06/26 Carmarthen, you are doing it all wrong! You are the home of Merlin, the most famous wizard in the world (besides freaking Harry Potter I guess)! There should be a Merlin Hard Rock Cafe, a Merlin Hooters, with Hooter’s girls wearing cute little Merlin robes and in the town center there should be a 60 foot Merlin statue. But alas I saw nothing. I know there’s a Merlin Walk, whatever that is, but it was raining and I just wanted to hit the road.

That silly Mood thing down at the bottom that almost always says Good–well check it today people. 🙂 I’m in a freaking amazing mood. In general if I’ve been victimized all day by traffic, dogs or see nothing but farms I usually spend my time thinking about how nice it would be if there were 90% less people on the planet. Not today though.

The first thing to start off this great day was just an email from someone very special to me. She could have just hit random keys on her keyboard and sent that and I’d still be happy but I digress. Breakfast at the B&B was great and I managed to find my way out of Carmarthen without too much difficulty.

Sure it was pouring rain as usual but it wasn’t cold (60F) and the wind was blowing from behind me. I’d have to say at this point that I enjoyed the scenery here in Wales, just in the last 2 days, more than just about anywhere in England, Scotland and Ireland. It’s been a big change from my first day here when I wasn’t a huge fan. First of all there are actually trees and quite a few of them. All kinds of colors too; not just brown or one shade of green to look at all day. Not too many houses along the road either.

No one is ever going to believe this story either. So I’m riding along and this guy in a work van slows down coming toward me and stops. He asked where I was going and being a smartass sometimes I smiled and pointed straight ahead and said, “That way.” He laughed and I told him what road I was taking up ahead. Turns out I was heading toward his place so he gets on his cell and calls his wife to bring in their stupid dogs because they have a habit of chasing bikes. That’s never happened before. I never did see the wife or the stupid dogs clawing at the windows though.

After a somewhat grueling ride uphill I reached the very impressive 13th century Carreg Cennen Castle perched high atop a steep limestone precipice. The walk up was through a huge minefield but I survived and enjoyed my tour around the ruins. I was the only one there the entire time (because of the weather I’m sure). Oh, the minefield was the carpet of sheep crap literally everywhere. Rather nasty. I asked the guy about it and he said they use the sheep to keep the grass short. Something wrong with long grass that I don’t know about? Is it going to grow 60 feet high and obscure the ruins? I think I’d rather wade through grass than sheep crap any day. Anyway I loved the place and the views were incredible even with the poor visibility. Only 4 pounds to get in too.

There was a restaurant on site and I broke down and had a hot lunch there. As I was leaving my eyes wandered over to the desserts and wouldn’t you know it, rhubarb cake. I love rhubarb! I’ve never had it in a cake before but heated up with some ice cream it was too bad (rhubarb pie is way better).

I stopped at Black Mountain CG for the night. The shower block is out of commission but they let me use an empty trailer home that had a great little shower and electric to charge my laptop back up. The cafe next door even had milk for sale. I bought a beer to finish off a great day even though I’ve sworn off it. Other than the Guinness in Ireland I’ve been doing pretty well.

Elevation Profile
GPX track

First beer in a while.

First beer in a while.

Trying to dry my clothes. :)

Trying to dry my clothes. 🙂

For grazing land it looked pretty nice

For grazing land it looked pretty nice

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Cool tourist office.

Cool tourist office.

Another old fort.

Another old fort.

Rain all day so bad pictures on my little camera.

Rain all day so bad pictures on my little camera.

My bike resting. :)

My bike resting. 🙂

Carreg Cennen Castle

Carreg Cennen Castle

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Looking back out the way I came in

Looking back out the way I came in

The main courtyard

The main courtyard

Very dark path leading down into a cave

Very dark path leading down into a cave

Flowers growing out of the ruins

Flowers growing out of the ruins

For peeking at the enemy

For peeking at the enemy

Damn sheep crap everywhere

Damn sheep crap everywhere

There's Carreg Cennen Castle on the bottom left

There’s Carreg Cennen Castle on the bottom left

Mood:Excellent Weather:Rainy/Mild
Wind:Strong Wind Direction:Tail
Avg Speed:8.7 mph (14 km/h) Top Speed:32.5 mph (52.3 km/h)
Avg Grade:4% Max Grade:13%
Total Ascent:2653 ft (808.6 m) Max Elevation:905 ft (275.8 m)
Distance:29.6 mi (47.6 km) Total Distance:28274 mi (45502.6 km)

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06/25 Wales seems a bit hilly. 🙂 The climbs aren’t all that long, the longer ones maybe a couple of miles, but some of them are very steep. The day I left Rosebush I rode up at least 3 that had 20% grade signs. Traffic wasn’t that bad and with the roads being just wide enough I was able to ride up side to side without too much trouble.

The scenery was pretty much just farms. Hilly farms, but still farms with lot’s of sheep and cows. Kind of disappointing actually. I thought Wales would be a bit more untamed. The weather was fantastic! Quite a bit of sun and hardly any wind. I was hoping it would last a couple days but a peek at the weather forecast killed that dream.

I spent the night in the town of Carmarthen. Not too much to see but it does happen to be the birthplace of none other than Merlin, the famous wizard of Arthurian legend. On my food shopping trip I looked for something Merlinish to take a picture of but couldn’t find anything. Rode a whopping 29 miles with 2773 feet of climbing.

