|10-03-2012, 01:24 PM||#1|
Joined: Feb 2009
Rockstars 2012 "Purple Petrolheads on Tour"
Firstly this report is not meant to be a thing of lyrical beauty as previous reports by the likes of Ela, Famous or Windy. More an account that I tried to record of 5 inmates traveling round the North of Portugal sampling the wines, beers and CRF (not made by Honda!) and having some fun on our bikes along the way.
The name the Rockstars comes from some singing on a previous trip and the purple petrol in Portugal was what fueled our bikes during the day and addled our minds in the evening.
I bought a little Journal to record things in as not to forget them and many evenings people declared "put that in the fuggin book".
The ride was instigated by Timpo and included Rhondini, LOZ, RickA and myself muddymatt, Timpo had got some assistance from Rami in Portugal and stitched together some tracks in a big loop across the north of Portugal.
All riders rode some version of a KTM 690 apart from Timpo who rode his 650 X Challenge.
Following some frantic packing the night before I did a day of work in Birmingham before heading up the M6 to Chez Timpo where I parked up made myself at home. When Sarahteach and Timpo arrived we headed off for the local curry house for a few beers. After depositing us at Timpo's local Sarah then wisely left us to it as she had work in the morning. We managed to get home at a reasonable hour ready for our trip.
I awoke early with a furry pussy on my bed followed by a mad scrabbling of oversize paws and Angus the puppy burst upon the scene. dressing quickly they had been dropped off by Sarahteach looking very smart in her work attire before it was left to us to pack Timpo's van with my bike and all our kit.
We headed off down the M6 to the leafy spires of Oxford and the home of this man.
Imagine our surprise when all of his tyres were fitted, the bike was in one piece and his luggage packed.
Once we had loaded the KTM, the fertilizers sacks, leather hand luggage from an old Morris Car and associated lengths of straps the van looked quite full although it was more due to our lack of packing skills than being short of space.
A short trip to Portsmouth followed by a few beers in the pub that has been the start of many memorable trips for me led to the bar, the restaurant and a wine box. The morning dawned with 5 not so chirpy travelers.
A long day on the boat in good weather enabled to spend some time on deck where we saw dolphins and most spectacular a fin whale which the second largest after the blue whale clearing its blow hole. We were kept informed by some whale watchers of which there were quite a few on the boat.
We saw Santander in a really good light as we came into dock going up the estuary is quite spectacular with plenty to see.
After exiting the ferry Rick and Rhondini went down at warp speed to our campsite base near Braganca whilst we crammed into the front of Timpo's van with me being like a rode between two thorns and arrived half an hour behind. The campsite hosts had changed and we chatted with the owners sun whilst sampling the purple petrol. Later than night LOZ proclaimed "I am not into that Gordon Bleau stuff" shortly after we headed off to ours vans / tents to rest.
Morning dawned after after coffee we packed up and loaded the bikes. This one caught my eye as a 690 low rider with an uprated rear spring to cure its saggy back end.
Sadly Loz's bike wouldn't start. After some head scratching and a proclamation that it worked fine in his garage a couple of litres of petrol were sourced from Timpo's bike and it ran KTM problem no.1.
We all kitted up and made our way up the site and waited and waited and waited. Rhondini's bike would not fire despite him pushing it until he nearly expired. LOZ to the rescue with his jump leads and it was around 11 we left to head to Bragnaca for purple petrol for the bikes and the start of the trail.
It was a really hot dusty day so we split into two groups no issues with the trails though.
Following a text from Timpo towards the end of the day we headed into a down over the Spanish border called Verin where they had found the only hotel open in the town.
After we parked the bikes in the underground car park we made our way into the Foyer where LOZ was struggling to talk to the receptionist. Knowing that I am effluent in many foreign tongues LOZ asked "What's Spanish for Breakfast Matt" I replied "Breakfastio" without having to think. Just shows the old linguistic skills never leave you"
Meeting in the bar below after several beers and help from the locals we managed to get a table and the Vino Tinto flowed. A great meal and fun followed followed by the waitresses giving us a shot of clear spirit the toast with.
