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Old 06-19-2011, 01:50 PM   #16
Steve06
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Great Trip and TR

#1 thanks for your service
#2 thanks for this TR

looking forward to enjoying the rest of it; especially love the pics and commentary on Roman engineering.

/r
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:08 PM   #17
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This morning I rode the Spanish A-621 around the back side (south side) of the Picos de Europa National Park, undoubtedly, without question, the absolute best motorcycle road I've ever seen.



I read that this are get very crowded with vacationing Europeans in July and August, but this early Sunday morning in June it was almost deserted. At one point I pulled off the road to take pictures and in the seven minutes I was parked one car went by.

The first part going south from Panes is through a very narrow canyon, with a smooth road that is so twisty it would be a challenge at 60 kph. The hard part was finding a few safe places to pull over for pictures.


After about 20 km of that it opens up a bit, but stays very smooth, very free of debris, and just so perfect.




Yes, I'm talking about 85 kilometers (52 miles) of road like this, and a car every 5-10 minutes! I saw exactly zero other motorcycles in the nearly two hours it took me to ride it (with stops).




Saw storks in lots of places today.



I had lunch at a restaurant in a small village along the way just outside of Leon. There were plenty of people siting at the outside tables, but none of them were eating. Too early? Hmm.. so I sat down, and along comes the waitress. "Comida?", I ask (lunch?). "Si", she replies, and points inside, past the "FUMAR PROHIBITO" sign where lots of people are smoking. I'm trying to think of how to say I want to eat here in the sun when she points to my table and asks "Aqui?!?" She can't believe I want to eat out here. She shrugs, and walks inside, and returns with a paper tablecloth and silverware. I eventually end up with lemonade, water, and fried trout with salad and fries, all for 10 Euro.


Obligatory Spanish 'bull shot'


Self-portrait at ruined monastery along the way.

The afternoon was mostly highway to get to Lugo, the only city in Europe with intact Roman walls. It's one of the items on my list to see. As I'm driving into the city, a family all dressed in Roman clothes gets out of the car across the street.



Yes, it seems I'm in another event, the last day of the annual Roman festival. While I'm parking a gladiator walks by pushing a baby carriage, his wife in a toga and talking on her mobile phone. There were thousands of people there, about a third in real Roman costumes.

I spent almost two hours in Lugo, enjoying the festival and walking around the walls. They are BIG!!


Probably 25-35 feet high and 15-20 feet wide.


Truly amazing.


There has to be a joke that starts with 'Two Romans walk into a bar, and the one says... '

Ended the day in a Parador, the Spanish state hotels. Great place, except it's midnight and the church bell across the street is still ringing every half hour. Hope it doesn't do this all night, but expect it will. Off to see the Tower of Hercules tomorrow.
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve06 View Post
#1 thanks for your service
#2 thanks for this TR

looking forward to enjoying the rest of it; especially love the pics and commentary on Roman engineering.

/r
I'll pass the thanks on to my wife, she the one in uniform. Active duty AF for 16 years. I'm very proud of her. She's a hell of a shot with a 9mm Glock, and rides, too!
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:48 PM   #19
Navel
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You were at my hometown today! too bad i didnt know before hand, would have shown you around. About this roman party, more info here: http://www.ardelucus.com/, if you need any help while still in Galicia, I´ll be glad to help. Enjoy!
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Old 06-20-2011, 04:11 PM   #20
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Day 6, the good and the bad

I'm finally in what looks like 'Spain' in my mind, wide open expanses of semi-arid land with scrub brush and mountains in the background. I realize this is a narrow minded view of the world, and I don't know where it came from. One great thing about riding around this country is learning about it. The Tower of Hercules was good but cloudy and foggy.



Swept down through Santiago to Portugal


and now am in the Zamora area, heading to Segovia in the morning.

Rode here through Portugal on N-103 which runs 98KM from Chaves to Braganca, another fabulous biker road. Saw one other biker on a yellow Ducati monster out enjoying the fun.


The last stretch from Vinhais to Braganca was 24 km (16 miles) and had 157 turns, but the rest was just as good. Yes, I counted them. Nerdy, I know, but pretty easy when you get into a rhythm doing it. Turns 122-125 were slow, stuck behind three cars and a tractor hauling firewood, but otherwise almost no traffic. And with a 100kph speed limit, lots of fun without going faster than allowed. The rest of the road was at least as good.



Most of the route is lined with fruit trees, wonderful scenery as well as a great road.

Jim
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Old 06-21-2011, 05:11 AM   #21
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Awesome. Simply awesome
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:00 AM   #22
BitScribbler
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Excellent ride report. Thanks for reminding me of my favourite places. (Note to self: go back next year!)

I agree, the roads in the Picos are outstanding riding.

Try and make Segovia though. Believe me, that aquaduct is mind-boggling!
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:32 PM   #23
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Day 7, hotter than hot

I stayed near Zamora last night and had dinner with a couple from San Francisco. They'd been down south for 2 weeks, touring Andalusia, and were craving some cloudy days. They were very happy to hear it had been cloudy in Santiago that morning, as they were headed that way. I was headed south, ready for some SUN!! Today I got it.


My 35 Euro hotel, including a small breakfast. Touring in Spain can be expensive or cheap.

