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Fried Green Itchy@the Espania Caf? 2008 (56K!no)

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Itchy
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PostPosted: 16:25 - 19 Jul 2008    Post subject: Fried Green Itchy@the Espania Café 2008 (56K!no) Reply with quote

Foreword,

This is my tour write up , you should know my writing style by now, this is somewhat intensive in waffle and goes on a fair bit so you may want to either get a cup of coffee , better yet a pot of
coffee or perhaps just some pot?.

After last year's little recon mission as I call it, I've actually snuck off
to France a couple of weekends though this wasn't really a tour and there are no good roads in the North of France.


I'd had vague thoughts about doing it again in a year's time. To learn from my mistakes I made last time some silly ones were

made and to go see Spain. I was still mulling as to which route to Take R1lad wants to go to Pamplona, but I want to go via Salamanca , as I have much less time than him he has 23 days I have 12.5 tops , the combination of the ferry

leaving Sunday and arriving midday Monday means I've got 12.5 days , touring is so much more difficult when you have a job to get back to , I notice Maurice stopped touring once he started working too infact his motocapers site's pictures are all gone. Its somewhat ironic
that he lives in the south and touring is easier yet no longer tours.

Reminds me I need a better paying job or one with more hols.

On my way back last time, I met a guy in a hotel who had a varadero or a transalp
thing who had come from Spain and was heading to Italy, we spent a brief time looking
over maps as too good off the beaten track roads rather than just the N240-260
which everybody has done sort of like the N85. My own example had been the N202
north of Castellane , its green lined on the michelin map but hardly any tourers
mention it at all.

I had originally considered this trip in March however business and terrible
weather meant I decided to go to Taiwan/China to tie up some loose ends, though


I actually opened a can of worms over there to be honest.

Though I digress.

Quite surprisingly I left with my job more or less intact , I'm not sure if I have a job on Monday since I uncovered a tiny mistake with large repercussions on the Friday I was also ambushed 430pm with an urgent project which I was supposed to finish before I left but told them I HAD to leave soon.

Doesn't matter if I lose my job I don't massively care, I've been there a year and a month I can get another job easy and I'll just go on tour again.


Remember I make mistakes so you don't have to!.

Boot note! , I was pretty sick for the first 4 days I kept having to stop and puke , it was often bloody, I think I may have gotten TB , but then I've not been to London for a while must be some severe food poisoning from a motorway snack I'd had on the way down , I don't mention this much as it disturbs the flow of
my write up. But keep this in mind when I say I am tired. This is what the green bit of the title means.

Saturday 5th July 2008

This was almost an exact replay of last year I wake up step out the door and the skies opened up making me completely wet, its ok its just my commuting gear. At least I don't need to go look for SMD tyres like last year there ought to be enough wear on my BT20s to last 3000 miles , they are after all plastic touring tyres.


That said Dodger of Liverpool fame managed to destroy a rear in 3000 miles still he had to go up and down through France.I'd still not replaced the battery in the CBR or charged it, and nor had I
actually tested the new brakes on the CBR, I'm like that I am very last minute. Hmm like maybe I should put the wheels back on too....

Nor had I even booked a ferry ticket home, being sent out to work and my home connection not working (I've got about 3 work notebooks at home) and me phoning their tech support needed 48 hours to fix.

Too late I'm off in 9 hours,

Hmm must call the bank , phoned them up told them I was going away for a bit
hopefully to prevent the no working cards incident on day 4 of my last trip out.

I always feel anxious before I leave twisted gut feeling I get whenever I decide
to go anywhere outside of Manchester. Has anybody read hitchhikers guide to the
galaxy? where sentient beings have a horrible feeling being far from where they
were born?.

I had that sort of feeling.

I was going to leave on the 4th of July to spend some time in Plymouth, but Mattspratt
went and binned his bike, all of the riders I knew from Tavistock had left to seek
their fortunes elsewhere or had died.

Saturday 5th July later that night

The CBR was fueled up , battery charged , mods finally installed and the luggage badly
secured to the back of the bike a deep breath and into the curtain of rain that had
started. Get away from the drudgery of work for a while... , time to see if the mods
were worth the $,

Almost immediately things began to go wrong,

I'd woken up 2 hours late, had to make up some time on the Motorway,

Another few things went wrong,

My Baffle which I'd secured quite well tightening it quite alot (for a potential foray
into switzerland) came flying out the back on the motorway.

My screen bolts vibrated out the top two even though I'd torqued all my bolts up fine.

My left rain cover for the panier came flying off tearing into 2 pieces

My right rain cover flew off and went into my rear wheel queue me on the shoulder
tearing it out of my chain and rear brake.

Passing Birmingham I heard a sort of clunk, my tool bag with spares and all had fallen
off I discovered when I stopped for petrol , I was going with just the underseat tool
kit and a roll of tape no cable ties uh oh.

the rain cover on my tent also fell off and onto the screen on a lorry , I had tied all of these covers on as well as I could manage in the time never mind it had stopped raining around Exeter. Tired and wet I was thinking what am I doing here?....

Passing Exeter bought back some memories which I shalt not go into now, as many of you will know I lived nearby for a while.

9am I'm 20miles from Marshmills, I stop and take off my rain proofs, the CBR seemed to be getting awful MPG from the flappy bits all over it was getting 103 miles to fuel light on.This was looking bad already.

Contrary to what I said I didn't go looking for trouble in Plymouth I sometimes entertain it in my mind but no longer bother too much about it.

Marshmills , I pull into the sainsbury's as this is the Plymouth platoon's ride out meet spot or had been in my tenure, empty nobody there , time waits for nobody fueled up and
headed up through Mutley to go to Tavistock to look for the same with the old tavistock
group nobody there again, once again I'm the last one of this group.

So I head towards Captain Jaspers haunt of Plymouth bikers, which incidentally nearly 3 years ago now was threatened with closure.

And what do I get? , a half yard long dog of course...

