Saturday, July 5, 2014

Day 45--Mountain Bookends

My first full day cycling in Northern Ireland! I slept in a bit as I had gotten in so late last night. The gal at the caravan park was very nice. She had a couple of young daughters who were also very sweet. The one said she liked how Americans talk. I said I like how the Irish talk.

I used the Garmin to get to Ballymena. It took me, possibly, the hilliest way. But, the roads were quiet. I went up high, then would come down to a village. Here's some photos.
A bit of going down.
A view of the Irish Sea

I finally came into Ballymena. Just before, a rain squall came through. I put on my rain gear, only to take it off about 3 miles later.

 Since it's Saturday (or at least I think that's why), the towns are very busy. Traffic through the center of town was very slow. Since the roads are narrow, and cars are parked everywhere, it makes for slow going.

From Ballymena to Maghera I stayed on the "A" road. But it wasn't the super busy A Road. It went across the valley, so not too challenging. Once again, it started raining pretty heavy, so rain gear on. Then the sun came out...rain gear off.

After Maghera, I started to go on A6, but it was too busy, and no shoulder, and a long uphill climb. I knew the Garmin would find a different way. Sure enough...much less traffic, but no less (in fact, probably more) hills. The Sperrin Mountains to be exact. 
I climbed for a long long time. Just as I was sort of getting near the top, it started to rain. When it didn't look like it was going to stop, I put my rain gear back on. Putting the rain gear on and off was not that big of a deal, but what was a hassle, was putting the drying laundry in and out of the bag so they didn't get wet again.

It rained very hard and the wind was howling as I was coming down out of the mountains (sorry no photos). It was all I could do to keep Betsy on the road. But, as soon as I came down, the rain stopped. I looked in my rear view mirror, and could see this rainbow.
I'm in Ireland! Where's the Pot o' Gold?

So, raingear came off...again. I came to Dungiven in sunshine. I found the campsite. Mervin is the owner. I arrived at about 7:45. He showed me everything, and when I asked him what I owed him, he said don't worry about it. Very nice man. Except that the hot water had run out for the showers, this place is great. There is even wifi. Mervin took me into his house so I could get the password off the router! When I was getting ready to do this post, he came into this little sitting room. We had a great conversation, and I learned some interesting things about Northern Ireland. I could understand most of what he said, but when he talked about place names, and things like that, I had no clue.

This is a short post, but it is late and I've ridden 67 miles today.

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