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Old 12-31-2012, 09:46 PM   #346
Blader54
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Happy New Year! Looking forward to more great rides in 2013!
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:08 PM   #347
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Happy New Year! Looking forward to more great rides in 2013!
Thanks, I will try my best to keep riding and posting the good stuff!





"Travel is at its most awarding when it ceases to be about your reaching a destination and becomes indistinguishable from living your life." -Paul Theroux



I woke up in Granada the next day and of course the bike was doing just fine, didnt even looked like anyone had touched it or tried to get the box open or anything. Pretty good for a saturday night in a big city. I had made friends with a few people at the hostel and before I new it I was a bit drunk, well really drunk actually, and it was 4am or so before I got to sleep. So much for getting an early start the next day. I sat around the hostel till noon or so, drinking coffee and hanging out and then decided it was time to move.

I had so much fun in the Sierra Nevadas on the southern side "las alpujarras" that I decided to continue the loop and see what they looked like on the Northern side. I used the internet to figure out how to get out of the city and to my surprise I found my way quickly and easily down an old cobblestone street through some nice neighborhoods and then right out of town. Even better was that it dropped me right on the highway I was looking for, a nice curvy two laner.

I caught up to a V-strom and kept up with him for a while in the curves until he noticed me in his mirror and on a straight away twisted the throttle, leaving me in the dust. The 250 is a blast on these small highways but it shows its limits in times like this. Oh well, I passed a big dresser cruiser bike shortly after and left HIM in the dust this time. Ok ego back to where it should be I pressed on. It was cold and there was patches of ice in places and heavy frost on the sections that hadnt seen any sun yet so I was going a bit more slowly as I climbed into the hills. At one point I missed calculated a curve and came in a little hot, the bike started to slide ever so slightly and I panicked, but didnt hit the brakes, I remained calm and made a quick decision. It was stupid but it was all I could really do at that point. Just as the bike started to slip I could see a large van coming the other way so rather than keep the bike leaned over, and risk sliding under the van I brought the bike upright and made a b-line for the left shoulder. Actually I had plenty of room and was in the narrow left shoulder (my left) before the van got to close but of course that kind of careless shit pissed the guy off and he swerved, hit the brakes and honked like mad. Nothing bad happened, I thought for a minute he was going to get out and ask me what the hell I was doing. I would have apologized profusely but he didnt get out, I rode off with my tail between my legs feeling like I had just done one of the dumbest things I had ever done on a bike. My ego deflated.

Could have been worse.

Then I saw a good looking lake.




I continued into the hills but started noticing that everything was flattening out. I passed through some wooded sections that put me into a nostalgic bliss. I began to wonder if my dad was riding much back home. With the right gear a good winter ride can be quite pleasant as long as its not raining too hard. The fall colors of the NW are something I miss but I was getting my dose. The nice thing is, I was just hours from the Mediterranean coast in case I got too cold.





The air was not getting any warmer so I stopped for a coffee and some toast. I order the usual "cafe solo y tostada con tomate" black espresso and toasted baguette with crushed tomato, often fresh, mixed with a little salt, pepper and garlic. Drench the toast with Spanish olive oil and then cover it with this delicious mix, wash it down with some good strong black stuff and your off. Most small town cafes, at least in the South, will only charge you 2€ for the whole thing with the coffee and while its not super filling its a great breakfast and its perfect while your on the bike, wont make you sleepy. Healthy too.

Smoke rising out of the chimneys, adding to the winter nostalgia.





I have been amazed so far how interesting the roads are in Spain. Without even trying I have found awesome roads with perfect scenery. On the map I bought the roads highlighted in green are the scenic ones and so far they have all been great. You dont have to traverse Spain to see a lot, you could just choose a region you like and do loops and zig zags on the green highlighted roads. Thats my advice.



The view from the North side of the Sierra Nevadas, at this point I hit a lot of highways that were straight, very straight which gave me lots of oppurtunity to open the throttle and see what the 250 would give me while looking around to see the sights. Straight ahead here is the entrance to one of the few ski areas in Spain.




At this point in my trip, if I can still call it that, I have noticed a few changes in my world view. Its funny to cross borders, meet people and understand more about being human. Sometimes we are so convinced that being born in one place or another makes such a big difference but in the end all these imaginary lines splitting up the world seem a little silly, or at least they take on less meaning in some way. Traveling is good for us I am sure of that.

Europe is an interesting place to be after a trip through Latin America to get still another view back at my homeland.