Hmm they seem to have shrunk a little since my last visit to Captain Jaspers.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02267.jpg

It doesn't matter the rain has stopped and the weather is glorious for Plymouth its dry its warm with a light breeze approaching, glorious just like I remember Plymouth to be (between the super heavy rain storms).

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02269.jpg


With idiot's curiousity I decide to call the Plymouth Clan, and the leader picks up, odd as everybody else I know changes sims every few months.

12pm and the remainants of the group arrive it looks rather thin with the North BCF section being many times bigger than the plymouth platoon, as I've said to everybody who joins the northern group that groups never last long, if you look at last year's
In vs Out list the out list is huge.


http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02270.jpg

As they go out for a ride after catching up with what we've done with our lives the last 3 years or is it 2?, A green triple pulls in and I suspect this is R1lad , though no leathers though nah can't be him. So as I get ready to go to the Ferry port which is really close anyway, over comes a big chap who waits for me to do up my D rings (which incidentally are the work of the devil) then says hi are you Itchy?.


We chat for a while meet others who are going to the Ferry and head up the Hoe yes its really called the Hoe the windy spot of Plymouth. Usual port stuff long waits big queues, though here is a little tip last on first out the Pont Aven is a fairly huge boat with 100s of cars lorries camper vans and everything in between taken onboard.

As you can see from R1Lad's photo big queues to get onboard and I noticed everybody was repacking and taking off their leathers , nah I'll keep them on and change in our reclineing seat lounge.

http://i352.photobucket.com/albums/r346/pjmaddox/P1010206.jpg

For those of you who don't want a cabin £60 for a cabin (sleeps 2) you get the recliner
seat lounge which looks like this:

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02280.jpg

Its just row after row of reclining seats, but hey for £6 what do you expect? (ok for
£6 I actually managed quite a lot in Spain as you will read later on).Me and R1lad had
difficulty finding it, itson the 9th deck (deck lifts from the garage levels only go up
to 8 , walk along to the front from the 8th deck and go up the main stairs).Its not
exactly secure either as you get a parcel shelf to put your stuff on, my advice to people
who travel the Plymouth Santander route is to leave your gear on the bike and bring a
wash bag towel and maybe change of clothes.


You sit you recline you sleep , for those of you are interested , in the reclining seat
lounge you CAN still have a wash and and shower , the toilets nearest the room to the left.

Also you can get a lockable locker in these toilets for a 15 EURO refundable deposit , else you can just open them as they are magnetically closed.

It was a rough crossing and me and R1lad passed time with beers (£3.50 up from Maurice's trip), reading and met a old school biker called Kevin, I would cross paths with Kev twice more on
my trip. He sat next to us and regaled us with some of his stories of which he had many, he rode a VFR400 , I had no idea what NC designation it had as I didn't get a look until a day later.

As usual with ferries they have you by the balls, so dinner and breakfast were somewhat expensive, sandwiches at £3 were just slightly pricier than on land but as said you are
on a ship trapped for 20 hours you have no choice they gotcha!. Cinema tickets are also
£5.

I still hadn't planned my route even slightly yet, passing the hours with beer and chat with
R1lad, then finally deciding to sleep. The problem with the chairs you are supposed to sleep
on is that you need to keep constant pressure on them to keep them reclined otherwise they
come back up and before you know it you are sitting up straight somewhat annoying, so since
I've bought all my luggage onboard I use my sleeping bag and pillow and sleep in a footwell.

All is dandy till 11pm when somebody comes up to me and kicks me in the hip telling me he
wants his seat........ there were lots of free seats around, git..... R1lad laughed at this.

It was a very rough crossing though I've not spent much time onboats tbh , I think at one
point the thing got its knee down and or hit something in the night.

The other problem with the recliner lounge is that other people think its a TV room and
wander in randomly and or use the external emergency exit as a normal external door causing
constant disturbances to sleep. Oddly enough also then both doors are closed there is a
strange humming vibey noise which vanishes the second any of the doors are opened. Slammed
doors vibration and stranger noises keep you up though I imagine its the same in a cabin.

Me and R1lad came up with a theory that they make this cheap place so intolerable that you
are bullied into getting a £££ cabin.

Day 1


Morning couldn't come soon enough and my morale had been sapped rough seas and feeling somewhat ill, which wasn't sea sickness something else nasty I had.

I woke up to heavy rain heavy heavy rain outside wandered around and sat by a window watching
the rain lash the deck, feeling even more subdued I soon felt better when the clouds broke
and it dried up for a walk on the top deck as the Pont Aven pulled into Santander my spirits
were lifted by that.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02272.jpg

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02275.jpg

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The garage as they put it was really crowded bikes packed nose to tail 4 deep , we were left
waiting in there for about half an hour it was seriously hot and humid in there as a tip last
on first off at both ends. Its different for cars and lorries.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02281.jpg

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02282.jpg


Santander isn't like Calais or Dover , the port is right on the main road you pass a small check point I'd made an arrangement to follow a Scottish guy on a Harley we'd met in Plymouth
a day earlier to Burgos. Wait at the Petrol station he said I'll see you there directly opposite the port exit. It was sunny and fairly warm but tolerable in full leathers.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02278.jpg

(silly sod R1lad can't get away from work!)

Uh oh Spanish city driving is awful, I make it and wait , petrol was 1.27 Euro a litre for 95
Octane thats £1.05. I wait and wait and nobody turns up , I'm about to leave and a big ugly
orange Harley pulls in and Kev on his VFR400, missing most of its fairing and had 180K ish on
the clock.

Kev and his mate David, I decide to follow them out of Santander and make my way to Burgos myself
still vaguely unknown about my route. We follow David out with his GPS leading the way but at
an autovia (Spanish dual carriageways which are toll free) they turn left I turn right using
the sign to navigate. Oh well....

