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Old 04-16-2010, 02:23 PM   #1
Facom OP
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: kent , the patio of England
Oddometer: 38
7 days, 2400 miles

Not the biggest of trips, i know, but its my first and i hope of many. The plan is to set of from Kent to the east coast of spain to visit my Brother and his family, it was going to be a surprise but even the best made plans are subject to change and imagine my surprise when my brother turns up on my doorstep ............Go figure !

The trip is the brainchild of my partner and she has changed the plans a couple of times, We were going to utilise the ferry from Portsmouth to Santander.I wanted to ride through France but Sharon wasn't a big fan of that idea . Then i get a call at work
S " i've been thinking"
me "steady"
S "maybe we could ride through France"
me" ok.........whats changed your mind?"
S "i've been talking to you brother"

go figure !!

so the plan is get the ferry from Dover to Calais then Ride to Orleans and spend 2 nights there, Ride to Bordeaux (spend a night) ride through Pyrenees national park over the mountain range and on to Zaragoza in spain for 1 night and from there its a run down to Javea spend 2 days with my brother chilling out ..........

Today sharon has admitted to sitting on the washing machine whilst its on a full spin cycle says she's training for 5 days in the saddle
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Old 07-03-2010, 04:32 PM   #2
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: kent , the patio of England
Oddometer: 38
ALLO ALLO
Well this is my first trip abroad and one I had been wanting to do for along time, but never had the opportunity, until that is we bought this …….


It’s a 2009 KTM990
So Sharon and I hatched a plan to visit my brother who lives in Spain (and going through a bit of a tough time ) .
The original plan was to get the ferry from Portsmouth to Santander then ride to Zaragoza stop over in a hotel then ride to Javea ……….All that changed after Sharon spoke to my brother, and our plans were changed and we were now riding through France .
Either of us have not had a holiday for a few years so we decided to stay in hotels on our route south and Sharon had chosen the hotels she liked and that had secure parking for the bike, This list was open to change and was altered several times up until the night before we departed .
So with Sharon organising accommodation it was left up to me to sort the bike, luggage and route, the bike was easy all I had to do was follow the instruction to change the suspension settings

Easy peasy
The packing agreement was that Sharon would have the panniers and I would use the Ortileb bag and strap it to the bike rack .

Ready to go
Our space on the Shuttle was booked for 12:20 so we left home at 10:30 an took a breaking in ride through the kent countryside from Marden to Ashford followed by a short 10 mile blast down the M20. We arrived early and took the option of an earlier shuttle offered to us, The crossing was painless and the staff friendly, I’ll certainly use their service again
Our first hotel was at Orleans, south of the capital Paris,
I’m glad we fuelled up before we left 1 euro 50 cent was the average price we paid through out France …… The traffic out of Calais was fairly heavy but nothing that would worry a seasoned biker but when your travelling partner has never been on the back of a bike it can be a little intimidating and boy did I know about it ……..
Once out of the town and on the A26 Sharon started to settle down , but wouldn’t let me go above 110 kph and considering our first days riding was all on motorways it was going to be slow !
I used the bikes two trip counters to work out when I needed to start to look for a fuel station and the other for the days total distance travelled . Fuel stations came and went then the fuel light came on and display switched over to a different counter and I know that I can do about 36 miles before running out , The whole trip averaged about 280 kilometers per tank before the light came on ..
After the A26 we picked up the A1 and headed for Paris and rush hour traffic L I was prepared to sit and wait in line like everyone else and watched countless bikes pass us and one thing I noticed was the cars parting to let them through ( Almost as if Moses was sitting on their shoulders ) I thought I would give it a go J filtering on a bike as big and as wide as the KTM is with the panniers on , took a lot of concentrating especially as your passenger was squealing and tensing up every time you past a lorry but the traffic did part and we made it through and eventually arrived at Orleans


(does my bum look big ?)

(hotel parking, of the street and around the back)

(Loire river)

Orleans to Gensac
If Sharon was telling this tale it would be completely different to my version and I’m sure that the few who know me will hear her account .
We woke at about 7am and had a coffee and a chance to study the map and decide on a route. We chose a route that avoided toll roads and that would a theme that we would stick too until we left my brothers,
The route would be Blois,Tours, Chatellerault, Limoges and Perigueux , We followed the river Loire through the valley and some amazing scenery and unbelievable roads

We arrived in tours at about 11:30am and looked for some where to eat and wound up in a small square on some back streets

