ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 11-03-2012, 01:41 PM   #16
Klay
dreaming adventurer
 
Klay's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2005
Location: right here on my thermarest
Oddometer: 98,316
Fascinating landscape.
Klay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2012, 01:58 PM   #17
MikeO OP
Wage slave...
 
MikeO's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
Oddometer: 6,657
Starling murmuration



Please mute the sound - lots of traffic noise. This is only 20 secs or so long - I really didn't have the right equipment for the job - but it was an awe-inspiring sight...

Mike
__________________
All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2014
MikeO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2012, 02:10 PM   #18
MikJogg
Weekend Adventurer
 
MikJogg's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Oberkirch/Blackforest/Germany
Oddometer: 662
Nice video,the starlings crossed my home 3 weeks ago on their flight to south,was great to look and hear at.

Great report,wish you best weather for the next days.

MJ
__________________
I don´t like mondays...


...and winter
MikJogg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2012, 02:15 PM   #19
MikeO OP
Wage slave...
 
MikeO's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
Oddometer: 6,657
Watch this professional video - outstanding...

__________________
All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2014
MikeO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2012, 01:16 AM   #20
MikeO OP
Wage slave...
 
MikeO's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
Oddometer: 6,657
4th November 2012

I awake after a sound night's sleep to a bright overcast morning...



A quick raid of the breakfast buffet...



...and then it's time to pack the bike.

More later...
__________________
All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2014
MikeO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2012, 01:00 AM   #21
X11-MAN
Adventurer
 
Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Fife , Scotland
Oddometer: 52
Thumb France

Great report / photos..thanks for sharing

Miss my time in France... superb country for bikes !!!

Will be back soon

Andrew
X11-MAN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2012, 10:15 AM   #22
MikeO OP
Wage slave...
 
MikeO's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
Oddometer: 6,657
4th November 2012 – Continued


The breakfast buffet was disappointing. Whereas the dining area was much more pleasant than yesterday’s, there was no hot food on offer (normally B&B supply scrambled eggs and ham). Never mind – I pack the bike and set off at the crack of ten o’clock.

It is Sunday, after all…



It’s a muggy, mild morning with a high overcast beginning to break up to the southwest - which is the direction I am heading today.



About ten minutes into the ride, I get my first view of the Mediterranean and pull over to the side of the road and take off my heated jacket. I hadn’t had it plugged in, and was wearing it more out of habit than anything else (I haven’t got a thermal liner in my jacket). But this morning it’s already 60° F and humid – so the liner is banished to the pannier. It feels good to be riding in lighter weight kit – if the cloud will just burn off, there is the making of a lovely day’s weather…

Bettie has directed me - again - down the old highway, which was here before the AutoRoute. To the right, beyond the vineyards...



...is the AutoRoute, whilst to the left...



...are the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse - high speed train) lines, then saltmarshes and the Mediterranean.

It's a pleasant, but unengaging ride - but probably a lot nicer than being back in the UK...



I keep the speed pretty close to the limit and saunter along, enjoying the warmth (and dryness)...



Bettie steers me through a number of small towns...



I stop at the roadside to get a better look at the horizon...



...where the Pyrenees, swathed in cloud, are coming into view.

The temperature is slowly climbing through the mid-sixties and - quite suddenly - a large proportion of the cloud burns off and the day starts to realise its potential...



It's glorious. I can feel the sun hot on my face and all's well with the world...



Time to tackle the Pyrenees, I think...



I come across this road sign. I have no idea what it restricts (unless it means no car bombs or cars that are on fire - the numbers of which, I would think, would be unlikely to be greatly reduced by the posting of a sign). Anyone?



There's a bustling Sunday market...



...but it doesn't hold me up for long...



They have very stylish streetlights.



I start climbing. Traffic is fairly heavy and generally slow moving...



The AutoRoute is elevated way above us...



Ultimately, the traffic comes to a virtual halt, as we enter the border town of Le Perthus...



Border towns the world over have the same feel - a bit seedy and scruffy. We've passed several stores at the roadside offering stuff for sale that is more expensive the other side of the border - this will undoubtedly be mirrored on the Spanish side...



La Perthus is heaving, though - business is good...



Like most European borders, the posts are unmanned...



I notice my phone - plugged into its new cable in the map pocket of my tank bag - isn't charging. I check it and find that the new cable has failed...

There are trucks parked everywhere for the next few miles. Like all other border towns, the local economy adapts to exploit its transitory customers...



I wander what train of circumstances led to these girls plying their trade in a (deserted) rest area this Sunday morning? They were at least more subtle than the last truck stop, where one of the girls was just wearing underwear...