I decide to go south and I pull off a slip road into a small town to load up with water and
petrol and something really bad happens:

I get hit by a car, not any car a police car, it said garda civil, here is what happened, I was
approaching a shallow corner fairly 'briskly' and a cop car out of my blind spot decides to overtake,
part way through overtaking me he sees something coming and pulls in sharpish ...... into me....
he swipes my left panier and marks my torque wrench (yes I took a full bar torque wrench). Sending
me into a mother of a wobble and into a gravel trap and lose it on the gravel.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02283.jpg

I'm sliding on my arse with the bike ontop of me 25km out of Santander on day one, I'm ok I lie down
and check myself over I'm ok , by my hip hurts lots and so does my shoulder, my helmet didn't
touch down though.

I'm mildly angry now, the bike is fine , except :

Arrow I think the forks are twisted as the mud guard isn't equally spaced,

Arrow The gear change lever is snapped aw crap

Arrow Deeper scratches on my already scratched genny cover

Arrow I also feared I have broken my finger and taped my 8 spanner to it outside my glove it
wasn't broken though I later found out.

I'm made angryier by the fact the R&G bung didn't touch down except into my leg..... a few minutes
of colourful language as I'm hot hurt and broken my bike a bit. I empty out my tool kit which I
have left , my other tool kit would have fixed this in a jiffy, cable ties through an allen key
which I'd put a hole in would have fixed it good as new...... unfortunately my tool kit was lying
onthe road somewhere in the UK. What are the odds I can find a Honda dealer to fix this in Spain
where I speak no Spanish on a 1999 discontinued bike? Slim.....

I decide to bodge it, I stick a spark plug spanner on the end and use a roll of leccy tape to keep it
on , it works fine.

I turn round back onto the dual carraige way and notice there is no way you can go back in the same
direction so I'm heading back to Santander a few miles down it lets me turn round. Finally on my way
out , aches and pains though and I'm also sort of feeling a deep chest pain , maybe stomach as the
belly straps on my Forcefield back protector are pretty tight.

I ride down the (road) and the cloudy mountain rains give way to a twisty and tunneled dual carriageway
and it gets drier and more barren as I climb onto the plateau as Ross had told me about.

First petrol stop and I'm hot and thirsty, and stop in some random town, just about to leave in pulls
a big orange Harley and a battered VFR400 missing most of its fairing with a twin swingarm jobbie.

An incredible coincidence, I got there first had a crash a repair a snack and go there first.

They had no idea where to stay so I got out my Alan Rodgers campsite book, and decided on a town
south west of Vallodoiod, the next hour was a harrowing 115mph gun run (the top speed of the Harley)
with suicidal overtakes and me seeing a D reg VFR400 with thin tyres go elbow down and sparky grinding
footboards. I was on the fastest bike there so kept up fine.


The campsite was in a small town called Tordesillas next to a river , 14 Euro including leccy and bike park..... but Spanish learning time!.

Tres Grande cervesa, this beer was unforgettable crushed ice in a frozen glass then the beer put in with frozen crushed ice put on the head. for 1.75 Euro for a European 500ml 'pint'. Heavenly,
Kev and David were chatting about their bikes now and were downing beers at a rate of 4 beers to each
1 I was having. Including a ridiculous story about a 120Db Norton Rotary race bike and how Kev had missed his
wedding anniversary with this trip.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02285.jpg

David's stories were much the same, David was unique though he had been touring for the last 6
years, one day he divorced his wife and sold everything and left upping sticks and living in
Thailand for 3-4 months a year then coming to Europe to tour. This was a proper hardcore tourer
he'd come from Munich to meet Kev in Santander. The interest from what he'd sold was enough to
live on....he told me pretty much if I wasn't with them they'd camp wild.

My first camping experience wasn't good......

I tried to put my tent up after 3 pints on an empty stomach , the ground was rock hard , put a
tent peg in and put any weight on it and it lifted up a huge clod of ground. ditto with the poles.

I later found out I could have put it up using weight and my bike about 5 days later. Dinner was a
very long walk into town next to the city walls fish soup more beers and pork neckends with mushrooms.

It was very good for 11 Euro.

A walk back and another beer and I try put my tent up again giving up. So I sleep on my airbed on
my integral ground sheet under the stars. I sleep well until 3am when I'm awoken by the cold....

But with a bonus, the campsite and the town are completely blacked out with some LEDs here and
there marking the path, I'm treated to 1000s of stars of the like you'll never see in the UK
except Scotland as the light pollution is too bad.... it was beautiful little bonus as if I had
managed to put the tent up I would have missed this.


http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02287.jpg

This isn't my picture btw


Day 2

I wake up very early due mostly to the cold and the dew making me wet. Kev and David hadn't
camped much better than me with Kev originally sleeping under his VFR for the heat and progressing
towards the wall. Btw kev NEVER took off his leathers ever. He slept in them on the ferry and in
his sleeping bag. I found out a bit later on that he'd had these leathers for years and had one
of those HG armour shirts underneath. The thing is he was painted INTO his leathers, instead of
bootpolish and Nikwax, he effectively painted himself into his leathers with black paint and plasticote
which made it 100% waterproof and somewhat breathable clever...

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02288.jpg

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02289.jpg

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02292.jpg

I spent the next hour being sick in the toilets , it wasn't beer sick from drinking too much it was bloody and tasted odd.

I also noticed the black nib of the Scotoiled had snapped off , grr another broken thing, I found
a paperclip in my bag and bent it to fall onto the chain edge instead , it worked not bad. Chain needed
to be adjusted though.... hmm methinks its on its way out maybe...

They woke up a couple hours later and he put some motorcross armour ONTOP of his leathers I told them
good luck and carefully rode out into the town over the gravel strip.


I looked at my map and thought that huge green map in Portugal looks interesting 1.5 sectors to get to on dual carriageway thats not green route. I want to get some miles in before it gets too hot. But surprisingly the heat was quite tolerable as full leathers on.

