Spain 2015

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Spain 2015

Post  Eddie990 on Mon Jul 20 2015, 14:34

First topic message reminder :

Been waiting for one of the other lads to kick this ride report off as I have very few photos and typing with only your left hand takes ages (not that my right is doing anything but it doesn't even obey the simplest of commands yet). Hopefully they'll pop in soon and fill in the gaps with pictures, anecdotes and tales of their own.

After a year’s worth of planning, a few of us were setting off to sunny Spain for the annual European jaunt. Dates were limited due to work patterns but eventually we agreed times and the UK-Spain ferries all booked up.
First f**k up, a good friend of mine organised his wedding to coincide with the weekend we were planning to leave, meaning I was now departing a few days later than the other guys. Not a major problem, new ferry booked, work rescheduled and my holiday was 2 days shorter than everybody else’s.....

Fast forward a few months and after lots of discussion, map gazing, bike fettling and essential purchasing and we're ready for the off!

They others get away (almost) without problem; I'll leave them to fill in the details.

Tues 30th June: I set off from Richmond early to catch the 17:15 ferry from Portsmouth to Santander, it was a glorious day and despite the dull and dreary motorway route I was enjoying the ride down and looking forward to the next couple of weeks. My new intercom and satnav combo were working perfectly so I was listening to my music and watching the miles click away. The new Garmin smartphone link is ace, all traffic problems and length of likely delays flash up on screen and alternative routes offered. A large accident had closed the M1 and the satnav routed me around it adding only 3 mins to the journey! My new panniers are a lot slimmer than the last set too, allowing me to filter with relative ease. If the bars fit through, then so will the rest of the bike  Very Happy
It was all going too well, passing through some roadworks near Winchester I had an almighty tankslapper at about 40mph! The rear had picked up a puncture. I had to ride on for another 4-500 mtrs as it was single lane, not nice! On the plus side, by the time I pulled into the coned area the bead was already broken on the tyre  Cool
I had levers, a spare tube and all the necessary tools…..except an air compressor….. In an effort to conserve packing space, we’d had a chat about who was bringing what. Stevecat had mentioned he had a motorcycle compressor so I didn’t bother with mine, big mistake.
So, at the side of the dual carriageway and in the 34 degC heatwave I had pulled the wheel, changed the tube and was ready to go but couldn’t get the wheel up to pressure. After calling several recovery firms and almost 2 hours later one turned up, tyre filled and back on the road. Unfortunately, not in time to make the boat. I booked the cheapest room I could find at the Gosport Premier Inn, called a bike shop to arrange for parts in the morning and got settled for the night. I popped over to the pub at the Premier Inn for a bite and a couple of pints and walked straight into a big, fat, gypsy wedding. Drunken travellers and their scantily clad companions seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely, such was the quantity of flesh on display that I didn’t know where to look. Nor did I want a bare-knuckle fist fight with Mickey O’Neil from Snatch for ‘looking at his bird’. Eyes dead ahead, I ordered a pint and a burger, wolfed it down and headed to bed just as the scrapping started! It’s not a family wedding until somebody gets battered in the car park  Shocked

Wed 1st July: Packed the bike up under the watchful eye of the younger members of last nights wedding party, endless requests of ‘Gis a go mister!’ and 'Gwan, gimme a lift to the f**kin' shops!' were ignored. To be fair to Brittany ferries they were fantastic, the only additional charge was due to the cheap cabins all being full the next day so I was given a deal in the posh section. Luxurious comfort from Portsmouth to Bilbao awaited, so I picked up new rim tape and a spare rear tube, pushed the bike onto the Gosport foot passenger ferry and checked in nice and early onto the Cap Finesterre.
After a few afternoon beers in the sun on the rear deck and an excellent meal, I settled down in the bar with decent book and a few drams. The entertainment was dreadful, a p**s-poor comedian who also had the most incredibly easy quiz it was embarassing that people got any questions wrong. I drew the line when he reappeared later as Elvis and went to bed!

