Brighter days on Harris

Setting out for Tarbert the second time, we actually made it. Although we still faced stiff headwinds, the weather was greatly improved. It was highly unsettled, swirling between dark clouds, significant chunks of blue sky, rain showers, sunshine and mist throughout the day. We really only got wet once, and the sunshine did wonders for both the scenery and our dispositions.

Views on Lewis

Rolling hills surrounded by mountains and passing alongside numerous lochs or inlets from the sea made for beautiful views. The brown mountainsides and rocky terrain with a lack of trees proved how rugged that area is. It didn't seem to bother the sheep, though, which grazed lazily in the fields and peered at us from the roadside.

Never trusting the weather, we were intent on getting to Tarbert by early afternoon. But even if we had wanted to stop for a break, options for refreshments along the way were nil. Fortunately our hearty British breakfast served us well.

The islands of Lewis and Harris are actually a single land mass. We started on Lewis and crossed over into Harris en route. It was impossible to identify the boundary without the sign.

Molly Welcome to Harris
Molly on the mountain pass

We knew there was a significant climb just before Talbert, and it didn't disappoint. Approaching a wall of mountains, it was difficult to tell just where the pass cut through. Misty mountain tops hovered in the distance and all options looked intimidating. Suddenly we could see the road ahead, snaking up the mountainside in a series of angled switchbacks. It was a long slog, but the inclines were reasonable. And the best part? On some legs we actually had the wind at our backs, pushing us along. Hallelujah! The worst? Huge cross-winds that threatened to blow us over.

Reaching the summit required some celebratory pictures. Our relief was short-lived, however, when we discovered a second ascent beyond that.

Booking into the lovely Harris Hotel in Tarbert seemed just reward for our efforts. The gracious inn obviously sees its share of cyclists and hikers as it featured a bike shed and drying room for gear. The beautiful garden out front was especially appealing in the afternoon sun.

Harris Hotel

Doing some reconnoitering on our route, we decided to take the ferry to the Isle of Skye the next day. The only drawback was that I had my heart set on seeing the western coast of South Harris. But even that wrinkle was soon solved. Since the ferry did not leave until almost noon, I would do a morning bike ride along that route while Rich relaxed at the hotel.

The day dawned much cloudier and with promise of rain, but intent on my mission I set off early, unencumbered by gear. It took seven miles of climbing and traveling through baren mountains, but when I reached the west coast I was rewarded with an entirely new landscape. That is the rich fertile region of the islands, and the lush green hillsides were proof. I had expected a dramatic coastline, and instead found great variety. Rocky promontories gave way to sandy beaches and tall dunes. The water was a surprising deep green and mostly calm. With the road hugging the coast, cycling was easy and there was little traffic to disturb my peaceful journey.

I managed to cover nearly the whole length of the coast I wanted to see, and doubled the pleasure viewing it from the opposite direction on my return. Not even the heavy mist in the mountain pass could dampen my spirits. Sometimes it's best to divide and conquer. We were both happy with our morning choices. And I will remember it as the brighter days we had on Harris.

Views of West Harris


Battling the elements

Scotland's weather threw everything she had at us today. We just didn't see it coming. We'd already figured out that the wind always blows in Scotland. Always. And from our limited experience, it was always a North wind. So we thought that cycling south through the Outer Hebrides was a good strategy.

Preparing to cycle in rain

With no internet at the hostel, we set out without a current forecast. The skies are their usual drab gray, and we assume the strong gusty wind is out of the North. By the time we reach the main road, reality sets in. Rain is falling and that wind is out of the SE – directly in our faces. Making a pit stop at the local bus shelter, we quickly prepare to do battle.

While planning for this cycling trip, I succombed to a bout of paranoia about the weather. A heavy cycling jacket, wind proof gloves and booties to go over my shoes all went on the credit card and arrived by UPS. I added my skull cap and winter tights to the mix as I packed. I haven't regretted a single ounce that they added, and have worn most of these every day. Today I wear them all. And then some.

There are no trees on most of the Outer Hebrides. So that wind comes straight off the sea with nothing to stop it or shelter us. As we push on into the wind my head is so low that the brim on my helmet blocks my view of everything but the road directly in front of me. My side mirror is specked with water drops – as are my glasses – and I can just barely make out Rich's hunched yellow form behind me. The wind blows away any words we utter, so we just press on.

