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Old 10-21-2013, 02:11 PM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisbarnes1 View Post
I think Ela's CRF230 will also carry gear--mine has managed it in France--and it is lighter! (a bike for ladies and old men!)
CB
Thanks for your feedback on our report, Chris; we were already thinking of taking smaller bikes to Portugal the next time - and my wonderful personal mechanic has promised to make me a luggage rack for Christmas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beefiddler View Post
I am so inspired I will even go and write something for the Oxford TRF newsletter about some far less interesting stuff! Probably without photos.:-)
Cheers, Patrick, that's what we like to hear - can't wait!


P.S. And I didn't need to wait - just checked my emails and found your Witley 100 LDT report. Thank you very much!
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Old 10-21-2013, 03:12 PM   #62
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Fri 4th Oct

Just cracked a bottle of Vinho Tinto Verde so thought I would get another day under my belt. 1st drink for 4 days as I have been on call for work being light and only 10.5% perfect for a snifter on school night.

We awoke fresh and ready for a new the smile on some of the guys faces may have been because they were dreaming about the waitress last night but we will never know. Looking out it was quite foggy so the first few miles could well be a bit chilly.



"The Portugal 4" looked none the worst for their ordeal and after a nice breakfast we all individually went round to the lock up where we had put our bikes. I was happily positioning my luggage when GFJ came back saying that his bike had gone. Now being actively involved in leading young people in the mountains GFJ knows his navigation, however this time being in the wrong street didn't help him find his bike.

Ela had decided she wanted to do some sight seeing so we saddled up and headed off out of town to a fuel station. After fueling up we headed back into town to go and meet the trail from yesterday. Timpo, Rick and Daithi got split from us by a truck and in an instant were gone.

We all stopped and having the route people asked which way did they go.

No I had a shared a room with Timpo and he had told me the village where he planned to cut back onto the track. Sadly old muddymatt had not listened too well and the distraction and the attractions of Pizza, beer, wine and the low cut top of the waitress had all contrived to mean I couldn't remember its name.

Oh well there were only two roads out of town in the direction I wanted to go, sadly I took the wrong one !

Once we had established that the other party had started 10 miles or so further back than us on the trail we carried on the track past Timpo's egg boulder.

A couple of rocky climbs got us to again fantastic places in this great country.



I think I can see the fella smiling in that helmet.



We met a road block where after checking our documents and being made to "look nice" we were allowed to continue.



Fantastic forest trails.



Scenery was rubbish.



The "Ford of Length" after out previous frighteners I imagined the ford of length to be a mere trickle but it did no disappoint. We had met Ela and she rode with us on some great trails to get to where a fairly wide river crosses the trail.

It all looked so innocuous that GFJ went for a paddle.



Now I don't tell tales out of school, but being on Daithhi's DRZ Seamus dove into the waters.(Its easier on someone else's bike!) and came out the other side.



Despite being 5ft 10" the 690r I still struggle to flat foot it so I opted for the safety of walking it through.

Jimmy by now had experienced enough of us "Spain here we come"



Possu baby thought about following him, remember Ela and altered course for the shore.



Now by now Timpo's team were experiencing problem's Rick forks had blown a pressed part out from them and he was covered in oil. At the ford Daithi was given strict instructions "Whatever you do don't feckin drop it"

By a quirk of fate his head cam was switched off so there is no evidence. But I have it on good authority (Timpo's ) that Daithi had decided to try and join Jimmy in Spain by swimming there. Not sure what his new bike was baptised as but I am sure I can't put it in print. There is no truth in the rumour that Daithi is known as Gold Blend as he makes such good coffee out of his oil.

Onward we went into "Deer Piss Forest" a eucalyptus plantation along a river that you could really smell the deer in April. Sadly it look like the ever encroaching fences are taking hold with much of the river fenced off. It made great climbing on the bikes as we went up and down but I fear once the fence is complete our access may be restricted.

