|04-30-2013, 03:00 PM||#1|
Joined: Feb 2009
Three Stooges Tour Portugal April 2013
Having just lost 2hrs of typing and pictures I need to start again so please forgive me if the first part seems a little hurried.
As an avid chronicler of motorcycle trips I now make a point of bringing a book to record what went on as an aide memoire when writing things up.
If its not in the book it didn't happen.
Of course this also means that I get to write things from muddymatt's point of view
To get away from the wet and cold British climate a plan was hatched for the 3 Stooges to head to Portugal ride with minimal kit and stay in hotels and guesthouses.
The team consisted of:
RickA aka "Dicky Dakar"
Timpo aka "Kermit"
and little old me the handsome, suave and sophisticated muddymatt
I left work in Nottingham to head up to Timpo's to drop my bike and kit off. After a tortuous 3 hr journey due to traffic I met a very croaky Timpo who was barely able to speak let alone shout due to him having suffered from a serious bout of man flu. (Hence the Kermit moniker)
After horsing the bike and kit out of the van I headed off to Stoke on Trent where I was attending a reunion with some of my Uni mates as it was 20 years since we had graduated. Oop Hanley for a few beers followed by a curry and then dancing the night away we wobbled back to our hotel glad that the hotel bar was shut.
Up for breakfast which I was not to keen for we got into cars and headed off to Alton Towers. Never one to let a headache get in the way of a good day we headed straight for Nemesis and had a good day racing around the rides as the queues were very small. My mat not realising that being at the front of the log flume with three lads in it was one of the funnier parts of the day.
I headed back to the hotel picked my van up and then set off up to Timpo's.
Arriving at Timpo's we had a minor tyre debate which was sorted and then we set to work getting mapping sorted followed by a pleasant evening with another curry spent with Sarah and the dogs. Quite tired so a relatively early night was had.
Up @ 0715 for muddymatt due to the effects of the Green Masala Curry. Rick arrived at 0800 and we proceeded to load the van with bikes and kit. Having done this a few times before it only took 1/2 an hour.
I was slightly concerned about the enjoyment Uncle Rick had when plugging himself into the seatbelt sitting cosily next to me But we had a good drive down to Plymouth with Kermit croaking away. A quick pasty for me and Burger King for Timpo and Rick at Exeter services saw us at the ferry terminal for just after lunch.
The policeman was quite interested in our bikes and what we were doing but we soon were through Rick having remembered his passport and not left it on any table.
Quite a few bikes on the key many of them going on an organised tour by road to Morocco. I chatted to a guy who had been made redundant and was off to Europe for 3 months on his XT660.
We found our cabin on the Pont Aven and had a quick snooze followed by the obligatory trip to the bar. The swell had got up so Rick returned to the cabin. Timpo and I enjoyed a nice meal and switched to bottles of wine from the bar as our drink of choice. Rick made a brief appearance as the swell subsided and we went back to our cabin not too late to get some sleep.
"The holiday had began !"
|04-30-2013, 03:27 PM||#3|
Joined: Feb 2009
We got up and headed to the Commodore's Lounge to enjoy a slap up breakfast, thanks Rick.
A pretty uneventful morning saw us come into Santander in glorious sunshine and we went up the river you could feel the warmth in the air.
Eager to get to the campsite we headed off through the dock as you no longer exit straight out onto the road where the ferry dock. As you climb away from the coast and see the mountains and track I always feel the excitement grow.
We stopped off at the usual truckstop and I made an attempt to get us 3 large white coffees but espressos were served.
Timpo went off to the toilet on his own and Rick and I headed back to the van. We set off on a uneventful journey through Spain the sat nav sending us on the tortuous twisty road to come into the back of the campsite as the new road did not feature in the sat nav version we were using. We arrived at Cepo Verde around 17:00 and had the obligatory Super Bock and chatted to the staff. Telmo has been working hard improving the campsite and we would be slumming it in this lovely little cabin whilst we stayed there.
Guess who had reblinged his bike with the latest Rally Raid kit.
Everything was brand new.
We unloaded and freshened up then headed back to the campsite bar for steak, beer and shared some port that Telmo kindly gave us.
We headed off up the hill to our little cabin for some sleep.
|05-01-2013, 05:43 AM||#6|
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Oxford, UK
Very amusing reading, Matt - as always.
Keep it coming!
|05-01-2013, 02:13 PM||#7|
Joined: Feb 2009
Tue 16th Dicky Dakar "A legend is born"
I awoke to find my room mate asleep on the sofa claiming my intake of port had increased the level of snoring to an unacceptable level. We were all up at 0800 and faffing around with bike kit.
The man with a thousand gadgets and the best sat nav money can buy was a bit perturbed Dicky Dakar had brought the wrong card for his Garmin so only had a non routable basemap and a tracklog to follow.