"Oh fluck she has left the bottle" was an entry I have in the journal exclaimed by LOZ.
After a few more toasts with the waitresses joining in we trudged off to our beds.
Morning came and I met the Prince of Darkness (he gets up early) in the bar for a coffee and went for a walk to clear my head. After checking out we loaded up outside the hotel where I spotted the evidence of LOZ trying to burn the KTM logo of his jacket.
A great day amongst the mountains followed we split into 2 groups again and RickA, Rhondini and myself enjoyed the great trails together.
Our crew now had its first real problem in the middle of nowhere Rhondini's battery gave up the Ghost. After working up a sweat pushing I gave him a tug with a strap and we headed off to the nearest big town to find a battery if we could.
As we rode into Chavez I missed the massive KTM sign luckily Uncle Rick didn't and with Rhondini a few Euro's lighter we rode back to meet up with the track. The guys in the dealership liked the bikes and came out to look at them and take a few photo's.
The odd wrong turn resulted in the first off on the trip for Rick A whilst turning his bike round.
A tricky rocky descent later in the day had Rhondini trapped but I am not sure it counts as a proper off.
This section of tight rocky and sandy trails was great though.
I had received a text from Timpo advising us to avoid the marked tracks and use the diversions we took his advice and further along the road another text saying he had hurt his foot and that they were at a hotel meant we abandoned the trail and headed off round a lake to meet up with them.
The hotel had been used before but luckily we were still allowed to stay. The hotel was near a village called Venda Nova.
A we sat down to some flat draught beer Timpo could no longer feel and pain and exclaimed "The drugs are working".
LOZ reminded him that suppositories are not meant to be snorted but they did the trick.
A comment from Rick about Rhondini's snoring was when as he lay awake unable to sleep it stopped "Thank fluck he's died"
I have a note in the journal about LOZ being drunk but that can't be true.
Anyway meal and bed ready for the next day.
Here endeth the first chapter a couple more to follow as time allows
|10-04-2012, 01:22 AM||#4|
Joined: Feb 2008
|10-04-2012, 04:51 AM||#5|
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Oxford, UK
Absolutely brilliant, Matt!
My colleagues are all looking at me funny now because I couldn't stop giggling and snorting throughout the whole report.
Keep it coming...
|10-04-2012, 02:21 PM||#6|
Joined: Feb 2009
Round 2 Rhondini's demise
he day dawned warm and fine and we headed off to fuel up and get started on the trails for the day. Timpo & LOZ chose a slightly different route to our team perhaps they had some prior knowledge.
The trail started by a garage where I promptly stalled passing a car luckily managing to catch and averting an incident. Still after a couple of hairpins the curse of the short legs struck and I was lay under the bike waiting for help to right it. We stopped at the top of the stunning track and took stock of our surroundings.
Stunning views and great open track s we sped off making the most of the easy but spectacular trails.
We sped across mountains seeing the two other tracks in front of us until after arriving at some wonderful lake we saw our two companions enjoying the sun outside a cafe. Deciding to ride as a group for a while we picked our way down and across some washed out trails. Some stiff climbing ensued and a tricky rocky lane up to a village caused a couple of lie downs.
Rhondini falling off 5 times meant we let the others go on as we tried to cool down in the scorching heat.
Rhondini was soaked in sweat and had a cotton t shirt on which didn't help matters. We took off on a steep rocky descent which was tricky and took a lot of concentration. Being behind him I could see he was really suffering all I could really say was not far down to the road mate we have got to get down.
Anyway after a few rests we reached the road and agreed we would head to the nearest town for coffee and a chill out.
