Facts and Figures
Start Mileage - 2897
Finally, after many packing runs and thinning out of all the gear we had put aside to take with us, we managed to get the bike loaded. The pile of gear we had thinned out looks more than we are now actually taking!!
The next problem is Lorraine getting on and off the bike, little legs means itís a long way up on the back. Next door neighbour Andy had to give her a lift on !!!!!! Have you put the video on You Tube yet Andy??
†I think thatís going to take a bit of practice.
17:00 and its time to leave. It has been a long time since Iíve ridden a heavy loaded bike and it is a bit of a scary pull away but we are on our way.† On the way to the pub for our final send off and I notice a hell of an intermittent grinding/vibration coming from the back of the bike. A quick inspection in the pub car park reveals nothing unusual so I put it down to one of the bash plates vibrating on itís mountings.
We met up with family at The Sovereigns pub across the road from the Ferry Terminal for a farewell dinner and then a last drink with friends before the off. We had† a good send off, a bit tearful but that was expected. We left the car park with a bubble salute from Tony for the short ride to the Ferry Port.
Thanks everyone for turning up. It was good to see you all, especially Joe and Lynn who had only got off the Ferry at Dover that same afternoon.
We pull up on the car deck of the Ferry and I have a thought Ö.. I have not adjusted the suspension to take the extra weight so that horrendous grinding/vibration was my suspension suffering under the load. 2 and half turns and everything was quiet the next morning.
Start Mileage - 2902
We had a good sleep on the boat and after a coffee it was time to leave. Only two other bikes on the boat, we never came across them on the crossing but had a quick chat on the car deck. They were off to Morocco for a cpl of weeks, hope you made it to Spain on the first day.
The exit from the Ferry Port was a bit daunting as they hadn't gritted and it was a bit icy but we survived, once on the main roads everything was good. We rode for a good 250 miles with temps. from -2.5 to -4.5 showing on the dash, glad we had the thermals, they did the job.
After a not too exciting run down the French motorways we eventually arrived in the Dordogne where we are staying for a few days.
04 - 06/01/2009
We had a good couple of days ďthawing outĒ in France. Not a lot of activity as we had to wait for the Banks etc. to open on Tuesday after the Christmas period so we could sort out a few things before we left.
The temperature is still not very favourable, -2.5 on Sunday morning.
We woke up early Monday morning and I canít see the bike Ö. Itís covered in snow!!!!! Not going to warm up today then?
Start Mileage - 3336
Our planned ďearly startĒ for today didnít quite go as expected ÖÖ We had planned to be on the road by 10:00 at the latest, but with it still being below freezing, we never made the move to start packing up until 10:00 we eventually get moving at 11:45.
We had planned to get a good 200 miles into Spain before stopping for the night. We had looked on the Net for locations of Hotel Formule 1 or Campaniles in Spain, but they were all situated in the North of the country, not far enough in for us to stop. Not to worry, should be easy enough for us to find a Hotel ÖÖÖ. shouldnít it????
So off we go, riding in sub zero temperatures again. The roads are good again and itís not too uncomfortable riding.
The closer we get to the Spanish border the colder it seems to be getting and the harder the riding is becoming. We are stopping more frequently for warm up and toilet stops. We hit the border at San Sebastian at 16:00, and itís snowing!! And getting colder. After a fuel fill up and a coffee we get on the way again, another two hours riding and weíll start looking for somewhere to stop, we had noticed the first two service stations we had passed had motels attached so finding somewhere to kip wouldnít be to difficult Ö wrong. Not one motel to be seen so we decide to go as far as Zaragoza and look for a Hotel. The snow is coming down really heavy and itís still getting colder. We arrived at Zaragoza at about 19:00 and using the Garmin to locate nearest Hotels, we find a Hotel 0.3 miles from our location Ö after riding around following the Sat Nav and missing turn offís, (Zaragoza is busier than I remember!!!) for about five miles, ending up in an underground car park at one point, we eventually find the hotel with the help of someone local, £75 a night Ö weíll give it a miss thanks but the receptionist gives us the name of another one to try which she says is cheaper Ö no it isnít. So off we go again armed with yet another Hotel name. This time we hit it first time following the SatNav. £78 a night. Weíre so hacked off† by now and cold and tired, itís 21:15 and Iím NOT going any further so itíll have to do. Not a bad Hotel excluding the price with underground parking and breakfast.