I hate telling people I am from the US. I am in no way ashamed of it and I love talking about where I am from but the very first questions I get after I say "I'm from the US" are the toughest ones. "What part?" I cant say the Washington because everyone assumes DC. I try to say the North West which I am proud to be from and which is a very distinct region but 99% of the time I get blank stares and confusion. "You know, all the way to the North, on the border with Canada and all the way to the West" I say.

For reasons I will never understand no one seems to get this and they insist on knowing what state. Even saying "Washington STATE" is usually followed by a "oh Washington DC, yeah I have a buddy in New York." I hate this because I have never been to the East coast and I dont know anything about it. What they are really asking is "Where do you live in relation to Texas, California and New York?"

So, all in good fun I leave you with this picture which pokes a bit of fun at us all.


PorLaTierra screwed with this post 05-31-2013 at 02:35 AM
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:18 AM   #348
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Im back from the holidays and back in the saddle. I also have my camera back.

Ive been hitting more and more dirt roads on the SR and Im loving it. Over the winter holidays I was lucky enough to spend some time in Munich, Germany. Not with the bike of course but since I went to the BMW museum I thought I would share a few pictures before I get back to the Southern Spain riding. I dont want to stray to far from the RR but hey, this is motorcycle related. I would have loved to go back the US for Christmas, its been since March 6th 2012 since I left home but it wouldnt make sense to spend all the money ive made in Spain on a plane ticket home and back. Not that it wouldnt have been worth it, but you have to make choices some times. Anyways, part of this post is to share some old BMW pictures with my dad, who follows this blog.

The BMW museum in Munich is amazing, I highly recommend it. Its also super modern and well laid out so even if you dont give a damn about cars and bikes you might still enjoy it.

I spent christmas in France with my girlfriends family, did pretty good with French. Total immersion is the way to learn a language thats for sure. Actually her grandpa speaks pretty good Spanish, even though its been about 60 years since he studied it. Snapped this one in Sarzeau:



Ok so on to Munich, Bavaria is cold, Bavaria is beautiful and Munich is super modern, very busy, very different from Spain. We stayed with my gf's cousins and drank delicious beer. I found an awesome subway stop with very cool lighting and stuck around for a few minutes while I re-aquainted myself with my long lost Fuji X10.


German beer, by the purity law of 1516, has only 3 ingredients and no additives or other stuff that gives you headaches. I believe it was the worlds first food law. I found myself drinking everyday and never felt hungover. German beer is fantastic, and dirt cheap. The cheap stuff, which is still very good, is about 6€ for a case.

The first thing you see in the BMW museum is a room with golfball size metal balls suspended by what looked like fishing line, or something similar, all being pulled up and down to form the outline of BMW cars through the ages.


Like an idiot I didnt take pictures of the descriptions so I forget if this was the first BMW production bike or what, but it was definitely one of the first. Dig that stick shift!


And a good old early single:


And some more highlights:



Dakar


Unfortunately they let kids into this place to wipe their greasy snotty hands all over the musuem artifacts. There are many signs in multiple languages in every room saying DO NOT TOUCH but I guess people will be people all over the world. Cant fight it, might as well accept it.

Yeah thats definitely not allowed:


Just above that girls head you can see a shiny yellow F650


Dad, I thought you might like this one.


Whoa, this is a monster, with a Yamaha gas tank.







And back in Spain its warm and sunny as usual.

Ok so like I said, dirt roads. This is Bolnuevo, where the tarmac ends if you try to hug the coast.


Bolnuevo's claim to fame, the sandstone sculptures. Bolnuevo is like a miniature Cabo de Gata in that there are no big resorts or high rises and the road along the beach to the next "town" is not paved.



and the good stuff:


Spain's south is dry, but that doesnt mean there is no green. The rolling hills of the Sierra de las Moreras rises up to my right as I bounce along the coast.


The road out of Bolnuevo is a bit surreal.






I came up on what looked like a little abandoned town but on further inspection it was only about 4-5 houses. One in particular stood out.


It was called "Villa Garcia" and had a long impressive, yet unpaved driveway.


Looking back the other way, from the house towards the ocean gives you a little bit of an idea of the surrounding scenery. What year is it again? I love places like this. I felt like I had stepped into the page of novel, maybe a bit of John Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat mixed with Don Quixote.