I am approaching Figueres, birthplace of Salvador Dali. I spent a few days with Jorge & Sheila (ADVrider’s Rubber Cow & Rubber Frau) here a few years back. I turn off and ride trough the town, but can't seem to find the main square...



I re-join the highway and continue to press southwest...



I notice some movement behind the grill on this trailer - he has three small dogs in there...

One thing I have noticed in France and now in Spain - Sunday is definitely not a business day. In the UK it's almost the same as a weekday (but with slightly shorter opening hours), but here I pass through huge lines of retail warehouses, all shut.

Unfortunately, all the restaurants are shut too...

I am contemplating doing the unthinkable - going to MacDonalds - when I spot a cafe open for business...



I am served with a delicious pizza...



Whilst I wait for it to arrive I notice that it's not just the Brits who seem besotted with the British Royal family...



I am also forced to have this...



...which tastes better than it looks. And it looks pretty good...



...I spend a few minutes contemplating life, the universe and my expanding girth, before someone lighting a cigarette at the next table spurs me into getting kitted back up and making tracks.

The thermometer on my bike reads just over 80° F, although it's in full sun. It is warm though - in the low 70s I'd think...



For several miles, I ride through a series of retail parks, industrial zooms and town centres - they all merge together...



Traffic is heavy and road users are not paying as much attention as they might...



...so I have to keep my wits about me. No easy thing when you're digesting a large lunch. Perhaps that's why they invented the siesta...



Eventually I'm on a (slightly) more open road and looking with concern at the build-up of cloud ahead. I chose today's route specifically because there was no forecast precipitation...



Autumn colours are everywhere - beautiful...



Onwards!



I get routed through a couple more town centres, some of which have some interesting architecture...

I fill up at 1415. The guy behind the counter had to swipe my card twice, as the first time he couldn't get a connection. When this has happened in the UK, I'm generally given a slip showing the transaction was void - not so here. I ask and he suddenly doesn't understand English nearly so well. I think it's legit, though...



Random Dali-sequel sculpture on roundabouts...



There were lots of stands of these trees (birch?) - so many that they must be grown as a crop - any idea what this timber might be used for?



You didn't think you were going to get away without a picture of a bridge today, did you?



They have speed cameras here too, although these all seem to be signed. They look like this...



Pretty soon I'm entering the northeastern extremes of Barcelona, passing more deserted retail areas. Bettie directs me to...



...the Sidorme Hotel, which I booked online last night. It's a chain that's a partner of B&B and similarly offers free Wi-Fi and good rates. For my €40.50 I get a double room...



...with view of my bike...



...breakfast, Wi-Fi and free tea and coffee. The latter is from a machine and I will not be revisiting it...

As I unload the bike, a few spots of rain start to fall...
__________________
All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2014
MikeO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2012, 10:40 AM   #23
acejones
Beastly Adventurer
 
acejones's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2005
Location: MS. Gulf Coast
Oddometer: 4,719
Excellent. I'm enjoying the ride.
__________________
I got tired of being here, so now I'm there
acejones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2012, 12:25 PM   #24
FLARider1
Beastly Adventurer
 
FLARider1's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Homestead, Florida
Oddometer: 1,202
very nice.........looking forward to the next installment!!!! My wife spent a month in Paris last summer, had a blast and is now buggin me to go back with her, maybe I will, and find a bike to explore with while she does her art thing!!!!!!!!
FLARider1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2012, 01:14 PM   #25
Rubber Cow
GS Dork
 
Rubber Cow's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Aloha... yes, Aloha, Oregon
Oddometer: 5,335
Awesome!
Benvinguts!!!

Suggestions - set Betty to find Teruel, Cuenca, Alarcon...if you're headed into Castille proper, then Segovia and Toledo.
If you're trying to follow the sun then head to Cordoba and Granada, Malaga, Torremolinos, etc
If you're trying to follow a more gastronomical path then head up to Galicia- Vigo, Santiago, Bilbao and the Basque Country- you might find more rain however......the views and food might make it worthwhile...and, you can hit the Bordeaux region on your way back home! You could, of course, just as easily hop a ferry to Africa...
The Paradores Nacionales might be running off-season specials that may make staying in a castle more affordable and, although they might not have WiFi, they do specialize in the the regional cuisine of the area.
__________________
"He had that rare weird electricity about him--that extremely wild and heavy presence that you only see in a person who has abandoned all hope of ever behaving"normally"."
HST-RIP

"Woof, woof woof woof ...woof woof!!!!!!!!!"
Cricket the Dog-RIP

Rubber Cow screwed with this post 11-04-2012 at 04:45 PM
Rubber Cow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2012, 02:05 PM   #26
Schlug
JockeyfullofBourbon
 
Schlug's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: put something on and stay in that position.
Oddometer: 7,185
Sauf Livraisons simply means "Except Deliveries"

That sign should mean "no trucks, aside from deliveries" but I have no idea why it would be portrayed on fire.