Oh note to reader when I say sectors I mean on Mitchelin road maps they have squares of Western
Europe of 65km across a straight road one end to the other is 65km. Nothing much interesting happened
filled up just outside Zamora , which is a bit of a trap, you can by pass it by ignoring the
round about signs and go straight ahead, but the signs leading into town say Portugal. So I followed
this , which leads you miles around town then pretty much 2 junctions from the initial round about
as you can see the sofa store on the corner doh!. Now hitting the N122-E82 wasn't that interesting
until it started to climb into the foot hills with some sharp fast corners 95mph tops I say with a
70kmh limit on them,

Its not marked as green on the mitchelin map but its very scenic and has those open long corners
you can see around and easily take at 80mph........ The border was unspectacular a narrow bridge
two signs and a hairy N85 esq climb onto the IP4 the new EU paid for autovia.

Stopped for a snack in Braganca as I'd made good time and had missed breakfast , and stopped for
petrol, immediately noticing the price of petrol in Portgual was about 1.65 per litre and the
petrol attendants held onto your keys until you had paid. The IP4 is a bit of a mountain climb
and drop into various depressions I'd made it half way to Villa Real and thought ....hold on
are there any campsites nearby here? . As I had not passed any camping signs and didn't want
to camp wild due to lack of cooking kit and food.So I turn back and head down the N102.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02294.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02293.jpg


Another route not marked as green on the Mitchelin map but it was a twisty mountain climb then
drop into a valley this was marred by one thing, all of the corners were like Snake pass ie
blind, and I was being stalked by a petrol tanker, has anybody seen the film duel?. Sort of
like that , in that although I could get away from him easy, I couldn't go hot into corners as
the last time I did that on unrecon'd roads I crashed the CBR chasing Stiffler, a few of them
DID tighten up as you went through them.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02295.jpg

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02298.jpg

It was fairly forgiving as I used the tried and tested technique of keep you hand OFF the front
brake and just use the rear and tip it in if it gets tigher some more. The N102 climbs are beautiful and have
impressive views but alas nowhere to stop and take photos until I got to the valley floor.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02296.jpg

The driving was terrible in Portugal though people would tail gate you everywhere not wanting
to overtake and you had to ride fairly fast (still in my comfort zone) to not be cornering with
a car or a van a few inches from your rear wheel. I think some of them seriously do not under
stand bike dynamics and how they corner.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02299.jpg

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02300.jpg

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02301.jpg

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02297.jpg

I managed to stop for a bit drink fill up with 1.72 Euro petrol snack and look for a camp site
nope not one for 100 miles in this sector thinking that as Portugal was so expensive compared
to Spain I'd hop back into Spain.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02302.jpg

I skirted a grim looking campsite in Guarda and skipped into a tiny sleepy village of Ciudad
Rodrigo, note I don't really do the site seeing thing I'm more out there for the riding tbh. Site seeing I look at it think oh thats interesting and feel a need to move on.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02303.jpg

So is a picture which is taken from the internet

http://www.panoramio.com/photos/original/9529.jpg

The big copse of trees in the North was where the campsite was.

The campsite here was nice, I actually managed to get my tent up for the first time, the soft sandy soil pegs went in by hand easily and deeply, though I was literally tearing off my leathers the second I got there.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02304.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02305.jpg


The problem with this place is that there was nowhere within walking distance to eat, 2 miles
into town sure but at this campsite there was a bar full of rough looking men who went I went
in fell into deep silence and all eyeballed me when I asked for my cervesa. I decided defo
not to eat there and ate bocadillas at the campsite. I was way too drunk to be riding, with 'pints'
at 2 Euro each I'd had far too many to ride too. Around the back of the campsite is the river
which has crystal clear water and a lifeguard 11am to 6pm.

Tent up I put all my stuff into my tent

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02306.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02309.jpg
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http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02315.jpg

Good idea I bought a 3 man tent looking around it would NOT have held 3 men well maybe would be
kind of gay though as there would be nowhere to put stuff except on the porch and nowhere to move
about.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02330.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02319.jpg

I have a wander around and this French man driving a minibus stops and asks me in Spanish where the
campsite is, I say non comprendes he speaks to me in French, then English , I get onboard and lead him
to it.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02320.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02323.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02325.jpg

I spent the rest of the evening eyeing up the girlies who have come on this camping trip talking to the french teacher? or something asking why he was camping in Spain when it was so good in France. I'm not 100% understanding what he said as I was severely drunk by this time and the oldest a mere 18 years old girlie sitting to one side of this guy was messing with me and flirting with me.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02326.jpg

I sort of wandered off to grab another beer , and a couple of the girlies followed me, in the back of my mind I was going YESSSS!!!!, we made some small talk and there was some mad flirting going on
between me and 2 of the girlies. Culminating in them rolling a huge spliff which is pointless for me because it doesn't do anything for me. And me sitting on the grass outside her tent very nearly going in and staying the night. Note the gf decided to split with me on leaving day.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02328.jpg

oh btw 9.80 Euro for the campsite inc 5euro for the bocadillas (hot) a cheap day all round.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02332.jpg


Day 3

This was a hard day very hard...

I wake up to another glorious day and wonder how I'm going to undo the tent I manage ok and decide to check over the bike as you should , chain was ok , scotoil was getting low though. No problem I have a spare bottle of red in one of my paniers , and the refil tube....oops I'm missing the bottle top you need to fill the scotoilers. So how to get it in? , pour it in? , I manage a bit but spill
lots of it.

I then hit upon an idea I cut the top off the airfilter stab a hole with me tyre repair kit into the fresh bottle and put the tube directly into that, as I'd looked at the touring kit before I left and thought thats pretty much what it was.

Sucess!, har har Mr Scotoil , I just made a touring kit costing nothing!.

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Breakfast of pan chocolate and expresso and I look over my map and decide off the beaten track.

the CL526 I actually pass quite a lot of trees and some fast sweeping corners, possible 105mph but taken at about 75mph myself. And it starts to get real barren, death valley type barren you see heat haze and shimmers in the distance just the road and yellowy red soil which reminded me of the film Rorkes drift. Where one of the Welsh soldiers says the earth here is different you know
like it won't hold the body of a man. Its a nice climb and I stop for petrol buying 2 bottles of water, completely soaking the inside of my leathers with water at the petrol station. Leathers were still tolerable but you had to keep the speed up.