Being behind Rhondini I could see he was struggling and he pulled over complaining he couldn't see and lay on the side of the road. Quite scary as Rick returned and then headed off to get some more water I got Pete to drink a little but he was pretty incoherent. Rick came back with a few litres of water and using one of his edged weapons cup open a couple of packets of diorolite which we put in a bottle and hosed into Rhondini. He gradually came round and we went into the nearby town for an hour or so for recovery. Frightening stuff but it just shows how quickly you can go down if you don't keep drinking in a hot climate. I made sure the same fate didn't befall me for the rest of the holiday but drinking as much as I could at every opportunity.
We headed off on the road cutting off some of the track until Rick needed to stop for a bodily function. Rhondini said he felt okay for a few easy lane so we rejoined the track which so turned into a tricky little tight lane between dry stone walls so much for taking it easy !
Rhondini also managed to bend his standard 690 brake pedal which nearly pierced the clutch casing showing the value of fitting the Rally raid modified version.
We arrived in Melgaco to find Timpo and LOZ relaxing outside a bar LOZ exclaimed he had found a new favorite beer "Super Bock Stout". We were meeting the Portuguese guys so we managed to get the bar lady to point us in the direction of a pension across with square which LOZ negotiated a room each for us. We unloaded showered and returned to the bar. We waited quite a while for Rhondini and after his issues Rick went back to check on him coming back with a grin saying his chain lube had burst in hos Giant Loop and he was currently involved in a clean up operation. When it all goes wrong it doesn't seem to stop !
More beers flowed and Rami arrived with Paulo and his wife Sofie in Paulo's JEEP. We went to a busy local restaurant for wine and food and returned to the bar.
Timpo had by now invented a new saying to LOZ "Kot calling Pettle" and more drinks and CRF flowed. I have a note in the journal saying that there was a nice barmaid. Rhondini by now had forgotten his previous issues I am sure the CRF and Vino helped.
We were back at the bar for 0900 for Tosta Mixta and coffee before saddling and heading out with some threatening weather. Loz by now was struggling to remember how to dress himself luckily Uncle Rick was close at hand.
We rode along the river that is the Spanish Portuguese border in dull weather but good riding conditions along some pleasant trails.
Rick was not feeling good and had a few toilet issues and some tough trails meant we turned round and bypassed a mountain as the heavens opened and reminded me how non waterproof my jacket was.
We rocked into Caminha overlooking a river and set ourselves up in a lovely fish restaurant for a meal the weather worsening. Torrential rain meant we found a newly built pension parked the bikes booked in and had an afternoon siesta. As usual Bock O'Clock was soon upon us and we headed out to a bar and waited for Rick.
To no avail we searched for a restaurant and so headed back to where we had been at dinner. Rick beating a hasty retreat back to his room.
Another great meal ensued with lots of Vinho Tinto Verde and CRF. Despite the restauarnt being pretty empty the owners were more than happy to let us sit and horse wine down. Its at this time that a change came over Rhondini. The quiet well spoken archeologist was morphing into one of the purple petrol heads slowly but surely. The pressure of not being ready and moving rapidly ceased to be a problem from now he was truly on holiday.
As we walked home from the restaurant Timpo exclaimed he would like "Juan Mooore" I was thinking that this would be a bad idea and said so. We then passed an open door into what looked liked someones house with music coming from it. Before you could say "Big Bike Rally Challenge" we were in a real locals bar groups of people enjoying a few drinks rock music playing and an old barman who obviously had not yet heard of the European smoking laws.
As the night went on we demanded music and more beers none of which was a problem. Loz proclaimed at one point "We will swim home at 6 in the morning through the gutter!"
We left the bar at around 12:30 !!!
Late start for Rhondini and Matt we did not surface until 10:00hrs so let the others get away and we headed off on the track at 11:00hrs Eddie would have been so disappointed in me.
All I can say is what a day we rode along the Atlantic coast in stormy but dry conditions.
After navigating a large town and bridge a fantastic singletrack climb saw us at the the top of the hill.
Another village and hill saw us at the top and Pete and I stopped to savor the moment. The piece was soon shattered as we heard the bark of an Akra can and LOZ, Rick and Timpo caught us up having detoured for some fuel.