There are some cool things to see on our route. A round fortress called a broch, with double walls and circular staircase between them to reach the arrow slits for defense. We pass it with barely a glance down the road in the direction of the sign. The island's most dramatic prehistoric ruins, the Callanish standing stones – nearly 50 of them up to 15 feet high. We see them on the hilltop as we head for the visitor center to seek shelter and hot drinks. That's as close as we get.

Our original destination is Tarbert, 45 hilly miles to our southeast. Over tea and hot chocolate, under pitying glances from other tourists, we recalculate our plans. Options are few, as the route is mostly unpopulated. And our progress is incredibly slow against the wind. Rich convinces me that the best course is to head to Stornoway, completing the circle we started yesterday. With nine miles under our belts already, that leaves a mere 17 miles to go. Wriggling back into our soggy clothes we set out once again, convincing ourselves that it has let up a little.

We're fooling ourselves of course. The rain pelts our faces and the severe wind blows. Fortunately, cycling generates plenty of heat, allowing us to stave off the discomforts of nature for some time. Relief comes within 10 miles, when the route swings north. The quartering tailwind now propels us forward and suddenly we are making rapid progress. Our spirits soar along with our speed. Rain has soaked our gloves and begins to make its way down the back of our necks. I find shifting difficult with my chilled fingers. But the end is in sight. It's not the end we envisioned when we set off this morning, but by now it's the one we are eager to reach.

Turning into the first B&B we see, it feels like we have been cycling all day. Yet it is only 1:30. Good thing – our clothes will need plenty of time to dry out. And there is tomorrow to plan. Tarbert still awaits. We hope not to be battling the elements again.

Emptying wet panniers


Hebrides Hospitality

We haven't had much luck getting Warm Showers host homes so far on this trip. We miss being able to meet locals and getting good cycling advice. So when Barbara invited us to tea, even though go she wasn't able to host us, we immediately took her up on the offer. She lives on the outskirts of Stornaway so it was a short jaunt to her house, which turned out to be a lovely white cottage with a rural view.

By the time we'd finished our introductions, we felt at ease and knew we were in for a good visit. Seated at a wooden table smoothed by the years and one side jagged with the natural grain of the wood, we were surrounded by white walls hosting open shelves and all manner of kitchenware. Opposite was a cozy sitting area, with a small fireplace and knitting in progress by the settee. Over the promised tea and some chocolate biscuits our education began.

Molly and Barbara

A simple question about “Crofters” prompted a passionate explanation of the landholding traditions that still exist in the Outer Hebrides and other parts of Scotland. Tenants hold rights to lands held by large trusts in return for working the land, and may pass down their rights or sell them based on more recent law.

Spreading out her detailed maps, we moved on to cycling. Pouring over the roads and sights we learned which parts of Lewis and Harris, the upper most islands, we might best see. Taking her advice on a hostel and some historical sights of interest we departed with a plan for the day.

Molly and peat bogs

During our visit, the wind had picked up and as we made our way across the island we were buffeted by the strong North gusts. The land was barren, as Barbara had warned, primarily comprised of peat bogs. We were interested to see one couple out cutting peat. Turning south along the western coast was a pleasure, as we then had the wind at our backs boosting our progress. It was chilly and there was a bit of mist in the air, rendering the landscape gray and indistinct.

We nearly skipped the Norse kiln and mill that required a 1/4 mile walk. But a gentleman stopped us in the parking lot to assure us it was well worth it. Guilted into turning around, we made the windy trek and indeed were rewarded with two thatched buildings housing ancient equipment.

Norse kiln and mill

Our final destination was Gearrannan, recommended by Barbara for the Blackhouse Village and the hostel. Little did we know that one site would supply both. The hostel was in fact one of the restored blackhouses! Excited by this good fortune, we held our breaths until they confirmed that beds were still available.

Weaving Harris Tweed

Our shorter ride for the day left us most of the afternoon free to explore. Blackhouses, we learned, have thick double stone walls, thatched roofs and until more recently did not have a chimney – smoke just went up into the thatch. In addition, they housed animals as well as the family. Peat was a main heat source, and we saw a film on how it is cut and dried for use. In the museum house, a man was weaving Harris Tweed, which is still produced on the island under strict control over the materials and methods used to produce the wool fabric.

Film crew

Wandering around the buildings, we happened on a film crew. They happened to be shooting an TV episode for “Homes by the Sea,” and we stood by and watched with interest as the animated show host expounded on the construction techniques and use of these blackhouses.

