Day 15

August 22, Saturday
Day: 15
Mileage: 25
Night's Lodging: The Meadow Campground
Weather: A couple of brief down pours early, otherwise mostly sunny with quite a wind-a tailwind, for a change. A shower or two each hour after about 4 p.m.

After a hearty "full Irish breakfast" of meat/sausages/bacon, eggs, toast, brown soda bread, cereal and orange juice, we were on our way toward Ballydehob and Skibbereen. However, Tracy had food poisoning last night from the peppered mackerel he bought. The smallest piece must have been the oldest piece. He'd been up all night, barfing and with diarrhea. His B&B experience was Bathroom & Basin rather than Bed & Breakfast. He couldn't eat breakfast and didn't spend a lot of time in the bed. The convenience of in-room basin and closely available bathroom was lucky.

Because of his infirmity, he could only pedal at a rate commensurate with mine. What a change! In fact I probably had more strength than he did. An interesting contradiction in our usual pedaling styles.

I waited at the top of the hill for Tracy to come along slowly on his bike. Jack and I went at our own pace(s) rather than Tracy's, which was good for all of us. That was probably the only time in my life I'll have passed Tracy climbing uphill! Jack passed him with a "See ya' at the top." As badly as we both felt about Tracy's illness, there was perverse pleasure in finally besting him at something he excelled at...hill climbing.

As we headed inland, coming around Skibbereen, there were plowed fields, not contoured plowed, but plowed up and down the fall line of the hill. I wondered how much dirt slipped away.

At Ballydehob-rain! Again in Skibbereen-rain.

We met an interesting couple while we were in Ann O'Donovan's Tea and Coffee House having lunch. They commiserated as Tracy temporarily collapsed on a bench, doing proper penance to his illness. They were from New Jersey and since taking retirement they lived 1/2 the time in Glandore (where we were headed) and 1/2 the time in Arizona. They couldn't speak enough about the beauty of Glandore.

On to camping in Glandore-a gorgeous little village built around a half-moon harbor, having only pubs, B&B's and cottages. By necessity, all food marketing was done in the neighboring town of Skibbereen.

Many of these small West Cork towns were very colorful. Buildings painted a variety of pastel colors with creative use of white accent on the trim. One would think that someone got loose with gallons of Easter egg dye and too many Guinnesses all at once.

We reached the "Meadow" campground outside of Glandore. House, laundry line, large meadow, few tents on it...mostly ours. Our camping area was a floral nursery - colorful beds of petunias, stock, geraniums, roses, asters, violas, calendulas and more! The large green lawn had young trees and deep reddish-purple bushes as a hedgerow separating the expansive front lawn from the camping area.

This camping area, on the far side of town and up a steep hill, had a wonderful high clothesline, fitted with ropes and pulleys to take advantage of the strong breezes at tree-top level. For the first time in two weeks I was able to wash my off-bike clothes. If the wind would only dry them before the next shower came through.... No such luck, of course.

Every time I was ready to retrieve my clothes from the line, a black cloud raced by, giving its all. Mother Nature's extra rinse cycle. Twice I missed by about five minutes, and both times we were treated to beautiful rainbows through the departing mist.

As Tracy commented, "It takes 29 minutes to dry in this high wind and it rains every 28 minutes!" How true.

The simple rhythm of bike travel had affected my outlook on everyday chores. I was fascinated by the cords and pulleys of the clothes line. Watching our simple cotton t-shirts and high-tech shorts flap in the breeze was hypnotic, like watching waves beat again the shore. Other laundry flapped and waved like kites with their own personalities. Pant legs danced to a different tune from the arms of a turtleneck. One of life's very simple pleasures...clean clothes, washed by hand and dried by the sun and wind.

Jack and I pedaled the mile downhill into a strong headwind to town while Tracy slept. We couldn't merely coast downhill. (Conversely, back to camp with a nice tailwind.) After some "view appreciation" snapshots and walking about, I stopped at one of the pubs for an Irish coffee-a first for me in Ireland. £2. When the barmaid brought it to me, she said with a lilting smile, "It's an Irish coffee then, is it?" as she placed it in front of me. I found the style of conversation quite pleasing.

Our dinner was fresh salmon sandwich (£2) and homemade mushroom soup dollopped with sour cream and a scone (£1.50) plus 1/2 pt. of Guinness. Tasty. Pub grub at the local bar. Pubs = social center; smoky; busy; Murphy's and Guinness.

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