After a few more lanes Rick was not right so headed off to Braga whilst we carried on the track. Lots more nice lanes followed until we came to a weird sluice bridge 25ft up from the water and on a curve.
Not as easy as it looks an on quite a curve even the Rockstars Moby and Lemmy (Guess who) didn't make it across on the pegs.
By now nothing fazed Rhondini who just exclaimed "Where the fuggin bar".
We decided to head to Braga and check on Rick who had holed up in a previously used hotel.
Very cheap rooms and great hotel with secure parking saw us out for a couple of beers and a snack pizza across the road. Timpo even abroad likes to keep his number plate clean.
Rick could afford to park 5* not among the commoners.
Paulo picked us up and dropped us off in the rain at the student strip we headed into bar with a KTM motocrosser in the window and explained we just wanted wine. Timpo felt a bit sick being that close to an orange beast and as we were all tired we headed back at 10:00hrs to the hotel a record for the Rockstars.
Here endeth the second installment plenty more in the little brown journal to go
|10-04-2012, 02:35 PM||#8|
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Dordogne, France
Nice one - looking forward to the next instalment Matt !!
I will never be a good example, so i may as well be an amazing warning
|10-06-2012, 05:11 AM||#11|
Joined: Feb 2009
Rockstars Hit the Brighr Lights
As avid forecast checkers the news from not good helped by updated from Rami. We decided on a day off from the dirt and head to Porto the second city of Portugal and where Rami & Paulo work. LOZ wanted to get there early so headed off leaving us to slowly load our bikes get fuel and head off towards the motorway.
Notice by now Rhondini had not just come out of his shell he had smashed it and threw the bits out of the window a true Rockstar.
It was at this petrol station before heading off in the rain that I cleverly jumped off my bike with out the stand down and dropped it into the petrol pump. The nozzles and hoses all entangled around the bike and I hadn't even filled it with fuel. Luckily Uncle Rick heard my squeaking and came to my rescue getting the bike upright. All this the morning after an early night!
We set off on the motorway about 50 miles from Porto and gritted our teeth. Its at times like these I wish I had some expensive Goretex riding gear rather than the cheaper stuff I can afford and make do with. The rain was penetrating every orifice apart from my mouth which I kept shut for a change. Rami had helped find a cheap hotel with secure parking for us and after a bit of a struggle which found the hotel which involved a bit of metro track crossing to arrive on the pavement outside all of us pretty sodden wet although Timpo & Rick were probably less so on the inside with their Gucci kit.
We checked in leaving our dripping kit in the Foyer as we went and parked the bikes in a garage around the corner. After quickly getting ready we jumped on the Metro outside the hotel after some confusion about which line and how to make our tickets live. We had seen LOZ heading down past the hotel but despite some frantic running by Timpo he couldn't catch him.
Imagine our surprise when we saw a flash of orange and a tall person with a special collar hunched over his GPS 1/4 mile away as he headed off on the Metro. A quick phone call and tips and a promise we would meet up in a bit I am sure I saw him beating his GPS with his fist but I guess he was just recalibrating it.
Anyway after a coffee and a quick look round the main square we found LOZ. We had arranged to meet Paulo and Rami at a Restaurant for a late lunch. A great lunch ensued with us not going too mad just enjoying a beer or so and a glass of wine. Paulo and Rami promised to picked us up from the hotel later but by now the rain was lashing down. I went off with Timpo to look for some safety glasses and trying walk round the back streets dodging the rain was a nightmare we arrived back at the hotel well and truly soaked.
We met up and headed to an establishment that served beer ordered and then Paulo and Rami arrived in their cars to pick us up, after quaffing the beers we jumped in the cars. I found it odd why Rick and Timpo dived into Rami's car whilst LOZ, Rhondini and myself jumped into Paulo's. Put your fuggin seatbelt on LOZ growled to me as we set off. Close driving in busy traffic whilst managing an Iphone, putting on the tunes and turning round to talk is a speciality of Paulo's but we kept on Rami's tail as we headed out through the busy traffic we made a stop for Rami to pick up a young lady and headed off across the city to the back streets and a little fish restaurant.