The best part was having free reign in the village, including after hours. There were walking trails up onto the hilltops overlooking the sea. Hiking up there I could see a fishing boat bobbing and crashing through the waves. In the distance were high mounds and eerie land formations. Sheep grazed on the squishy soft green grass, and the ever present wind whipped around me.

Noting that we were on bicycles, the hostel caretaker arranged an evening meal for us as well as porridge in the morning. From Barbara's tea morning to living a bit of history in a blackhouse hostel we are indeed enjoying true hospitality in the Outer Hebrides.

Blackhouse hostel


Go West Old Man

Progress to date: 6 days, 266 miles

The whole beauty of this trip is that we have no itinerary. For three weeks we can do as we please, planning a day so in advance. Should the weather turn bad, we can stay put and let it rage. Should an opportunity present itself, we can seize the moment. Should we simply change our minds, so be it. And that's just what we have done.

All along we figured we would leave Aberdeen and head North. And so we did. However, once we reach Cromarty and had trouble getting lodgings, Rich became concerned about availability in the less populated far north. He advised that we switch course and head West instead. And just like that, the Outer Hebrides became our new next destination.

This revised route meant that we had to leave our beloved Cycling Network, as there are virtually no cycling routes in the western highlands. It was inevitable, though, and we fearlessly faced the real road traffic on A and B roads to get to Ullapool. Before doing so, however, we attempted a simple short cut to get to the main highway. It seemed a sweet way to avoid cars as long as possible, until we discovered the barbed wire fence that continuously separated us from the road. When a hiking gate presented itself, we took advantage of it.

Rich on our alternate path
.Rich hoisting bikes

While cycling a main 2-lane highway is not ideal, we had a few advantages. Traffic was relatively light, thanks to being well in advance of the main tourist season. I felt remarkably safe despite the complete lack of shoulders as every car pulled over to go around us. And despite threading our way through the highlands and constantly climbing, the pitches were gradual and manageable.

Rich on the A835

Rich found us a nice Inn where we stayed in the barren countryside 20 miles outside of Ullapool. The Aultguish Inn was founded in 1800 and still serves travelers in comfortable modern rooms as well as outdoor types in a bunkhouse. We found the food to be excellent, both at dinner and breakfast – a cyclist's delight.

Aultguish Inn

Our route took us close to two sets of beautiful waterfalls, each with easy access from the road and suspension bridges to view the rivers. I think we probably set record, stopping to sightsee twice in two days. The first was called Rogie Falls, and reminded us of Jay Cooke Park.

Molly and Rich Rogie Falls

The second was Corrieshalloch Gorge, which means Ugly Hollow in Gaelic. It is considered a “slit gorge” for the long narrow cavern formed back in the ice age. Far from ugly, it was an impressive sight.

Corrieshalloch Gorge

The first lasting rain of our trip came while we were in Ullapool awaiting our ferry. With our cycling done for the day, we made good use of the Gallery Cafe to stay dry and use the wifi while we had a snack. I would like to have seen more of Ullapool which is a pretty port and fishing town, but preferred to stay out of the rain.


Soon we will board the ferry, bound for Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides. These rugged islands are the most westerly in Scotland. When Rich decides to go West, he goes all the way!


Follow that Sign!

Molly and CNC sign

We have learned to love that sign. The blue arrow with a bicycle and red #1 has been our guide since arriving in Scotland. We'd be lost without it. Literally.

The National Cycle Network covers the length and breadth of the UK with over 14,000 miles of cycle routes. These are a combination of traffic-free paths and quiet on-road routes that connect to every major town and city. Looking at the map, Scotland has a much lower density of cycling routes – in all likelihood due to its rugged terrain and lower population. But they are serving us well.

Before leaving on our trip, Rich ordered two sets of maps from Sustrans, the non-profit that supports the cycle network. This was a drastic departure from his usual reliance on Google Maps for planning and navigating our routes. But something told him that the highly detailed maps would be useful. That turned out to be an understatement.

Rich on a cycle path

The best part is that these routes are so well marked. At nearly every turn we find our little blue sign. As we travel a road, there it is every so often assuring us we are still going the right way. Since they follow myriad little back roads, which are often small and obscure, it saves us from constantly having to check our maps. And we could never have figured out such a route in the first place. We're so grateful that someone has done it all for us.

