|03-01-2012, 10:51 AM||#1|
Joined: Feb 2004
Location: london, England
Old Guzzi and new boots ride to Spain.
A trip made last October to the Moto Piston Rally in Spain. .
A ride abroad has it's own special needs - With, as Ian drury said "New boots and pants"..
Technically the boots aren't new. Just my old faithful fully waterproof timberlands with a new set of soles, thicker and more grippy than the previous soles.
But the pants are new, in a selection of monochrome colours (is monochrome a colour ?) , from black to grey and a greyer grey.
And hopefully they won't show the thick rich skidmarks that are possible from eating greasy foreign food and sitting on my sweaty arse all day riding and having to use garage kharzis.
Clothing packed, now onto the essentials.
Seeing as i'll be riding a 33 year old guzzi, that hasn't been used for some considerable time i took a spare clutch and throttle cable, an inner tube, real tyre levers, compulsary hi-vis vest and bulbs, and a tin of finilec and cable ties. These were stored in the left hand (laughly called) pannier.
The righthand laughing box had all my personal favourite items.
A selection of vegetables, both soft skinned and root . A bottle of non bio washing liquid, a tub of butter substitute and a 25 foot electrical extension lead.
The laughing boxes weren't lockable, maybe this wasn't needed in such innocent times 33 years ago. But i took precuations and locked the left box with a hefty cable tie (hoping it wouldn't need to be opened except in dire emergencies).
The right hand box had a quality bungee (courtesy of john plane, who accidently left it on my loan bike) to secure it as i'd be frequently rummaging amongst it's contents on my journey.
The idea was to travel by chunnel to northern france and then head down the west coast of france to spain and santander for the weekend of the 8th/9th of october for the Moto piston rally.
Left home at 5.30am on weds 5th. In the dark and in light drizzle.
Crossed without drama. Started off to Rouen, in strong side winds and sheet rain.
Travelled 150 miles and thought sod this, due to a combination of very high petrol and toll costs on the autoroutes. It'll be cheaper heading towards St naziare and getting the overnight ferry to Gijon. See, you can do this when you don't make plans.
Stopped for elevensies on the way. A pain aux raisin and coffee.
I love a moist pain.
Onwards onwards across featureless northern france.
I could think of some grand references for the weather, like swirling winds, thundering rain, booming, pelting, pounding, pouring, chilling, squally angry clouds. The fog rolled in like dice only slower, quieter, and without numbers on it. It was dark outside like pants. Black pants.
But lets just say it was shite and leave it at that. .
The rain did gradually dissipate although it stayed grey and very english like.
Stopped for lunch at a garage, a traditional french baton of tuna, egg and garlic.
This picture took several attempts and much mirth for the garage staff with plenty of exercise running back and forth on the self timer before getting the bollard in the exact position. It's the hidden price you pay for art.
While stopped i bought a container of my own travel guardians, Tick Tacks.
Some people have gilded shiney tissues boxes on the rear shelf of their cars, others have jangly CDs hanging from the rear veiw mirrors. I always have a box of tick tacks.
Tell me, when did you ever see a tick tack lorry broken down or crashed on your travels -never.
As the french say " Regarde tick-tacks et va-t-en rassuré" and "Si en tick tacks confías, de accidente no morirás". There you go, that's good enough for me.
And the guzzi bars and speedo set up are perfect for holding the coffee, the italians think of everything.
After 491 miles i arrived at St nazaire ferry terminal, at about 5ish in the afternoon, the sailing leaves at 9pm.
Booked my cabin with the nice lady in reception, they had no 2 berth cabins, but the 4 berth was only £4 more so not a ball breaker. And while passing the time of day talking to her got offered the return trip for £80 - thank you please.
While waiting i did another self timer shot, but could only get a few plants in the foreground and lots of flare in this one.