We ate like kings and queens (LOZ & Luna) on fish style tapas for starters and then two giant crabs with an assortment of weapons to get at the crab meet. Luna turned out to be a star and more than held her corner with the craic and banter that went on. Although she may have once been a welder her nails suggested otherwise . With both Vinho Tinto Verde and other more refined wines of Portugal we had a great night and we had to drag ourselves away after 12 as our Portuguese friends all had work the next day. The drive back through the city with Paulo with Deep Purple on the stereo was great.
26th Sept "Whatever you do don't mention the ford"
Up for brekkie @ 0900 as the trip keeps rolling on when you are a Rockstar. The young lady was particularly appealing in a paternal way of course as we were all old enough to be her father.
We saddled up and retraced our steps on the motorway meeting up at Braga. Rick had trouble at the ticket booth so came through with me. There were quite a few patch of road works with all manner of police seeming to be in attendance. We went through one big rain shower but LOZ and I in motocross shirts toughed it out despite getting a little chilly luckily our body amour covered any erect bits and saved our modesty.
Coming to the end toll we hit upon a minor issue. Rick had not got a ticket and there were a few hi viz jackets about. It always amazes me how motorcyclists are expected to pay at toll roads and bridges. The damage they cause is non existent and the hassle of paying holding on to tickets and getting money out on a bike is ridiculous. So I always take mt time get off the bike and make everybody wait. Meanwhile Rick had very calmly told Mr hi viz that he wouldn't be paying the maximum amount and after a bit of a standoff we were on our way.
We rode into Braga and picked up our track heading for the hills through beautiful villages. In Portugal some of the great tracks are the old ones heading into villages and now been abandoned or little used. Many villages are still cobbled and with very narrow streets it can feel like another world.
A few rocky climbs meant you need to keep you wits about you. With fully loaded bikes bike a few rocks can make something you would float over on a pogo become a lot trickier.
The weather turned to rain and we stopped in the middle of nowhere to don some wet weather gear.
These cows were everywhere in the countryside small but with massive horns. Riding into one of those horns would not be fun. It was a good job the cows were docile as they were left to graze the verges.
On one of these cobbled lanes we passed two old ladies who we respectfully let pass and we came to an innocuous looking ford with a bridge that had seen better days next to it.
With Timpo seeming stuck in the water like gunslingers the cameras came out we were quick on the draw.
Rick tried the bridge but with rotten sleepers and it bowed alarmingly discretion was the better part of valor.
Timpo was still on the slippy exit spinning his rear wheel.
There was nothing else for it LOZ made the call "Get my orange strap". A famous device that has rescued many a bike I sure StevenD remembers.
Timpo showing the bridge is no go.
Sensible Rick walked his through.
Obviously the bridge was there for a purpose. I was concerned that there was a troll under the bridge. I mentioned this to LOZ who with a few barks of the Akrapovic lay down in the water looking underneath the bridge for me to make sure that it was clear,
He was up quickly but I am sure you get the flavour. I afraid his riding pants failed on the left hand side immersion test. If you look closely you can see the smirks on Timpo and Rhondini's faces.
Having seen the others cross I opted for the pushing method and got across with no dramas. The great wild Rhondini now transformed from Peter from the Cotswolds didn't bother with helmet or help and flew down the short hill to the ford.
A lesson to be learnt perhaps ?
This was the source of all our problems.
Anyway we re grouped at the first flat spot for a breather. Rhondini now starting to act crazier than even Lemmy just thew his bike on the floor. We picked it up explaining that it was probably not the best thing to do to the bike.
