It took us a long time to decide the place for our first motorcycle trip. Scotland, Spain, Ireland, or maybe Portugal? Kinga wanted to go somewhere warm abroad, I wanted somewhere that wasn’t unbearably hot. We don’t have typical summer motorcycle gear – what we do have is good enough for a balanced climate but it’s useless in extremely cold and hot weather. It couldn’t be too far, because we only had a week off for the whole trip. Not too close though, so we could actually ride a bit and then proudly call it a proper trip.
Finally, the decision was made: we’re going to Ireland. Not too hot in the summer and as it proved later, not too sunny either, but that comes later on in the story. 🙂
The other, quite important reason for choosing Ireland was the fact that my sister and Kinga’s favourite (long story :)) as well as a third of my family along with the best aunt in the world, later called Jadwinia aka aunt Jadzia.
Planning the trip
The process of planning the trip took me quite a long time. I enjoy it: I like to know where I am heading to, where I will be sleeping. What I don’t like is a trip with no destination, since I can’t even stand not having a place to park once I do have a destination. However, our first trip taught me that planning may be fun, but keeping up with the established schedule can be really exhausting, if not annoying and irritating.
Going back to the planning itself, I put down certain places I’d like to visit on a Google map: a few castles, viewpoints, compulsory spots such as Cliff of Moher, Wicklow Mountain, Molly Gap and accommodation along with ferry traversing points. Considering that we only had a week we wouldn’t be able to see all of Ireland anyway so we had to sacrifice certain places. Maybe next time…
I can’t say that we took years preparing, but a few months was definitely involved. The tickets for the ferry were booked 3-4 months beforehand, as well as accommodation 2 months prior to the trip. I needed higher motorbike boots, because my previous pair was broken and I could feel the wind in them, they were just too short. I didn’t have gloves that wouldn’t get on my nerves. We were also lacking a place to store all of our luggage, and after that we were practically ready. Well, that and servicing the Vulcan. Kinga bought her GT by the end of April, it had freshly changed oil. I took up servicing the other bike around the beginning of July when all the ordered stuff came in: oil, spark plugs, oil filter and air filter.
I’m not sure why I did the whole damn service for the Vulcan since I bought my own GT two weeks later with the mileage under 2K miles and freshly serviced too.
That is how we became ready for it, with two “shiny plastic” GT’s waiting with us for the trip.
Ireland 2016 – Day 1
30.07.2016 – Day 1 – 374 km, 3h57m in the UK + 113 km, 1h26m in IE (+4h on the ferry) (data from google maps)
It was a long day, we woke up in the morning excited about the trip. Last checks included the luggage check on the bikes and the documents. We’ve got everything, we are ready, we can leave. 🙂
Although it was my first time riding across the Severn Bridge on a motorbike, the whole route on M4 is not the most fascinating. However, it is quite quick and it let us get to the ferry on time, one we took from Fishguard. It was not our first visit in that port, however it was the first time we got there on the bikes. I wasn’t sure if entering the ferry via a steep ramp would be an easy enough task, Kinga especially dreaded the bumps as she wasn’t fully comfortable with her GT. Even after equipping it with a very low seat, it was still significantly taller than her previous Virago 535 (which I personally dubbed a pancake due to it’s flat shape of tank)
Luckily entering the ferry didn’t bring us any unnecessary adventures and the staff secured our bikes. We exchanged greetings with other motorcyclists travelling to Ireland and moved onto the main deck in order to find a place to spend the next four hours in.
The time was dragging horribly… butts hurt because of excessive seating and just overall boredom… Finally, we ended up at the shore. We stood in the long queue to the board where all the vehicles were parked. To my surprise, the ferry staff did not help out in undoing the belts that held the bikes, other bikers had to help us. Next time we’ll be fine, though. 🙂
After leaving the ferry in Rosslare, we were met at the nearest petrol station by Krzychu (Jarek, my sister’s boyfriend) on his Tiger. Thanks to him we didn’t have to bother with the sat-nav as he knows all the roads in IE like the back of his hand 🙂 it took us just over an hour to get to Rathnew, the little town where my sister lives and where we spent our first night.
Tired, with imprints on our butts from the motorbike seats and the boredom on the ferry, we ended the day by the bbq in Polish-Irish company. I will describe other days of our first big trip in the upcoming posts. Welcome!