Nice cabin, but must be claustrophobic with four people in it. Restaurant was good ( for a ferry) but a little pricey. Next stop Espania. ETA Gijon 12 midday (perhaps ETA isn't the best phrase to use for northern spain). Had a nice cabin and as i laid on the bunk with the lights out and a view of the nearly full moon through the cabin window and the ipod playing i felt like sam manicom on acid.
So, arrived without incident. Bikes are last on the ferry, but first off.
Espania, lets " i r a hacer una".
Gijon is only around 100 miles from sanatander so after unboarding and filling with fuel and a leasurely ride along the coast i arrived at my hotel about 3clock. The hotel was 2 minutes walk from james burtons/bsogris groups hotel.
I thought i had a room, but it was a suite, with HD flat screens in both rooms, a dining table and sofa in the living room and two bathrooms, all for 47euros a night, saturday was 54 euros. And free parking for the bike. Result. I'm here from thursday until monday.
And two minutes from the beach.
met up with the boy burton and his group on thurday evening and went into town.
Brian (bsogri) took us to a bar, beer was 2 euros, but if you ordered a small tapas like roll with a filling ( accompanied with crisps and olives) for one euro you get a beer for one euro - So whoevers round it was got the menu and ticked off a random selection on the menu and we waited to see what arrived. A good way to get pissed.
After we'd eaten enough we then hit a few more bars. There are no pictures as no one had a camera ( fred may have but who can remember).
All i do know is that drinking half pints of tequila and naranja enables you to time travel, as i lost 15 hours and woke up early on friday afternoon.
Friday afternoon was spent chugging around santander on the guzzi amongst hundreds of other bikes all arriving for the moto piston rally, and having tapas and coffee at one of the many cafes while watching the bikes go past.
While sitting in self inflicted discomfort i thought i'd take another picture of coffee.
And yet another successful self timer shot that proves you don't have to be control of your faculties to produce art
I'd been on away from home for a few days now, and had needs, i was missing something.
So i set off downtown, and asked a few guys where i could get myself "sorted out" in my best spanish. I was directed to a small door, and went inside to be met by a young spanish girl, late teens early twenties. I explained in bad spanish what i needed, and did some hand gestures so she fully understood.
She smiled sweetly, turned around and bent over, and then with both hands opened her box and showed me her labia.
Just what i needed. As i'd forgotten my lip balm.
How i kept a straight face as she asked if i wanted her labia i'll never know. But it did cure my hangover, and soften my lips.
I couldn't face another night on the town so friday was a 5 course meal for 22 euros, main was sea bream. Very nice. Then had an early night.
Saturday was an early start, the rally had arranged a race course around the Racing santander football stadium, very conveniant for me, as it was around the corner from my hotel.
So i spent the morning watching the old bikes and the racing.
The old bike picture first.
An assortment in the paddock.
Bumped into buzz lightyear (burton) and paul (clydcymru or whatever welsh name is is on here), and had an icea creameo.
And a spanish snack.
Went into the autojumble and surprise surprise, much the same as any other autojumble the world over, except instead of old british tat it was full of old spanish tat.
A four caliper laverda :
Then back outside to watch the racing which was getting into full swing.
A brief shower made it interesting
And the dogs couldn't take their eyes off it.
The riders were also vintage -this old boy said he had raced a few times in his youth at the TT races. The lying old bastard , he didn't even have a bike, he came on the bus.
The last race had two moto morinis that were really going for it and kept the crowd entertained for 20 minutes as they diced with death, the kerbs and lamposts. A quality afternoon .
Then back to looking at a few more bikes.
Then it was a quick tapas and refreshment before the evening
I popped along to the rally hotel, just along the sea front and bumped into Devon and number 6, and had a wander around the underground garage with where all the bikes in the rally were parked. Amazing.
And they had Elvis as entertainment in the rally hotel that night.
That night started off in the irish bar having a beer with paul, james and fred
Then swiftly moved onto large luminescent orbs of gin and tonic.
We went into town, had more tapas and drink and watched paul contort himself into shapes on the slippery steps, no he wasn't drunk officer, he does yoga.