We carried on the trails and narrowly avoided two do incidents Timpo nearly got savaged by a mouse hound and LOZ by what can only be described as a big black bear. The Ford jokes carried on and we went round a mountain with the weather getting worse and worse. LOZ decided to head for the nearest town and search out some digs. The rest of us got strung out as the trail headed up the mountain what was now quite thick fog. I stuck with Rhondini and after a few wrong turns I arrived at what was a massive loose stone hill, I could see where Rick and Timpo had gone and just tried to keep steady upward progress. The hill was not easy as you needed momentum as well as a steady hand to stop the rear stepping out of line. I carried on to the first wind turbine got off the bike glad to have made it. I left my bike and headed back perhaps 400m down the hill with the mist swirling I could see Rhondini and his bike on their sides half way up the hill. I made way way down and we got the bike upright and he headed down for attempt no.2.
This time the power was on and if I am honest it looked like the bike was getting itself up hill with the rider just hanging on. Having made it past his previous highpoint the bike started to fishtail and Rhondini and his machine ended up in the trees to the left of this picture and I mean right in the trees.
After some puffing and panting we extricated the bike and Pete headed down for attempt no.3 which fizzled out low down.
Nothing said Rhondini turned his bike around and went for attempt no.4. I was worried that we would have to retrace our steps but not overly concerned as I do like when trail riding gets tough and takes that bit more out of you.
No problem I just had the job of dragging my tubby little body back up that bleedin hill to my bike. Still it must have done me good. We carried on along tracks made to service the wind farm meeting 3 artic lorries on the way quite surreal up there in the mist.
We carried on to the town we had agreed to head for checked the phone and the guys had found a great hotel in part of a large complex where we sorted ourselves before heading to the bar to rehydrate.
Pizza was what we craved and along a street by the hotel we found a little cafe / restaurant. Having ascertained the Pizzas were fresh we ordered 4 as we were all famished hot and meaty was the order of the day. What a feast arrived we had ordered too much and even the bigger eaters amongst us struggled. Washed down with lots of wine it was a full bunch of Rockstars that headed out in search of that elusive Juan Moore. Having OD'd on Pizza Rick decided discretion was the better part of valor and headed back whilst we sat down in a cafe type place and proceeded do drink beer and empty the CRF bottle. Eventually we headed back to the hotel I think Rhondini and LOZ stayed out the latest but as ever at that time out night things get a little blurred in my memory.
A long day but one of the best for me.
Here endeth Part 3
|10-06-2012, 08:47 AM||#12|
Joined: Feb 2009
Part 4 Rcokstars Continued
We were up briskly the weather was warm and after some breakfast we headed off.After riding round sans helmet Timpo & LOZ were very surprised that most of the local police force were also in the cafe.
Not sure what Pete was drinking in this photo but by the stage of the holiday it wouldn't surprise me if it was meths.
Some lovely trails followed climbing through the mountains we were really in rural Portugal.
We soon came to some tricky shrubbery. This stuff you can brush past but if it gets a hold of you can pull your bike down or you off it.
Luckily for us some people were armed.
Loz and Timpo comparing sizes.
Anyway due to the amount of work required we took a detour amongst the wind turbines.
Onward we went on sandy tracks the scenery was stunning.
We were now in the Durro Region of Portugal world famous for its wine making.
Even the twisty tarmac roads were fun as the weather warmed up.
We even got to ride through some vineyards on some dusty tracks that went on and on. The beautiful young maidens(OK old ladies) waved and shouted at me as we rode through.
By now we were riding well and the lanes were flowing as they had become less technical.
Rhondini was now mastering the use of his sat nav as long as he had batteries as they seemed to fade at least once a day. Sadly he was not mastering the correct way to go and a new new name of Vasco De Garmin (or Garma if he was using a map). Did I mention that his job was manager of a team which maps out archeological finds.
Anyway with more U turns than a politician we carried on. With his growing confidence Rhondini had developed a new technique with inside leg out. This method was used whether on the dirt or tarmac on the latter he looked like Rossi cornering on a MotoGP Bike. I was worried about him catching a leg but when I asked him about it he reckoned he had copied it from Timpo.
Still Peter Flattley was another name that came into being.
