Sendero Group Travel Blog

Follow Sendero travelers on their adventures using accessible GPS.

Monday, September 07, 2015


Newport to Mulranny: Second Day of Hiking

 Audio File of Mike narrating the second day of hiking.
Bob, Mike, Gena and Sue on a bridge with their guide dogs and GPSTranscription: This is our second day of hiking.  We have left Newport and we wound our way through town which was a little bit tricky with small sidewalks and city streets.  Finally picked up the Greenway on the out skirts of town and it's paralleling the road, but at least it is off the road a little bit.   We just passed some city or you know city really means a little village.  We have passed the village of Knocknageeha.  We are northwest, headed to our next stop which is Mulranny. Now this section of the path is just a typical kind of bike path and it is running along the end of 59, maybe 50 feet away from the road with plants and things in between.  A lot of passers along the way.  Passed a bunch of cows, a few barns, pretty infrequent foot traffic, bike traffic.  We have seen a person on foot every 15 minutes and a biker maybe once an hour or a clump of bikers together.  The dogs all have their booties on, so we have 12 dog booties to keep track of.  Sue has to walk behind us because the shoes can come off easily and we won't know it and we will be missing one.  The weather has continued to be dry.  It's overcast, it's perfect.  We thought we might be a little cold, but in fact we have to unzip not to get too hot. 

cows in a fieldNoise of their footsteps.

Mike: Lets see how far we have to go?
BrailleNote: "6.35 kilometers, 1 o'clock Anchor House."
Mike: Anchor House is where we are headed and Newport 6.35 kilometers.  How fast are we walking?
BrailleNote: 5.4 KMH
Mike: 5.4 Kilometers and hour, a little over 3 miles an hour.  Of course that distance is as a crow flies and we might have to curve around a little bit, I am not sure.

More crunching footsteps, a sheep lets out a baa!

We are walking through the fields here and almost to our final destination.  On cue, another sheep bleats.  Sounds like maybe Gena has some indigestion.  Mike laughs. That would be the local sheep

Tank jumping up on a fence to say hello to a horse
sheep with curly horns in a field

Sunday, September 06, 2015


Day 2 of the Greenway Walk

This was our first real walking day. Audio file introducing the first day of walking. Between Bob Sweetman and me with our multiple GPS devices, you would think we would be able to find our way. We also heard from the innkeeper and others that the walking path was very clearly marked. We all know how much we can trust those famous assurances.
 Mike and Bob on the Greenway with dogs and GPS
As we left the Killary B&B in Westport, there was in fact a very clearly marked bike path. It was about 8 feet wide. One side was green for cyclists and the red side was for walkers. It was nicely paved. It meandered through rolling hills as we wound our way out of town, our GPS devices chattering away with names like Hazlehatch, Knockranny and Carrowbeg. There were also signs in the middle of the path that pointed the way to the Great Western Greenway.

There weren’t too many bends in the path but a few. We only had to cross one road as we left Westport. As we came along a big pharmaceutical plant, there was a sign for private property. Since the green and red path continued, we didn’t worry about it. A security vehicle drove slowly past us but he didn’t say anything. After a kilometer or so, we came to a dead end. This was rather discouraging as we were so confident we knew where we were going.

We rewound our steps back to the private property sign and discovered where we should have crossed to the other side of the road for the real Greenway path.

rolling green hillsThe rest of our 8 to 10 miles or so were uneventful. The path was mostly paved without much elevation. The weather was kind to us and the surroundings were very peaceful with the occasional bikers, walkers, sheep and cows. Bob and I marked 20 or 30 points along the way.sheep on the mountain side

I am pretty sure one could do this completely without sighted help, especially now that we have marked the variations in the path. Someone in a wheelchair could do it as well.
Mike and Tank with his doggie shoes on 
Just to be safe, we put booties on our dogs. It sounded really amusing with 12  dog feet slapping on the pavement. They had no problem with the long route although they weren’t thrilled by the doggie shoes.

There weren’t any businesses along the way so we ate lunch next to the path. There was only one outhouse so planning for minimal amenities was quite important.

The cell coverage was better than we thought it would be. Our BrailleNote and Braille Sense GPS devices didn’t need a connection. Everyone was connected through my local Irish mobile phone for data so we could use Seeing Eye GPS on our iPhones. I will have to post my User POIs so you can get a sense of how far we are from your location.

It was really satisfying to reach our destination at the Anchor Inn located in the village of Newport. Again glad to have my local phone for WiFi as the router in the inn is super slow.
 Watching an Irish football natch Dublin
We found our way to the Welsh Bridge restaurant where a football match was on. Audio file of watching the football match. This was followed by a girls soccer team celebrating. Lots of local culture to eat our food by.

Now, nothing like anticipating a good night’s sleep in preparation for another 10 miles tomorrow.

Mike, Gena, Bob and Sue

Saturday, September 05, 2015


First travel tips from Dublin

We are in route to walk the Great Western Greenway in Ireland. We just flew in yesterday from California.

I am very glad we took connecting flights from San Francisco via Washington Dulles to Dublin. Dulles is the only airport I know of that has a dog relief room inside the airport. We had a really tight connection so Gena waited at our gate with our bags while I ran to Gate D1 with our two dogs. I am not sure who was more relieved me, or the dogs once we made that stop and back to the gate just in time.

I was pleased to find Uber available at the Dublin airport. It was a bit tricky to establish the pick-up spot but we managed. A very friendly guy called Sean gave us a guided tour in route to our hotel.

They don’t have Uber X, just Uber taxi and Uber  Black. I was also informed they have an even more popular service called Halo. We took 3 Uber rides quite successfully while also doing a lot of walking in Dublin in the one day and night we were there.

Note that the audible signal lights in Dublin are at almost every signal light. They have a sound like a machine gun when it is time to cross.
Bob, Sue, Gena and Mike at Stephens Green ParkGena, Mike, Sue and Bob Sweetman at St. Stephens Green
I discovered a very economic way of dealing with data costs. I brought my old iPhone 4S, which is unlocked. It is painfully slow but it works great as a hot spot. AT&T charges $60 to include only 300MB. I bought a local Sim card with 3GB for just $15. I am using the 4S as a hot spot for my laptop and for my iPhone 6 running the Seeing Eye GPS. Hang on to that old model for this purpose should you ever travel abroad.

It is really fun to have the BrailleNote GPS for walking around and currently on the train from Dublin to  Westport. There are a lot of user points I and others have recorded over the  years. Since we are with Bob  and Sue Sweetman, we had to go to a local craft brewery called JW Sweetmans. That has been added to the user POI database. It was in the commercial database but we had a little trouble finding it in that final frustrating 50 feet.

Gena, Mike, Bob and Sue Sweetman at J.W. Sweetman pubBob with the J.W. Sweetman's menu

Sue has commented that there are few print street  signs so we are very grateful to have our GPS devices to navigate.
 Mike and Bob on the train with their techonogy, BrailleNotes, phones, VictorReaders Stream
I will be curious to see what kind of cell and data coverage we have once we start walking the Great Western Greenway. Knock on wood, the weather has been dry so far but we have our plastic covers for the technology just in case. Did you know that 3 dogs can fit under a train table with 4 people? Quite the trip so far. More later.



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