What can I say ? , it was dry barren and twisty, though I took it slightly easier as I didn't see anything out there , no cars , no vans lorries bikes the odd push bike but that was it for almost
2 sectors. Stopping for lunch at a virtual ghost town where the only sign of life was at the Repsol petrol station, lunch was pork chops and chips with melon , not so good but only 6 Euro.

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Everybody in there was impressed at how I was still wearing my full leathers but this was real death valley stuff and if I kept it to 75mph I would stay reasonably cool.

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I did pass a man at the side of the road in this death zone asking him if he was ok, I gathered from broken Spanish he was ok , but gave him a bottle of water anyway, he said gracias. There was
no room on the bike for anybody else and no spare helmet either. He pointed to a nearish house off the road and said I think that he was ok.

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The next bit is completely uninteresting I'd gotten to Caceres and couldn't find any green route anywhere going south within 2 sectors. It was about 2pm and I thought sack it lets get to Seville.

Took some going to to get to the motorway (free) but I made a huge mistake I think I pissed on an electrified fence, musta been a battery connected to it or something as I didn't notice till I got a horrible jolt and managed to turn away and sat winded partially covered in my own piss (washed out ok next petrol station).


It was a hot ride down on the A66 getting off at Monestario to his the N433 , a Michellin green route, it didn't deserve it, it was hilly but somewhat straight. Back onto the autovia and into Seville. This was a HUGE mistake. It was getting hotter and the fan was constantly on from the CBR radiator.

Seville has a complicated road system like all cities, dead reckoning doesn't work in cities. When I first got in there were digital clocks which flicked to temp then time, they were on 44C when I first got in , the deeper I got into Seville the hotter it got till I passed a sign saying 53C. I knew I had to get out, as somebody once said to me riding a motorbike in extreme hot or cold the rider is actually dying slowly. I'd consumed about 4 litres of water and it was falling out of me like you see in cartoons when somebody gets shot.

Did I mention it was getting hot?.

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I ended up looking for a non existant camp site at the end of the Seville airport runway, not the best place to look for a place to stay right? , but flights according to my book ended at 8pm and it was a city site thus had a metro station so I could explore later on.

This camp site did not exist, so I decided to go out towards Cadiz and look for a camp site called Camping Villson. Down the APIV I got off at Don Hermannas and got lost , I actually passed the camp
site 3 times but it was hidden away.


I finally stopped at a roadside bar annilated about 4 cokes while still baking in my oven suit and got directions,

you can tell by the expression on my face it was hot.

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Camping Villson is a bit of a dump, the man at the desk made me feel unwelcome immediately and told me to come back in 30 minutes , the camp office closed in 20, I insisted I pay and booked in but he said you out 8.15am, or pay duos nights. Drank a couple on an empty stomach again , and went to rant at a coin op net cafe. I walked back to my tent and snoozed the beer off, this got me deadly paranoid somebody popped his head into my tent while I was in it. He saw me there wake up and legged it.

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I lost my subzero cool Ray ban Aviators somewhere along here.

Packed everything valuable into my tank bag and went out again. Had some Tapas at another bar which was unpleasant to me something pork nuggetty , something mushroomy and something eggy.


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And wandered into a club where promptly I had my bags taken off me and put in the cloak room, this was so funny it was like a school disco. Girls standing on one side boys the other.

With me the outsider I don't think I can dance, but I did some of my moves I recalled from Paradise a life time ago, a couple hours later I've walked a girl back to my bike and shes managed to steal
a helmet from somewhere and I'm giving her a ride home (I was completely sober by now), getting really lost. She hops off and I fire up the engine and leave, she comes out and asks me if I want a coffee, in the UK when a girl asks you up for coffee ..... :razz , but no I sat on her sofa evidently her parent's sofa and she asked me about places I'd been and what England was like. Somewhat frustrated I leave after about an hour

I get back to my tent at 4am and nod off till 8am, tear up my tent and leave.

Day 4



One of my chalk marks is Cadiz,I have no idea as to why my first day of jeans and jacket only, , I think I remember the name from some Spanish pirate film I saw once where the capital was Cadiz. I get onto the motorway and for the first time have to pay first then fill up I buy 15 Euros and only put in 11.55 no refunds bah.

Then my first toll road too 6.50 Euros expensive for a 25 mile section which was rough full of holes and had a terrible surface, I got off at Jerez partially did the Jerez lap, and got down to Cadiz.

I lost my map enroute, which annoyed the hell out of me.

As my sister had said Cadiz was a dump infact it is a dump, I went there got lost and it felt like as UK town ie Mcdonalds, burger king , Big supermarket (Carrefore) and looked for the old fort city along the old bridge. Took a picture of the beach and looked into the cold altlantic waters.

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As said I satisfied my chalk mark of going to Cadiz, if I had never gone there I would probably have to go all the way south again and see what it looked like, now I can say been there done that
no need to go that far south again.

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Getting lost at San Fernando on the way out I saw the sign for Malaga and hit it, but turned off towards Algerciras on the N340 this route was barren and straight with plenty of windmills for
miles and a roadworks I was stuck at for an hour baking in the sun.

High speed out of Cadiz on the motorway sort of thing I saw an ugly orange Harley and a battered VFR400, I can't be sure but I think it was Kev and David.

The oddest thing happened though it started to get dark , this was like 1pm a huge cloud of sea fog had come in and it felt strange I was fairly chilly the CBR engine temp had fallen to the C mark. Lots and lots of camping sites but it was too early and way too cold to camp in constant sea fog. The road down to Algercircas was twisty mountainous and great, double white lines though lots of speeding lots of dangerous overtakes again it reminded me of the N85.

