Day 1: Väse to Göteborg

Sweden Tuesday  Dateicon  26.7.2022
Tigericon 303km Handlebaricon 4h 20m Ferryicon 441km Weathericon 16º

As usual, sleep has been lacking leaning towards almost total absence and the sight that greets me outside the window does exactly make me feel any perkier.
The sky is almost pitch black and the temperature is a modest 16°C (61°F).
As if that wasn't enough to bring down my mood, I have a pretty heavy migraine going on.
I eat breakfast and load the bike and am ready to leave substantially earlier to what's really required.
I consider leaving anyway but the migraine has gradually increased so I instead use some of my astronomical margin to take medicine and a short nap.  
It works wonders and it immediately becomes much more pleasant to get on the bike, at least it's not raining even though there is more than a subtle threat of it no matter which horizon I look at.
I am travelling south on the eastern side of Lake Vänern and had not really intended to stop at Sjötorp this year, but the lock keeper makes that decision for me when the bridge opens and a sailboat enters the sluice.

I stop and have lunch at a pretty unappealing pizza place in Skara, even as pizzerias go it was not a particularly memorable culinary experience.

I still have really ridiculous amount of time so I get off the E20 and instead opt for the 190 through Nossebro and follow it all the way to Gothenburg.
I make a quick stop at a beautiful old windmill in Borg that was apparently built as early as 1881.

I make a detour from the detour onto an even smaller road on the east side of Lake Anten which offered fantastic riding.

I ride into Gothenburg at the "wrong" time again but the total traffic chaos that met me last year is thankfully absent.
Although the booking stated check-in from 17, I ride directly to an open booth without any ques at all, check in and ride straight on board the boat.
The bike was strapped down on car deck and I was on my way to my cabin 2.5 hours before departure.

I go for a walk about on the boat but it's really windy up on deck which is a bit ominous for the crossing.

Park myself in one of the lounges and waste some time while waiting for supper time, eat and crawl to bed.



The windmill in Borg


Day 2: Kiel, Germany to Hook van Holland, Netherlands

Germany Wednesday  Dateicon  27.7.2022 Netherlands
Tigericon  645km Total: 948km Handlebaricon  7h 14m Total: 11h 34m
Ferryicon  204km Total: 645km Weathericon 19º

Moving day. I have no scenic routes planned as I just need to get to Hook van Holland and the ferry to Harwich.  
When I went with SMC on a guided tour to the Isle of Man in 2017, the order was to go straight to the ferry and I thought at the time that's probably what I'd have done anyway had I travelled on my own.
That thesis can be seen as proven as it is exactly what I do.

I'm stopping only to fill up with energy and fuel and I have rain clouds hot on my tail until well into the afternoon.
So far, all I have seen since I left home is dark grey skies, but in the afternoon the sun actually comes out and at the ferry terminal in Hook it is actually really comfortable.
Thankfully, the check-in is already open when I get there and we get to roll on the ferry in very good time.
The bike is already strapped to the car deck at 19.30, 3 hours before departure. I'm liking the Stena efficiency so far.

I eat supper in the restaurant, take a shower and jump in the sack.
I actually think I was already fast asleep before the boat even left the quay but 650 kms (406mi) and over 7 hours in the saddle takes its toll.


The quay at Hook and aboard the ferry.
There where some really nice classic cars going over.

Day 3: Harwich, England to Dublin, Ireland

England Thursday Dateicon  28.7.2022 Ireland
Tigericon  594km Total: 1542km Handlebaricon  7h 41m Total: 19h 15m
Ferryicon  112km Total: 757km Weathericon18º

Another day of just hunkering down in the saddle for mind numbing highway riding, crossing England from east to west to catch the evening ferry from Holyhead to Dublin.
If motorway riding through Germany and Holland was boring, the British actually manage to make it even more so.
Despite the fact that I think I stop quite often, I've still managed to cover 200 kilometres (125mi) at 10 o'clock in the morning, so I definitely don't need to rush it.

I was obviously prepared for it but the change to left-hand traffic was still quite traumatic.
My brain really did not want to choose the left lane after leaving the harbour and riding clockwise through the roundabouts will never quite feel natural.
However, that is somewhat mitigated by the fact that most of the roundabouts in the English motorway network are so grotesquely large that they don't really feel like roundabouts.
In some cases there is a whole woodland area in the middle and in some weird way they have managed to throw traffic lights into the mix as well which seems like it removes most of the point of having a roundabout in the first place?

Not that it is of any crucial importance as I have all the time in the world but there can't have been many metres of the 500kms (313mi) I drove that were not monitored by speed cameras.
It's unbelievable.
The dark grey sky chases me all day but at least it never gets worse than a few raindrops here and there.
The only stop during the day is at the Triumph factory in Hinckley.

It's apparently my fate to never be able to go on a factory tour here because the last time I was on the island they hadn't started the factory tours but would that autumn.
This time around they've cancelled them all summer.
But it was pretty much along the route I had planned anyway and it is almost sacred ground after all.

They had a smaller exhibition with really old bikes and a nice café so it was undoubtedly still worth the small detour.
As expected, I arrive in reasonably good time but still only an hour before check-in opened.
Then we had to go down to the quay and wait another hour.
The stowage of the boat must have been a complete marvel of efficiency because when we weren't waved on board until half an hour before departure, I no longer believed they'd be able to run on schedule but the ferry still left on the minute according to the time table.

I have never really understood what it is that determines whether it is up to you to fasten the bike (which it usually is) as this time it was a stevedore who did it.
As usual when stevedores do it they just put a strap over the saddle which I assume is a proven effective method as they after all are the professionals.
Nevertheless, I still hate it and never fasten the bike that way when I get to do it myself.
It wasn't any less of a mystery why I wasn't supposed to do it as this was my third crossing in as many days with the same company.

I ride off the boat in Dublin harbour at midnight and ride about 12kms (7.5mi) to the hotel where my brother had already arrived and checked-in at lunchtime today.
After driving more than 1500kms (938mi) in three days, I have already negotiated a lie in before we explore Dublin together, something I am very much looking forward to as I completely fell in love with this city when I was here last.