Cullen and the via duct

We learned early on that dirt paths were allowable. Thankful for our touring bikes and more durable wheels, those sections have often been the best of all, taking us places not even cars can access. My absolute favorite so far was the morning we left the hostel in Cullen. The route took us away from the harbor, where we reached a cycle path high above the water. We followed the shoreline across the cliff tops, crossing a high via duct and overlooking the sea from a vantage point available only to cyclists and walkers. I wanted it to go on forever.

Already I have many vivid visual images of traveling down this network of cycling routes:

  • Cruising along narrow single track roads with passing places
  • Dry stonewall defining the neat farm fields across the landscape
  • A patchwork of fresh brown furrows, verdant green fields and the sunshine yellow of rapeseed
  • Winds buffeting us along the coast, fresh off the sea
  • Craggy cliffs and angry waves
  • Following a river, crossing over and back multiple times
  • Wild flowers blooming in the moist shade along the path – yellow, white and purple
  • Gorse bushes lining the roads and paths with their brilliant gold blossoms
  • Entering towns on quiet on streets, making our way through neighborhoods and parks
  • Climbing a long hill and rounding a corner to see the ruins of a random fortress
  • Traveling the coast to look down and see a town nestled in the next valley, bathed in morning sunlight

Thank you, Sustrans, for this great cycling tour of Scotland. We will most certainly continue to follow that sign!

Scenic bridge along the road
Beautiful coastline
A random fortress
Morning sunlight on Scottish coast


Beware of Molly’s Ideas

I just knew I wanted to go to Cromarty. From what I read in the guidebooks, the Black Isle north of Inverness is a beautiful area and the gem is the picturesque fishing village at its tip. It was even on the cycling route, and fit our general plan to head further north. Sold.

Progress to date: 4 days, 200 miles

There was just one rub. Yesterday I discovered that the short ferry required to make the connection to the continuation of our route was out of service. It seems the ferry berth in Cromarty has been condemned, and won't be replaced for quite some time. That makes Cromarty a dead end, requiring us to circle back down the peninsula. But by this time I was dead set on going there. I could tell Rich wasn't enthused with the idea. But he knew better than to try and convince me otherwise.

The day started pleasantly enough. We made a short side trip to Cawdor Castle, arriving long before it opened. We couldn't see much more than the top of the castle, but the grounds were so very peaceful that we enjoyed lingering there. Tall trees full of while blossoms arched over the roadway, catching the early morning sun.

Cawdor Castle
Molly cycling under white blossoms

En route to Inverness, we came upon the Nairn Via Duct. We could see it in the distance as we approached, hoping we might get to cycle over it. Instead, we zoomed down, down, down to get to its base and passed under its massive arches. It was mighty impressive even from below.

Molly and the Nairn Via Duct
Rich in the Velocity Cafe

Making our way through Inverness, trying to decipher the signs for our route, we noticed the Velocity Cafe and Bicycle Workshop on the corner. We were both ready for some refreshments, and it seemed the opportune place to stop. In fact, we judged it well. Not only was the food fresh and wholesome (and the cakes decadent) but their mission is to promote cycling and make it accessible to all. In the back is a workshop where cyclists can work on their bikes or learn about maintenance and repairs. We spent a thoroughly enjoyable hour there chatting with the staff and other patrons while relishing their food.

Although Rich would love to have stopped for the day and stay in Inverness, he gallantly pressed on to satisfy my obsession with getting to Cromarty. The bike route took us across the Firth of Moray and onto the peninsula. As elsewhere, it took us on narrow back roads which wound through farmland and rural enclaves too small to even be villages. Such lanes unfailingly follow the natural contours of the land, which meant we were going up and down, up and down. While I relished that remote route, I knew I was earning no favors with Rich. To be perfectly honest, even I had to admit that the scenery was nice but no more special than anything we'd been seeing for the previous three days. Light showers pestered us off and on and the miles began to drag. I fervently hoped that Cromarty was a pure gem at the end of this very long road.

Nearing Cromarty

As we neared the end, we rode through the country lane high on the hillside and the sea came into view. On the other side verdant fields rose above the water. It was a rewarding sight, as was the lengthy glide down to the shore and into Cromarty. Entering town, I could see it was neat and attractive with well kept buildings and an air of prosperity. What I hadn't expected (and the guidebooks neglected to mention) were the numerous enormous oil rigs just off shore! Their metal superstructures reaching high into the sky, they were impossible to miss. What an odd juxtaposition to the fishing boats bobbing nearby.