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Got off at Junction 118 and went south to Gibralta, yet again another chalk mark to add to my tally .

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The border queue was horrible even though I filtered to the front, passport shown twice in 5 metres as per maurice, BUT the traffic inside was horrible , no really horrible though they had specific lanes for bike filtering I got to the base of the rock and needed to get out of there. It seemed odd though spanish cops with the word police on them with tall helmets UK cops wear.

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I later found out following a GSX750R one which is identical to Sickpup infact the person riding it could well have been sickpup , told me the Spanish police were effectively protesting and had setup checkpoints everywhere so that every 200 metres people had to show their passports there was no way I was staying there long. I decided upon Malaga, a dual carraigeway sprint away
or so I thought. The alternative was a 2km stretch then round about then 2km then round about affair it was pretty slow going so I decided on the motorway.

It was a toll motorway not much about 2.50 Euro per 25 mile stretch its just there were so many of them I finally got to Malaga and saw fat pale skinned chavvy types shuddered and saw Granada with some green routes nearby. I stopped for some petrol and some teenage Spanish chav as I started the bike grabbed my throttle and revved my bike , I gave him some colourful language, and pulled away quickly from this iffy place.

I was lookingfor a mountain campsite I'd heard of south of Granada, but again Granada is a big city ,
big cities are bad for touring = lost. all the roads where fairly uninteresting dual
carriageway roads, but if you do make it as far south as this the coastal road is very
scenic and the sea breeze cools you down nicely.

Pulling near Granada I had a bit of a knife fight with 2 ZX10Rs I was very wide and we were
filtering like nuts through the traffic, we split on the approach to Granada and he gave me
a thumbs up. It was one of those horrible orange ZX10Rs..

I was somewhat tired after this long long day..

So I pulled into the first campsite I saw not that good a campsite admittedly as it was
next to the motorway but the pitch near the back was ok.

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Here I think I had an attitude change.

Put up my tent and went for a beer (I should stop doing that as it prevents riding to other interesting places) and met 2 people a very tall skinny blonde who looked like the German girlie I used to work with. And Alberto.....

Alberto is a man with very little he runs the camp site, he siesta's all day in his bar, cooks pizza in the evening and practices guitar the rest of the time swanning off for a bicycle ride now and again.

He was probably the happiest guy I have ever seen , in an odd departure I sat in the pool drinking tons of cheap beer 1.50 for 330ml of draught beer. Made me wonder if English folk
are all insane in that they run around stressed doing jobs they don't like much mostly to put a roof over their heads and to keep up with the Jones's.

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12am and he started dishing out free beer and pizzas and by some incredible stroke of (possibly imagined) beer fueled moment I chatted up the blone girlie , who was quite hot a tad skinny by 6'2 wearing only a bikini top and hot pants type shorts. I was wayy too
drunk and slinked off to my tent.

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Day 5

I woke up on a sun lounger next to the pool, I hadn't made it as far as my tent which was somewhere near the back. All stiff and pained from prior injuries and mozzie bites I get up packup the tent and leave. Hey I feel alot better no random puking less muscle pain and its quite cool.

Alberto is wandering around , he still looks really happy, waves and I'm off wandering to the nearest ATM to draw some Euros as I'm really running low. A92 which is a nice climb up into Northern Sierra Navada, its cold but very scenic with some odd KD corners on the
motorway (free).

I cross one sector and get to Baza and decide to tackle Cabanas mountains.

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This started really well , it was a narrow twisting lane up to a hydroelectric dam to Cazoria on this tiny green route, it was a 2300 metre mountain climb on this recently resurfaced mountain road just wide enough for 1 car, it said 30kph all the way up I took it at 55mph it was incredibly demanding, a sheer drop to the left half way up it became dangerous.

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This being the A315 a lorry had split a trail of gravel all the way up the mountain before Cazoria though this route was challenging it was so incredibly twisty it was really sucking up the time it looks like 1/3 of a sector on the map, it took nearly 90 minutes for the climb and drop into Cazoria nearly getting killed by a bus as it went round a hair pin on MY side of the road.

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Next was the A319 which I HAD to use to escape this section.

This was a Babyyam John route , it was narrow completely shaded by trees and very very twisty it reminds me alot of Strines pass but smooth.

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I was getting utterly exhausted now the heat the constantly twisting road also took me close to 2 hours to escape and when I say escape I mean escape, yes ok there are camping sites in
there but they looked a bit scummy, this is perfect country for wild camping btw.

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The road skirted round a huge hydroelectric dam lake there were many sections where you could stop and wade into the lake.

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It was taking far too long to negotiate these bits and TBH I was getting tired, twisties are fun but after 130 miles of them you start to get a bit annoyed along with the heat constantly beating down on you making stops for food and water even more unpleasant.

So I cut out to the N322 using my compass to navigate as the entire area lacked road signage.

I wanted to get to Bandos de Fortuna where there were hot springs 3 sectors away 180km I can make it hmm the CM412 looks straightish lets hit that.

Unfortunately CM412 was the secret road I'd read about which is fast and twisty a replica of the '675 but faster , I got angry now , as said a few miles of twisty roads is fun when you are
in your 200th mile of twisties I think I can be forgiven for getting angry.


Getting angry meant safetys are off, and I started going utterly crazy on this route, the '675 can take 90mph cornering though I've seen people take it at 130, I was doing it at about 115, its
so open it can take it and you can judge areas with trees how it curves round.

I managed 3 sectors in less than an hour and a half. I was then confronted with more twisty roads which made me angrier, why are these towns in my way!, why do you put a slow car infront of me,

I pulled into Bano De Fortuna 615pm the thermal spa closed at 630pm, the guy at the reception told me they were closed, no more , I said what? , come on give me a camping spot, he was loathed
to do this but gave me one anyway. Pool closed before I could change.

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Infact it didn't make sense, I was going to take a thermal spa which was 38C water when the air temperature was 42C with 60% humidity, I thought if I go into that water I will probably die.