Having stopped here before with Rick and Timpo I knew the unlikely way out. So I took a picture of the most attractive person on the Anthill Mob Tour.



The lovely climb was up here.



Some re navigation was required through the plantation before we headed out and it opened out.

After going through a couple of large gates we were challenged by a group of hunters enjoying their lunch. One stopped us and came over and speaking good english explained that this was a private farm and that it was dangerous to be there whilst hunting was going on. I apologised and offered to go back but after saying his piece he was happy for us to carry on.

We carried on the track past more wire fence and a magnificent stag behind it which was really sad. Popping out onto an unpaved round we carried on around more plantations enjoying the scenery. I turned left up a track and carried on in the baking sun. I looked behind and there was nobody there !

After waiting a while I heard the comforting roar of a bike and it was Possu saying Seamus had a problem.

Regrouping Seamus knew a petrol station not far away so we headed off and refuelled the bloke there obviously no vying for Portuguese Tourist assistance of thee year.

Baking sun so we retired to the cafe for a coffee and the staple lunch of crisps.

Seamus's bike wouldn't start and he was unhappy about it on the trail so elected to go by road. After a push start we headed back to the track in baking sun.

We soon came to electric fence ford. No fence but when surveying it I saw a terrapin the size of a dinner plate come up out of the water for a breath.

walking through this time I felt the water come up to the bits mummy can't see any more! Although being still it didn't prove much of a problem.



Jimmy still had a few directional issues.



The heat was now baking and we went into an area where the track was unclear on the sat nav and looped around a lot with someone trying to find the way to go.

After a bit of trial and error we found a way through although encountering quite a few fences and dead ends.

This little fella was a lucky boy lying in our wheel tracks. We all missed him but boy did he stink.





We were all feeling the heat but carrying on I had the feeling that someone was ahead of us and suspected it was a shaven headed scouser.

Going through a gateway GFJ got caught in some barbed wire pulling him off the bike ripping his rear brake pipe of and making his chain tight.

It was a bit of a show stopper him with a few days to go and the potential of no rear brake.

Still no time for sentiment we sort out his bike and headed on to the nearest tarmac road after a few testing ups and downs.

On getting to the road around 1800 we agreed heading to the hotel was the best option. Thanks to Garmin we knew the shortest route, a mere 56 miles.

Slabbing it is always hard for adventure biker and after Castelo Branco we went on the toll motorway for 20 miles or so only seeing 4 vehicles.

Luckily I knew where the hotel was at Velha de Rodao Ela had been circumventing the town despite Uncle Rick lay in the road trying to stop her.

What a day we jumped off the bikes with Timpo who had arrived just before and dusty and tired chatted about our days.

Great rooms and hotel even if the bloody bloke wouldn't get off the phone (lesson for us all perhaps folks).

Down for beers and we tucked into a really nice meal.

After eating and a few beverages life seems all good. Next thing is Daithi and Seamus arriving after a 50 mile tow tired dishevelled but not beaten.

Those lads are a legend period!

Now I have known the odd Irish princess in my time and they are tough but stomping through the door in full kit after a mega day those lads have my utmost respect.

The best thing of all though, they are still smiling and have a sense of humour.

After sorting the lads with food and a few more beers and it was time for bed.

To Be Continued

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Old 10-22-2013, 11:26 AM   #63
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Great report as usual Matt, keep it coming.

Matt's been a bit modest, he did a great job by himself of navigating us out of the Eucalyptus forest and working his way around the fences.
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Old 10-22-2013, 01:11 PM   #64
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Good one Matt

I was cursing the DRZ suspension around those dinosaur eggs but the trails by the river let me enjoy the engine, twas feckin brilliant

Can't wait to see what happens next

Very true Possu, Matt was navigating like a local
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Old 10-23-2013, 01:06 PM   #65
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Sat 5th Oct

Putting the date above in above for me means very little when I am on a biking holiday. Get up, ride, drink, eat and sleep is a very simple cocktail when days and dates start to mean very little until the trip is coming to an end and its time to start thinking of the real world.