To add to this boondoggle, our usual search for simple accommodation uncovered no vacancies. So when the Royal Hotel had an exhorbitant room available, we snatched it up. But I have to admit that it has a fabulous view. Here I sit with my feet up, and right out our windows are the water, the fishing boats and snow capped mountains. And an oil rig. I love it. I knew I wanted to come here.

My view in Cromarty


Hostel Anyone?

The guesthouse in Cullen looked like a great choice. A stately old home made of stone behind an iron gate. It had been a long and chilly day of cycling, and we were eager to settle in for the night. The gentleman who came to the door looked a big disheveled for the role of host. No wonder. “We retired from the B&B a year ago,” he informed us. However, he did refer us to the hostel down on the harbor. We didn't even know it was there, and would never have found it on our own.

We said we wanted to use hostels on this trip, so we decided to give it a try. Sure enough, it was right on the water and the grounds were littered with sports gear laying out to dry from the college kids there for surfing and kayaking. We definitely felt like oldsters but persisted. At least our bicycles and arriving under our own steam lent us a degree of credibility.

Rich in the hostel

Hostels aren't what they were back in our days of traveling Europe on a rail pass. But that was 40 years ago. Our hostel features a Family Room, which we promptly took. Not only do we have a room to ourselves, but we have our own “en-suite” bathroom. Heat seems to be somewhat lacking but the shower is good and hot. It's clean and simple, and there are plenty of blankets. Especially since we swiped those off the two extra beds. The sleep sheets bring back ancient memories, but this time we didn't have to supply our own. We even have wifi – some of the time.

Rich and Molly in the pub

Still a bit chilled, we sought a warm meal. Stepping into The Three Kings pub, we knew we'd found the right place. Small with a low beamed ceiling, nearly all the seats were already occupied by locals. However two prime spots on a love seat with a tiny table directly opposite the peat fire were available. Just the thing for two tired cyclists. Ordering off the chalkboard menu for our bar meal and sipping our ciders, the exertion of the day began to melt away. It was enough to sit and take in the people and surroundings, reading the funky signs on the wall, listening to the local accents. The arrival of steaming plates brimming with venison casserole and crispy potatoes completed the evening's perfection.

The hostel's shoreline

I can hear the wind blowing and the waves pounding outside. I'm plenty warm wearing a few extra layers. And the college kids are all bunking in another building, leaving ours perfectly quiet. Not bad for a hostel. And it sure beats a tent.


Rich at the hostel


Scottish Sunshine and Trails

Matt and Molly

Not every touring cyclist gets a personal local guide to start their trip. But we did. Matt from Aberdeen had already reached out to us when he learned about our planned bike tour. And this morning he met us at our hotel and escorted us around the airport, through the construction zone and to the start of a bike trail. What a great way to begin not only the day but three weeks of cycling!

Knowing we'd still be a bit jet lagged and unaccustomed to riding on the left side of the road, it seemed fortuitous that we could spend our first day of cycling on a bike path. With the sun shining down and the temperatures warming well above normal temperatures, it was an idyllic day. Not having to worry about traffic, we cycled through the countryside with ease. Spring was well on its way, with numerous varieties of wild flowers blooming, and trees ranging from nascent buds to full green.

Trailside manikin

The first “purple cow” of the trip presented itself along the way. Prominently placed trailside was a wicker manikin, compete with a laced bodice down the back. She looked decidedly pregnant to me, and definitely worth a photo stop.

The scenery en route was mostly rural farmland and pastures dotted by cattle or sheep, including adorable baby lambs. The scent of fresh manure lingered as we rode. Sometimes the trail was low between high banks of yellow flowering bushes. Other times it was high above, and we could see down into the back gardens behind homes. Our progress was frequently punctuated by gates. At first we were able to sail through them, but soon the openings were narrowed by bars that lent credence to the “Cyclists Dismount” signs.

Molly and a gate on the trail

We were following the railbed of the old Formartine and Buchan railway, last used for trains in 1979. What started out as a paved trail soon morphed into crush rock. From there it varied from a rough two-track dirt road to a packed dirt trail with rock impediments. It was pleasant but slow going, and required constant attention to the surface conditions.

Rich with bike trail signs

Following a rest stop and soup in the newly re-opened hotel bar in Maud, we decided to leave the bike trail and take our chances on the road. Cycling on smooth pavement was a treat, and our speed dramatically increased. We soon learned that once cycling on the left side of the road, it was easy to stay there. “Keep left, look right” became our mantra. I'm still trying to perfect the technique of using my rear view mirror on the right hand side, but presumably that will come with practice. We found the local drivers to be very courteous, which was fortunate as the road was narrow with no shoulders.

