Pre-Trip and Travel Day

Getting there and Orientation:

With the last trip being the Alaska/Canada trip in 2008 in conjunction with Kelly’s retirement from public accounting, it’s been about 6 years since any combination of the Jones boys had a meaningful motorcycle trip.

In 2014, with Josh turning 40 (March 2014), another milestone was reached for both Josh and his parents, Kelly and Cindy. As the date approached, the family began discussing an appropriate celebration/recognition of this event. After several thoughtful suggestions, Amy (his wife) offered the following:
• Josh has always wanted to see a Garth Brooks concert (he was country before country was cool)
• Josh has had a strong interest in visiting Ireland
• Attached to her suggestion was a link to a Garth Brooks concert in Dublin in late July
• And finally, she offered that the “penultimate” would be if Kelly and Josh could arrive at the concert on motorcycles.

After working with Donald at Forest Lake travel, the concert tickets were purchased, airline flights were arranged and motorcycles were rented for the week prior to the concert such that they could “arrive on motorcycles”

These plans were given to Josh at a semi surprise dinner on his birthday in Washington DC with his siblings, his parents and Amy. The information on the trip was packaged and presented as his “birthday present”. You could see his apprehension as he began to understand the specifics of the trip as “this is something my dad has planned and now I have to sell Amy on it”. You could feel his relief as he read Amy’s email to Kelly outlining the recommendation and his realization that it was her idea all along.

As with any endeavor such at this, hurdles arise or attitudes need to change... Paul Johnson, owner of Celtic Rider Motorcycle Rentals in Dublin convinced Josh and Kelly that BMW motorcycles were a much better option for exploring Irish roads and sites than the Harleys that they normally ride. He also convinced them that their normal practice of deciding which hotel or B&B they would stay around noon of each day was not practical and more advanced reservations were needed. Paul was very helpful in addressing both.

Finally, about three weeks prior to the trip, a dispute between the concert city and Garth became much more public. Apparently, Garth received a permit for three days of concerts in a community near Dublin. The 240,000 tickets for these three concerts sold out in about 90 minutes after going on sale. The promoters, along with Garth decided on two more concerts in the following days, but didn’t get the appropriate permits. Apparently, there were some ordinances regarding these extended days and the permits for these two days were denied. Garth took the position that if he couldn’t do all five days, he wouldn’t perform any of the days. So last week the negotiations broke down and the concerts were cancelled. We decided to continue with the trip.

We arrived at the Dublin airport this morning (July 20) about 7:15 am. We had a thorough briefing by Paul and Mike on the operations of the BMW motorcycles, the operations of the GPS and some of the things to watch out for as we are riding unfamiliar motorcycles on the left side of the road. The orientation included a ride on the motorcycles led by an experienced instructor through a number of roundabouts, back roads and highways similar to those we would encounter on our trip.

When the orientation was completed, we left Dublin on our first trip through the countryside—a trip of about 140 miles to Donegal—the most northern county in Ireland.