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Old 11-07-2012, 01:57 PM   #38
MikeO OP
Wage slave...
 
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Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
Oddometer: 6,631
7th November 2012

I spent yesterday catching up on sleep and doing some reading - I think the first couple of days really took it out of me...

However, today I am awake at 0700 and raring to go. After abluting and having a light breakfast (and snaffling two bananas for later), I walk out to pack the bike...



A soft rain has just started falling from a bright overcast sky. I check the bike over and see that the oil level is now halfway down the sight glass. I'll consider putting a litre in when it gets near the bottom - long periods of high speed, particularly in high ambient temperatures, can make the Adv use oil, even at this advanced age...

I finish checking out of the hotel, then get kitted up in waterproof mode. I put the shower cap on the tank bag, put on my lightweight waterproof gloves and plug in my heated jacket. I'm on the road at 0845 heading southwest along the N322...



The autumn colours are vivid...



Pretty soon the rain stops and I go into dry weather mode...



I notice that the pair of running lights I have fitted - each if which has three LED lights - have identical failures - each now has two LEDs working.



Onward!



The N322 this side of Albacete is as good as it is the other - a great road, although I have to keep my speed down due to the wet road surface. It passes through several small villages - I hardly see a soul...



I'm reminded to watch my speed regularly. I also see several police vehicles. The local police have small patrol vehicles, but I notice that the traffic police have Alfa Romeos.



Sometimes the road is as straight as a ruler for miles...



I get the impression this is a poor area - the fields that are tilled are full of rocks...



There are wind farms everywhere. This is Don Quixote country...



...he'd have a job tilting at windmills this size.



Random ruin - no sign to suggest what it might have been...



The few cattle I see have huge cowbells around their necks...



Olive groves appear on every spare bit of land...



...making the landscape almost looks like a piece of candlewick...



There's a fairly stiff breeze blowing, so I have to keep an eye out for vegetation on the road...

As I round a left hand bend there's a flash of movement from right to left in front of me as two deer bound up the bank to my left...



...where one of them watches me for a few seconds, before turning and trotting off into the brush...



I'm assuming they are deer - wild goats perhaps??



The road surface is beginning to dry out, and the bends become more fun...



...this is a lovely part of the world - and this is a great time of year to be here...



I take a breather and scoff the contraband bananas...



Not too many takers for the picnic area at this temperature, though...



Right - let's get going.

Almost immediately, I ride into a small town with a beautiful avenue of plane trees in its main street...



Random warnings are everywhere...



Blue sky makes an appearance on the horizon - huzzah!



Odd-looking rock formation with caves...



More and more of the landscape is devoted to olive groves...



...the trees are spaced this way so that vehicles can move between and around them - the tyres tracks visible in the soft reddish mud...



Some local is just finishing off this house - complete with en-suite windmill...



It's 1100 when I cross into Andalucía. The intermittent rain stops almost at the border and the sun comes out...



Now here, olives are farmed on an industrial scale. I see no sign of small farms, just massive factory units every few miles...

I stop for fuel at 1110 and drink some water, noticing that the local police have little 4x4s up here...



It's turning into a nice day...



...but I'm over half a mile high up here...



...so I don't make assumptions about the weather staying this way...



Generations of sheep or goats trudging on the same trails year in, year out have left their mark on this hill like contour lines on a map.



I assumed this sign meant bad road surface (I have turned onto a small county road and the surface is pretty crap) - but I have just done a translation on it and it would appear it may 'No Road Signs' - can anyone help me out with this one?

From time to time there is evidence of where a landslip has been cleared away...



Fortunately, there are enough clues approaching these sites to allow me to slow down and negotiate them carefully...



Onward!



At midday I ride into the hilltop town of Hornos...



...where buildings fit into the gaps between natural rock formations...



The views are stunning...



...and the roads narrow and cobbled...



Right - time to wave farewell to Hornos...



...we have a long way to go yet. I ride down the right side of the lake you can see from Hornos. It's a man made lake and the water level is low. Ultimately I arrive at the dam at its head...



Not too exciting, really...



I keep pressing along the valley...



Spot the dam?



The road surface is improved here...



...without too many potholes, but still with evidence of landslips - which clearly occur regularly...



This spectacular waterfall high to my right...



...fed straight into a culvert beneath the road...



It is turning into a glorious day - 70 F and hardly any breeze...



Huge bushes of cacti (prickly pear?), line the road for a while...



Time to get moving - I'm getting hungry...



I very briefly join the N322 again - and spot this old gent adorning the roadside...



Aside from being - obviously - what is generically known as a steam roller in the UK - can anyone shed any light as to how old it might be etc?



I am headed beyond that horizon - there's still a lot of cloud around those hills...



Where I am now, though - it's lovely...



I start climbing again, and the weather turns a little duller...



Time for lunch, then...

The special is:



...a good, sticky paella to start, followed by...



...calamari. Can't get much more Spanish than that!

Both dishes were piping hot and delicious. I forgo dessert and have a coffee instead - all for €9.

The light in the Gents toilet might not have passed Health & Safety...



Replete, I step out of the restaurant to find a steady drizzle falling. I get kitted up and set off...



I'm in the middle of hundreds of acres of olive groves now. They come up to the edge of the road and this is the kind of view I have for most of the next hour or so...



I stop at an overlook for this pic...



...which gives you some idea of the scale of the operation. The two irregularly shaped grey areas near the middle of the pic are arrays of solar panels...



This range of hills with its rocky crest straddled the landscape like a huge half buried stegosaurus...



The road still had a lot of fun in it, though...

I fill up again at 1600. I'm going to be joining the dual carriageway for the last push soon, and won't make it on my remaining fuel...



I notice mile after mile of irrigation duct on the left side of the road...



...and that the Adv has just rolled over 160k miles...



I join the dual carriageway towards Granada just as the rainfall starts to get heavy - good timing...



It looks like Hell on toast ahead, but the road always jinks away from the worst weather, just as I'm bracing for it...



I set my speed at 130kph and head towards Granada. Apart from a few hairy minutes when we descended through cloud, it was a good run, and Granada appeared out of the murk...



Interesting way to advise you to keep your distance...



In no time at all, I'm checking into the Hotel Sidorme...



...which has - as an added bonus for my €35 per night - secure underground parking

After dumping my gear in my room, I walk to the Carrefour supermarket next door to buy some dinner. I notice that Spanish ladies are being treated to the 'Shades of Grey' books...



I wander about, eventually buying some bread and ham.

How about some wine for €0.80?



I have no idea what this is...



...or these, for that matter...



I'm a bit concerned about the room they've put me in...



It has been a good day.

Where to tomorrow?

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