"All good things must come to an end"
Wed 9th Oct
Not much more of a tale to tell from me but wanted to conclude my ramblings.
After GFJ tried to drink his two carafes of wine back at our chalet we managed to salvage a couple of drops for the rest of us.
I forgot to write about the lady grape pickers in the back of pick ups waving to me as we drove by on the way back to the camp site
After a day out on the trails with myself in just her body armour Ela had developed a severe case of Vaffles on her arms. Once translated she had sun tan marks that looked like waffles due to the mesh on her armour.
We awoke and got ready for a relatively early off from the camp site packing the night before is always to be recommended.
On our way to Braganca we promptly headed to a wholesaler to stock on fine Portuguese wine, spirits and anything else that looked alcoholic. The vans sagging slightly we got separated as Possu was desperate for fuel but carried on our Northward journey.
Possu was stopped by the Spanish Traffic Police at a checkpoint over the border but after they saw me he saluted us and indicated we could go on our way. Possu promptly repaid the favour by nearly running him over.
We carried on along Spanish A Roads I was amazed by Ela's interest in the "Casa de putas" (Houses of ill repute) she was pointing them out to me while they were still in the far distance mind you I didn't have my contact lenses in.
As usual on a journey we chatted away Ela telling us she was glad that the van had manual window winders in case we went off the road into a lake. I was glad of her advice but asked Possu to simply keep all 4 wheels on tarmac.
We met up with the others at a petrol station for a spot of breakfast before heading off. We were slightly behind as Ela went shopping for a couple of hours in the service station shop!
After some good driving by Possu we arrived in Santander. Nice and early seeing a familiar van and trailer up in front.
We headed off for a coffee and all opted to do different things. We ambled around town and having kept ferrets as pets before I was interested in the shop.
WE bought some food and had a picnic on the quayside there were a few other bikes there and we watched the vehicles be unloaded.
Ela climbed onto her throne and we boarded the ferry.
I was very interested in the scantily clad magicians something I had never been too interested in before, not having my contact in I had to move forward to get a better look. A few pints and we headed for bed.
Up in the morning and we breakfasted on leftovers from last nights picnic.
It was a case of killing time until we got back into Plymouth. Ela had taught me a trick about pretending you had under arm hair when you find something funny, I was put in my place and told that it actually meant someone was tickling you there.
We said our goodbyes and headed back to the van to disembark. A pretty miserable day but we cleared customs and were on our way back to Oxford.
Having helped make my holiday Ela and Possu had no more jokes to share, so we carried on the A38 out of Plymouth.
Possu innocently said "Look at that orange British sports car is it a Stag ?"
I peered out on the side window and said "Spitfire!"
There is no truth in the rumour that it took us until Oxford to coax Ela out of the foot well.
Back to Oxford a quick van swap and back to my folks in Worcester ready for a trip to Poole for my sisters 40th was my next mission but that is another story.
Thanks for reading
Thanks to Ela and Possu for taking me and keeping me in check during the journey. I really enjoyed my days of riding with a Ela her sometimes different perspective on things adds another dimension to the group.
GFJ always the gentleman had his first full trip away I have sneaking suspicion he will be back.
Jimmy despite not being a committed trail rider Jimmy's mountain bike skills and fitness stood him in good stead. Oh and he was great craic in the bar as well.
The Oirish Seamus and Daithi always cheerful whatever the odds Daithi's enthusiasm was infectious, I know they will back on some trip somehwere although Daithi may opt for the ground floor after the lift incident.
Uncle Rick a shame his holiday was cut short I now been on quite a few trail riding holidays and he never lets you down, is always ready for a beer and will make sure the wine is OK before we toss it down our necks.
Finally Timpo the catalyst for this trip and of many for me.
I thank you all.
Before I sign off a few top tips from myself :
Do check your bike over change oil and filters, brake pads etc. its false economy not to replace stuff. New tyres that you know will get you through a trip are also worthwhile and save you losing riding time getting them replaced.
Its better to replace than to take loads of spare cables etc. a simple repair kit will suffice. Decent breakdown cover to get you back to the vans or home is a better bet.
Make sure you have ridden your bike with luggage before. It might look great parked outside Starbucks but can you handle it when the going gets tough.
You don't need a milling machine in one pannier and a lathe in the other zip ties will solve most problems and are far lighter.
It rains even in hot countries so make sure you take the appropriate clothing.
Try and interact with the locals you will get far more from your trip attempting to speak a bit of the Lingo when ordering things goes a long way.
If you do end up in private property or have hassle its often easier to apologise blame the sat nav (Thanks Loz) and get the fluck out of there works for me anyway.
You don't need a track line to follow, make your own up getting correct mapping on you sat nav and it opens up a whole new world of opportunities.
Not all people in Portugal smile as much as Paulo he is the exception but once you break the ice most are very accommodating and helpful.
Your on holiday so do what makes you happy and let everyone else do the same.