We went home, tired and emotional. Or rather Paul did. We all went back to the irish bar and met some of the others.
I didn't want to go time travelling so stayed off the naranja and tequila.
An excellent day and i only rode the bike for 5 minutes.
Woke up early on sunday morning clear headed and watched the japanese grand prix in bed with a cup of tea.
Then went into town and had a ride along the front.
Met a new mate. He couldn't say a word in english, on a par with my spanish but still took me 20 minutes to get away from him . I think he was trying to explain why he'd done a bunk from church this morning and would i back him if his missus caught him by saying we were related, and would i like a kipper from his bag..
I spied a small private secluded beach and thought i'd have a closer look, for photographing wildlife purposes and playing my trumpet.
After finding the gate locked purely by chance i discovered a hole in the perimeter fence, and after clambering through 500 yards of thick gorse and bramble ( obviously to keep the spanish perverts out) i stumbled onto the beach.
I kept in a low crouch, so as not to attract attention and scare the wildlife.
Look, a sign. No nudismo !. And no trumpets. That's my day ruined.
Oh well best make my way back and see what's going on at the rally.
Passed some architectural oddities on the way.
Someone had done graffiti on the side of an office block from the roof of a house - and the house has since been demolished.
The area has a nice coastline and beaches.
It was show time back at the rally, lots of bikes parked up while they all had lunch supplied by the rally organisers.
Not so many primary colours as the previous day, maybe because they were mostly english bikes on display.
Cool as feck. :cool:
Another good day. I was back on the road tomorrow (monday), heading towards Santiago.
Found a top restaurant and had another 5 course meal, the starter was courgette, scrambled egg, iberian ham and homemade tomatoe sauce, doesn't sound much but it was astounding - main was Hake with prepubescent penises, and a bottle of wine.
I've had Hake plenty of times before, but this was the one. Put on this earth to swim and end up on my plate.
Is it done to lick the plate in a spanish restaurant.
And the pudding ....
And the wine was good. So good i ended up speaking to the germans on the next table for half an hour, and i can't speak german. I slept very well.
Left the lap of luxury monday morning, heading west along the coast road to ribadeo and onto santiago.
Nice roads but much the same as any coast roads the world over - views of the sea one side of the road, houses, woods or fields on the other.
Once past ribadeo the coast turned more wild.
And a very noisey sea, which i enjoyed sitting relaxing watching and listening to for quite a while.
At one alcove i noticed a movement and thought it was a spot of nudismo bathing going on - no such luck, just a couple of seals. They'd better not hang around too long on they'll be on the menu at a local restaurant.
Looping around the coast from Foz to Ferrol i recognised an area where i stayed back in 1980 while riding around the coast road of spain and portugal, two up with my girlfriend on an R65 with £200 each in our pockets, no credit cards, no cares and no plans.
These two pictures are in almost the same place, 31 years apart. The small family run hotel and bar have gone, but the ghosts of happy memories are still there. I stood for a long while absorbing the past.
Decided i'd get a move on and get to santiago late afternoon.
No tapas today. But i did stop for a good meal consisting of all the basic ingredients needed for a healthy diet.
Took the small quite roads to santiago and arrived at 5.30pm. Booked into the Santiago Grand. It wasn't.
No decent restaurants near the hotel. As it was in the student quarter it was just burger bars etc. Ended up in the hotel restaurant having a buffet. Pictures would do the food justice, and it didn't deserve any.
Up early as the sun rose because there were some interesting buildings next to the hotel.
These are student digs. Not a scrap of litter or grafitti anywhere, which is in sharp contrast to the student digs near my home.
Had a mooch around the old town on foot which made me feel at one with the pilgrims . And that was santiago done.
Up and away from Santiago, on the road heading east - Today i'm going to ride small roads and use the GPS as a guide to where i am and not as a route robot.
It was a warm start to the day, so i'd decided to stop and get some provisions at the next likely looking town.