We awoke in Vila de Rodao and enjoyed a self service breakfast before the usual routine of packing up the kit and getting on the bikes.

Sadly Uncle Rick had opted to head for home as his fork problem was terminal and riding without fluid in the one fork leg would have meant that it would have eventually wrecked the fork on his new Husaberg.

Gareth was heading to a bike dealer in Castelo Branco to see if his brake pipe could be fixed.

Meanwhile poor Seamus had given up on the DRZ and had decided to head back to Freixio to his van as his didn't want to get stuck out in the wilderness.

I am not sure Timpo was too happy taking a back seat on this bicycle made for two !



Goodness I am a handsome chap.



Uncle Rick for him "ze trip was over " but he still maintained his cheerfulness and went off with Gareth.

I had offered to ride with Ela but as ever she was worried about soiling my day so opted to come with us as a group. I had told her about removing her coat but she opted to start with it on despite the baking heat.

After a few nice trails out of the town we went up a rocky track. Being at the back you get to see most of the action and the next thing poor Ela was into the gully at the side of the track ripping her pannier off in the process. She remained upright so we parked up and sorted her kit out. Timpo came back and told him to carry on as we would go at our own pace.

After sorting out the luggage Ela bravely opted to go minus her jacket and hopefully was far cooler and relaxed.

The tracks were easy but fast sandy trails.



I cam round a corner to Ela promptly going over the bars and ending in a heap. Ela's wild past perhaps makes her head towards the left although some to the right is the best option.



We even saw cacti with fruit on this far south.



Watching Golden Eagles was quite spectacular.



Lovely trails with great weather can life get any better ?



With this person as her travelling companion Ela must have thought she had won the lottery.



We came to this walled lane that I remembered went over a blocked dam so turned back. Timpo had carried on and made it through a previously impassable ford it all depends on what season you are in.



What a view on our target for the night Monsanto. I had by now got an obscured number plate. I was in serious trouble with Ela for this but as I was her travelling companion I was spared any serious punishment.



Ela in her fishnet body armour.



We now reached a lake that I recognised as I had had to help pull a GSA1200 out of a rut there in April. It funny how those things become imprinted on your mind.



The route we had used in April was now subject to a locked gate so after going down a narrow track which ended in a narrow footpath we opted to make a detour and go around. We were in cattle country which meant many wire fence gates which were a bit tedious but we were find our way through.

Now Ela is a very well educated lady who normally uses impeccable German logic to work out solutions to problems. Imagine my surprise when on shutting a wire gate she ended up on the wrong side to me and her bike. It must have been the sun!

Great trails again.



I am such a bad man I have not cleaned my number plate still !



Our goal was always on the horizon.



Getting nearer.



The fairing on my bike having sheared off it was now kept together with cable ties still it was still going.



I was having so much fun and enjoying the riding I just didn't want to get to Monsanto. We carried on via some sandy tracks before getting to a ford near an old historic fortified village.

Ela having fun.



I broke the rules and we parked the bikes up for a look around.



I was shocked when Ela said look at that cock thinking it was some sort of nudist enclave. Luckily she was just referring to the elegant weather vane on top of the bell tower!



Corny tourist shot.



Ela now used her femine guile on poor old muddymatt and asked him if he would like an ice cream. It was boiling so "Yes please" was my reply.

Unfortunately she had left her purse on her unattended bike so it was down to me to purchase the magnums that we savoured in the sunlight.

We saddled up and headed off only almost immediately to get to a locked gate which we had encountered in April.

No problem after a bit of a detour we were back on track our goal looking ever closer.



Ela was nervous at the foot of Monsanto saying that the contour lines were very close together. Anyway we had a look and I remember coming down the twisty narrow path with Loz was back in 2011 but we opted to go round via the road.

As per usual our old mate Timpo was there to greet up rumour has it he can recognise a trail bike engine at 5 miles.

Seamus had got there in his van and an old friend Stella who owned a guest house was very cross that we had not phoned her earlier to book her guesthouse. She had one room that Timpo, Possu and Ela took, the rest of us were at her mates house up in village. Our bikes were tucked in safe and sound in Stella's garage.

Poor old Gareth drew the short straw shared a room with me space being at a premium he was on the floor whilst I was in a magnificent double bed with feather duvet.

We quickly showered and for once I was not first to the bar. Pints were the order of the day as the sun went down.



To anybody who thinks life gets better than this. It doesn't period!



We went for a meal in the local restaurant, Stella came and brought her mother and husband and we had a great evening.

Jimmy the naughty boy was a long way from his girlfriend and was now enjoying chips every night. Notice how he had tried to fill himself to the top with red wine so it came out of his nostrils.



It was all too soon time to head for bed.

I should add that Gareth managed to get his rear brake pipe fixed and also a new tyre and crept up on the group in a town half way along the route.

A cracking day ending in a location that is out of this world.

Only a few more days to go !

Matt
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Old 10-23-2013, 03:48 PM   #66
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Just to avoid confusion - I'm still in on the 3rd October with my part of the report...

-----------------------------------------------

Very late at night a red foreign Vivaro had rolled into Freixo - Famous and Daithi had made it to Portugal against all the odds!


I still struggle to recall all the details but basically what happened was that on his return to Paris from the 'Rallye des Pionniers de l'histoire' Famous found his van emptied of bikes and equipment, which was not only highly annoying but also preventing him from continuing his planned journey to Bragança. Or so you would have thought.

But instead of sitting in a corner and crying about the unfairness of the world, like everybody else would have done, Famous quickly rearranged ferry bookings, went back to his home island, organised different bikes and gear on the way (I remember something about Daithi jumping onto the ferry ramp at the last moment) and immediately returned to the continent, driving day and night to join the Anthill Mob as soon as possible. What a spirit!


I guess the two heroes wished the night would have lasted a bit longer but the next morning dawned with patches of blue sky and we were all raring to go


After a lovely breakfast I asked if there was any estacionamento seguro for Famous's third bike which, understandably, he didn't want to leave in his van - however secure the communal parking area directly in front of the hotel might be. The friendly owner didn't have a garage but Famous would be welcome to leave the bike in the rear of the bar until he came back to collect the van. Fantastic customer service!

And the high spirits and good deeds were not exhausted yet: Saint Matthew kindly offered to ride with me that day so that I could enjoy some trails, at my own pace, and he would follow me wherever the GPS tracks would take us. (<- that's me and the DRZ)

After filling up and letting the fast and furious go ahead, we climbed the hinterland of Freixo, accurately guided by either my Montana, a group of local builders or by Matt, who just stopped dead at the junction when I took a wrong turn. After a couple of steep-ish ascents through the woods we joined a ridge way...


... with great views over the Douro and into Spain on the other side


Back a bit, Matt...


And as if it had listened, this fellow suddenly appeared in the sky


I can tell you it's bl**dy hard to get a reasonable close-up with a compact digital camera...


We carried on through the scenic Parque Natural de Douro Internacional (the Spanish version is the most informative) on equally beautiful lanes until Matt solemnly announced that we were close to the notorious Roman Road. I asked him again for his opinion if we should try it or not but Matt wisely decided that I should give the trail a miss this time...

Instead we took the chicken route which incorporated a nice albeit not particularly short ford. Matt left me deeply impressed when he rode straight into the river!


He had spotted the tracks of another chicken who had crossed the stream not long before us...


What do you think, shall we just follow them?


We did and all was well. After a short climb onto the paved road, the nemesis of many a trail rider came into view...




... and we could hear engine noises


Oh no, it seems my Possu is in trouble!


Don't get me wrong, I would have worried about every member of the group - but Steve had our van keys in his pocket!


Reason 357 why you shouldn't go trail riding by yourself...


Looking good...


The roadside assistance in Portugal is really commendable


A last look into the abyss...


Here comes Jimmy


Well done, mate!


And here's Possu at long last


Completely knackered and desperately trying to recall his bagpipe lessons from school to get as much fluid into his body as quickly as possible...


Everybody in this picture has conquered the Roman Road at some point and came out alive - you can see the sense of achievement, joy and relief written on their faces...


Fit as they all are, it didn't take the boys long to recover from the ordeal and off they went again


Matt and I briefly contemplated doing the trail the other way round -


... but the call of the bar in Barca de Alva was louder...

To be continued
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Old 10-24-2013, 04:56 AM   #67
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Well good on you guys to come up along that rocky drop

Ciao

Nic
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Old 10-24-2013, 01:54 PM   #68
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Damn report(s) (or should I say scribes) still manage to amaze me!

Great pics and the quality of the (holy) writings just increase my guilt for not joining you I'm still laughing regarding our antics in the bar in Monsanto in April... We (in fact Oldman Rick and my cousin Hugo) almost destroyed the bar and no-one remembers who payed the bill... Evil CR&F

Cheers
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Old 10-24-2013, 11:45 PM   #69
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Nice report.
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Old 10-25-2013, 04:35 AM   #70
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Ohhh... and a very big thumps up to Famous Seamus and Daithi for their quest!

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93 Honda AfricaTwin
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:56 PM   #71
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After the trial of the Roman Road we regrouped in Barca de Alva for a well deserved break and enjoyed refrescos (cold soft drinks), galão (milky coffee), tosta mixta (toasted ham and cheese sandwich), gelado (ice cream) and a vida (life) in general...


Some looked after their weary bikes...


... others after their weary feet...


And then - after they had finally managed to get their bikes going - Famous and Daithi arrived from Freixo and the Anthill Mob was complete!


Matt and I set off before the rush and rode through stunningly beautiful olive groves, winding our way higher and higher up the hills. The slopes got steeper and steeper and I tried not to think about the gradient too much but to just keep going (as Matt had instructed me at the start down by the riverside). Alas, after a tight-ish bend an almost vertical ascent opened before me and I lost it! Sorry, Matt...


All knight in shining armour, Matt calmly parked his bike, assured me that he didn't mind lifting a lardy DRZ with full luggage at all and then he even rode it up the last bit of the incline...


Before my saviour could retrieve his own steed, we could hear engine noises from below...


... and thus took position to record the potential carnage...


Daithi doing well but losing points for putting his foot down...


Hang on, Gareth, I'll help you...


... I'll just park my bike


The Great Organizer was happy with the entertainment value of the lane


Possu, being very grateful that Matt was looking after me, even waited for him to make it up the slope, too


... although he thought it necessary to assume the goalkeeper position at one point...


While the others recovered, Matt and I carried on and coming to a junction, the seasoned Portugal traveller remembered that it led to a dead-end. So we went round, joined the track at the next possibility again and enjoyed miles and miles of open, sandy and twisty trails


As Matt has already mentioned earlier, it doesn't get much better than this


We were just discussing if we should tackle another steep climb, when the lads finally caught up... Timpo leading the pack


Daithi clearly enjoying the ride


Possu back to his usual riding-god self...


... closely followed by Jimmy


... while Rick took the opportunity for a little chat


Seeing the contour lines on the map, I opted for the more level deviation through the village of Vale da Coelha, thus leaving the boys to catch up with us again...


Look nice, Matt - and he always obeys!


Although I had already refilled my hydropak once from the spare bottle I carried with me, it was empty again and we were looking for a shop or café where I could buy more water. There was not a lot of such infrastructure in the little villages we passed - but they all have a communal water supply, which can (and did!) literally prove a life saver.

So when I asked the friendly señor in Aldea del Obispo for água potável he just smiled, pointed out that we were now in Spain - but everyone in the border region would have a good command of both languages and agua potable didn't really sound that much different.

(Photo courtesy of Muddymatt)

There be dragons...


We rode deeper into cattle country


... where the trails were rather sandy but not always that flat if I remember correctly


C'mon, Ela, we don't have all day!


By now - almost 6 pm - the DRZ was getting really tired and needed a little nap...


So we cut the route short and went to Sabugal on tarmac


Balconies full of half-naked gentlemen were certainly an incentive for getting to our destination quickly...


The Hospedaria Robalo offers superb rooms with a view over the city


You already know from the Book of Truth that we went to Sabugal's top Pizzeria


... where the views weren't bad either...


A brilliant conclusion to another fabulous day!


To be continued...
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Old 10-26-2013, 12:43 AM   #72
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Looks like i really missed out.

The trails, vistas, craic, scoff all top notch. Whilst reading this is pleasantly whiling away the hours while Im stuck here with the foot in plaster its making me more than a little pig sick!

Great stuff, more please - I have much time to kill....

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Old 10-26-2013, 01:04 AM   #73
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Good stuff


Just like the trails you need to keep Matt in sight
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:56 PM   #74
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Sun 6th

Need to crack on with the report as its all to easy to give up on these things as the memories fade and new one come to the fore.

I managed to survive a trail ride on Sunday with the Rev Timpo trying to baptise me but it was great to feel two wheels turning underneath me again.

I have just reread the Book of Truth and I omitted a couple of bits from my last post namely that a local called Gnasher served us at the restaurant we ate in Monsanto with his pearly white teeth. (not)

The other thing was that even with my amazing grasp of foreign languages I managed to go into the wrong toilet in the restaurant and was caught by two ladies queueing as I exited. Of course it was because I thought the S on the door was for men, or perhaps that I was two impatient to wait and wanted to get back to the beer swilling and wine guzzling.

Either way it was also unfortunate that my mate Timpo happened to be at the toilets as well to witness this.

Luckily I turned on the muddymatt charm and soon had them eating out of the palm of my hand (Of course I had washed them).

Anyway I awoke a bit fuzzy headed under my glorious duvet and looked down at GFJ on the floor and felt a pang of remorse. Still we had a days trail riding to do so it was up and off to get the bikes out from Stella's (Great name ) garage.

I managed to save on contact lenses by not taking them out so my eyes were a little dry. We headed off the a local cafe where despite the bonus of more trade the barman wasn't the most tourist orientated. Still we had a giggle and chat before saddling up Seamus had driven his van up so promised us he would sort out accommodation in Almeida.

Daithi had noticed his chain was a little slack, so despite Seamus having a full intricate toolkit on his van used his Irish Snapon precision plumbing spanner to undo the nuts knurling a very pleasant pattern on their faces as he did so.

As well as his day job Daithi is available to do open heart surgery, brain surgery and complex electrical circuit building oh and he can also build houses as well.

Here you can see him going for his mole grips in his thigh pocket as he notices that the chain needs doing.



He's a big lad though I wouldn't want those surgeons hands around my neck.



GFJ looks happy and I am smiling now just looking at my bike.



Eagle eyed Seamus noticed that I had lost a bolt from my exhaust shield. Daithi was also missing the odd bolt I suspect in the interest of lightness.

We eventually headed away from Monsanto Ela electing to go and see the sights along the road. We soon were on great sandy tracks it was today that dog lover Timpo nearly got eaten by a massive beast. Being gentlemen we made sure it had worn itself out by the time we past it.

Not too easy or too hard. In fact just right.



The old unpaved roads were a delight.



At one point we did a diversion due to a new road being built whilst involved a washed out lane of boulders near Penamacour. Poor old GFJ had a lie down and Daithi managed a superhuman effort of keeping two bikes upright. We rode around irrigation channels and did some fantastic climbs. The weather being glorious only added to it. Sadly we were having so much fun I have no pictures recorder. We met a hunter with his dogs and a semi automatic 3" magnum 12 bore shotgun out hunting wild boar which were obviously around these parts.

With his jedi like senses Timpo found a bar / community centre in a village and pushed the expendable point man in to sort out 6 coffees. That point man spoke impeccable French it was "Moi".

Going into the bar I had a double take as all the fellas were drinking spirits and dressed in camouflage clothing, oh and they also had bullet belts with many shells in them round their waists. Doing my very best not to look at the pretty ladies who were also in there I order the coffees and went outside where the chaps were relaxing on the grass.

Look nice !



The coffees arrived and averting our eyes from the pretty ladies who were arriving we supped and chatted. Our bestest behaviour assisted by the fact that there were a large amount of armed men who were drinking alcohol who were the fathers, uncles or brothers of the pretty ladies.

Anyway it was soon time to saddle up and head off in the baking heat.

Timpo stopped by the side of a road and said "Recognise this its doh dah lane" 10 minutes later on my own at the back of the group with a laden 690 on top of me I did. It was the bar steward of a bouldery rocky climb. On the steps of doom both GFJ and I fell off. Still no complaining we headed off on rocky tracks through a few wire fences. Apart from a few wire fences we stretched the throttle cables a little coming to this fantastic old bridge.



After more lanes another great bridge.



Another fortified village everyone looks happy.



Couldn't complain about my kit or bike apart from the fairing incident it was all just about perfect.



The tun into Almeida was excellent great flowing trails that could be ridden at a reasonable pace. We arrived dusty at some basic but clean lodging on the outskirts of town that Seamus had found us. Ela had also arrived safely.

Getting off my bike I noticed a shifty looking bald bloke checking out the car stereo's.



A quick shower and a man look at the ford we retired to a bar / restaurant which was great. Few beers and the restaurant opened to be honest I can't remember what we ate.

It was a cheap bill and we opted for more wine and CR & F's to top the night off.

Going up to pay for the extras the barman would not accept any more money off which seemed really good of him. We headed back to our digs with the holiday fading away with only 2 more days of riding left.

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Old 10-28-2013, 03:33 PM   #75
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The morning of Friday 4th October dawned foggy but promising...


This is how the Portuguese keep their cities tidy - not that we'd seen much litter in the first place


Daithi and Possu had recovered from their being-stuck-in-the-hotel-lift-just-after-the-receptionist-has-gone-home trauma and tucked into the Robalo's excellent breakfast - choice and quality seemed to get better every day as our journey progressed


I let the boys go off enjoying themselves that day


... although it appeared that you can't really leave them unsupervised - within two kilometres they got split up and continued in two groups...


I blame the fog - it made it a bit tricky for me as well to find my way to Sabugal Castle, which had been clearly visible from our room the evening before


Via small back roads - some paved, some not - I headed south-west towards our next destination, Vila Velha de Ródão, willing to stop at every monument to explore the sights and delights of Portugal a bit further. Which you cannot do when your main focus is riding as many trails as possible in a day - it's just a different kind of holiday.

Well, I was determined to get the best of both worlds during those twelve days! After having wiggled my way through forests, being chased by sizeable dogs when entering villages through the backyard, and having explored narrow openings between ancient buildings wondering, is this still a street or already an alley?, I joined the N233 until the town of Penamacor came into view. Now, this looks interesting.


I followed the signs for Castelo through tiny, twisty and steep cobbled roads, winding my way up the hill - and always conscious that I had to come down somehow again. At some point the historic architecture made it clear - pedestrian access only


Even if some of you think that a DRZ would have fitted through...


... it suddenly made sense when I reached the old defensive wall


Great views - not just from a strategic point of view


Penamacor at my feet


When I returned to the bike, an elderly gentleman came out of his house and we started chatting about motorcycles, living in Penamacor and the must-sees of the town. He pointed into this direction...


... and recommended I should look at the castle and the keep


Climbing the rather fragile ladder of the tower was absolutely worth it


Even though this fellow was probably hoping that the fragile staircase would give way...


Hey baby, shall we see if we meet the boys?


From Penamacor it was only 13 kilometres east to where the trail was crossing the road, and with some luck the lads were not through yet...

To be continued
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