Coming to a downed tree it was soon dealt with once I had used my strength to clear the heavy stuff I let the lads have a go.
Looking at LOZ's face its just like when man discovered fire.
Having got the end of the track we had a discussion and decided that as it was only 60 miles we would hot foot it back to the campsite. A half completed motorway is pretty boring at 55 mph and I had a minor issue at one junction involving driving head on into two lines of traffic. Still as Rockstars nothing fazed us now even Rick in the ditch at the side of the motorway, he waved me by but but stopped Vasco de Flattley and he knew he had 5l of the purple petrol in a Rotopax on the side of his bike.
Back to the campsite and we got down to the important stuff. A beer of course. We had a great meal followed by a few jugs of wine. The lady wanted to go home at around 10 so the 3 hardcore Petrolheads went back to a cabin with a bottle of Fully Leaded Purple Petrol (Port) and Ricks flask of 12yr old malt). Although I didn't attend Rick, Pete and LOZ enjoyed themselves and even got some dancing done allegedly.
To be continued
The end is nigh
|10-06-2012, 10:31 AM||#13|
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Oxford, UK
Good read Matt, when are the other Rockstars going to chime in with their contributions? I heard Loz saw a Troll beneath the bridge but thinking it was just an old piece of mirror, he thought nothing more of it.
|10-06-2012, 01:27 PM||#14|
Joined: Apr 2004
Location: dreamy spires of oxford UK
|10-07-2012, 04:45 AM||#15|
Joined: Feb 2009
The Final Chapter
While I have a free weekend I thought I had better press on and get the rest of the report completed.
From our campsite base near Braganca it had been decided that Rhondini, LOZ and myself would head off sans luggage and do some of the outward and return leg of the WYOA that we had completed in 2011. Timpo's bike had a broken subframe and Rick just wanted a day chilling. Of course all this was planned in the bar the previous night !
I had a nice lie in in my tent quite comfortable and the weather looked good. I lay there listening for the gentle footfalls of the size 12 Alpinestars and the gentle growl of gerrup from my colleague. Hearing nothing I had a wash and headed for the cafe I met Pete and Rick. Pete to his credit was already in his riding kit but they both looked fairly jaded and that's where the tale of the apres bar Port and Whiskey came out. I ate then went to look for LOZ expecting him to have been up since 5 walking over the hills. Hmm with glued together eyes and still in his party clothes it was a more jaded than normal Laurence. As CrazyIvan would say the Akrapovic was not barking this morning. Still we arranged to be off at 1100 and went to sort our respective sh!t out.
We set out the bikes feeling different machines and my grin widened as we did the part of WYOA 2011. Whilst not technical the trails flowed and we were all soon in the rhythm. AS it was this trip that made the adventure biking really bite with me the memories flooding back. Even the fateful corner where Clive had hi first fall was there. Stunning scenery and made me wish that our riding wasn't at an end.
In a remote village we stopped for a coffee in a bar that was barely open.
No food available just coffee in a tired old bar with a few old people passing the time of day. On hearing our english speaking voices and old lady came up to us for a chat. It was a sad tale she told having lived in England for 36 years married to a broker from Lloyds who died from liver disease at 48. Having no children she moved back to her home village which was gradually fading away most of the houses closed up with the owners only coming back for holidays. The current residents getting older and older. Still it was nice to hear about real Portugal its what experiencing real life is all about. We stopped at supermarket for a picnic and ate it in a village square the weather was good bikes were okand we were happy. Cutting across to the other track meant a few road miles but on the bigger bikes its easier than on a pogo no point in rushing just enjoy the ride.
The ride back in was equally and good in fact it ended almost too soon. We followed a great track down a mountain to avoid some tarmac and due to a mistake by me managed to get separated from each other. I went on try and rejoin the track. Once on the track again I had received a text from Rhondini so we arranged to meet back at the campsite.