Put my hand it and it felt uncomfortably hot and just putting my hand in my body temp shot up,and I was covered in sweat. Hmm the pool must be filled with other people's sweat too I reckoned.

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And I'm weird as I'm conditioned to the heat I can take it , if I can wear full leathers in 53C heat I can take it , I was probably dying of heat stroke though.

I found another coin op net cafe, and had a drunken bout of MSN with Gman and TobyR. And went in to the bar resturant, where I met the most hostile woman ever, cervesa I asked and she pretty much threw it at me, I ordred some food and got what looked like brains and the back of an eyeball.

I picked around it eating some of the chips and left it AND still got ripped off at 35 Euro just for some brains urgh...now I'm not that picky about what I eat but after 300 miles of twisties in the heat you want something decent to eat.

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Banos de Fortuna is a odd camping site though in that ALL camp pitches have enclosed private bathrooms.

unfortunately the pitches are solid concrete.

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The camp bar closed at 930pm and I was like what? , can I take a beer away? , no she said. I think she ripped me off too as I managed to pay 35 Euros for only 2 dishes de-recommended.

So I walked out to the main road and drank there for a bit,

Went back and decided to rough it, but was eaten alive by the mozzies.


11pm got up and had a thought I went round grabbing fire extinguishers off walls, and used 2 of them for one corner and used friction against the concrete wall and my back wheel of the bike
Stinkwheel would be proud.

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I got in an lay in a big pool of my own sweat on the concrete as my airbed was no more it had vanished a 2 or 3 days ago. I was woken up by a horrible smell I thought I had shat myself which
was entirely possible since I had been feeling fairly unwell as said nasty food poisoning.

The camp site had that night called in the honey wagon and was extracting the turds from weeks possibly months from the septic tank. I could hear other people retching in the background.I had
a think about it and thought I'm tired not sure IF I can make it through France like this, I've done France before anyway and the north would be wet and boring also UG from my prior trip would
be away and there are no wingmen in France anymore that I know


Day 6

This again woke me up a few hours later when the campsite next door had its septic tanks emptied. I went for an early walk to clear my head a bit and thought this was an excellent place to illegally camp there were patches of bushes you could hide cars behind easy for bikes but I started to notice lots of fat men walking around naked....turns out next door was a
naturist camp site, the site of naked men walking around and saggy fat naked women put me
off , tent was packed in record time and I was off.

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I rode to the N332 and thought wow this is hot as there is a green route near Benidorm, I encountered a huge traffic jam wondering what it was, and I filted near the front and saw a leg, then bits of a bike , then the main bit of the bike bent badly and a body under a black sheet there looked to be a helmet nearby also with a pool of blood under it. It might have been hot but I'm still keeping
me jacket on at the very least.



As I was heading North out of Benidorm , I passed a green triumph triple with a sunburnt guy in a T shirt riding it, I thought hold on there is no way that is R1lad, thought about it and U turned to make sure, Spain is 504,030 km², big and the odds of us both passing on the same piece of road and the same time were probably in the millions perhaps even more. If you had read
this in a novel you would have thought no way jose, that would have stretched credibility too far.

I U turned (I'm really good at continental U turns not so good with UK ones), and it was, the coincidence is incredible , we stopped off at a Cafe for Lunch and decided our next move, I told him about the South how it got hotter more expensive did I mention it was incredibly hot?.

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So we decided to head north again I felt kind of bad to be leading him North since he originally wanted to go to Cadiz also as said about touring with others.

I was also pretty much exhausted from the heat and my comfort zone was somewhat lower than last year due to my crash so R1lad had general higher speed than me which made me think I was keeping him back as he did lose me a few places. The bikes were also a bit unmatched, he had a torquey triple I had a buzzy 600cc IL4, I had to be deadly careful which gear to be in for every corner and with my broken gear selector this wasn't easy.

This effectively became a rest day as we cruised up the coast of Benidorm looking for a Hotel we found one a good one, run by a German couple 30 Euro a night ensuite air con 25 metres from the
beach.

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My first sea swim , I don't like to swim in the sea much its salty and with all my mozzie bites it hurt quite a bit.

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Another chalk mark we had our first Paella, it was only so so , and somewhat expensive 60Euro between us.

Watching a thunderstorm approach and the heavy belting rain which ceased after an hour.

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Day 7

Oops, we'd started off early wanting to get past Valencia and managed some spirited riding, we
got pulled by a couple of bike cops oops, 63 Euro lighter each,

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To top off this experience the cop at the front dropped his bike, I managed to get a pic just as it was being lifted up.

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Some motorway burnage later this is the last time I saw my tent it fell off somewhere on the motorway, I thought meh its not exactly as if I'm going to get it back right? , I know it is irresponsible
to be dropping so much stuff in Spain the next trip will definately have some tie down ratchet things.

we managed to find a really small road , R1lad's GPS stating we were off road and my map being no better , sack it lets go anyway around a tight twisty newly built road to the resort of Torreblanca.
Our risk had been worth it , a nice Sandy beach as far as the eye could see.

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While R1lad went for a swim likes his water he does, I went for a bit of a walk.

We went for a drink and walked into a bar , and MotoGP was on the TV they had in there ,the MotoGP was in the rain with us on a wonderful Spanish beach town.

We'd decided not to stay here as we'd only found a 40Euro hotel and headed off to Vineros where R1lad had been before the 15 Euro place which wasn't so bad. An afternoon spent on the beach
beers and dinner on the beach Calamaries chips etc.

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Some hot KD action in Vineros

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I wonder why net cafes in Spain always have these sort of booths in them hmm...


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A church in the centre of Vineros

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Day 8

Target Andorra a heavy motorway day again and we hit some nice nice roads fast twisty and mountainous the kind with straights between the corners so you can belt it hard then need
to brake really hard to make it for the next corner, supreme. I forget the name of the road completely it was the N420 or something near Reus.

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We stopped in Ponts a transit town really fairly early south of Andorra hotel hunt and end up staying in the big 40Euro hotel we passed on the way in.

