Day 2: Driving in another country – Dublin to Bodyke and beyond


Waking up I headed down for breakfast. While it’s was your usual buffet fare, it was still better than anything I have ever had in an American Hotel. Sorry USA, your standards for food are very lacking.

After I checked out I hopped a cab and headed over to Enterprise to pick up my rental car.

Ok, I’m not going to lie. This was my favorite part of this trip. I have always (since I was a teen) wanted to drive a right hand drive manual car. Yes I know I’m weird. I’ve been star struck with anything European and knowing that people drive on the other side of the car and road was always something that fascinated me.

One thing I didn’t pack for this trip that was a definite fail was my dash camera. I would soon lament the lack of it after hitting the road.

Making it out of Dublin was my first issue. I’m very comfortable with a manual transmission, but it had been so long since I had driven a car I forgot that you don’t have to double clutch to change the gears like you do in a semi. While working a gear shift with your right hand is second nature to me at this point, it took a bit more brain power to shift with my left. I had the option of going through town to pick up the motorway I needed, or to hop one motorway to another. I chose the route through town just to give me some practice following and understanding the flow of traffic.

Once done, I was off for Bodyke (which is not pronounced as Body-key but bo-dyke as I would later come to find out). About 3/4 of the way there I realized I needed to fuel up. I stopped at the next service station which was just very confusing.

I just…

I really kinda have no words. It was surreal and the last thing I expected to see in Ireland.

As I understand it, Falmouth Kearney was Barack Obama’s maternal great-great-great grandfather and he was from Moneygall. The Obama’s visited the village and there was huge fanfare and hullabaloo.


Back in the car I pulled off the motorway to make my final leg of the journey through the countryside of County Tipperary and County Clare. Ok, I’m not too proud to admit that I totally squealed like a kid as I steered left and right down the curvy two lane road. Word of advice, there is no room for errors on Irish roads. In America we have lots of space. Many of our roads have shoulders, or at the least a flat patch of ground if you need to pull over. More often than not, in Ireland you had road, 3 inches of dirt, and then a rock wall. This made things a bit more interesting.

As the road dipped and twisted I did what I always do when I see farm animals I yelled out their name, except adding the word Irish to the beginning. “Irish Cows” or “Irish sheep” because I’m eternally 5.

Finally, I arrived at my final destination the East Clare Golf Village.

It was exactly what the name says, a little village by a golf course…

out in the middle of nowhere…

in a town called Bodyke…

And I’m here for a week…

Well, at least I have a car!

After checking in and settling in, I headed to Scariff which was the closest town with a market to get food and gin. There is no way I’m getting through this week without gin. Once back at the two bedroom two bath cottage, I poured myself a drink and then sat there in a daze. I knew I was heading to Galway tomorrow but what after that? Oh yeah, Christmas where everything is totally shut down in Ireland. Sigh.

The next day I drove to Galway and I did a bit of walking around and shopping for presents (which I can’t talk about because they haven’t been delivered yet. I did manage to reign in my inner 15 year old and not buy one of these.

I never owned a swatch back in the day but I did have several for short stays. Usually surreptitiously snagged from a boy while they were otherwise engaged elsewhere. Hey! The Sting was one of my favorite movies growing up and I adored Ellen Brennan’s character in that movie. What Can I say?

After Galway, I headed into Ennis for some dinner at Brogan’s. I had come across Brogans back in the states when we were searching for Christmas dinner (before we knew everything was closed on Christmas) and I also had another truck driver from my company suggest it as she’s originally from County Clare.

It was pretty packed with people downstairs but I was told I could get a table upstairs. There I met three lovely women and they kinda changed everything for me. When I walked in I was feeling down and out, still kinda in a daze wondering what the hell I was doing and going to do for the next week or so. Struggling with the idea of just holing up in my little golf cottage and drinking myself into a stupor until I needed to go back to Dublin, thereby avoiding everyone having a joyous time with friends and family, or doing what I always do which is making magic happen.

As I ate, and between tables, these ladies and I talked and laughed and had a great time. They told me of their Pan-demic” of 2018 as Storm Emma brought higher than normal snowfalls and the stores were sold out of bread and milk well ahead of the storm. Of course some people had a laugh at the whole Pan-ic.

While Becky and Chelsea regaled me with stories of winter in Ireland and how they wish they would get more snow, I shared the ultimate horror of growing up in the upper Midwest where 2 days after it snows you begin to wish it was gone, and knowing that the universe was out to get you when everyday you would wake up and have to shovel the sidewalks.