Leaving the Villa behind me I curved along the coast a while until, to my surprise I ran into Pascual, a German guy who is living with his girlfriend Nancy in Bolnuevo. I had met them a while back at Luis' farm in Almeria. They farm in Germany and then when the ground freezes over they spend the winter in Spain working on Luis' farm in exchange for food and a room. They needed a break from farm work and decided to come to Bolnuevo. They had learned as I had that in the winter, this section of the coast is empty and you can pretty much name your price for an apartment. (Side note, Pascual told me where you can find Spanish beer that follows the "ley de pureza" or the german purity law, in the "dia" supermarkets they have one called "diabrau.") note taken my friend, enjoy the view.


After the sandstone cliffs and abandoned houses the road leads down to the beach and sets you into a sort of marshy area with cattails on all sides and dry riverbed crossings that I love. Im getting better at sand riding too.


I passed a few caravan cities full of lobster colored northern europeans and brits who migrate like the birds every winter. They are easily spotted, the socks in sandals look is a dead giveaway, and the fact that they are the only ones on the beach in January.

I continued past a small hamlet called Calnegre and continued on a dirt road to some more coves and some excellent scenery. The ground and the rocks changed from the usual light brown sandstone color to a dark black.



PorLaTierra screwed with this post 05-31-2013 at 07:39 AM
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:56 AM   #349
Blader54
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Laugh Welcome back!

Hey Ryan, nice to see you back from the holidays! Glad to hear things went well in France and you got to hit the BMDub musee. This ride you just did looks great....I've made a note that winter is the time to see Spain w/o the tourist hordes and probably with a lot less cage traffic, too. You've really discovered some nice places....a friend from Barcelona was very impressed with that bridge you captured in Ronda (?),,,,I think it's now on his list to check out. Wishing you some great rides in '13 and thanks for taking us along!
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:29 AM   #350
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Looking forward to what's coming!
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:56 PM   #351
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Just went through all 24 pages, so jealous! I grew up in Oak Harbor and can relate about the weather!
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:25 PM   #352
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Thanks Ryan

Ryan: I just caught up on your RR's. Thanks. I lived in Germany from 1996-1999. After Christmas in 1998 my wife and I and three girls caught a flight to Rota, Spain and spent a week exploring Andalucia. Your reports reminded me that we need to return, sooner rather than later. Keep up the good work. pj
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:09 PM   #353
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Wow!...you took me from the NW where I live--you know, near Washington, DC--on a BMW and I thought, cool, Brazil, and then you end up in Spain on a Yamaha. . I went from riding an HD 1200 Sportster last summer in Portland to a brand new Honda CGL-125 in Costa Rica. Life's funny sometimes.

I laughed for a minute straight at this!

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Old 01-22-2013, 12:36 AM   #354
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I have been following your ride report for the last few days, finally caught up. I live in the northwest, and can relate to trying to explain where Victoria, on Vancouver Island is!
When I split up from my ex wife in 1998, I decided it was time to buy motorcycle, so I did lots of research, and bought a brand new 1999 BMW F650. It changed my life! I sold it several years later, and have had a few other bikes since then, but I have very fond memories of the trips I took on that bike. If I had time off, and money in the bank, I would be tempted to buy your old bike in SA.
Just wanted to say, I am loving your pictures, and your updates. I visited Spain and Portugal in 1985, when I was your age. We drove all over the southern parts, some of your pics bring back memories of places I had visited.
Looks like you picked a good little bike for exploring the country.
Keep up the great work. and keep those great pictures coming!
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:54 PM   #355
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you da Man

24 pages in 2 days and lovin' it, also signed up to your web-site.

I'm from the NW too, NW Lake Ontario...
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:33 AM   #356
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Hey thanks guys for all the responses/support. Roadcapden, I've got you on the email list for my photoblog, hopefully updating this week.

I think that the title "Bellingham..." is catching the eye of a few folks from my part of the world!

Ive been busy lately trying to get my EU license which is actually really fun but also frustrating. I think it will make me a better rider. Some of the regulations here are very smart, and others are just plain stupid. I have to memorize details like "How long does a child have to be before he/she is allowed to ride in a car (an old one) that does not come equipped with seat belts?" I asked the instructor how the hell Im supposed to measure a kid before he gets in the car, she said "YOU DONT KNOW BECAUSE YOUR NOT A FATHER!" True, what I didnt know is that social services will take the kid from you if they are to small and riding in a car with no seatbelt. That is strict, but well intentioned. I guess mothers who drive are in the habit of measuring their kids. Anyways, lots of rules to memorize.

Basically I have been given 90 practice tests with 30 questions each of which the final will contain 30 of those questions. Plus an additional 20 for the moto part. Out of 2700 possible ?s they will give me 30 random ones.

