Tuesday, October 11, 2016

JOGLE Day 7 of crazy lady tour, Oban to Lochgilphead, 37 miles

from my trip diary originally posted at Crazy Guy on a Bike

Day 7 of crazy lady tour, Oban to Lochgilphead, 37 miles

Sunday September 11, 2016, 37 miles (60 km) - Total so far: 374 miles (601 km)

It is a raw, wild night with rain and wind gusts 35-40 mph. But I'm warm and safe and cozy.Oban truly is a great little seaside town with ferries out to the western islands. I got off about 8:30 and as usual had to self-navigate aka lost till I found cycle route 78. Which started to take me back into those roller coaster hills and was 13 miles more than if I just took the A816. I took the latter. And there were several BIG climbs. I'd go up into hills and then drop to sealevel and then follow the coast before climbing again.
Before leaving Oban I'd read the weather report. In Scotland take all reports of sunny or partly cloudy with a grain of salt, they usually mean drizzle or spotty showers. But the ones about strong winds and heavy rain tend to be right. The winds were due to ratchet up around 1 pm so I wanted to see how far I would get. My goal was Claonaig where the ferry goes to Lochranza on the isle of Arran. 65 miles. A tall order--especially with the climbs. I simply have stamina but no speed.
My bike is 32#, I'm 135, my load is about 50#.
I made it to Kilmartin, a small village of archeological importance. Had my standard cafe stop of soup and bread. By now 2 pm. The 4 miles to Lochgilphead were all I could manage. The road was LEVEL if not a bit of a decline yet I was straining against the pedals to go forward. At times I was actually pushed BACKWARDS. I had to re-evaluate.
This trip is significantly important to me, and the riding. I actually hate taking a break or stopping early or getting off itinerary, but I had to ask myself: where do I want to be in a gale-force storm when it hits this evening? Where do I want to possibly hold up for an extra day? I wasn't sure, but wild camping didn't appeal, nor the $$ spent for a B & B or hotel--if there were any. I stopped to check my phone and there was a tent and caravan site in Lochgilphead 2.6 miles from where I sat contemplating.
The owner showed me a site where I could pitch my solo tent. Remember the night before last sitting out that hurricane in my tent? In fact the next day several people commented on how crazy it had been. Then Phillip the owner showed me a stall I might set up in. I almost burst into tears out of gratitude. As I was taking my bungee off he said follow me and we walked to a caravan used to store dishes, supplies, etc. He said I could stay there.
It was 5 minutes later I realized I'd left my little, wee insulated food bag with my Swiss army knife and cheese cutter in the Oban hostel fridge.
So far there have been highs and lows, win some lose some moments. I am in a trailer without electricity or toilet (all that is just across the road) but right now the wind and rain are battering the windows and I've had a hot shower, eaten some food bought at a closeby Co-op store and am on WiFi. 37 miles, still a pretty good day.
And Scotland is beautiful. Not a piece of cake to cycle, but if willing to throw away expectations and itinerary, it works!
view of Oban as I was leaving

windwhipped Lochgilphead

look at that flag

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