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Road Trippin'

with Steve McCarthy

I'm sitting here realizing that in three weeks' time, we'll be heading out on our Great Adventure. Some 2800 miles driving the Triumph over Irish, Scottish, English, Cornish, and Welsh backroads. On the wrong side of the road. For a month and a half. The longest trip we have EVER had together. What WAS I thinking?

All of a sudden, I'm beginning to realize what a daunting task I've set for us. Marianne, good sport that she is, has gone along willingly, aiding and abetting the family insanity. It's not the miles we'll be traveling that is daunting. Heck, it's about the same as going to Olympia, WA, and we've done that TWICE in the TR and four or five times in other cars. HELL, once, daughter Meaghan and I banzaied home from Oly NON STOP! It's not even the reliability of the Auld Crate that's bothering me. I've done what I can to make things right. So, what is it? Have I planned TOO well, so now, three weeks away, we only have a few small tasks to complete? Stopping the mail and newspaper, setting up the international calling on the phone, buying socks? Instead of rushing about madly, completing the thousand and one tasks that bedevil any trip, I seem to be sitting and fretting, wondering what I've forgotten to plan for. Did I plan TOO well? Marianne calls them the "What Ifs".

So, what can we expect? What adventures await us? We have a planned route and only three reserved places to stay. Edinburgh for two nights, Portsmouth for four (as close to Goodwood as we could find), and Portmerion for one (site if the TV cult classic "The Prisoner") and that's it. For the rest, using a variety of internet review sites, I've identified places we might try to stay in, and friends have suggested places to eat and see, but who knows? St. Serendipity will be given a free hand.

We expect, at the very least, to provide a good laugh and heads shaken in bemusement by the locals as us utterly mad Yanks cruise along. Maybe, even a pint or two. Probably, a healthy dose of what the Irish call Craic. No, not crack, but good conversation, good laughs, good people, maybe some good music. And NO politics. Nope, we're leaving all thought of the Pantsuited Harpy and the Cheetofaced Ferretwearer at home. Same with Brexit. Nope, this is VACATION.

We expect great roads and wonderful scenery, and a bit of rain. We expect traffic in the middle of small towns and sheep induced road blocks in the countryside. And a bit of rain. We expect ancient ruins, steam railroads, and a bit of rain. We expect to get lost more than once and expect that in so doing, St. Serendipity will bail us out and take us to some place wondrous. And a bit of rain. Did I mention we expect some rain? Heck, we might even see the sun in Wales! Who knows?

You see, that's the glory of a trip like this. More than a month on the road. In a foreign, yet, vaguely familiar land. Probably proof of Churchill's dictum that "we are the same people, separated only by a common language." We are resolved to go as native as possible. No pining for McD (not that we do that HERE) or even In-n-Out. I'm not even bringing a jar of Skippy. Tea at breakfast, (I might even attempt to get over my revulsion of eggs brought about by the childhood trauma of my mother and grandmother making eggshell Christmas ornaments, requiring scrambled eggs at breakfast for months on end), haggis, local ales and cheeses, faucets and light switches that operate the wrong way around, all the odd little bits that make travel so fascinating and frustrating.

So, dear reader, follow along with us as we discover, laugh, sing, and curse the elements on our great adventure. My plan (and as Burns said, "The best laid plans o'mice and men, gang aft aglee") is to do weekly updates here on the blog ( and frequent photos and stuff on a separate Facebook page: