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Old 10-02-2013, 07:44 AM   #46
g容g OP
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Location: 41.655984,-71.302657
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...and so here we are, the last day of vacation.
People talk about the last day of a trip often being bitter-sweet. Sad to be ending, but happy to be heading home. For me anyway.. I am just sad the trip is over, the time went too fast, and if there was a way to stay.... but anyway, on with the report.

I guess it almost goes without saying that yes, the day dawns clear & bright,with no chance of precipitation. What's all this about rain in Spain? We haven't seen a drop...



Michelle asks "what's the route look like today?"

Me: "I have a plan....."



Breakfast in us, panniers packed & bikes loaded:



GoPro fitted



We are ready to explore some of the Zona Volc跣ica. on the way to Barcelona. You'll note in this picture Michelle's bike has been moved to make an easy escape.... chivalry... I haz it



We do GI 524 out of the hotel, heading south-east. Its a lovely little winding road, and we are really enjoying ourselves as cut across the Zona Volc跣ica. Near Banyoles we hit C66 south and dopey decides going straight through downtown Girona might be a good idea... Luckily there isn't much traffic & all's well. We rip down C25 and take the exit for Sant Hilari Sacalm.



The idea is to get a few more twisty goat paths in before Barcelona... Unfortunately I miss the turn in town & we end up on GI 542 all the way back to Angl鋊

So, around we go again ending back on C25 (where we were just a little while before).

This time we take C25 to the exit for GI 543 which then leads us to GIV 5201... This takes us into Parc Natural Del Montseny. We had ridden this area on our first day heading north, but not this exact road. Spectacular scenary, smooth roads, zero traffic... it is all here. What a great place to just come for a quick ride if you lived in Barcelona!

Exiting the park, it is time to get our game-faces on for Barcelona traffic. We experienced the frenetic pace on the way out, and have a plan for heading in. One last shot before we go: thumbs up / all systems go!



As we near Barcelona we go to "comms on" and Michelle keeps an eye on traffic behind while I concentrate on traffic ahead & navigation. Working as a team the trip in is a piece of cake! Dopey takes us pretty much straight to IMT safe & sound!

Safe arrival? thumbs up!



Me, possibly slightly more frazzled... but good to go!



The bikes are checked over, also good to go. We do a debrief with our IMT rep & he is happy that we are happy! "Will you come back?" he asks..... I think the answer must be YES!

We unpack the bikes & grab a taxi at the train station for our hotel for tonight, AC Hotel SOM. We opt for snacks in the bar and an early night.

The ride to the airport in the morning is uneventful. US Airways representative is very helpful giving us VIP passes for security & directing us to the lounge. Sweet! (thanks Michelle for all the flying...)

Chilling in the lounge with coffee & snacks



and me too watching the people in the lower shopping area of the airport



Finally, we make our way to the gate where we meet up (finally) with our New England friends. We swap stories of roads, and then it is time to board. I guess, by now, I am happy to be heading home.



Goodbye Pyrenees!



In the end, our last day of riding was about 250 km! Which was further than originally planned, but like a lot of the roads we found, better than we had planned too!



Just the post-script left to write now. Thanks for reading!
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:18 AM   #47
g容g OP
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So wrapping up.. what did we learn?

The good:



IMT Bike is a first class operation. The bikes are new, and well prepped. The staff is friendly & professional. The rental prices seem very competitive and are certainly less than comparable rentals in Switzerland (for example). All in all a great experience.

The roads of Spain! I can't begin to describe how perfect they are.... buttery-smooth & endlessly twisty, with very little traffic. You could ride in circles for days and never ever be bored.

The Spanish people! Friendly & helpful, courteous on the road, and in general happy. You'd have a hard time equating the "news" we get of economic meltdown with the reality of northern Spain.

The hotels. We ended up staying in a variety of hotels, probably spending more than say northern Italy for example, but also more stars... In the case of the Paradore a LOT more stars That being said, i always felt we got good value for money. France probably a little less so, but we enjoyed the places we stayed there as well.

Equipment-wise the Sena bluetooth once again was invaluable. Great for navigating cities as well as those "hey look at that cool castle" moments. Having a bit of music is really nice too!

We used Bubbler GPS on Michelle's android phone to upload track data in real time to spot-walla. This was nice for friends & family back home to know where we were.

The bad (nothing really): Funny enough I only wore my cold / wet weather gloves once (and probably didn't need to), I never put my liner in my jacket, and I struggled to find a time cool enough to wear a long sleeved tee shirt. All a huge difference from Alps riding. Coincidentally at the time we were enjoying mid 70's in Spain several ADV'ers were riding through rain & snowy conditions in the Alps.. been there / done that... gimme Spain every time

Finally I will leave you with this. You saw the GoPro bolted on from time to time. Now, if you're like me, you have a GoPro, you take video, and at the end of a trip you either don't have:

  • the time to edit it all
  • the skills / talent / computer horsepower to edit it all
  • the inclination
I think I tick all three boxes personally
However.... I do know a guy (Michelle's nephew as a matter of fact), who is skilled in all three. So I attach the compilation video he made for us. probably best watched in HD






If you have gig's of video laying around, and think "damn.. it'd be nice to have a cool video made", Tim's quite reasonable! You can reach him by email at Productions by Tim
Facebook users can hit him up there: LINK

I guess that is the end of the story.. Just like all our trips to Europe, if you ever thought about doing it, but wondered if the logistics would be too much, I am here to say "go for it!" it isn't that big a deal. get out there, see the world, and have some fun! If there's anything I can do, or questions I can answer, please feel free to ask away.


Thanks again, and with a little luck, we'll have something on for 2014!


Ride safe. Greg & Michelle
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:30 PM   #48
jmcg
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Another great RR!



Thanks,

JM.
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Old 10-02-2013, 03:14 PM   #49
joanroma
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I am glad that everything went well and especially Catalonia and the Pyrenees (both sides) you liked. Here we are waiting for you to come back for new routes.
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Old 10-02-2013, 03:57 PM   #50
Jugama
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Nice report!
Thanks for sharing.

If you finally decide to come back, and you still have the same opinion about my country and the people here, please let me know, we could meet and have a couple of "cervezas" together....

If you're interested in routes and places to ride in Spain, here is a link to the threads started by me at Volusia Riders, most of them about one day or weekend rides, all of them with photographs we took. (We=Maria and I)
Sorry, there's no map on any of them, I'm afraid...

Waiting to know about the 2014 Europe Tour!

Ride safe!
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Old 10-02-2013, 04:14 PM   #51
g容g OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joanroma View Post
I am glad that everything went well and especially Catalonia and the Pyrenees (both sides) you liked. Here we are waiting for you to come back for new routes.
seriously cannot wait to be back!
thank you for coming along with us

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jugama View Post
Nice report!
Thanks for sharing.

If you finally decide to come back, and you still have the same opinion about my country and the people here, please let me know, we could meet and have a couple of "cervezas" together....

If you're interested in routes and places to ride in Spain, here is a link to the threads started by me at Volusia Riders, most of them about one day or weekend rides, all of them with photographs we took. (We=Maria and I)
Sorry, there's no map on any of them, I'm afraid...

Waiting to know about the 2014 Europe Tour!

Ride safe!
I am always happy for a cold beer & meeting new riding friends!
Are you thinking of the Alps next summer? If you need any tips, I can offer a few, but others here are probably even more experienced.

thanks for reading!
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Old 10-02-2013, 06:05 PM   #52
907Duc
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nice read, no boring home movies here. Here I am living in the promised land and the roads are shit, go figure, maybe they use a special pavement there or that's just how they keep unemployment below 30%
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:58 AM   #53
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Awesome Greg!

My wife has no interest in riding, but says that, "once the kids are gone, I'm going to need to learn or I'll never see you again!" I might use this report to show her how good life could be on 2 wheels
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Old 10-03-2013, 08:06 AM   #54
g容g OP
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Originally Posted by levain View Post
Awesome Greg!

My wife has no interest in riding, but says that, "once the kids are gone, I'm going to need to learn or I'll never see you again!" I might use this report to show her how good life could be on 2 wheels
thanks Jim!

Riding is not for everyone, but I think for Michelle & I it is (almost) everything.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:48 AM   #55
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great report...(and pics)...what did you think of the 700's
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:58 AM   #56
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great report...(and pics)...what did you think of the 700's
hey thanks!

funny, my brother was asking me the same thing: where's the GS 700 report?

I have to say we both really liked them. The seat height & weight were both good for Michelle, and there was plenty of thrust to keep me happy. The guys at IMT said it best "fast enough to keep you happy, light enough so you don't get tired, and big wide bars so the riding is pretty easy" (especially in the mountain hairpins).

It was essentially the same as the GS 800 I had last year. Same motor (near as I can tell), dual front disks, ESA suspension, etc. Felt about the same to ride as well. Seemed to be geared well, had a decent amount of torque, not too buzzy at highway speeds, and the luggage system (for what we were doing) seemed to work perfectly.

I guess the litmus test is whether I would buy one.... Good question. I don't think it would be quite as perfect here as it was there. Maybe a Triumph Tiger 800 (just the street, not the XC) would be a better choice for here with a bit smoother power-plant for the longish stretches of highway we have to endure from time to time.

I am firmly convinced that for a holiday in the mountains you absolutely do not need any more bike than this. I have humped Beemer R 1150-R's, R 1150-RR's and R 1200 R's through the Alps... its a lot of work at the end of the day. The GS 800 last year was a revelation, and this GS 700 just reinforced that opinion.
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:03 AM   #57
Wal2
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thanks.....hmmmm.....yes, ive test ridden both, Tiger roadie has 20hp more and is smoother, and is a bigger bike physically, so would suit a bigger rider, 700 suits my size well..... both very nice though
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:09 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wal2 View Post
thanks.....hmmmm.....yes, ive test ridden both, Tiger roadie has 20hp more and is smoother, and is a bigger bike physically, so would suit a bigger rider, 700 suits my size well..... both very nice though
I'd agree with you on all points there
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:37 PM   #59
tricepilot
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Nice job.

I was just in Barcelona three months ago and IMT bike is my go-to place when I launch out of there next trip.

Tagged your RR for future reference
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Old 10-03-2013, 05:59 PM   #60
907Duc
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Don't know the price of the BMW but the Tiger is too much coin for me for what it is IMHO.
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