Start Mileage - 3685
Pack up, breakfast and on the road by 10:00. Itís got to start to warm up soon!!! We get to Valencia before we see plus temperatures, an almost blistering 9.5 Deg.C. Nice to feel my toes again!
We left the Hotel in Zaragoza with the computer telling us we have 70 miles travelling with the petrol we have left in the tank, weíll fill up at the next service station we come across, 65 miles later and Iím starting to panic. Weíve been on the motorway since a couple of miles outside of Zaragoza and not even a sign for fuel, and the view on either side is barren as far as you can see. Then out of the blue† .. a sign, petrol 2kmís.† Was I glad to see that!!
We arrive at Los Alcazares at 17:30. We will be staying with JP and Beccy for a couple of days until we manage to source some tyres from somewhere.
We received an email from Arron telling us that he would be working away in Mallorca for the time we had planned to stay with him so we decided to take JP & Beccy up on their offer of staying at there place until we had got everything sorted.
We had originally planned to get the bike serviced† and tyres changed in Malaga while at Arronís, but since we are now not going, I did some searching through the Forums on UKGSER and HorizonsUnlimited, and found a BMW car dealer who apparently also services bikes in Casablanca which is better as the bike will be closer to the service mileage by then and a few more miles into Africa. Tyres we will hopefully be getting in Marrakech from a dealer who can get any tyre within 3 days .. according to the Forums .. If not DHL will be getting a call.
Start Mileage - 4089
11:00 Sunday morning, we are all packed and ready for the next leg. Thanks JP & Beccy for letting us stay, hope we left everything ok for you.
The weather is much better today, 13 Deg. C when we left. Again a pretty boring ride, motorway all the way to Algeciras. We came off the motorway a couple of times to look for fuel when it was signposted but both times everywhere was shut because of siesta time. Service areas are not as common on Spanish motorways as in France and at home. We eventually found a service station and filled up with fuel and coffee. It started to get a bit colder as we neared the Sierra Nevada and the temperature dropped again to 7 Deg. C until we crossed† the mountains and the temperature got to a nice 20 Deg. C by the time we got to Malaga. Itís a shame we didnít plan in any sightseeing on the way down, there were a lot of† sights we could see from the road that looked interesting, a Troglodyte village in between Granada and Malaga for one.
One more stop for coffee on the way then we arrived at the Hotel Reina Cristina at Algeciras at around 19:00. A very nice Hotel with an impressive drive up to it, and quite easy to find after the Zaragoza episode!! We had tried to do some videoing with the helmet cam a couple of times since leaving home without success. Every time I used the cam it would just record a grey screen, annoying, especially when I thought I had got some good shots. After we arrived in France I checked all the cables were connected right which they were, so I checked the batteries, I had only put one in the wrong way hadnít I? Ö DOH!!! So batteries in the right way I drop the carrier and break it Ö bugger. One zip tie later and everything worked ok, until we got to JPís and it packed up again with one of the contacts coming loose, tighten the zip tie a bit more and check itís all working .. All good, until we try to shoot some of the trip down to Algeciras. When we checked it at the Hotel itís back to recording a grey screen again. I will have to have another look at it and try to get it sorted so I can put some video on here. Hey ho!!
