Thursday, July 10, 2014

Day 50--Crossing the Middle

I woke up to no rain. Due to the lack of picnic tables in the tenting area (they are all over in the caravan area), I used the wall to cook my breakfast.
It actually worked quite well!

I was on the road at 8:40--one of my earlier starts lately. I had Google mapped the route to Athlone. It was not clear at the beginning, but I knew I had to get to N6, and I knew where that was, so I just headed in that direction. Once I got there, the directions made sense. Fortunately, I wasn't on N6 for long because it was a Dual-Carriage Way that was quite busy (it's one step down from the Motorway).

I cruised along to Carnmore. As it was snack time, I stopped at this shop.
As I was purchasing my snack of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, I noticed a jar of candy with my name on it! I asked if the candy itself had "Colleen" on it (I would have bought some), but it didn't. The gal suggested taking a photo with the jar. Good idea!

Since I was basically just riding across the middle of Ireland, there was not much interesting scenery. Mostly just fields--not even that many sheep.

There also wasn't much in the way of hills, so I had my fastest average in a long time (a month ago I had 10.6, today was 10.5). What was nice, for a change, was the streets were clearly marked. Of course, it's the one day where I was on the same road for most of the day! There were also towns quite regularly. They all had at least one small grocery store. I stopped at a few for breaks--an ice cream here, a coke there, etc.

I stopped at an old ruin of a church (curiously, there was a plaque commemorating the death of a woman, her husband, and their two sons who sought refuge there...after being evicted--strange...). While I was eating, two tractors pulling loads of peat went by. In my continued fascination with this whole peat bog to fuel process, I took a photo.
They seem to be just piled haphazardly. Not surprisingly, I see some on the road every so often.

I worked my way to the largest town of the day so far, Ballinasloe.
Main Street Ballinasloe

Just on the other side, I pulled over at a shop for a Coke. There was another touring cyclist there. His name was Yale. He is originally from California, but has been living in Spain for the last 16 years. He was going the other direction. We talked for a bit, then went on our ways. 

Ballinasloe was not terribly far from Athlone. When I got closer to Athlone, I looked up the camping place on the Garmin. I had just over 5 miles to go. I came into Athlone and crossed the River Shannon. It's the largest river in Ireland.

Garmin took me the usual sly-dog route to Lough Ree East Caravan Park. The guy who runs the place is a funny guy. He's a Bachelor looking for some female companionship. He told me about his most recent blind date. He said it was okay, but she is quite abit older than him. He didn't seem to care and he's just "Up for craich" (out to have some fun). She, apparently, wasn't so sure. I told him my favorite saying from my cousin, Jeannie. "The odds are good, but the goods are odd." He got a kick out of that.

A rain squall came through while I was in the shower (a nice hot 7 minute shower for 1€). Fortunately, I had put everything under cover. Now it has passed, and it's just cloudy. 

Tomorrow I was going to go to a place called Portlaoise. Instead, I've decided to go to a different place that is not so far out of the way, yet still the same distance from Dublin as Portlaoise. There are not so many camping places between here and Dublin. The place I'm going is not far away from here, but it is about 50 miles from there to Dublin. It's possible, that if I hadn't had so many long miles in the last few days, I could make it to Dublin tomorrow. But, my butt is not willing, so tomorrow it will be Mullingar, and Lough Ennell. Yay, short day tomorrow!

Total miles today: 67

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