I went into Zamora to take a few pics for a friend whose last name is Zamora. While there I went by a bike shop that was already opening at 9am, so bought some chain lube and went at my gritty dirty chain. Wow, that helps.



Zamora itself is a neat little city. Storks on the church steeple, right in the middle of town





And the 'Roman Bridge". That's what it's called, but didn't find out how old it really is. Could be Roman, why not?

Then 2 hours in the sun to get to Segovia, most of it on the highway. For the first time in a week of riding, I started to get a little bored in this section. Hot, dry. Boring. Not a lot to look at between Zamora and Segovia. But come over the hill and there's Segovia, down in a valley. What a sight!



Segovia is my new favorite city in Europe. Small enough that you can easily walk around it and not surrounded by sprawling suburbs. And fantastic architecture, even without the aqueduct. I took 80 pictures in the three hours I was there. That three hours was no where near enough, so I'll be going back.


Needs maybe one more steeple to be done?


Inside the cathedral looking up at the dome


Anyone wanna go in on it with me?




And then there's the aqueduct. As BitScribbler mentioned, it is awesome. It's just so BIG, and audacious! It's just hard to wrap my mind around a civilization that could spare the labor it takes to build something like this 2000 years ago for a town on a river, mostly so they can have convenient fountains and flush toilets. I was prepared to be inpressed, but I was simply amazed. No mortar, just very exactly cut granite blocks, about 24,000 of them weighing an average of 2000 pounds stacked like a kid's building blocks.


Moto parking right by the Aqueduct, for photo opportunities.




Info signs in Spanish, French, and English with clear maps and good info.




Ok, but this isn't Architectural Rider, so what about the roads?

Heading east from Segovia, take route 601. At least if this kind of thing interests you




Plus it was nice and cool up here. This road starts at about 900 meters above sea level, and climbs to 1880 meters where there is a parking area and a restaurant. After getting out of the villages at the bottom, I passed two cars going my way in half an hour, saw one other motorcyclist.

Then I went south through Madrid on the highway (not fun at 5:30pm) to La Mancha, where Don Quixote fought the windmills. Pretty boring and very hot getting here, but worth it, at least for me.








How hot was it today? Look at that sun! Riding on the highway felt like blasting into a hair dryer on full tilt.

Starting to head back north tomorrow, maybe to a place called Albarracin. Looks nice, with mountain between here and there.

Jim
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:40 PM   #24
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Oh, forgot to mention. Seven days of riding, 2400 miles. Google maps says 2700 KM (1700 miles) to go home the route I had in mind. In 4 or 5 days, it isn't going to happen. But 1350-ish miles is about a minimum from here.

Bike is running great, but no room to buy a case of wine a bring home. Have to work on that...

I know I keep flipping back and forth between miles and metric, sorry. My bike is in miles, the gps is set in metric to match the roads, I often think in feet and miles, as I was raised that way, but everything here is metric, so info you get and things you read are that way. Sorry if it's confusing.

Jim
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:49 PM   #25
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Very nice. Thank you. Never been there but I have plans...
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Old 06-21-2011, 11:20 PM   #26
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jbar,

if you're heading south to Gibraltar you may want to check out the Puente Nuevo in Ronda, it may be on your route if you're taking smaller roads through the mountains. the bridge was built in 1793 and it's pretty damn impressive. nice village too.

anyway, enjoy and thanks for the RR.
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Old 06-22-2011, 05:59 AM   #27
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I'm gittin' jealouser 'n jealouser!
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:32 AM   #28
Sylvia Stuurman
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I love your pictures, and I love your ride report! And I love Spain ;-)

I wondered: did you eat the delicious suckling piglets in Segovia? Segovia is famous for them, and while I in general don't like anything on my plate that looks like it has been alive, I could not resist these piglets!
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:28 PM   #29
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Hey, Silvia!

Sylvia,

I can't believe you commented on this. I looked over your web site extensively in sort-of planning this trip. Lots of the mountain passes and places I marked on my map came from your web site. If any of you blokes out there want a REAL report on where to go, head over to Sylvia's site, especially the dutch site and use Google Translate. You'll be glad you did.

The day before I was to leave I ran across the page about your accident. Almost made me reconsider, but thankfully not. Very happy to see you are doing so well, looks like the recovery has taken a lot of courage. Can I tell someone I don't really know that I'm proud of them? Well, Sylvia, I'm proud of you, especially for getting back on a bike.

And yes, my lunch that do looked just like yours. Except for the beer, because I had about 5 hours of riding left to do that day. No beer.

Jim
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:44 PM   #30
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You should be here, that's all

Quote:
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I'm gittin' jealouser 'n jealouser!
Hey, while I'm dishin' out good words, I'm going to tell you all that my best friend Pete (TT100) is the one who told me to do this ride report. I said, "Why, who would care?", and he said "Just do it, and let the market decide." I can't believe all the people who have been looking at this, from as far away as Malaysia! The internet is unreal.

So here's to you, Pete.




I'm writing tonite's report from the patio of my hotel on the Med, in Pensicola, Spain. Right on the beach. There's sand 30 feet from my table. And to get here, I rode a twisty road through the mountains that was 419 km long, and in the last 200 km I passed one truck, one tractor, one moped, and had one car pass me while I was stopped taking pictures.



Now, are you comin' next year, or what?
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