Thurs 2nd: Woke up, watched Mad Max in the onboard theatre then got kitted up to disembark. The real riding gets started, a wonderful journey along the Cantabria coast alternating between the motorway to get some miles covered and the lovely twisty coast road when the tedium got too much. Before long I was turning south along the Desfiladero de la Hermida to Riano to meet the others. What a fantastic road! It runs along the bottom of a gorge following the turns of the river for mile upon mile then climbs up over the top to some wonderful views before heading down a series of incredible hairpins to a road which gets faster and faster until you reach Riano, our stop for the night.
Beer, wine, food, bed.

Fri 3rd: Desfiladero de la Hermida again, this time heading north. It’s as good in either direction! More great roads in scorching heat brought us to Ramales de la Victoria, where my bike became the first casualty. Searching for the campsite we stopped to check the map, as we were about to set off again I spotted a sign just over my left shoulder. As I turned to point it out to DBD I lost my footing on my right side and the bike went over, she’s a heavy old girl and rather than risk a hernia I just jumped off. No harm done, my new heavy duty panniers took the brunt and we were off again in 5 minutes.
Beer, wine, food, bed.

Sat 4th: A bit of a dull day, Stevecat unfortunately had to leave us to get home sharpish and we wanted to get up into the mountains. So some more motorway interspersed with a few twisties to alleviate the boredom. We eventually picked up the fabled N260 and settled at a campsite at Gavin where I drew the shortest straw and ended up sleeping on the tiled floor listening to the Orchestra Nocturnal (a harmony of synchronised snoring from 3 of my travelling companions at any one time).

Sun 5th: We set off the following morning along the N260, it really is a fabulous road. Tight and technical sections, fast and sweeping in places, up mountains, along valleys. There is something for everyone here. I enjoyed it as much as I could but lack of sleep took it’s toll and we made a beeline for apartments I had booked for the next two nights in Sort, a town we have stayed in a few times before.
Beer, wine, excellent Tapas, bed.

TBC

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Re: Spain 2015

Post  MrNutt on Sun Jul 26 2015, 19:37

loving this chaps! Great read! Looking forward to the rest of it

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Re: Spain 2015

Post  SteveCat on Sun Jul 26 2015, 20:24

Slept soundly for the first time, woke up a little dozy though. Did notice the light in the bathroom was rather dim, the bulb blew the night before and had been 'repaired' by using the light next to Terry's bed (not that he was aware that it had been done) - thanks Tes Wink I did remember that the tap marked with C is the hot water, not because of dodgy plumbing but C for caliente!
There is a disadvantage to sleeping in the kitchen. my luggage and contents were getting in the way of breakfast - so shoved it to one side and went to put the pannier rails on the bike. I have found the key doesn't work well in the locks and had a problem with one of them ( it turned out I had been using the wrong key - one set for the rail lock and another set for the cases - not good)

All packed, bikes checked, one had its fix of oil and we are off. Low cloud today on our navigation down the mountain, but after we cleared all that the roads were very good. Headed for Ribadesella and the hotel booked on day 1, but before then we had lunch at a cafe close by - half chicken and chips. Unfortunately Rob's was rather under cooked and we wasn't able to eat much of it.
Then we headed to a place Terry knows for getting the R1 a new back tyre, we find the place and are blighted with Siesta - this was something we were to experience many times, no seeming set time for when it starts or ends made it a bit frustrating. Eventually the guy comes and opens up and we are (or at least Ross is) relieved to find he had the right size.

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Now was just a case of how much this was going to cost, we've heard of horror stories of Spanish tyre prices, the guy was in the office going through paperwork and hitting the calculator buttons and eventually emerges with the price, what! cheaper than the UK, but it's still money, Ross is over the moon.

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Thanks Terry, why didn't you take me to the cheaper tyre places last time we were here?