Quite enjoying your ride. Keep it coming.

And next time you see an Eckefrau in her underthings only we expect a photo, not just a description.
__________________
"So what makes this protest different is that you're set to die, Bobby?"
--May well come to that.
"You start a hunger strike to protest for what you believe in. You don't start already determined to die or am I missing somethin' here?"
-- It's in their hands. Our message is clear. They're seeing our determination.
Schlug is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2012, 02:29 PM   #27
MikeO OP
Wage slave...
 
MikeO's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
Oddometer: 6,657
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobbySands View Post
Sauf Livraisons simply means "Except Deliveries"

That sign should mean "no trucks, aside from deliveries" but I have no idea why it would be portrayed on fire.
Thanks - from UKGSer:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler View Post

...and the exploding car sign means no flamable materials.
__________________
All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2014
MikeO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2012, 03:00 PM   #28
MikeO OP
Wage slave...
 
MikeO's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
Oddometer: 6,657
5th November 2012

I sleep well and I’m loading the bike at about 0800 on a bright and sunny day...



Whatever rain fell overnight has long gone and I’m looking forward to today‘s ride. I make a last trip to my room, in Schindler's Lift...



Before returning to have breakfast...



It's an excellent spread, including a suspicious looking sausage...



...which I decide to avoid. I snaffle some food for lunch, then say adios and head for the bike.

It's now just before 0900 on a Monday morning. I am caught in a seemingly interminable series of back roads, trying to get back to the ring road - local Spanish yummy mummies doing the school run. It's chaos...

I eventually get onto the ring road and discover that the hotel I stayed at is, in fact, 10 km north of Barcelona, so I slowly wend my way through the city centre. Still, it's 60° F already, the sun is shining - what's the problem?



Quite suddenly, all six lanes are stopped at a red light. I think to begin with that it's to allow traffic to merge from the tunnel emerging to my left, but no traffic emerges until all the lights turn green again. It wasn't a junction and this was not a pedestrian area. I guess I must have missed something...



Bettie sends me on the diagonal across town, which is occasionally clear, and occasionally snarled completely...



As ever, the main threat opt everyone's safety is the low flying scooters, which appear in their hundreds...



...being ridden as if there's no tomorrow. Which will eventually prove to be true for some of them.

Barcelona is famous for its art (particularly the ceramic art of Antoni Gaudi) and architecture. You're not going to see any.

Well, maybe one bit...



OK, so this isn’t an Antoni Gaudi creation. This sculpture, named “Woman and Bird” was created by Joan Miro, another (a bit less) famous Spanish artist, who I suspect was at least a bit inspired by Antoni Gaudi. It's the only thing I saw during the hour it took me to cross Barcelona...



Bettie eventually spits me out onto a large dual carriageway heading southwest down the Mediterranean coast. The hotel on the right had a huge domed terrarium on its roof - reminded me of Silent Running...



Pretty soon I turn off the motorway and get onto the coast road. It does not disappoint...



The air is clear and the view up the bay, with its waves breaking, is beautiful. A hundred yachts roll gently in the swell in the marina. It's 70° F now and it's difficult to envisage better weather to be on a motorcycle in this part of the world...



To begin with, I'm stuck behind some traffic. There's no visibility for a safe overtake here, even if there wasn't a solid line in the middle of the road, so I just take my time and enjoy the view...



Back in Norfolk they'll be building bonfires for our annual burning of anti government effigies.

Think I'd rather be here, on balance...

I have a bit of a headache and stop at a pharmacy to buy some paracetemol (Tylenol, for my readers in the USA). I'm rather impressed by the dispensary, demonstrated to me by the very pleasant Vanessa...



All medications are kept behind the glass wall you can see behind Vanessa. She types a code into the computer and the drug is retrieved mechanically and drops down the spiral chute you can see. Vanessa explains (I think I have this right) that prescriptions have a code which needs to be entered before any controlled drug can be dispensed - this makes falsifying prescriptions much more difficult. Vanessa kindly gives me a glass of water and I take a tablet there and then.

I also note that they have a 24hr-automated service...



...although understandably, there are restrictions on what is available.



Onward!

I've set myself quite an optimistic target for today - Albacete. Bettie's route is a bit longer - over 600 km - than I had originally envisaged (she is keeping me off toll roads). I stop for fuel, opposite an unfeasibly tall chimney and check to see if they have an iPhone charging cable - they don't...



I contemplate my ETA - 1750 without stops. It's too late. By the time I've stopped for fuel (and I'm going to be using a three stop strategy today) and lunch, I'll be riding the last hour and a half in the dark...