My ipod was playing the "Good bad and the ugly" as i arrived on the edge of town. I paused and looked, and really did feel like the man with no name.
I'd reached the fabled town of Fisteous. The town that's responsible for introducing the term "Rictus Grin" to the world.
I stopped in a small busy store (I noticed i was the only person wearing a watch ?) and restocked some provisions.
You can only imagine my unbridled joy and delight at finding a lightweight alloy technical hand whisk.
I also picked up some of the more mundane items that travellers always need, a vacuum packed genuine spanish potato omelette and a smoke alarm, to be stored in the R/H laughing box alongside the other essentials.
Time to get my arse out of town and back on the road. .
The day was very warm with some enjoyable riding, the miles and time flew by on my way to Gijon.
The motorway on stilts was impressive
But not as impressive as the jumbo croissant, and which i had to stab to death with my fork before i could eat.
A bridge. Over a river. With a bike obscuring the view. Incredible. Would love to know the full story.
Before i knew it i'd arrived at Gijon.
That's my bike in lane 2, with the boat i was catching in the background.
Fours later i was onboard ( did i mention that bikes are always last on ). The boat was full and some lorries didn't get aboard.
Lots of police were called to calm down the very excitable and loud latin types driving the perishable goods lorries still on the dock.
From up on deck it looked like the waving about of some rolled up newspaper by the police had the desired effect on calming the situation.
Went to check into my cabin and wqas told they'd run out of 2 berths, so i could have a 4 berth, see, there is some benefits to being last on.
This cabin was at the very front of the boat with a nice view out of the window (note the use of seafaring terms).
This was taken in the morning as it's dark when you leave Gijon
St Naziare ahead.
I had plenty of time to get back to the Uk so once off the ferry i decided to ride to calais using the smallest roads without using any maps or GPS. Pretty easy. Just keep the sea on your left.
Haven't a clue where this is.
All uneventful, apart from the amount of mud on some of the very small french roads left by militant english hating french farmers.
Only other problem was fuel related. Thirtythree years ago the the italians didn't deem it necessary to fit trip meters to the california. This hadn't been a problem when the GPS was turned on as i used the trip on the GPS unit. Now i was using guestimates.
Not crucial as there is a reserve tap. But as you know petrol stations in the rural parts of france are few and far between, especially in the evenings.
It was 7.30pm and drizzling and for the last hour i'd been saying to myself "next hotel and i'll stop for the night". And they'd been nothing.
So i diverted onto larger roads in the hope of coming across something. I did at 8.15pm, and on reserve.
I'd come into the town of Forges-les-aux. On my left a dimly lit pink hotel, on my right a large casino/hotel/spa/golf course ( or "twat farm" as whatton calls them).
I chose using my wallet ( how i managed that i don't know, as i don't carry a wallet).
Anyway here's a picture. Looks OK in the light of day. But if i say not one bulb was higher than 40 watts you'll get the idea what it was like at night.
Don't be lulled into a false sense of security by the picture, if you're ever passing, just carry on. Oh, and the hotel doesn't do evening meals.
Ate at a primary coloured (decor was yellow and red) pizza come restaurant 5 minutes along the road.
And confirms my theory on restaurants in europe. If they decorate their shop front in any primary colour avoid it. You have been warned.
This is was across the road from the hotel.
The usual french WW2 tourism in locations with nothing much else going for them. The remains of a building after a typical german attrocity.
Anyway, while cooped up in the pink palace i thought of a challenge for you.
Guess the song from the pictures........
The pictures are representitive of a verse in the song.
"Say what you see" (as the great philosopher Roy Walker used to say) and it's obvious.
The first person to get it right will win a prize that money can't buy- A snickers bar thats travelled 2400 miles in my aerostich pocket and has melted and hardened several times during it's journey.
This isn't easy, as i'm not giving this prize away without any effort involved.
Here we go.
Post your answers and i'll announce the winner.