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Rather than have everyone hanging around I stayed with Ross and the group went to the hotel, well after they could find their keys
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Now a rather long wait, there was activity but progress was slow and was worrying to see the mechanic going for larger and larger tools.
Ross's SatNav had pulled a typical Zumo 550 stunt the day before and locked up, the only cure is to remove the battery which requires a tiny allen key. The mechanic was very obliging to help out with one, just he didn't have the right size and eventually found something small enough which fitted, at least that's fixed. I couldn't watch any more with what they were doing to the R1 after what looked like a scaffolding pipe was brought out.
We went outside and Ross helped me reprogram my ECU, I wanted to enrich the fuel mixture when the mapping changes from Closed to Open loop, the bike was very snatchy on acceleration out of corners and this adjustment was supposed to have sorted it out. I'd offered Ross a ride around the block and whilst he was getting his gear I took the luggage off and discovered the pannier lock which had given me beans in the morning wasn't there.
The guys at the hotel were wondering where we were and called, they said there was a mess up with the booking and we'd need to find somewhere to stay, but they were waiting at the hotel for us. The R1 is ready, but they hadn't taken the stickers off the tyre!

Get to the hotel and there they all are in their shorts sitting at a table enjoying their beers B*s. There had been a problem, to be fair, there was a booking but for the following day! The hotel was very good about it and upgraded us at no extra cost.

Choice now as to where to eat, we elect to take a walk along the seafront

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Davie breaks free and is seen running on the beach and into the sea

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What can you say, he might make the Premier League one day

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We haven't found anywhere to eat yet, but did pass a shop selling oil

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So were are back to where we started and not found anywhere, it was a lovely walk though, the view of the harbour was great. So before heading inside, decide to take a walk in the other direction and not far later stop

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Head into the hotel's restaurant, but check the menu first - the ever faithful Google Translate

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From tomorrow we are back to our original plan which was there is no plan
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Re: Spain 2015

Post  SteveCat on Tue Jul 28 2015, 16:48

Thursday morning dawns and I’m pleased to see that the Weather App was wrong and it wasn’t raining, after a good breakfast we head out of Ribadesella


Here’s the day’s route

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At this stop I decide I best do something about fixing my pannier rail, Ross offered to do the job

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But I ended up doing it myself with one of Davie’s cable ties, thanks Furballs

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The video starts from where we took a break, the ride so far was interesting, went through low cloud and got cold enough for some to turn on their heated grips. The road is bumpy, but the Velcro strap had started to work its way loose and the camera was bouncing quite a bit.


At the end of the video we end up in a petrol station, the dreaded siesta struck again, it was closed apart from one pay at pump, instructions in Spanish and was prepay, took some figuring that out.  Dave’s clutch was starting to give him grief, some brake fluid was needed but not from here.

A most enjoyable and spirited afternoon ride and then all too soon we are in Riano, our base for the night.
Oh I didn’t mention it was hot!

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The campsite was very close from the fuel stop, the Duc decided once again it needed attention and tried to throw a strop in last few hundred yards, but Dave skilfully got the bike up to the car park. Whilst the repairs were underway and Ross giving the R1 a clean, Terry and I went inside to see if there were any vacancies, fortunately there were – so the two of us sat down and enjoyed a cold beer and coke.
One of us is either very clever or extremely lazy, I didn’t carry the cases to the cabin I rode the bike there



After lunch we focused on a bit of forward planning, we need some Vino Tinto.
I offered to go down and get some, Dave offered to come along and used Terry’s bike which has a fair storage space in the paniers. I have no idea just how much he was planning on buying, I would have thought my 46 litre Givi would have been enough.

Down to the village and what do you know, it’s Siesta time there, everywhere is closed. We found a Deli which was to open in 45 mins time and a Spar, we weren’t sure if it was to open again as there was a sign saying shut in the afternoon, but were wrestling with the day of the week! Whilst we are pondering a lady crosses the road right in front of us, unlocks the shop and a couple of moments later came out locks the door and walks away without so much as look at us! Right I guess that means shut this afternoon, now what to do. Not having learnt his lesson, I turn to the Sat nav to find a supermarket, it had made a right hash of it the last time. Ah found one a good few miles down the road, so off we go, get there and are directed to an empty piece of ground with some rubble scattered about – reckon that shop’s not been there for a while!
There was a shop we had passed and headed for that, yip siesta and was shut. So we sat on the pavement and waited and waited, expecting it to open later than the time posted we were very pleased when they opened early.
Once inside we went crazy and bought way too much.

