Well, I'm fairly new here to the forum and while I don't off-road travel so much I was really drawn to all the beautiful photos and great stories here. I was very fortunate to take a trip to Tenerife this year and was able to rent a bike for a day. For those of you who do not know Tenerife is one of the Canary islands off the west coast of Africa and it is part of Spain. *It is beautiful there and very diverse from black sand beaches and palm trees along the perimeter and then as you go up the mountain there are a mix of trees turning into mostly pine until the very top just below the volcano El Teide where it is a surreal barren rocky surface. *The weather is just as diverse with the sunny shores of the south island to the rainy and cloudy northern side. *It can be 72 degrees at the shore and below freezing at the top of the mountain, all within an hours ride.
Before I get to the photos I have to discuss the roads. *For the most part they are in terrific shape with rare instances of filled potholes and debris. *The roads are incredibly twisty with the exception of the expressway and a few places atop the island near the volcano. *They are narrow though and in some cases only wide enough for two small cars to pass through with very little room for error. *Thank goodness most of the cars are tiny. *The roads also don't have shoulders for the most part, it's usually a rocky wall on one side and a guard rail or in some cases nothing and a precipitous drop on the other. *Thankfully there are pull outs along the way to let faster traffic move through or to stop and take some photos.
Start my trip on the sunny southern coast with warm weather, sea breeze and gently swaying palm trees.
My FZ6 rental. *Cost about 18 Euros to fill the tank. *It was almost empty and the tank holds about 5 gallons or 20 liters. *It lasted the entire day but I didn't track how many miles I travelled, my guess is the mpg isn't very good.
Overlooking the town of Vilaflor. *It is about a half hour up the mountain from the coast. *The weather starts warming again as you approach.
A door in Vilaflor!
Stumbled upon a local parade. *All were encouraged to march with the group including myself. *I followed for some time but had no idea what all the excitement was about. *There were no floats just an array of costumed townspeople from the very young to adults. *It was followed by a van that was blatting out music from a roof mounted PA system. *I was told later that this was the remnants of the Carnaval festival that had ended as we arrived to the island.
One last view of Vilaflor. *Note the clouds, the weather at the coast is probably in the 70's. *In the cloud as you ascend it gets very cold and when you are on the north end usually some precipitation. *Once you break through the clouds it warms up again, that day it was in the low 60's as long as you are in sunlight.
This is a combined photo. *The bike did not move I just shot the road from in front and behind, trying to illustrate the twisty nature of the roads.
Still climbing the road to El Teide, the volcano mountain peak.
Look at the dark volcanic soil. *The forest was just starting to thin out as I was reaching the plateau.
Once you get to the top it looks like an alien world.
There is still variety in the landscape and some amazing rock formations.
The highest point on the island is just over 12,000 feet. *The roads won't take you to the peak, a cable car is needed for the last part of the journey.
The pink church, highest in the land resting at 7,700 feet above sea level.
Passing the mountain and heading to the north side of the island, sandy with rocks scattered about unlike the very rocky southern section of the mountain plateau.
Overlooking the clouds for the first time. *I had no idea how cold and wet it was going to get as I was heading down the northern slopes.
Standing above the clouds. *A nice German couple took my photo. *Made fun of me as I ran my hands over my head to fluff up what little hair I had left, I thought it might be mushed down from the helmet.
My last moments in the sun for quite some time.
Looking back at El Teide one more time before my descent.
I was about to head down the mountain and into the clouds. *I chose this route based upon the map. *While twisty it seemed far less tight with more straights than my other options.
The ride down was cold and foggy/cloudy. *There were times when I couldn't see more than ten feet in front of me. *Then the stinging ice crystals and sharp rain drops attacked me. *Even with the discomfort it was beautiful. *I stopped along the way hopping the I could photo the fog and clouds rolling off the side of the cliffs and over the road. *The camera did an okay job capturing the scene but it was much more dramatic to the naked eye.
Along the other side I visited the coastal town of Candelaria. *Stepped inside this beautiful church.
Outside the church along the sea wall is a row of eight statues. *They represent the original inhabitants of the Canary Islands.
On my way to find something to eat I ran across this dog and cat show. *I don't know if any of you remember the old Warner Bros cartoon where the new puppy constantly sneaks up on the cat and barks and barks to frighten the cat. *This was the live performance of that very cartoon. *The dog looked to be having so much fun and the poor cat couldn't wait for him to go away.
I had octopus with potatoes.
And small fried fish. *Never know what you are going to get when you can't quite read the menu. *You eat the fish head and all.
Near the church in Icod De Los Vinos.
In the coastal town of Garachino is the Castillo de San Miguel. *Constructed in 1575 as a fortress.
I went back up the mountain afterwards, there are four main roads so I did a convoluted figure eight across the island. *The way back up was even colder than the way down. *I was completely uncomfortable and wanted nothing more than to break into the sunlight once again. *While there were some gorgeous views I simply wanted to press on and get out of the cloud bank.
I stopped at a restaurant near El Teide and had a bowl of chicken soup to warm me up. *So glad to be back in the sunlight.
The incredibly winding roads near Masca.
The village of Masca built along the cliff walls. *Later that week my wife and I would take a four hour hike from the village down to the sea.
More of the bluffs near Masca.
The sun was starting to set on my adventure.
After I returned my bike I was greeted to a beautiful sunset.
Tenerife is a beautiful place with gracious people, delicious food and diverse landscape. *Most people speak English as it is a popular destination for UK travelers as well as other European visitors. *It isn't horribly expensive, prices for food and services are slightly more than the US but not out of line. *A great place to rent a bike and explore!