I followed a signposted gravel track following the line on my GPS just one more hill and forest to get through before ending back at the campsite. In the middle of nowhere a flock of long eared sheep crossed in front of me so I respectfully waited s they crossed the road and waved to the shepherd. Just as they had finished crossing one of those great big dogs the size of a horse burst out from the bushes showing what large teeth he had. Using the time honoured technique of revving the bike making a lot of noise I then dumped the clutch and I am happy to say that in KTM v dog drag race challenge the KTM won.
Back at the campsite a great 150 miles of trails had been covered. We then loaded the vans up ready for the trip home.
Its at this point I should say that the Portsmouth to Santandar ferry that we went out on had been cancelled due to a strike effectively leaving us stranded in Portugal. Our only option would be a long journey north to cross the channel from Northern France. We lost two days riding but at least we had advance notice so it didn't cause any issues with work etc.
We retired to the bar for another nice meal a few jugs of wine and to watch the freestyle motocross. Timpo expressed his joy at watching the skillful riders and how he wanted to buy one of those baseball caps with the peak on backwards.
LOZ and I were up at 0700 packing tents away the other who had slept in a cabin had enjoyed a more leisurely start but sort after 0800 we were on a our way. A few phone calls the day before had revealed fellow adv'r jonnybegood was at home in the Dordogne and offered us a place for the night. So it was there that we headed for.
Timpo does well driving long distances it was a case of just getting on with it and we arrived at Jonny's place at 1845. After brief hello's we headed to the restaurant in the village for a lovely traditional French meal. The vino flowed and we headed back to Jonny's for more night caps.
30th Sept "Rick's night of the zombies"
A jaded bunch emerged at around 0900 to head off towards the Chunnel. No sign of Jonny he had obviously had a hard week of work and needed the rest.
We had decided to head for Ypres as base for getting to the channel tunnel the next morning. Another long drive say us arrive early evening. Rick had found us a hotel so we booked in and then went out for a meal soaking up the atmosphere before heading to the Menin Gate.
Every night since 1928 (apart from the German occupation) the last post has been blown by members of the local fire service at 2000 in memory of those who fell. I won't dwell on the history as there is plenty of inforamtion available but I will say that it was a very moving ceremony even after all these years.
We then headed off led by LOZ to find a locals bar. Unfortunately being a week night it was pretty quiet although there was the Ryder Cup on the large television screens that LOZ was interested in. We were now drinking Belgian beer a brew that has bitten me before. So I was more than happy drinking the weaker versions. At a certain point in the evening Rick, Timpo and myself headed back to the hotel. Rhondini and LOZ stuck it out the 12% not proving itself too strong with LOZ or so he said.
The day dawned and we headed for a rendezvous at the breakfast table Rick looked slightly tired due to the fact that until he locked his door he had received 3 visits in the night. Rusty the red setter had also been running around the hotel at night.
We promptly ate a nice breakfast and headed to the vans and away. We drove around looked at at few monuments and then headed for the Chunnel. For the 3 of us in Timpo's van it was not an issue as all our documentation was in order. Rick had left his passport safely on a table in the cabin at the campsite.
Luckily as Rick is an upstanding citizen a quick call to Dave and they were through. As it was the Motocross des Nations that weekend there were lots of hungover boys with their jeans around their knees hanging around and gentle growling sound could be heard coming from both Timpo and LOZ.
We said our goodbyes on the Chunnel and headed our respective ways. We horsed LOZ and his bike out in Oxford and headed up to Chez Timpo being very lucky on the motorway as it was busy as was shut just as we got through. After reloading into my van I set off for home arriving around 2000 tired but happy after another successful holiday.
Many thanks to Timpo, LOZ, RickA and Rhondini for a great holiday I am already looking forward to the next one.
As the finale I have a few extra photo's supplied by Rhondini.
LOZ proving that two hands are better than one when it comes to red wine drinking.
Timpo showing another side of himself. "A bingo lover"
LOZ on the box.
Those drainage ruts can proved tricky.
Proof that even a KTM low rider can wheelie.
Thanks for reading see you on the trails.
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