Spain 2008 Part 3 Cops, Bogs and Corners! Tackling the Road to Heavean

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Spain 2008 Part 3 Cops, Bogs and Corners! Tackling the Road to Heavean

Post  Radar on Wed Mar 04 2009, 01:07

b]Day 5. Cops, bogs and corners![/b]

Mandy and Michele decided to leave the chaps to play on day 5 so it was just three bikes, all solo that left the Corjita with a great sense of anticipation for a good days riding ahead. Michael was heading back to the UK that evening and was keen to sign-off on a high by tackling yet another well renowned bikers road, the A7000 ‘Road to Heaven’. This was going to prove a little trickier than we had imagined…

Unusually rain had been forecast (!) so I decided to leave my wallet with Mandy and just grab a few Euros for fuel and emergencies. This was to prove a fateful decision….

Terry took us through Malaga once again and with no pillion this time I found it much easier to take on the traffic and the scooter mounted lunatic fringe. I was quite chuffed as at one point I actually managed to neatly slice past a twist and go, only to have my bubble burst moments later when a pack of the bloody things hacked past me, exhausts rasping – bugger! The threatened rain was holding off as we made our way along the coast again on the A356 towards Lake Vinuela. We turned on to the A402 to Venta Baja and Pilarejo and soon we were attacking the long climbing series of hairpin bends punctuated with short straights with some gusto as we headed towards Ventas de za Farayas on the A341. Mandy is a cracking pillion but there is no escaping the fact that you can push the bike harder when solo. The Hornet rose to the task yet again, and my considerable respect for this willing Honda continued to grow. The fun continued as we squirted form hairpin to hairpin playing tunes on the gearbox and brakes. As we approached the top of this section Terry pulled over on the Duke and we followed suit. We looked down the valley to look at the road we had just ridden below, twisting and turning in a pattern like chocolate sauce drizzled over an ice cream. Just how many more roads are like this around here?!

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Looking down on the road we had just ridden, just the odd bend or two then...

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The bikes taking a well earned rest at the top of a mountain pass

All seemed good with the world after we remounted the bikes and rolled into the next village straight into the welcoming grasp of a Guarda Civil patrol. They seemed to having a bike only day and we just happened to pitch up at the wrong moment. They flagged Terry in and Michael & I dutifully followed and as I rolled to a halt my heart sank. My licence, which you MUST carry with you at all times in Spain, was in my Wallet back at the Corjita. This was going to get complicated! Sure enough our gun toting friends didn’t fall for my idiot tourist routine and even threatened to impound the Hornet! This would cost me up to E500 to release plus a whole world of pain paperwork wise. Terry was pleading with the older of the guards but to no avail so in the end we were ordered to follow their Nissan patrol vehicle to be escorted back to their base at the nearby town of Zafarraya. Once there the Sergeant ushered into his office where the wall was lined with framed certificates extolling his virtues as a Guarda Civil. We could be in for a long haul here. Terry skillfully negotiated that if the girls could get my licence to the station in Cartama that they would scan it and mail it to this one. Grudgingly he agreed. The clock was ticking down on Michael's last day, would we get it sorted in time? The girls dashed in action Michele made record time back from Malaga to the Corjita to get my licence and then charged down the hill to get to the local station with it; so much for their quiet day!

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Our escort for the day...

The time continued to tick by and lunch was approaching rapidly. No email yet…They seemed to be getting bored with us and the ice was broken when we asked the Sergeant what the Spanish for Dickhead was, as I had clearly been one in this situation! He laughed and his mood softened. A little old dear then came into the station with bags of food, the Guards lunch. Lunchtime and boredom come to our rescue and as suddenly as it started it was all over; He chucked Terry’s papers back at him and told us to clear off. No fines, my impounded bikes, we couldn’t believe our luck. So we cleared of as quickly as we could before they changed their minds! I was relieved, two hours riding wasted but we still had enough time to grab something to eat and take on the A7000.

Terry took us to yet another charming restaurant and we all needed it, as all jokes aside it had been a tense couple of hours and we all needed to recharge our batteries. I also desperately needed the loo by the time we stopped so I waddled to the one marked with a big S for Services, or so I thought. Suitably relieved I wondered back over to Terry and Michael who were both laughing at me…S of course stands for Senoritas; I had just made use of the ladies! Opps! Oh well…

After our brush with the plod, making use of the wrong bog I was ready to clear my head with some proper riding. Well the A7000 road to heaven lived up to its’ nickname. 40km of smoothly surfaced, sinuous tarmac stretched out before us. Terry on the Duke lead with Michael and I tucked in behind as we stormed through corner after corner. In places you could see round several corners ahead and we all seemed to be in the zone again. This section eclipsed the Ronda and was comparable to the 366 as we hurtled along like a bullet train, three bikes as one; just fantastic. Biking at its’ best (again) and the Hornet once again earned my respect. The range of roads and types of running this bike had taken in its stride all week is truly impressive. You will notice that there are not many pictures of this section of the ride; you just do not want to break the flow and loose your rhythm. This is yet another road you need to add to your “bucket list” – stuff you must do before you kick the bucket!
The A7000 provided a suitable high to end Michael’s time in Andelucia and he went home a happy lad. Hopefully when he gets the Triumph Street Triple he has on order he will come up to visit us and I can show him some of the best roads in Wales too. Cheers Michael for being good company on and off the bike.

