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So Many Roads!

Road Trippin'

with Steve McCarthy

How many roads can a Triumph drive down...In Ireland and the UK, far too many. Google Maps Street View is the Devil! In a good way, I suppose. In an earlier missive, I touted it as a great way to "practice drive" some of the roads we plan to take on our Grand Tour of the Isles. It's like staring at the case in 31 Flavors on a hot day, not able to make up one's mind. SO MANY CHOICES!

I have (with some help from friends who have been there, as well as a few guide books) found some real gems, some Gotta Drives. Here's a partial list, in no particular order, with links to Google so you can see for yourself.

The Connor Pass on the Dingle Peninsula (,-10.1833433,3a,75y,270h,90t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sENCm_MqMY83Std1OWfD49A!2e0!!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en): For sheer gutsy glory, this is a Gotta Drive. It's freaking spectacular looking! Oh, and up ahead, the road is painted with "Go Mal"--that means "SLOW". It also gets a bit narrow at the top, like one lane narrow! And yes, it's a TWO WAY ROAD! Damn, I'm glad the Blue Meanie is a skinny car (unlike it's driver). If you use the compass in the lower right, you can swivel the view. And just how many times did the little GoogleMobile drive up and down this road to get the sun to peek out and light up the lakes, uh, loughs?

Next, is the B852 in Scotland. General Wade's Military Road (,-4.445036,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sbPbnW6I8IERWWjVE_DnBTw!2e0!!7i13312!8i6656!4m2!3m1!1s0x488f16c34da23729:0xd4d749cbf4fe912f!6m1!1e1?hl=en ). It runs along the south side of Loch Ness, and is free from Tourist Buses. For obvious reasons. It's maybe a lane and a half wide, twists and turns along the edge of the lake, uh, loch, and it's more likely that Nessie will appear on this side. The one down side is you miss seeing the ruins of Urquart Castle up close.

England's Lake District provides WAY to many choices. Long known as a paradise for those who like tramping o'er the hills on foot, looking for Romantic Inspiration in the haunts of Literary Luminaries like Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, this whole area is amazing. Try the A592 over Kirkstone Pass for example (,-2.9056023,3a,75y,90h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s62_Q4ma92qgDG8cihlva3w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1?hl=en) or the wider, more travels A591 out of Kewsick (,-3.0579034,3a,75y,83t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sIgnuRsDPAIpCde9jI1ibEQ!2e0!!7i13312!8i6656!4m2!3m1!1s0x487cc00228ae0f9d:0x3d36a8b16af44ee1!6m1!1e1?hl=en ) for some of the most spectacular roads in the Isles. On the latter, B&Bs, Inns, and Pubs serving local brews seem to be abundant, but even Google shows a fleet of Caravans clogging the way, so be warned.

Wales has an abundance of great drives as well. Out of Tinern Abbey is the A466 (,+Chepstow,+Monmouthshire,+UK/@51.7309937,-2.7071059,12.28z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x4871bf6d3eb4adf1:0x20ba26f1ae9419b9?hl=en ), winding through an "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty". Or if coastal views are your thing, there's the A493 north from Tywyn (the Welsh need to buy some vowels!) up the coast to Harlech,+Chepstow,+Monmouthshire,+UK/@51.7309937,-2.7071059,12.28z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x4871bf6d3eb4adf1:0x20ba26f1ae9419b9?hl=en ). You can go wrong taking any coastal road!

Cornwall and Devon have their share of great looking drives as well. The Great Dartmoor was the setting for The Hound of the Baskervilles, and looks as bleak and lonely as Dr. Watson described it. The B3212 (,+Chepstow,+Monmouthshire,+UK/@51.7309937,-2.7071059,12.28z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x4871bf6d3eb4adf1:0x20ba26f1ae9419b9?hl=en ) runs through the heart of the moorlands and offers an amazing contrast to the lakes and forests of northern England. Again, there are inns and pubs along the way. Devon plays host to the Cheddar Gorge and the B3135 (,+Chepstow,+Monmouthshire,+UK/@51.7309937,-2.7071059,12.28z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x4871bf6d3eb4adf1:0x20ba26f1ae9419b9?hl=en ). All I can say is WOW!

Now, I've left out a bunch. I know. But this is a taste of what we have to look forwards to. Add the coast of Donegal, the Giant's Causeway, the Cliffs of Moher, and The Burran and all I can say is the 3 months and 19 days (as of this writing) is WAY too long to wait.

We'd LOVE to hear any suggestions for Gotta Drive roads. With any luck, we'll be able to try them too!