Peterhead was our destination, a moderate 41 miles for Day 1. Once installed in a guest house, we took a walk to the harbor and sought some dinner. With limited dining choices, Rich indulged my desire to try the Nazma Tandoori restaurant, which turned out to have wonderful food. Even Rich admitted as much.

There has been universal agreement among all the locals we've met that this weather is unseasonably warm and sunny. So we accept it as a wonderful send-off gift, and are thankful for today's Scottish sunshine and trails.


Tomorrow the Real Scotland

It's a beautiful evening in Aberdeen. The sun is still high in the sky and I am drawn by the invitation to go out and and enjoy it. But my eyelids are drooping, and Rich has already succumbed to jet lag and the long hours of travel.

So far we haven't seen much more than the environs of our hotel. But it has been a productive day. Upon our arrival we were greatly relieved when we spotted our bike boxes in the airport. Only a bit battered from the rigors of baggage handling and bearing the evidence of an inspection by Homeland Security. Two trips in the hotel van were necessary to transport the large boxes and ourselves to our lodgings. Rich did well to select a hotel so close to the airport.

The afternoon was spend reassembling the bikes. Admittedly that is Rich's forte, I am just his humble assistant. But we were both very invested in the task. This was a crucial point. Any issues we encountered could derail our plans. It was when we were in the final phase that we hit a serious stumbling block. My bike was successfully completed, but reinstating Rich's handlebars was not going well. We tried the pieces in all possible combinations and still it wasn't right. It began to look like we had a broken or missing part. Without speaking, I know we were both concerned, and I'd even done a quick search on bike shops. Checking the box one final time and giving it a good shake, I dislodged the errant part. Whew! That's all it took. The bike was ready for action.

We took a short shake-down ride in the parking lot, and ventured briefly onto a side street. The busy area was not all that inviting, so at just over a mile we completed our ride for the day, our mission accomplished. Our transport was ready.

Once we transferred our great to the panniers, and were assured everything would fit, we rewarded ourselves with a tall glass of cider and dinner in the hotel restaurant. I found it gratifying that my salmon filet was the same price as Rich's hamburger.

Tomorrow we will finally cycle away into the countryside. It's time to see the real Scotland, up close, mile by mile.


Last Minute Cycling Preparations

Packing for Tartan TourThe piles are mounting.  Gear is strewn everywhere.  The final load of laundry is in progress.  By evening, it will all be reduced to two neat bundles.  Small enough to fit on the back of our bicycles.

This is our fourth major bike trip in as many years.  By now I have this packing thing down to a science.  It doesn’t matter if we are going for a week or two months, the list is the same. So it should be smooth sailing through these final days before the trip, right?  Not always so.

Getting our bikes tuned up before any major trip is one of our requirements.  Last week we dropped them off for their maintenance visit, expecting a routine job.  So imagine our surprise when they called the next day to tell us that Rich’s bike was toast.   We rushed down to observe the damage, and sure enough the frame was “crinkled.”  We’re still mystified by how that happened.  But thanks to some fast work on the part of our bike shop and a major withdrawal from our bank account, it was remedied with the rapid delivery of a new bike.  Same make, same model but a much prettier color.  And a potential calamity averted.

Tartan Tour JerseysAs always, we will be traveling in uniform.  Rich designed this year’s jerseys as a tribute to his mom’s Scottish heritage, using the Fraser plaid.  Unfortunately, there was a mistake in our order, and they only made one of Rich’s shirts.  We’d all but given up on getting the final jersey in time, when the UPS truck pulled into our driveway late this afternoon. Success!UPS brings Richs jersey

We’ve both set up our blogs to post about this adventure.  And already we’ve gained some attention.  A man in Aberdeen Scotland noticed Rich’s trip journal entry on CrazyGuyonaBike and contacted us.  A Skype session ensued, in which he dispensed some great advice and has even volunteered to cycle with us to help find our way on the first day.  What great people we find in the cycling community!

We also gained a few moments of glittering fame when our cycle touring hit the local newspaper. Outdoors columnist, Sam Cook, asked to interview us and wrote a great story about our retiree cycling adventures.  For me, it was interesting to be on the other side of the interview questions for a change!

Soon all the pieces will be in place.  Baring any other last minute surprises, tomorrow we’ll hand our home over to our house sitter and take to our bikes in exchange.  Scotland, here we come!