Miss Becky

Miss Chelsea

I had a lovely meal of Clonakilty Chicken which was a pan fried breast stuffed with Clonakilty black pudding and wrapped in bacon with a creamy mushroom sauce. Since this was my first trial of black pudding I thought it was a safe way to go and in the end, the black pudding was what I loved the most about the dish.

After dinner I headed downstairs to the bar to see who I would soon dub my new Irish bestie, Ellen.

My Irish Bestie Ellen ❤

Since we’re Facebook friends now, and she follows this blog I know she’ll be reading this. Ellen, you were a godsend on a dark night and your kindness will never be forgotten.

This woman bought a total stranger a Christmas gift so she would have something to open on Christmas Day. The world needs more Ellen’s.

While at the bar I sampled one of their house cocktails, The Burren. While I never made it to the actual Burren, the drink was lovely.

This delicious drink was made with Bombay Sapphire, violet liqueur, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, passion fruit purée, and Pinot Grigio and was very dangerous.

If you ever find yourself in Ennis in County Clare, please do yourself a favor and go to Brogans. While you’re there, give these ladies some love from me.

Christmas was spent…well in a drunken stupor. I had decided on a steady diet of mimosa and went through two bottles of champagne over the course of the day and night. Also, pants were not allowed. Not a bad day if I do say so myself. Plus my toes were toasty and cute with one of my presents from Ellen. ❤

Next up, Cliffs, Crows, and Customs.

And away we go…


As I sit here on my delayed flight, wondering if my travel mates will make it out of the states at all, I’m filled with this sense of peace. I cant really explain why it is, but I feel as if I’m supposed to go on this trip. I’m not a big believer of destiny or fate (because if I did I’d have to have a long conversation about a few key things, including the two marriages to horrible people) but for whatever reason, this trip is different.

My day so far has been a series of starts and stops. The day before travel, saw Tampa covered with sputtering rain. It started, it stopped, and it wasn’t consistent at all. This morning however was all about downpours.

My flight was delayed about a hour and a half. I thought about going to the airport and waiting, but since Tampa is rarely busy and I was only 5 minutes away, I decided to just wait it out. That was the first mistake I made. When we finally reached the airport traffic was horrendously backed up. Even Travis was surprised and stated “in the 20 years I’ve lived here and as many times as I’ve flown into/out of this airport, I’ve never seen it this busy.”

TSA was…ugh. I’ve decided to apply for global entry as it also includes pre-check so I can bypass the regular line. If I’m going to be traveling more often it only makes sense and well I’m sick of taking off my shoes.

After I got through the line I had just enough time to get to my gate before they started boarding. Since I splurged on this flight, my Tampa to Newark flight was first class.

Once seated the flight progressed as all flights do, but with good food and room to move.

Salad with roast chicken, quinoa salad, and hummus

After landing in Newark, I had a 3 hour layover between flights so I headed over to the Polaris Lounge. Talk about swanky…

Top shelf alcohols and a few signature drinks like Cloud Cover, their gin offering

This wasn’t your average buffet.

Free food and drinks and plenty of seating and charging stations made this an extremely comfortable place to wait for my next flight.

Starting clockwise from the top: Hummus on pita, chicken parmigiana. Salmon mousse on brown bread, roasted winter veggies, fingerling potato salad, cherry coleslaw, and cheese ravioli.

Fingerling potato salad,. So delicate…

I really loved all of the food with the exception of the two salads. I felt they were not dressed enough so the flavors were lost.

Soon enough it was time to head to my gate, which was conveniently located just outside of the lounge. After boarding I was greeted with this.

Everything I needed to be sung as a bug in a rug was located on this seat. In the small black bag, I found the silly thing that made me a happy camper.

THE SMALLEST TUBE OF TOOTHPASTE EVER!!!!! Sure we can have a discussion about the fact there is more plastic than product here, but can we not? Look it it! It’s the most adorable thing ever!

I also had a very large screen with plenty of movies and tv shows to choose from or a flight tracker to show me exactly where we were in our trip.

Then there was the food…The starter was a lovely salad with Kale, mesclun, roasted fennel, bell peppers and pomegranate seeds and was served with a pomegranate balsamic vinagrette, smoked duck with a cranberry pumpkin seed farro salad, brined carrot, and stone ground mustard.

For the main it braised short rib with Carolina stone ground grits and braised Bok Choi.

There was a dessert offering but I was way too full and a bit sleepy so I reclined my seats to the full bed mode and snuggled in. I felt that I had only been asleep for a few minutes, but it turned out to be hours as we were about an hour from Dublin and I was being woken up to ask what I wanted for breakfast. Considering I hadn’t finished all the food I was served previously, and I still felt full I passed on breakfast.

