Early afternoon, I stopped for a gas station lunch, eating it on a shabby picnic table outside the payment booth -- which, on reflection, was a pretty obvious act of asserting to myself that this bike trip just wasn't quite yet over (and I've got this stale sandwich and green Powerade to prove it). But, before I had even digested the denial, I found myself back at the friendly gates of Celtic Rider. Returning the bike was 100% hassle-free, and Louise was kind enough to give me a lift to my onward hotel where my pending work function was located.
Thoughts on the R12GS: Not bad! I supposd there's no substitute for one's own horse, but it was very comfortable and smooth. It was my first time on the Boxer engine, and I was impressed by its performance and the bike's apparent nimbleness for its weight (about 60 lbs. heavier than Badger). That said, I was unimpressed by the floaty suspension rebound -- even after taking the time to download the manual and adjust the rear shock to my parameters (went for preload at 20 clicks out of 30, and damping at 2 clicks below max, and expiremented from there). Also in the negative column were the clunky upshifts into 2nd and 3rd gear -- which is a really bummer in a brand new machine, and to my knowledge does not have a readily accessible adjuster! Alas, it was a real treat to be issued a brand new machine as a rental, and I can see that the R1200 GS is well-suited to a tour of Irelands's curvy country roads.
This whole rental idea turned out a thousand times better than I imagined. Ireland now carries a "riding destination" label in my mind, and I hope to return someday... maybe ten days to two weeks for a total circumnavigation!
Day total: 251 km, 4h50m
Trip total: 1,046 km
Start: Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland. End: Kill, Co. Kildare, Ireland.
Soundtrack: Petty's "Wildflowers" (for sentimentality management)