Up and away the next morning. A mile down the road in the main town were a nice selection of hotels and restaurants. Ho hum.
I stopped for a coffee and raisan pain in the first petrol station i saw. And looking at the pictures from the previous stop on the way down it looks identical. But it isn't/wasn't, as you can tell by the change on the counter.It was 50 cents cheaper.
But this garage had a surprise in store, a commotion by the sell by date sandwiches attracted my attention. People were paying homage to something on their way in and out of the shop -
The sheer beauty took my breath away - You will not see a finer selection of pompier figurines anywhere on the planet.
And knocks into a cocked hat the typical uk service stations shortbread selections.. It brought a tear to my eye looking at all those excellent representaions of helpless children being saved from perilous situations.
If only i had room in my laughing boxes.
Still riding without maps or GPS i bumped into the sea at le croy, just north of abbeville, and decided to stay hugging the coast where possible all the way to calais.
A strange area that section of coast up to Le Touquet at this time of year. Whole holiday towns/villages that just shut up shop until next spring. And not a person to be seen.
You can drive along the prom.
Up to the beach, and even onto it if you had the right bike.
Headed off to le Touquet as it was British week
Not a red bus or phone box to be seen.
So instead have a picture of a british registered italian bike on the front in the cycle lane at le Touquet.
Now, no ukgser ride report that involves riding through northern france can go by without a reference to any of the world wars, it's compulsory.
So here's a cemetery.
And i found Private Ryan.
Well, that's it. 2400 miles on a 33 year old moto guzzi that only had an oil change as mechanical preparation. The boots didn't leak and the pants stayed clean.
And thanks to borderraider couple of pictures from the thursday night earlier in the report.
The bar with the old BMW's inside.
And feck knows where but enjoying myself.
Steptoe screwed with this post 03-01-2012 at 11:01 AM
|03-01-2012, 12:06 PM||#2|
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Inverary, Ontario, Canada
Guzzis Rule: Britannia and elsewhere
Great pictures, Great Bike! You have a super eye for interesting detail. No nudists, no trumpets indeed!
Your T-3 is delicious. At 33 years old its almost new, and at 12000+ miles its hardly even broken in properly yet (unless its been around the clock already - always a possibility).
Trans-Labrador Solo, 72 Moto Guzzi
|03-02-2012, 01:08 AM||#6|
Joined: Feb 2004
Location: london, England
|03-02-2012, 04:22 AM||#8|
Aussie BM rider, West Oz.
Joined: Jun 2005
Thanks, I enjoyed that.
On my first west to east, and return, crossing of Australia, my mate rode his Cali while I was on a BM 750/6, about 1980-81 I think it was. Not a single problem with either bike in +8,000 kms.
I've had a soft spot for those Guzzi's ever since.
|03-02-2012, 06:35 AM||#9|
Joined: Mar 2004
Location: Memphis, Motorcycle Purgatory
that was a good read. Thanks!
God. Family. Motorcycles. Guns. Music. Books. Dogs. Beer. Baseball. Work. That about covers it.
|03-03-2012, 02:28 PM||#11|
Joined: Mar 2010
Location: sydney, east
Great ride. My summer gear is also garden gloves and old lace up army boots. Did you really have to share info about your underwear??? Oh and riding a guzzi, now you've been outed!
i just seek clarity
|03-04-2012, 05:49 AM||#12|
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Scotland - UK
Tell us a bit more about your Moto Guzzi please? Is it shaft drive and what engine cc etc? Have you owned it long, reliable etc?
Enjoyed your ride report, a great experience!
|03-04-2012, 06:20 PM||#15|
Any bike, anywhere
Joined: May 2007
Location: Russell, New Zealand
Couldn't get the verse from the pics, though; musta been a trick question.
Honda XL1000V, Suzuki DR650, Adventure Royal Enfield, OSSA Explorer, first model XL250, 9 other offroad, road, and roadrace bikes
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