At 7am the sun was still down so I wasn’t able to see much as we came in for a landing. Once on the ground I was amazed at how quite the airport was. Like, there was NO ONE around. I grabbed my bags, hopped a taxi, and headed to check in.

Once at the hotel, there was a bit of confusion at check in. I was told that all of the reservations were in one of my travel mates name but the hotel said they had no reservations for him. Feeling a bit panicky and probably looking as much, the lovely girl asked what my name was and said the reservation was under my name. Confused but happy that I would be able to take a shower very soon, I finished my check in process, and headed up to my room.

Once in my room I checked my phone to check in with my family and saw that I had a missed call from my travel mates and a message asking me to call them.

When I called I found out that my entire vacation was changing. They had missed their connecting flight and due to storms in Florida and high holiday traffic they weren’t able to get out of the states until sometime later in the week, so in short they weren’t coming.

They had contacted everywhere we are staying and transferred all of the reservations to my name, but for all intents and purposes I’m on my own.

Next up, Dublin and driving on the wrong side of the road.

My vacation is over…


I had an amazing time off. It’s funny how you don’t realize just how mentally and emotionally exhausted you are until you have a chance to sit with your thoughts and just be yourself again without anyone needing or wanting something from you.

When my lovely and hilarious friend Tonya picked me up to whisk me away to Tulsa last week, I expected to have a nice time seeing friends. What I didn’t expect was to be giddy to cook food for another person again (it’s been awhile). I apologize if you’ve already seen these pictures but zomg cooking is awesome.

(In order: 1. Ribeye with polenta goat cheese stuffed mushrooms, bacon roasted red cabbage, and broiled asparagus. 2. Mushroom ravioli with pesto and goat cheese. 3. Endive boats with blood oranges, goat cheese, and almond slivers.)

I also didn’t expect someone to cook a delicious meal for me. (Thanks Amanda for the amazing salt crusted rib roast!)

More importantly, I didn’t expect Tulsa to have turned into a really cool place to be. Honestly, if Tulsa was as cool as it is today back in 2002/3, I might not have left. No, that’s not true. I needed to go and find out a few things about myself, but I gotta say that Tulsa has me thinking about the future and what the word home means.

There is no way I would have gotten a gin and sake drink there before I left (although I didn’t drink gin then so maybe I could but let’s pretend), nor would there have been this lovely craft brew in such a cool space. I know part of that is the change that’s happening all over, but I’m really happy that Tulsa is keeping up with the rest of the country at least in this way.

I came back to Springfield to finally pick out a truck on Sunday. I made the mistake of sleeping in a bit on Monday, so by the time I got to the leasing office, the only trucks left were short leases on old trucks with a ton of miles. I did look at a 2018 with 50k miles on it but it was an Internaltional truck which I’m not familiar with. While it had some cool things about it, I didn’t like the sound of the engine and overall I just wasn’t feeling it.

I trudged back to my hotel a bit frustrated, mostly at myself, and vowed to go to bed early and be first in line the next day.

This morning I did just that, but alas I wasn’t the only one who did. When I entered the office there were 6 people in front of me. One was a girl who I knew from Salt Lake City, but she was looking for a lightweight. A lightweight is different from a full size (what I wanted) in that it is only meant for a single driver. It only has one bunk instead of two. We sat and waited for them to update the lists, and when they were done we lined up.

As I was queued, I pulled up the website and saw they had two 2019 Freightliner, one blue and one green. I tried not to get my hopes up but I was bouncing with excitement. The first three people were looking for specific trucks (Peterbuilts) so they would be coming back tomorrow to hopefully be rewarded for their persistence. The gentleman ahead of me decided to look at the blue one which mean the mean green machine was open for me to look at.

I took a walk across the parking lot and as I walked up I heard the truck say “Hello beautiful, come drive me!” I broke out into a smile and said “oh yeah, you’re mine!”

As I opened the door to climb inside I had a wave of “new car smell” wash over me and I was happy. Yes I know it’s VOC (volatile organic compounds) but I don’t care, it’s new and shiny and I’m happy.

So, my day was spent getting ready to not only have my own truck but establishing my LLC and getting ready to be a business owner. Now as I sit her typing, I know that when I’m done with this post I have a huge contract to read over and sign.

So to quickly sum up my day, it was amazeballs awesome.

Now I will leave you with this, my first ever video. I apologize in advance for being a bit scatterbrained and for all of the ummms. For my first video it isn’t bad but it’s totally off the cuff, I did it with new truck brain overload, and I contradict myself at least once I saw. Eh, we’re always our own worst critics.