We head back and I guess Terry really missed us, what has happened to his bike. Whilst we were gone Chris had joined us, now we are at full compliment. A good evening was had and the end of a very good day, probably my best so far.
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Re: Spain 2015

Post  SteveCat on Tue Jul 28 2015, 17:52

The following morning and time to pack up, umm there is still a lot of booze left – we not going to leave it so I repack and get it all in the top box.
My morning riding has been slower and today was no exception, there were some technical bits and I was aware of my phone vibrating.
At the stop I look and for me the problems began, not saying anything to the others, I was a bit snappy with them, sorry guys.
What had happened was my Kenya office were trying to get me back for a vital meeting with the head of a bank we were wanting to sell our product to, if they had spoken with my boss the owner of the company they’d have found out where I was, but the damage had been done – I was not a happy bunny.
This account will be shorter as Chris has already mentioned some of it in his postings.
My riding was now erratic and wasn’t enjoying it. We were looking for a place for lunch and maybe I was viewing things through tinted glasses, I think we were all a bit on edge, the heat really taking its toll. At the third stop we had success, a roadside restaurant which was also the base of an adventure bike tour company. The lady running the place could speak a little English and tried to describe the menu, not poking fun of her she said she had face of the cow or meat of the pig, thinking the latter might have been a hot bacon salad we ordered that and most went for the Beef cheeks. I’ve had this before many times, but have to say that had to be the nicest I’ve ever had. The salad had tuna in it so not sure what happened to the pig!
Before we set off she asks where we are headed, no main road not good for motorbike – go this way! Well switchbacks and ordinarily would have been an ideal route had it not been for the shocking road surface, the softer suspension on the Tracer made light of the bad conditions and my ride was way more comfortable than many.  
We are close to the final destination, but the exact location is alluding us, this is where Chris had lost his balance and I thought it best everyone stay put and I investigate the small road running from the car park, yip that’s the right one.
The accommodation was split into two one being at the bottom of the hill and the other at the top, I rode the bike up and unpacked, putting the beers and tonic in the fridge and getting some ice blocks going for the Gin. Could see there wasn’t going to be enough headed off in search of a supermarket. Dave would have joined me again but wasn’t dressed for riding, I’d caught the poor lad trying to get into the shower <cough>

The others were in the laundry when I got back, had a little time to contemplate my problem, there had been more messages left during the afternoon. I’d realised this was going to hang over me for days to come and seeing how I had reacted earlier in the day and indeed being short with folk when we got to the digs as well as how it affected my riding I felt I had no option but to head back home. I waited until everyone was together and told them the news, I wasn’t happy doing it – this trip had been in the planning stages for a year or more.
We soon forgot about it and had a cracking evening, all the hooch was gone, so no carrying problems.
I still had the tub of margarine we bought the second day in my cooler bag and in spite of the heat it hadn’t run all over the place.

Subdued morning when I was all packed and headed off, heavy hearted I set off. A pretty un eventful trip of motorways and toll roads, made good progress and when I got to near where I wanted to stay – not having a booking – I thought I’d check online, just as well they were full – so pushed on for another 2+ hours and killed about 600 miles. My phone must have suffered a heat stroke as it was getting very slow and erratic, later that evening it dies altogether. It seemed very odd indeed that I was the only one in the restaurant, the others weren’t here – my smooking buddie wasn’t there when I went out – yeah the reality was setting in.
Sunday morning and the weather had turned, I set off in the rain, whilst it had stopped briefly it was soon back this time with a vengeance. I found it worse than the torrent we endured in Austria two years go.
Pleased to be on the train home, had to cough up as much again as the original ticket, but hey ho – I wasn’t going to stand in the rain a minute longer than I needed to. Wrung the gloves out, nah they no good got out another pair.
Eventually got home 980 miles since leaving the group in Spain, still only covered a disappointing 2 200 miles.

Adiós España
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