I left Merida just before noon and took N-435 towards Huelva. I'd read on www.bestbikingroads.com
(you guys know about that site, right?) some of the comments on this road and they are mixed, which is about right. I found very little construction, and long sweeping curves with nice scenery, but also more than a few big trucks, and the pavement is such that you end up choosing or modifying your line through the curves based on pavement conditions.
The spots on the these pictures are bugs on the lens and dust on the sensor. I ordered a new camera a couple weeks ago but it didn't arrive in time for the trip. My wife is bringing it today so i took the chance of hanging the old one outside the fairing to see how it worked. Bugs on your lens are hard to clean off!
There are stretches, often the most interesting parts, where there aren't many places to get around slower traffic. Also a few speed cameras, but unlike France, here they seem to be well marked. It's almost like they say "Speed Camera 200 meters" the way they did in the UK when I lived there.
By the time you get to the coast near Huelva, it's not a great place. Reminds me of parts of the gulf coast in Louisiana.
And parts of it stink. You know, one of the cool things about riding anywhere is how much more you notice smells than in a car. Some are not so great, like this, but a lot of things are in bloom here in Spain this time of year, and the smells are fabulous! In downtown Huelva I turned a corner onto a street lined with orange trees in blossom, and the sweet smell of it nearly stopped me in my tracks. WOW!
I went to Huelva because from this relatively unknown port, Christopher Columbus and his crew set out on their first voyage to the New World. I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, the largest city named for him, and it seemed I should stop by. There's a statue for him on the harbor, although it doesn't look much like the one in front of city hall in Columbus, Ohio!
I like this one better. Sorry, Dad.
Then around to Sanlucar, just 25 minutes from where I'm meeting my wife and some friends who are flying in for a week of vacation. Flying... how boring!
Sanlucar is nice once you get inside, both the town and the buildings. But neither really present all that well at first. I'm staying at a great little hotel called the Alconda, only 5 rooms. The owner Manuel lives in one building, then there's a great courtyard and the buildings with the guest rooms.
Like many buildings in this area, the outside isn't a priority, the inside is the nice part. I know this is common in some parts of the world, perhaps even more so in Morocco? I like it.
There's that darn hot dog again!
I did NOT eat hot dogs. Ate at a great place right in the town square that Manuel said was the best.
You can't really tell in the picture, but the langostines are about the size of a hot dog! We did a lot of point and shrug ordering, the bar man and I not sharing many words we both knew, but it got the job done. He was super friendly, even wrote the price of the langostines on the bar in chalk to make sure I wanted them. 18.50 for four! Yeah, OK, just this once... Then I had these little sausage balls that were called something like Jabugojones. No not cajones, they came in a long string, like sausages. Jabugo is a major ham producing town that I rode through on the N-435 but didn't have time to stop. I don't know if these are related, but they were good. The bar guys are flying around all night with food and drink, writing down who owes what on a pad of paper with each table's prices in a box, no number or name. How they don't get it mixed up all the time I don't know. In fact they did try to give me someone else's fish fillets.. By the time I was done I was looking at the pad trying to add up my total so when he came back I would have the money ready, and it was 33 and some change, but the bar man said it was 28.
No idea why, maybe he felt bad a bout the 18.50 surprise?
On the way back to the hotel I walked by this place.
I remember going to a hobby shop out on the west side of Columbus a a kid with my dad, being fascinated by the slot cars. It's long gone, but it's cool to know these still exist somewhere.
So today I'll ride half an hour over to a place I'm leaving my bike, park it for a week, and enjoy some vacation time with my wife. Maybe I'll take a closer look at that little piece of metal in the back tire this morning, too,
in case I need to do something there before Morocco.
Six and a half days, and the GPS says a moving time of just over 48 hours and about 3600 kilometeres (that's 2240 miles for the Americans), estimating in the two times I was riding without the GPS turned on. With a Corbin seat, Alaska butt pad, and bar risers, the V-strom suits me pretty well.
Be back in a week!