Pre-trip PreparationsMay 21, 2016
After the New Zealand adventure the preparations for the Ireland tour were put in to high gear. I had the general route laid out and all of the accommodation reservations made before I went off to New Zealand. There were too many small villages which had only one small hotel to risk not making the reservations early as possible. Planning the route and making hotel reservations in twenty one different places for six people was the easy part.
The accommodations look really cool. Out of the thirty nights we will have only three nights in a big chain hotel. All the rest are in local inns, bed and breakfasts, and Airbnb apartments. Staying out of the big chain places should give us a real immersion into this trip.
The actual job of doing the daily rides was probably the single biggest task. Ireland is a total maze of roads, back roads, lanes, back lanes, and pathways. So how do you turn 60 to 100 kms or route into turn by turn directions when you have a turn every few kilometers or even every few meters. There is no possible way you could write down what would ultimate be hundreds of turns over the total trip and not make a single error. A single left on the instructions which should have been a right would be disastrous. The only solution was to get rid of written route sheets and go to Garmin route down loads. Even so it was a daunting task of learning the intricacy of Garmin Connect and then clicking back and forth between it and Google, making sure the road existed or was rideable. All of the roads in Ireland are available on streetview in Google, which is totally amazing, considering some of these are no more that single lane pathways. However the routes are done checked and edited and everyone has a down load.
Agnes and Ken’s wife Sally are going to drive the car and move the luggage ahead for us every day. Agnes will probably do most of the driving as she has lots of right hand driving experience from New Zealand. The biggest rental vehicle we could get with an automatic transmission was a Toyota. Needless to say we will not have the same luggage capacity of the New Zealand van so people better not bring too much luggage. As tour director I sent out a note saying that if they did I would leave it on the curb. My luggage is packed and everything is in a 65 liter bag and a small computer bag of maybe 10 liters.
The attached map shows the route. It is 1919 kms long. It runs from the very south end to the very north end and does a complete circumnavigation of Ireland. One of the weird things about Garmin Connect is that you cannot get the total daily climb from the web page. SO I will have to ride it to tell you what that is. Follow along and find out how it unfolds.