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Token picture of the A7000, it was just too good to stop!

Day 6. Where did that donkey come from?

With Michael having returned home and this being the last days riding for Mandy and I initially things felt a little strange. But as the gently warming sun shone down on us Terry and Michele led us through some stunning countryside, where the sides of the roads were thick with Lemon and Orange groves and once again our senses were bombarded with smell of citrus. Terry pulled over at one point and reached up into a tree overhanging the road a pulled a lemon off and passed it to Mandy…

We gently wend our way along beautiful valley roads and once again the Hornet settled smoothly into the role of tourer after the somewhat sportier riding of yesterday. Our first stop was at the edge of a lovely lake/dam where we had a drink at lovely restaurant. We were in a chilled mood and we just content to taking the beauty that surrounded us. I like riding quickly, but sometimes you just need to roll off and appreciate your surroundings.
The ride climbed gently upwards and we stopped again to check out a 1,200 year old ruined church cut from solid rock. We had to walk up the last few hundred metres to reach the church, and in 25 degree heat dressed in biking gear I was grateful when I got to the top!

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Ruins of a 1200 year old church hacked from stone

Back on the bikes once more we climbed ever higher and across the top of another dam that fed the one we had stopped at earlier in the day. It generates hydro-electric power in the process by the way; power and beauty partners in crime. We passed the “Kings Walkway” on the way up too, a precarious wooden path fixed to the valley wall that was constructed for the exclusive use of King Alfonso 13th apparently.

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King Alfonso's walkway, apparently the ending of the WW2 Von Ryan's Express was shot near here too

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Charming rest halt

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Once at the top of the mountain the views were incredible, even in a week of incredible sights they stood out. A text book example of glacial erosion, a huge valley floor spread below us reminiscent of huge patchwork quilt and in the distance we could just make out the Sierra Nevada where people would be skiing at the same time as we basked in sunshine. The café we had stopped at earlier looked like a toy from this height and the lake had been reduced to puddle. Bizarrely, all this way up a Donkey was just wondering about. He looked a bit bored, he had seen it all before I suppose! Mind you what does an excited donkey look like? On second thoughts, don’t go there!

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Resturant and dam far below
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Formed by glacial drift,nice job!

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Random Donkey, I told Mandy not to bring her mother...

Our last meal on the road was eaten overlooking a stunning lake where mineral deposit in the soil lent the lake a turquoise hue. The sun glisten gently on the water, Spanish guitar music played in the background. Just perfect.

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Carlsberg don't make lakes, but if they did...

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Mandy, Michele and Terry

One final ride up to the Corjita and I parked the Hornet up for the last time, 938km added to the bikes odometer, but something that can’t be measured had been added to my make-up. Truly when biking is this good it takes on an almost spiritual pleasure. I have tried to record my experiences in this journal, but the best way to get what I mean is to just do it; go there ride the roads, go and see those sights. Biking at its best. Thanks Terry and Michele, Bike Tours Spain does way more than it says on the tin!

Get to [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and book up. you won't regret it
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Re: Spain 2008 Part 3 Cops, Bogs and Corners! Tackling the Road to Heavean

Post  Rosco on Fri Mar 06 2009, 07:23

Hi Radar

Fantastic write-up / photos.......if Carlsberg did write-ups........
Can't wait til you join us on one of the rideouts and we can all enjoy it again if you were to document it in this way.

Keep up the good work.

ps. I'm doing a Spain tour in May (6 of us....and my 1st venture out of the UK on two wheels) so all this info is very much appreciated.
Good to know what NOT to do also (eg. not have driving license with us......might but a spare on eBay :pirat: )

Cheers
Rosco
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Re: Spain 2008 Part 3 Cops, Bogs and Corners! Tackling the Road to Heavean

Post  Radar on Sat Mar 07 2009, 22:48

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:Hi Radar

Fantastic write-up / photos.......if Carlsberg did write-ups........
Can't wait til you join us on one of the rideouts and we can all enjoy it again if you were to document it in this way.

Keep up the good work.

ps. I'm doing a Spain tour in May (6 of us....and my 1st venture out of the UK on two wheels) so all this info is very much appreciated.
Good to know what NOT to do also (eg. not have driving license with us......might but a spare on eBay :pirat: )

Cheers
Rosco

Cheers for the positive feedback to go all ebay for a moment!

I hope to come along to BC on May 30th, so I will pen a few words if I do.

I enjoyed Spain so much I went back in September. I will post about this trip in the next couple of days.

Look forward to reading about your experiences when you get back from your trip, it sounds excellent - and remember your licence!! clink
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Re: Spain 2008 Part 3 Cops, Bogs and Corners! Tackling the Road to Heavean

Post  furball on Sun Mar 08 2009, 13:17

Aye another cracking wright up keep up the good work Cool

Davie
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Re: Spain 2008 Part 3 Cops, Bogs and Corners! Tackling the Road to Heavean

Post  Radar on Mon Mar 09 2009, 21:01

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:Aye another cracking wright up keep up the good work Cool

Davie

Cheers! Will do!
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