more in these areas.

In addition to highlighting the busier roads, making it easy to pick quiet ones, the OSM Cycle maps also color code cycle routes and I'd found their roads to be just my style. 

So SadiB mapped out a route that crisscrossed the Sperrin mountains following a couple of marked cycle routes. The ride proved gorgeous and had plenty of vertical. What it lacked was services, meaning I didn't have lunch til almost 4pm. I quickly realized that when I get away from the touristy areas and the coast, I need to start packing snacks and lunch. 

But I really don't know why this area is not popular with the tourists. The scenery was fabulous.



Saturday, July 30, 2016

Moville to Derry - Ireland 2026

I had arranged to have lunch with a friend in Derry. Derry is a short easy ride from Moville, and I figured I'd have a nice rest day, that is, until she told me I must to the GrianĂ¡n Ailigh, a very well preserved ringfort. I changed my plans and decided to head a bit more west, taking in another climb before heading for the ringfort.

The forecast had suggested I could pack away my rain jacket, but that quickly proved wrong. The clouds made for lovely dramatic photos at least.



I've joked a bit about SadiB, my alter ego on ridewithgps. SadiB sits up late at night planning the route for the next day. She finds the tiny white lanes, and seeks those that cross the most closely spaced contour lines. Then I download the route onto my GPS and follow SadiB's route the next day. SadiB and I are quickly becoming less and less friendly. She sends me up brutal climbs. She seems to be able to locate wind farms with ease. These, of course, are located at the tops of steep climbs, and uhhmmm, there's a good reason there are so many wind turbines here!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Buncrana to Moville - Ireland 2016

From my very earliest days with John, I remember hearing stories about the Gap of Mamore. It's like a ski jump, he said. It's so steep, he said. Anytime the subject of hard climbs came up, Gap of Mamore got a mention. So it has long been on the bucket list. But it's way up in Donegal at the north end of Ireland, on the way to Malin Head, the most northerly point. And Donegal is one of the most awkward places to get to from Dublin. It's either a long bike ride, or a train journey, followed by another train journey, followed by a long bike ride, or it's a long bus ride, followed by a long bike ride.

So this year, I made it a goal. I would do a long bike ride and then hopefully be well trained to climb this beast. 

I'd been watching the weather forecasts for several days, trying to time it to have the best weather. Of course, the weather forecasts are painfully inaccurate here, so it really was going to be a crap shoot.

I arrived in Buncrana the night before rather later than I'd hoped. I missed an earlier ferry by mere minutes, and had to wait an hour and a half to get the last ferry across. I found a B&B after a few tries and was warned to not waste time if I wanted dinner, since nearby places were about to close. I didn't have to be told twice. I dumped my bag and ran across the street in my cycling gear.

As I looked at maps trying to decide the best way to go, my waitress noticed and said her husband had cycled it a few times. She checked with him on the best way up and gave me directions.

I'd built it up so much that I barely slept. It was like the night before Mt. Washington!

The next morning dawned bright and sunny, but the breeze was coming from the north. Ah a nice headwind!

I headed out to Dunree and took in the sights there before turning onto the tiny steep road out of town. There are actually several ways to approach the climb, all coming together a mile or so from the top.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Gordahork to Buncrana - Ireland 2016

After a couple of days staying in one place, I grew restless. Gap of Mamore was calling. And I needed to head in that direction. The weather looked like it might even cooperate. It would be cloudy for another day and then sunny on the day I planned to climb Mamore. But I'm getting ahead of myself. First I have to get to Buncrana.

I bid my hostesses farewell and aimed the bike east. My first diversion would be a loop around Horn Head. The day started cloudy, but soon the sun was making brief appearances. If the clouds burned off I should get a great view at Horn Head.


I may just have to take their word for it, regarding the view

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Glenveagh - Ireland 2016

My friend, Jenny, gave me grief for calling the Benbulben ride a rest day. Well she should approve of the way I spent yesterday. I slept late, had a relaxing breakfast, worked on some blogposts, and then took a short spin to visit a friend who moved here recently. The two of us drank coffee and talked for ages. At some point, hunger drove us to take a short spin into the village for lunch. It was so great to see this friend after almost three years and a lifetimes worth of changes to both our lives. While we email and text regularly, there is nothing like a real face to face chat. I love having new places to visit when my friends move away. But I still miss going out for coffee and lunch and bike rides together. So this was a real treat.

Now today, I made up for that rest day. But I have to blame my friend. The route is hers. She promised great views and awesome roads.


I'm sure there is a view out there somewhere!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Ardara to Gortahork - Ireland 2016

One of my hopes on this trip was to catch up with a friend who lives in Donegal. I sent her a text saying I thought I would be in the area that night, and she replied saying she'd made arrangements for me to stay with some friends nearby, her place being too small for guests. This was a kind and gracious offer, but it meant I had a long ride and people expecting me.

Naturally SadiB, my alter-ego on ridewithgps, routed me over quite a few climbs nod through a wind farm, with a gate at the far end. As I turned onto the road leading up to the wind turbines, I was actually turning away from an angry barking dog, so I really did not want to turn back. There were no signs indicating private or dead end, but the ... Uhmmm ... Road was a bit rocky. And I got right up next to the turbines. It was very cool, and noisy!

Then I reached the end of the road and found a fence and gate and sign. I figured if they had a sign here, that they'd prefer I climb over the gate, rather than backtrack across the place I wasn't supposed to be. So I got to appreciate exactly how light or heavy my gear is.

Then it was on an up another endless climb down to another gorgeous but empty beach.

The sun came out shortly before I reached my destination for the night, and I quickly realized why my friend has made this her home. It is just gorgeous.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Killybegs to Ardara - Ireland 2016

I was so impressed with our brief visit to Donegal in 2014 that I started planning a return trip right away.  Naturally, the first place I had to come back to was the Slieve League Cliffs.

The weather was slightly better than our previous visit, where we huddled behind a sign and then quickly took photos and headed down. This time at least I made it up and back down to the cafe before the torrential downpour. Then I spent well over an hour in Ti Linn with soup and coffee and scones waiting out the rain. I'm okay if it starts while I'm on the road, but there is nothing harder than leaving the warmth of a cafe to head out into the rain!

Then it was on to Glencolumbkille, where my jaw dropped when I rode around the corner to see yet more impressive cliffs. It's the unexpected sights that have been the most impressive.

Although the views descending the Glengesh Pass were as fabulous as I'd remembered! Someday I must climb up it from the Ardara side so I have more time to take in the view!