So no sloping off early for a sauna and massage for him.
Or more likely knocking the tops of a few cold Superbock
I went to start my bike and nothing no idiot lights were on. I went into full on fretting mode pulling my helmet off getting ready to get my jump leads out. Lesson 1 always make sure the kill switch has not been knocked into the off position when bike has been unloaded after a journey. Kermit was not saying much apart from a few croaks but I saw a distinct change in his facial expression when he saw the KTM gloves that I was wearing. I think he said "Those look really good gloves in a cool colour I must get myself a pair".
So we headed off into Braganca at around 11 first to fill the bikes up with purple petrol and then to get some cash out. We headed North towards the Spanish border on trails of which some were familiar but great fun. As we rode along the bulldozed border there were a few testing rocky climbs on the big bikes. Rick was 2-1 up on muddymatt on the lie down score.
At one point I came to a T juction in the trail and headed off after Rick. I heard a whistle and saw Timpo in the other direction so turned round to meet him. Dicky Dakar was gone as if riding in a special test. Timpo and I waited, took our helmets off, relieved ourselves yet still no Dicky. Finally he came back around the corner we all grinned in my mind I thought that the roadbook must have blown a fuse.
It was such a lovely day Timpo even allowed us for stop for a cold drink in a cafe.
A beautiful young lady was spotted on the balcony above the bikes leaning over talking to people in the street luckily I managed to keep my eyes firmly glued to the brick wall of the cafe despite encouragement from my friends.
After a great days riding we headed to Vimioso. Timpo's sat nav brought us to Hotel a Vileira. I went in with Rick but sadly the manager could not speak a work of English or understand my Portugese. Luckily he spoke French so in our best Franglaise we booked a couple of room and headed up for a shower.
I had a good view of the bikes nestled together and a quick shower and we were off on a beer hunt. Finding a bar we sat down to chill chat and so I could update the journal. It was a real locals bar with beer less than a euro a bottle. I had recognised the town as Loz, Pete and I had been to a supermarket on the last day of our holiday in Sept.
Funnily enough the entry in the book reads weather scorching muddymatt riding in just a raceshirt, starbucks boys all Klim suited up.
Anyway we couldn't find a restaurant so headed back to the hotel where Rick had a massive steak that even came a certificate. A few bottles of red and a couple of goldfish bowls full of CRF saw us retire ready for the next day. The young waitress looked after us well and helped make the evening fun.
Wed 17th "You can't take scousers anywhere"
0200 Rick awoke to movement in the bedroom, no stranger to nocturnal visitors on previous trips he flicked on the light to find Timpo with the flat screen telly in his hands. Now Timpo claims he was feeling his was tound to the toilet but I will let you make up your own minds.
Getting some air first thing in the morning it was already hot by 0900 and after breakfast we headed off to pick up the trail 10 miles or so away where we had left it the day before. We were straight into about 10 miles of trail riding the border great views. We carried on noticing that due to the recent rain everywhere was very green and lush. There was also quite a bit of standing water.
We were again allowed a pit stop in Miranda Do Douro which was nice although it was cooler to be on the bikes and keep moving.
More green trails followed. Timpo stopping to check the way ahead was clear.
We were riding along a walled lane with no issues although it was obvious that heavy plant had been along there when disaster struck. Timpo at the front had ploughed on into what can only described as sand soup which firmly grabbed hold of his bike and looked like keeping it there.
No we had chatted about and raised a few bottles and glasses to our mate Loz like never before did we need the Oxford College Graduate and his "Orange Strap". We got in the gloop and tried to get the bike out but it was obvious more serious measures needed to be taken. We all stripped down to the waist ready to get down and dirty. Sorry girls no pictures but it was a messy business involving removing all the luggage and putting rocks under the bashplate until we could get one wheel clear and heave the bike out and back to terra firma.
In all a steep learning curve for muddymatt as when I normally get stuck I am normally removed from the bike by a bloke with a neckbrace / bolt and my bike is horsed out.
Once we had regrouped and sorted ourselves out we headed off with a few tricky section of wet rocks and mud we climbed on one of those switchbacks that you pray the bike won't stall on otherwise you are going down. By the side of a lake we came to a dead end. Timpo went off to find a way through but to no avail we had to retrace our steps and find a way round.
Back on the track we following the tracklog steeply downhill to a ford where a deep pool necessitated walking the bikes through which we all managed. No proper pics to do it justice as we all mucked in the tricky bit. Rick looks happy that we all made it through.
One part was so deep it was up to my waist Rick almost got his knees wet.
We started to get towards flatter rocky terrain although lots of water meant sometime a line change was necessary. Getting a bit wet was no problem when it was so hot.
In the searing heat we ended up in what looked like a dead end in an olive grove. All looked lost and a lengthy detour required. Luckily Timpo get Garma persevered and a bit of steep hill climbing popped us back out nicely on a track.
