One: Good Start Ruined By Absent-mindedness (Home to near Girvin). - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

June 4, 2013

One: Good Start Ruined By Absent-mindedness (Home to near Girvin).

I checked the time, the watch showed 6.51 as I rode away from the family house. The weather forecast on the radio gave, "the sun will burn through any patchs of early fog and it will be another warm day with a high in the low twenties in Belfast." Summer at last. The leaves on the Sycamore and Ash trees overhanging the narrow back road I rode on were lush, as were the grass-verges, long grass sprinkled with colour, Bluebells and Buttercups. And there came the sweet fragrance of mowin grass, seen through gateways, straight green rows in yellow shaved fields waiting the harvester.

The front-panniers were there for the first time today. The front-wheel pulled left, meaning the left pannier was heavier than the right. I'd packed my spare clothes and wet stroke cold weather gear equally between both, plus food. It included a five hundred gram tub of Couscous which was in the left side, so I stopped and switched the Couscous to the right; problem solved

The narrow back road rolled up and down, though it was mainly uphill as I approached what we call the Dromara Hills around the bulk of Slieve Croob, half way to the old market town, Ballynahinch. It was already warm even though it was only 7.13 when I checked the watch. Is thinking of stopping to take my warm top off. And was thinking that I like a good zip-able pocket on whatever I'm wearing. I keep my wallet in there, and passport. Passport? Is struck by the sudden realisation that I'd come away without my passport; so, I turned round, doubling back. It was a drag to ride back though it was mainly downhill, plus when I get to my road, the neighbours will be looking out the window, see me fly past, then minutes later see me past in the opposite direction. They'll be thinking he's truely gone now. Mad.

In all I lost fifty minutes because of my absent-mindedness and I wasn't going to beat the backed up traffic on the way into Belfast. Once in the city-centre I followed signs for, The North, Larne, Carrickfergus and Docks with a picture of a ship with vehicles aboard. But there were long stretches without any ship signs and I began to think, when I got to the slipway beginning to the M2, the main route north, Is on the road for Larne which is twenty miles and also a ferry port; so, I stopped and asked a road service man parked up at the side the way to the Sealink terminal. He pointed me up the road away from the motorway slip to traffic-lights; there turn right, then "it's well signed" he said. "It's not" I replied. He laughed.

Following his directions I eventually reached the grey wasteland of lines of slow moving trucks and cars, with shipping-containers behind chain-link fences at the side and the ship ahead with a wisp of smoke issuing from the funnel.

Brown water two milks: Belfast ferry terminal building.
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There was a coffee vending machine in the terminal building where I bough a oneway-ticket. I don't much like machine coffee nor soft drinks at one pound seventy in another vending machine, so I resisted the temptation for refreshment until I'd checked in, because I knew there was a cafe in the departure lounge upstairs. But the coffee in the cafe when I'd got that far, tasted like machine coffee; and it cost two-sixty, whereas it only cost a pound downstairs.

Aboard the ferry, I'd finished writing and Is debating wether to go to the bar. I did eventually as one pint of beer'll do no harm. It'll make up for the lack of buzz in the coffee.

The sailing. I hope Crazy Guy don't band alcohol advertising.
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Norfolk on two wheels is my choice: back on the truck deck in Cairnryan.
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Lunch stop in a quiet lay-by.
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The A77 near Ballantrae.
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Turn-off to somewhere local.
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The plan when I rode off the ferry in Cairnryan, was to ride north east following the A77. This is the main road from Ireland bound ports to Glasgow and so a stead flow of arctic-trucks swept past me. And passing at or near the coast, it was ceaselessly up and down over headlands. But it was an extremely scenic route with, Arran Isle and Mull of Kintyre, silhouetted mountains rising on the horizon across the sea on the left.

The A77 follows the coast much of the way.
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I reached Girvin, the first town at five o'clock and I needed to see a supermarket, so at a mini-roundabout, I turned for the town-centre. There was a long main street where I saw a suitably named, Costcutters. I didn't know what Is going to eat in the evening while I browsed. Rice. I soon tire of rice then I'll be carrying half the packet. Pasta. I settle for pasta, and together with tomato sauce and a few other items it came to seven pounds and seven at the checkout.

North of Girvin I turned on to a B road as planned. I wasn't going to ride much longer but was determined to find a good forest campsite. In any-case it doesn't get dark till after eleven this far north so I'd plenty of time.

End of first day.
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Today's ride: 117 km (73 miles)
Total: 117 km (73 miles)

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