I carry on and decide that I'll cut a corner when it seems right...



Never seen a footbridge with a wheelchair access lift before...



Bettie's route keeps me on the coastal road - through Tarragona...



...which has a great piece of statuary in the main square.

Eventually Bettie steers me to a junction where the road is completely closed and no diversion signed. I decide that this is the time to cut the corner and get some time off my ETA. I recalculate the route allowing the use of toll roads and - as if by magic - two hours are shaved from the route. I will now be arriving at about 1630 (plus stops)- that sounds more like it.

I get on the toll road...



...and set the speed at about 130kph.

The motorway is virtually empty. I criss-cross the old road, which is thick with traffic - clearly avoiding the cost of tolls.



From a government's point of view it's a fine balance, isn't it? Ideally the tolls should just be at the level that makes them a good choice. Pitch them too low and the everyone will be on the tolls and choke it up. Pitch it too high (as I think they may have here) and you have choked standard roads and underused tolls (and a subsequent drop in revenue). Of course, the current rate might not have appeared too high before the recession hit home…

Anyway, for today, they are the ideal option for me. I make great time heading for Valencia...



Are these olives? If so, I stop by an olive grove for a spot of lunch...



...courtesy of the Hotel Sidorme's breakfast buffet.



I have two small ham, cheese and tomato rolls and an apple. I also drink a litre of water (which I bought whilst refuelling). I'm usually fanatical about keeping hydrated, but have not brought my CamelBak with me (D'Oh!) - I'm clearly in winter riding mode. I'll just keep stopping and drinking.

Back on the road and it's glorious - 80° F and sunny - a few mare's tales of cirrus in otherwise unbroken blue...



The world moves past at 130kph - occasionally there will be a hilltop fort or something to look at...



...and everywhere there are vineyards and olive groves...



Ooh look - a Lego bridge...



Be serious - how thirsty would you have to be?



Another fuel stop - they don't have a cable for my iPhone either. Sod it - I'll listen to music anyway - it can run flat...

I ride off to the sound of the Killers and crank the speed back up to 130kph...



I eventually come to the tollbooths - €22.35 Ouch! No wonder the bloody roads are empty...

I then head inland along further soulless dual carriageways...



...have a final fuel stop and then spot this old gentleman rusting away on a garage forecourt...



Can anyone identify the make, model and year for me?

And then, at Requena, I am directed onto the N322, which has just been rebuilt and resurfaced.

What a road!



There are long straights, followed by mile after mile of beautiful sweeping bends. There is NO traffic - I think I overtake a total of four cars in the 100km I ride - and the road surface is perfect...



...I'm also feeling ready for a fast ride and have one of those (increasingly rare) rides where I seem to be able to get everything right (in a complete contrast to my normal riding, as anyone who has accompanied me will vouch )...



...it's helped by being as good a piece of road as I've ever ridden and the complete lack of traffic makes it a slightly surreal experience...



Eventually I slow down as I approach Albacete just before 1700. After a quick ride around town...



...I ride through the Lego quarter...



...and soon find my hotel...



Where I check in to my very modern and pleasant room...



...with its outstanding shower...



...before riding down to the local shopping mall...



...and walking up their sloping escalator to do some shopping. I buy an iPhone USB lead for €5, some fruit and something for dinner. They have some impressive looking hams on display...



...I can remember seeing ones like this curing on stands by the roadside back in 2003 when I went to Gibraltar with Boxertools (RIP) and Bilks...



Back at the hotel I find that the Wi-Fi upload speed is pretty slow, so I read my current book (Bomb Hunters by Sean Rayment - recommended) whilst I wait for SmugMug to do its stuff.

I have no idea where I'm going tomorrow...

__________________
All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2014
MikeO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2012, 03:43 PM   #29
GiorgioXT
Beastly Adventurer
 
GiorgioXT's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2003
Oddometer: 1,348
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeO View Post
...have a final fuel stop and then spot this old gentleman rusting away on a garage forecourt...



Can anyone identify the make, model and year for me?

Opel Rekord 1960/62 probabily

__________________
Giorgio Betteto "GiorgioXT" - Padova - Tai di Cadore -Italia
DRZ400 S '03 XT600 '90 XT550 '82 XT500 '81 - giorgioxt@email.it - www.polverosi.org - EchM#645
"se sei incerto tieni APERTO !
GiorgioXT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2012, 11:53 PM   #30
MikeO OP
Wage slave...
 
MikeO's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
Oddometer: 6,657
Quote:
Originally Posted by GiorgioXT View Post
Opel Rekord 1960/62 probabily



1960 Opel Rekord P2
__________________
All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2014
MikeO is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 05:02 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014