170821-What Did the Knife Do?

I’ve been congratulating myself for not having lost anything this trip. I’ve had a few near misses (the battery slipping out of my pocket, and the neverending attempts of Soap Dish to escape), but it was only a matter of time.

I woke really early and packed up. Doing so aggravated my above-bed neighbor, but I didn’t have a lot of sympathy. He’d come in late, when most of the room’s occupants were asleep, turned on the ceiling light, and then tried to start up a (loud) conversation with me.

I left early enough to catch the 8 am ferry, still undecided whether I would choose the longer but more straightforward northerly route, or the more direct but more complicated southern route. Then I went to pay for the ticket. While I usually use my credit card (a better exchange rate than withdrawing cash), for some reason I handed him paper money. I was told I’d handed him currency from the Isle of Man. Now, I knew that, but I’d been told that my earlier concerns about currency were unfounded; except perhaps for the small uneducated shopkeeper, UK currency should work everywhere, so I’d stopped worrying about it. I paid by credit card, but I was back to the state of no cash.

Waiting in the ferry port, a poster displayed the circular cycling/walking route around the peninsula. Deciding that the poster indicated the cycle path should be well-marked, I selected the southern route. Weather forecasts called for rain by mid-afternoon, and I hoped to be in the campground by then, but that was still a long way away.

Of course when I’m in a hurry, I had my first puncture of the trip. Easy enough to fix, if covering myself in grease. While unpacking/repacking tools and a spare tube, I noticed my kitchen kit wasn’t where it should be.  A quick search showed it was gone.

Not a major loss; I could readily replace the lighter and plasticware, and the remainder were small plastic containers of soaps, insect repellent, and vegetable oil (a recurring challenge to not mix those up). But I was really bummed. The kitchen kit was, I think, one of only two remaining items from my first tour (the other being a neon yellow bandana). And again I’ve lost my spoon. It’s not like I have that much stuff to keep track of. My only consolation was that the knife was still packed with the peanut butter, so that remained.

I spent a majority of the day on separated bicycle path. Following it proved challenging, starting almost immediately after disembarking, with the path closed off for construction. There is absolutely no way I could have followed the path today were it not also highlighted on the GPS. Stumbling about on the docks I came across a replica of an early submarine prototype. The tag said it was the first of its kind, but also indicated it sank in a storm on its way to trials.

While there were some long runs on the path, there were also long torturous sections of constantly having to validate whether I was still on the path, which slowed progress to a crawl, and midafternoon approached. I was pushing hard enough I almost passed Flint Castle by when the icon appeared on the GPS. Flint is where Richard III learned he had lost his throne. While the castle fell to ruin, the castle and grounds indicate the sheer size of the place.

15 km outside of the campground I abandoned the cycle path to come racing in down a major highway. Rain was beginning to fall, with the associated uptick in winds and drop in temperatures. Arriving I quickly set up my tent, and it stopped raining. St. Mary’s Campground isn’t much, but it positions me well for tomorrow. The campground is filled with small children out of control.

The weather for the next few days should be fabulous. I’ve spent part of the evening plotting out the remaining time vs. distance to determine how long I can wander about Wales while still making the ferry in Rosslaire and back to Dublin in time to take the Bicycle Shop Tour of Dublin (to find a bicycle box for the trip home).  I’ve also highlighted the castles identified before the trip on my (paper) map to make routing more obvious.

While unpacking to take a shower, I found the kitchen kit somehow buried beneath everything! How I could lose it in only 4400 cubic inches I don’t know. But we’re back!


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