After a tough day we decide to look for a hotel @ around 17:00 hrs and we headed to Freixo de Espada A Cinta. We headed to the Turismo who informed us that there were no hotels but a couple of Hosteleria. We headed to one and the Three Stooges Found the perfect place to stay. A Bar with a restaurant above that and really nice rooms above that a perfect end to a great day. As the owner spoke French we were able to sort ourselves out with no problems.
Moving a few chairs and tables then getting our bikes on the terrace. I noticed I had been put up on level 4 I think but the room was great with an ensuite a quick shower and we sat outside enjoying the sun.
Due to dehydration issues Rick drank all the Super Bock so we started on the Sagres. Another attractive young lady was working in the restaurant and we chatted with her most of the night. A few bottles of nice wine, we had bread, cheese and meat to start whilst Rick and Matt enjoyed massive steaks. We ended the evening outside the bar supping CRF a great day.
|05-02-2013, 03:12 PM||#8|
Joined: Feb 2009
We got feeling slightly fuzzy headed after a good night and had breakfast. We loaded up with Rick and muddymatt opting to put suntan cream on Timpo chose to fry. He was starting to looking more like a swan vesta match as his tan improved.
We set off on great trails and headed off up into the mountains, the trails were great and I was really enjoying myself.
As we came to a village and headed off down some twisty tarmac I started to get my bearings. We were heading to the Roman Road. On WYOA 2011 this had been the scene of carnage the bikes everywhere. We stopped at junction on the trail, Timpo was set on doing it Rick and I not so keen as there were two tracks down at this point he went off with us promising to meet him at the road the other side. Rick and I followed our tracklog up and getting to where the way down might be worse than the Roman Road itself. Our way was barred by a line of stake sunk into the ground effectively making a fence so some quick thinking was required. I remembered that Loz had told of a ford that he had taken and using the better mapping we now had I thought that I could see the track to it so Rick and I shot off. Coming to the ford the thought of the Roman Road spurred Rick on and he shot through the ford with out stopping to have a look. Out the other side we headed off to a great viewpoint of Timpo coming down across the bridge and up the other side it wasn't easy but he made it unassisted well done mate.
Timpo had obviously been trying as he was shaking a bit as he had a breather still he had made it. We retraced the steps of WYOA and Rick and I new of a cafe stop near to the river that we had stopped at before.
To be honest the memory of stopping here on my first foreign adventure trip only 2 years ago was what started my passion for it. Everybody riding the track in their little groups and then getting together to eat and have fun and frolicks. Life doesn't get much better than this.
We headed off to some familiar Olive groves and followed beautiful track through the olives groves climbing higher with a steep section as we reached the top.
Gradually the scenery started to change into more rocky and sandy surroundings. We were coming into cattle country so started to come across barriers, gates and route finding took a little more time. After leaving a village this ford looked like it would be a little too deep for us to tackle.
Luckily a handy bridge had been constructed. Rick made it across fine with his long legs. When it came to myself I thought the best way would be for me to stand up and ride it with no thought of putting my feet down and happily I made it across with no drama.
We also started to encounter more of the large aggressive dogs that guard the sheep and cattle who seem to delight in scaring the crap out of adventure riders.
We carried along the Spanish border on some hard packed sandy trails. Muddymatt had a minor mishap whist riding through some washouts luckily only his pride was hurt.
Time was getting towards Bock O'Clock so we used the sat nav to locate some digs. Up a side street was some form of Guesthouse and an old gentleman got out of a taxi so Timpo and I used our effluent Portuguese to explain we wanted rooms for the night. After getting the phrase book out and some pointing at phrases we were still none the wiser and it was obvious we we had a communication gap wider than the space between my ears so we gave it up and headed to the nearest big town Sabugal to see what we could find there.
A really new and modern guesthouse was procured and the guy at the reception could understand us result.
After a really good Pizza we walked around the town admired the castle and headed for an early night.
|05-02-2013, 03:43 PM||#9|
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Worcestershire UK
|05-05-2013, 11:49 AM||#12|
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Belgium, wrong side of the river
Nice write-up Matt, thanks.
Great memories like you said, and I'm still not ashamed to admit I skipped that Roman Road on my LC8.
Honestly, have you ever heard of somebody looking back on his life thinking: "Oh, I should have travelled less and mowed the lawn more often"? (Pumpy)
want to save on Smugmug? use this code (VoUO8M1ukmnMY)
|05-05-2013, 12:08 PM||#13|
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Benson, Oxfordshire
You just cannot explain how that roman road tested one to the limit. well it did for me. But what a sense of achievement
Onwards and upwards
|05-06-2013, 06:33 AM||#15|
NORTH WALES TRF.
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Downtown Wombatislava, England.
The Rave Generator......
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