Feeling refreshed it was back on the bike and head for Chatellerault ……………..Errrr yeah !!
With new found zest, I took a wrong turn and it wasn’t until we almost got to Chateauroux that we realised our mistake and instead of sticking to main roads we opted to cut cross country to Poitiers, this added hours to the time spent on the bike and made for an unhappy girlfriend, after much back tracking we were finally on the right road from Limoges to Perigueux N21 only to find it closed and a verbal diversion offered in broken English by a helpful engineer, we were back on backroads and blindly following the line of traffic in front of us. Hanging out for a break we rode through a tiny village and came across this sign

So we pulled over and although we didn’t speak French and they didn’t speak English we managed to secure two cups of coffee and a well earned rest …..with time getting on we said our goodbyes and set off to find Gensac, by the time we got there it was late we were both hungry and not talking to each other and to cap all sharon had to eat dinner whilst still wearing her riding gear, this upset her even more and made for an interesting evening




Gensac to Zaragoza
Another early start !!!!!!! 7am, things are still a little strained …and not even a coffee could soften the heart.
Whilst I was busy checking over the bike and loading it, Sharon was checking us out of the hotel and glancing over the route so there was no repeat of yesterday
Our route today was to head for Pau, a town sitting at the base of the Pyrenees . From Gensac we took back roads heading to Bergerac to get to the D933,
Once on the D933 our plan was to stop at first town to get a coffee, this was Marmande a sizeable town with a large square and plenty of bars.


I don’t know why but I like the French way of life and their sort of village square mentality something that is missing from English towns.
From here we carried on the D933 and picked up the D934 Avoiding the Town of Mont-de-Marsden, the D934 turned into the D834 and our route into Pau. We stoped here on the edge of town to get fuel and food before crossing the Pyrenees, as all ways we stopped at a bar/restaurant where no one spoke English so ordering food was entertaining and when your partner is a veggie its pot luck !!!!

This was our first view of the Mountains

The road through the mountains ran along side a river and the road twisted and turned and the scenery was just amazing and it was easy to take your eyes of the road ……..


By this time Sharon had enough !!



All to soon we were travelling through the 10k tunnel that separated France and Spain and the boarder crossing was as simple as that ……… On to Zaragoza, the road out of the mountains opened out onto a plateau with high peaks in the distance , Mountain passes make for interesting riding but I found them tiring, not physically but mentally,


Sharon on the phone to her dad !!!!!


Zaragoza……
Our approach to Zaragoza was on one of the many roads leading to and from this large city, lined by industrial estates and universities and used by all and sundry including donkeys pulling carts laden with olive stumps and branches……. The temperature according to the reading on the bikes dash 38oc !!!!!!!!!! As we get closer to the city I notice the fuel light has come on, for how long I have no idea, being as our hotel is in the city centre I opt to refuel tomorrow. The closer to the city we get the heavier the traffic became …..
We are both hot , and the traffic is stop start , I’m unable to filter due to the panniers but scooters a zooming through the traffic as if on an urgent mission , we follow the traffic and end up getting lost and hotter, the bike stalls !!!! I thumb the starter it fires into life and stalls again after about 30 yards wtf , Sharon gets of the bike and walks up to a local, I can’t hear what she is saying but her body language and gesturing warns me that she is getting annoyed, meanwhile I try to get the bike running but it won’t run, this happened before whilst riding through London and sure enough as I open the fuel cap there is a BIG rush of air into the tank and the bike fires first time and continues to run . We continue to look for the hotel even asking local police who direct us to the centre of the city and then ask someone else …..we do as instructed but no one has heard of the hotel Pala fox !!! So we ride around some more getting more and more lost and a certain someone getting really annoyed with me and I can hear her sarcastic comments over the hum of the traffic, as we pull up to a set of traffic lights a police car pulls up along side and the passenger window is down , “Hotel Pala fox !” I shout over the noise , they both turn and look at me as if I was from Mars “Hotel Pala fox “ the penny drops and they turn to each other discuss my request and then nod in agreement, the passenger leans out the window and in a flurry of hand movements and Spanish offers directions that as far as I can make out, instruct me to turn left ? I look up and see a bus only sign , I point to it and shrug my shoulders whilst looking at the police, he see’s what I’m pointing at turns to his mate they both laugh , he looks at me and says “you follow” . the car pulls out in front of us and stops the traffic he waves us out , the blue lights go on and we have our own police escort through the streets of Zaragoza, we used Bus lanes, one way streets(the wrong way)!!!!!, ran stop signs and red lights they held traffic up so we could cross streets, it was all a blur and all too soon we were at our destination

What I saw of the city, I liked but was unable to take photos due to being harassed and under pressure and arriving at a city during rush hour !!! Is a big mistake.
By the time we had got ourselves sorted it was late, but the Spanish don’t eat until late. So we went for a stroll and ate out choosing a restaurant down a side street full with locals so we sat there a people watched and talked about the days events

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