Day Trip to Gibraltar
We woke up to a pretty dismal day after the heat of yesterday, it was pouring with rain and blowing a hoolie, so we decided to have a relaxed breakfast and see what happens with the weather before we commit to heading off to Gib for the day. Sat in the restaurant we got chatting to a nice couple from British Columbia, Canada, Shona (hope I spelt it right!) and Walter, they are heading up through Spain after having visited Morocco, so we† had a few tips from them for us to do over the next couple of weeks in Morocco. After a good, long chat with them and copious cups of coffee, they are on their way to pick up their hire car and the weather has cleared up enough for us to get on the road to Gib albeit only until we get under way then the rain comes down again. Typical. Still, itís only about 15miles to Gib.
We cross the border and go for a ride around the Rock before stopping to wander around Main Street and to visit some old haunts from when I was in the Royal Navy. Iíd forgotten how steep those roads are, and narrow with some very tight turns. We didnít get to far up (The Moorish Castle) before deciding to turn around and come back down. It was very misty anyway so we wouldnít have been able to see much at the top even if we had gone all the way. Back down at the bottom we park up and go for a walk around town. Itís amazing how things have changed in the 20 odd years since I was there last .. Or is it just my memory?? We only found one pub that used to be a regular haunt for Matelotís that I could recall, The Angry Friar (Mad Monk) next to the Governors Residence. Maybe I only remember that one because of where it is, must have been one of the first pubs to visit on a run ashore, make it the last and fall out of there worse for wear right in front of the Governors House would guarantee a lift back to the ship from your friendly Provost Marshall Staff!!† It would have been nice to see a lot more from the past but I guess time moves on and things change. It felt good to be back though.
We still have one or two bits and pieces to get before leaving Spain which we thought would have been easy to find. We left home with only one of the two 5ltr metal Jerry cans we had after a slight problem getting some carriers made up for them. After hunting high and low in France and Spain for another, I had nearly given up and was going to buy a plastic can† when we went into yet another Leroy Merlin store (Spainís equivalent to B&Q) not expecting any luck but they had a mountain of them. Thatís one problem sorted, the next is cooking gear. We have a Coleman double petrol burner at home but left it behind as it was really to big to warrant carrying, again we didnít expect it to be much of a problem finding small petrol burners somewhere in France or Spain but again we were wrong. I was told that Decathlon are the biggest sporting, camping and leisure chain in Spain, but after visiting more of them than I care to remember we can only find Camping Gaz burners which are not ideal if we need to get more Gaz cylinders en route. It might turn out that it is the only option but I would prefer petrol fired. It shouldnít be that expensive to eat out if needs be or even cook over an open fire, just a comfort thing I guess.
Looks like we will be going back to Gib tomorrow. I have just tried to load the pictures I took today onto the laptop and it crashed wiping the bloody card clean of all the pictures I had on there. Not having much luck on the technology side of things huh??!!
Up early for breakfast again and filled up on a big fry up, I must have eaten too much because I didnít feel all that good afterwards and had to have a bit of a kip. It is a bit drier today but still overcast and very windy so I think Gib is going to be missed. We had a walk into town about 10:00 and bought the tickets for the crossing into Morocco tomorrow .. 91Euroís from the Accionia ticket office, 10 Euroís cheaper than the tout selling outside the office offered us!!. We then walked for miles looking for the shops, when we eventually found them it was only a kick in the butt up the road from the Hotel. We also found a shop ( a Ferretaria) that the receptionist told us might sell petrol cookers, but they had just closed for siesta so we will have to go back later to see and if not itís back to Los Barrios for a Gaz cooker.
Back into town and the Ferretaria is still closed so no choice other than back to Los Barrios for a Gaz cooker. As an added bonus the McDonalds across from the Decathlon had free Wi-Fi which we got for an hour. Mackee Dees come in handy sometimes.
The original packing pile .. Vastly reduced for the off.
Click pic for larger view
Morning of 4th Jan in The Dordogne
Temp. is -2.5 Deg.C
Click on picís for larger view
January 2nd - 21st 2009