Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Day 47--To the Atlantic!

Last night was a howler of a rain and wind storm (at least no broken tent poles). Fortunately, I didn't have far to go today. I slept until 7:45 (much needed after 2 long days). I thought I was going to have to take my tent down in the rain, but it stopped in time for me to get it down. I cooked my breakfast, after I had everything packed up, under the overhang of the toilet block. Maybe not the most appetizing place for breakfast, but it was dry. Actually, once I got my breakfast fixed, I moved over to a bench to eat it. Would it kill these parks to put in a picnic table in the tent area???

When I had gotten up, I put on all my raingear--including the waterproof socks. Of course, this being Ireland, and the land of Murphy's Law, it didn't rain again. Bit by bit as I was riding, I took off various pieces, until I was back into just the usual cycling garb. I keep trying to outsmart the rain, but it never seems to work.

I had calculated 39 miles today to Sligo. I used the Garmin, and it took me down the narrow and mostly quiet roads. At Garrison, I rode by the end of Lough Melvin.
See? Blue sky!

Next was a town called Manor Hamilton. It had a Castle (appropriately named Hamilton Castle).
Not very big, as castles go.

I stopped and had some lunch. It was chilly, but there was a bunch of kids playing on a playground across the street in just short sleeves. Maybe I was just cold from being sweaty...

I continued following the Garmin directions. I went through another small town. At the top of this one hill, there was a sign about this mountain.

Not even a pot o' gold there!

I saw the sign for Sligo, so I turned off the Garmin. Unfortunately, I missed a turn that would have kept me on the backroads. Instead, I came down to N16. But, it had a very wide shoulder.
The shoulder is almost as wide as the lane.

It was actually much nicer riding. Less rolling hills, and more direct. The shoulder eventually disappeared, but the traffic was courteous. I saw a few other cyclists, and a person walking, so I figured it was okay. At one point I passed a police officer blocking one lane. There was a sign that said "Garda Checkpoint". He seemed to be mostly waving people through, so I don't know what that was about.

As I got closer to Sligo, there were these great views of the valley and Glencar Lough.

To the left is the Atlantic Ocean.

It was mostly downhill coming into Sligo. I pulled off to pee, and this was the view on the other side.
Quite impressive.

I've decided I don't like the bigger cities. There's too much traffic, weird one way streets, and unless I'm looking to get something, just a hassle to go through. I tried having a bit of a ride around Sligo, but the traffic was so bad, I just headed toward Strandhill where I would be camping at the Caravan Park. 

I stopped at another Centra market and got some groceries. I've not had much in the way of veggies lately. I was really craving something fresh. I got some tomatoes, mushrooms, and a little pot of hummus. I also got a small jar of Bolognaise pasta sauce. Dinner was mighty tasty tonight! 

When I got to the park, I set up my tent (because it looked like it would rain--which it did), then sat down and ate some of the mushrooms and tomatoes with hummus. The rest I saved for dinner. It started to rain, so I gathered everything and put it either in the tent or under the vestibules. Poor Betsy just had to sit out in it. 

I had hoped to do some laundry, but there is no place to dry it, and it keeps raining off and on. I did, however, finally get to wash my hair. I've been arriving so late the last several days that I haven't been able to wash my hair in time to dry before going to bed. 

I've begun to accept the rain as a part of daily life here. After my shower, I put on my rain jacket and rain hat and walked to the beach. Strandhill is supposed to have a great beach for surfing. There were some surfers out giving it a go.
I think it was a surf school.

Here's a couple more of the beach.
Very rocky, and hard to get to the water.

But, I made it, and dipped my toes in the Atlantic. The only big body of water that I didn't dip my feet in was the Irish Sea (but I did cross it!). 

Tomorrow I continue south. Even though the map shows a secondary road, I think I'm going to take the busier road, as it goes along the Coast.

Total miles today: 38.7

Parting shot of a Strand Schnecker mit Hause (beach snail)

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