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06/24 One of these days I’ll need to go back and try to figure out how many ferry crossings I’ve made. It’s got to be at least 20 by now. Rosslare to Fishguard was 3 1/2 hours of watching Happy Feet Two. OK, it was on but I never watched it. I was pretty impressed that they had free wifi on board for the crossing. The crossing cost a damn fortune though. $58 to get across. I’m so tired right now. Birds woke me up at 4am and I couldn’t get back to sleep and then by 5am I figured I’d better just stay up or I’ll sleep through the alarm.

No rain for the 5 mile ride to the terminal. I bitch about the rain a lot but let me tell you how bad it is. In Wales the newspaper headline from a couple days ago was something like, “June could be the wettest in 200 years.” There is major flooding right now in northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Maybe I mentioned this before but when I was in England last time the guy running a CG said he hadn’t seen a spring this wet in the 52 years he’s lived here. Every time I look at the 10 forecast for anywhere in the UK it almost always shows some chance of rain.

The Celtic Sea crossing wasn’t all that smooth but nothing a couple cups of coffee couldn’t cure. There were some freaky looking Hells Angels motorcycle gang members on board (from Wales). I haven’t seen these guys around since–I don’t even know–maybe South Dakota. There was one other bicycle touring rider but I didn’t talk to him because when I first saw him without realizing he’s riding a bike I thought, “Man, that guy is creepy looking.” I guess I would have thought he was creepy on the bike too. Actually maybe the problem is I think all guys with mustaches look creepy. 🙂 He looked a lot like that guy on Breaking Bad. I hope he doesn’t read this.

Thanks to some dark clouds rolling in and figuring I’d have about as much luck wild camping in Wales as I did anywhere else in the UK, I stopped after 19 miles and lot’s of climbing at Rosebush Caravan Park. I’d been warned the guy turns away tent campers sometimes and sure enough he pointed at the grass and said it’s too wet so I couldn’t stay. I had to turn on the charm big time but he gave in and we found a perfectly fine spot. He’s actually a friendly old fellow named Gareth. The bathroom faculties aren’t going to win any awards but he went over and cleaned them up which was nice. Paid 5 GBP which wasn’t bad at all.

My plans for July have changed for the (much) better. I’m meeting a friend in Lincoln, England on July 7th and I’ll be there until the 15th. Since I still have a couple weeks to kill the plan is to keep on heading east. The big destination is Stonehenge (and Woodhenge) but on the way I’ll head through Bath and check that out. I won’t have time to ride up to Lincoln, nor do I want to after my joyous time riding in England last time, so what I’ll probably do is catch a train from London.

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GPX track

It doesn't all look quite so picturesque

It doesn’t all look quite so picturesque

First night camping in Wales

First night camping in Wales

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The harbor at Fishguard

The harbor at Fishguard

Mood:Good Weather:Sunny/Warm
Wind:Strong Wind Direction:Tail
Avg Speed:11.2 mph (18 km/h) Top Speed:33.4 mph (53.8 km/h)
Avg Grade:4% Max Grade:9%
Total Ascent: ft (0 m) Max Elevation:974 ft (296.9 m)
Distance:18.7 mi (30.1 km) Total Distance:28215 mi (45407.6 km)

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06/23 With rain clouds overhead and a strong wind pushing me along I set off from Cashel. The plan was just to ride down toward the ferry at Rosslare but at the last minute I cut over to see the touristy town of Kilkenny.

Kilkenny has, of course, a medieval cathedral, a castle and many shops and pubs. Walking would have been a better way to see the central area because the roads are very narrow and traffic is heavy but it worked out OK.

There was a bike path that ran along the river from the town center almost all the way to the CG. As with every pathway people love taking their stupid dogs out without keeping them on a leash which means I get to have some stupid rat dog try to bite at my legs when I’m going by. Then the people look at me like I’m the one with the problem. I’m not the one following along behind some stupid animal waiting for it to take a crap so I can scoop it up and walk around with it.

The CG near Kilkenny where I stayed was called Tree Grove Camping Park (€7.50). Wifi was €3 so I skipped it. The showers were actually pretty decent. Rode 46 miles with 1795 feet of climbing.

My next stop was to the coast to a CG called St. Margaret’s Beach. Nice enough place it seems. Good shower and a very nice sitting room with wifi (horribly slow unfortunately) and tables/chairs to sit at. There are even free electrical outlets so I can charge my laptop. A plug is a bit of a rarity so kudos to the owners. It started raining as soon as I got here and hasn’t stopped since. I just hope it’s not raining in the morning for the 8km ride to the ferry that leaves at 9am.

The only excitement today was getting chased by another dog. This time there was a young kid standing there pleading with the stupid dog to stop chasing me so I couldn’t even unleash my usual profanity laced tirade. When you have 6 hours of riding with nothing to do it’s not healthy to keep things bottled up inside. 🙂 Covered 60 miles with a lot of freaking climbing (3460 feet).

Elevation Profile
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Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

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A view from 1/2 way up the big climb of the day

A view from 1/2 way up the big climb of the day

* WPG2 CANNOT LOCATE GALLERY2 ITEM ID 17669 *
Mood:Good Weather:
Wind: Wind Direction:
Avg Speed: mph (0 km/h) Top Speed: mph (0 km/h)
Total Ascent: ft (0 m) Max Elevation: ft (0 m)
Distance: mi (0 km) Total Distance:28189 mi (45365.8 km)

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