Quote:
Wow!...you took me from the NW where I live--you know, near Washington, DC--on a BMW and I thought, cool, Brazil, and then you end up in Spain on a Yamaha. . I went from riding an HD 1200 Sportster last summer in Portland to a brand new Honda CGL-125 in Costa Rica. Life's funny sometimes.
Life is very funny my friend, I had no idea where I would be when I rode away from Bham last year.

The riding has been great lately and I will throw up some photos very soon. My rear wheel was getting wobbly so Im bikeless for a few days while "motos Raul" trues it for me.

I think what I love about the SR250 is that its capable of getting me everywhere yet it still feels like an accomplishment to ride it 1000km. Its like the modern equivalent of riding a horse or a mule, a little bit of a struggle sometimes but I feel great when I arrive. I dont just hop on the toll road and blast across spain. I love riding here, it feels like going back in time when I ride through the countryside.

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Old 02-09-2013, 01:06 PM   #357
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With my camera back in my hands I can finally do what I could not do all this time, take long exposures at night. Before the sensor replacement all the "specular highlights" like the street lights especially would come out as annoying discs that basically ruined the picture in most cases. Fuji took forever to replace the sensor but they did it for free and it now works better then ever. And hey, in Spain, one month for a camera repair would be considered lightning fast! So I cant complain.

Heres a few shots from the last few days.

I saw the biggest Paella I have ever seen the other day, big enough for 1000 people. They charge 2000€, not bad.



Here, Caravaca de la Cruz



And the real treat, Orihuela and the Medieval market.







Orihuela is an awesome city, its super old and built into the side of some hills. A river runs right through the middle of town and its cramped streets are a great place for a medieval market




People dress up for the occasion.



The town drunk



Riding through the countryside in Murcia is beautiful this time of the year, when the winds not blowing. I rode for a few hours straight in 60kph gusts of wind, in second gear. not fun. But as soon as I got into the hills the wind died down and the bare almond trees are in full bloom. There is not a car on the road during the Spanish siesta time so I found myself parking the bike in the middle of the highway to stop and take pictures. Why not? The small highways are often quiet anyways because everyone takes the fast autovias. People always ask me how I get that little bike all over the place, easy, I take it easy and take the nicest route.








Rolling hills and a motorcycle size road all to myself.



The late afternoons in the winter, when sunshine hours are limited to begin with, creep up quickly and put the shadows into play that entertain me as I make my last turns of the day.
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:28 PM   #358
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Yes, the Bham title caught my eye, having lived there back near the turn of the century. We hope to retire there one day....knowing there are no jobs. Hopefully global warming will have made the place habitable year round by then.
Great pics. And nice maps too. Keep up the great updates.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:42 PM   #359
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Love seeing your pictures and the difference in architecture. Keep it coming that you have followers waiting for an update.

Later
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:07 AM   #360
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[QUOTE=PorLaTierra;20653058]

Ive been busy lately trying to get my EU license which is actually really fun but also frustrating. I think it will make me a better rider. Some of the regulations here are very smart, and others are just plain stupid. I have to memorize details like "How long does a child have to be before he/she is allowed to ride in a car (an old one) that does not come equipped with seat belts?" I asked the instructor how the hell Im supposed to measure a kid before he gets in the car, she said "YOU DONT KNOW BECAUSE YOUR NOT A FATHER!" True, what I didnt know is that social services will take the kid from you if they are to small and riding in a car with no seatbelt. That is strict, but well intentioned. I guess mothers who drive are in the habit of taking a yard stick to their kid.

Basically I have been given 90 practice tests with 30 questions each of which the final will contain 30 of those questions. Plus an additional 20 for the moto part. Out of 2700 possible ?s they will give me 50 random ones.


PorLaTierra: I've been enjoying your adventures, so thanks. In reference to the above, I wonder if the EU concern for inane details does not miss the big point, teaching responsible driving. When I lived in Germany, the Germans were quick to point out their age limit for a license and the expensive training required to get a license. Then, once they had a license, way too many of them drove like they had lost their minds. Tailgating, unsafe passing, driving too fast for conditions and ignoring the laws of physics were everyday occurrences. On my way home one night I came upon a car upside down in the middle of a two lane with a rock wall on one side and a guard rail on the other. I thought, "How did he do that?" I decided he went around the curve so fast he climbed the guardrail and flipped. Anyway, watch out for those EU trained drivers!
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