We were invited to park in the underground carpark , where I binned the CBR at 2mph , down the ramp onto a marble polished surface and front brake on wham , oops , no damage loose mirror bolt thats it...


Cheap cheap beers around but Ponts if more of a transit town TBH as there is nothing much to see and all the bars are workers bars not touristy places. R1Lad had a funny turn here and got obsessive about the food, I'd had better elsewhere, and we'd had a glass empty / full discussion I'll try to be more of a glass full person...

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We also got some lamp post abuse pictures where I nearly knocked myself out...

Day 9 Andorra!

The Don had recommended the N260 into Andorra so we did it, traffic and road works made it slow going

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We went in via the eastern entrance passing a huge lake on the C14 on a twisty fast road with blind corners.

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Through Bourg Madame into France and VERY nearly into the tunnel, we turned round and decided to go over.

Via the N20-E9

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02439.jpg

Words like hairpin, fast twisty and cold actually came into play.

Andorra,

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02441.jpg

Anybody who has been to Macau and or Nathan Road will feel this is familiar, lots of bikes lots of shops selling cheap everything FYI Andorra is a tax haven there is 0% income tax to boot petrol was
1.14 a Litre asnd 1.09 the cheapest place I could find remember this is in Euros @ the 1.21 Exchange rate.

A quick think and we decided to stay the night in Andorra finding a 20 Euro hotel remember folks everything is Andorra has a 4% sales tax on it so remember this prices are ALL quoted as NET.

After lunch and luggage in the hotel we decided to explore I went pretty much all the way to the Capital while R1lad turned back.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02442.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02444.jpg
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http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02446.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02447.jpg

I managed to get pretty much to Sort and turned back R1lad decided to stay a few days in Andorra while I needed to Catch a ferry in 2 days.

Though we did meet an interesting Australian bloke in a pub near the Hypermarket R1lad made a prat of himself asking for a beer in Spanish , he said back to us two beers then in a heavy Australian
accent.

It gets cold in Andorra at night

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02449.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02450.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02452.jpg

We pretty much said our goodbyes after a few drinks at the bar I had to cover 400 miles to Santander for the ferry in 1.5 days time. The Australian guy had recomended I go north to Biaritz and motorway it all the way in.

I thought about it and it made sense, I then thought nah.... there are so many green routes from here to Santander...

I woke up at 5am, was dressed and packed at 5.30am, as said Andorran nights are cold the lowest point in Andorra is 800 metres, Got to the bike at 6.15am

2008(c)
____________________
Spain 2008France 2007Big one 2009 We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will. In the end, your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching.


Last edited by Itchy on 18:01 - 08 Nov 2009; edited 6 times in total
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Itchy
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PostPosted: 16:30 - 19 Jul 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

I decided to exit Andorra via the western exit I was climbing and it was cold which was bizzare for a Spanish holiday.

Cows all over the roads blocking my way I made it out of Andorra being stopped by the border guards at about 8am.

I now decided to do some fast running and followed the N260 to Sort Pont de Suert , Castle jon de Sos all surpreme roads

with the bit betweeb castlle jon de Sos getting really narrow twisty with recommended 30kph signs. I was in a hurry and was

taking them at 50mph. It can and WILL take it.

Between Castle jon de Sos and Campo I got into a bit of a scrap with a big BMW down through Campo is a wonderful gorge you

are travelling down a crack between them next to the river tons of camping sites and wild camping potential spots there

too..

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02461.jpg

Campo and Ainsa it opened up at warmed up quite nicely too into the fast open hot bits most of Spain was composed of.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02458.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02460.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02459.jpg

I pull out of Ainsa and feel something snap and the rear end bounce up , I pull over and stop and bah my luggage has broken

the velcro straps have snapped, and its not as if I had anything heavy loaded into them.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02462.jpg

I used my remaining bungees and cargo nets to secure them onto the back and my chain through the handles to keep them

together it barely worked as I reloaded my tank bag to keep weight out
of them.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02463.jpg

Ansia and Broto was a horrible 19Km section of bumpy road that makes the Holmfirth triangle look smooth it isn't its rough

and bumpy, the A1604 is reputed to be better but was a tiny white route not even a yellow route which is an B road , hmm a C

road I decided to stick to the N260.

I pulled into Biescas for some lunch/breakfast

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02456.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02457.jpg

I had effectively done it!, I had done 3 twisty sectors before lunchtime and decided to go for Jaca.

the N330 there is boring, its mainly straight with blind corners now and again I was being held up by a large convoy of

Harley types cornering at 30mph slowing me down yet being too long to overtake.

N240 time,

Out of Pamplona there is a green route the N240 , it promised to be good , it failed to deliver on one count as it was

getting into late afternoon and I had just encountered a CBR600RR and decided
to fight it out with the CBR600RR, I have no idea of the year but the pilot on this bike was utterly wasted by me (that said

my CBR600F isn't exactly stock in the first place) as the CBR600F has it on the
straights and it is more forgiving if you lose revs on corners the RR isn't.

N240 is actually rather straight.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02464.jpg

But there is a really nice bit later on

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02465.jpg

See that water?

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02466.jpg

It was THE most un-natural blue I have ever seen sort of a chemical blue in blue like you would see on
a highlighter pen.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02467.jpg

I had to stop and investigate further

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02468.jpg

Que me leaving the bike at the side of the road and wading in knee deep it was nice really nice and cooling and crystal

clear water you get closer you can pretty much see into the middle.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02469.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02470.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02471.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02472.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02473.jpg

It continued like this for about 15 miles, there is a camp site in the middle if you are interested.

Pamplona was skipped completely and I approached Vitoria Gasteiz, it was 5pm, I wondered if this was close enough to get to

Santander by 2pm tommorow considering I had no idea where the ferry port actually was, Vitoria Gasteiz was horrible it was a

dump so I decided to head to Bilbao. via the N240 again I will definately find a hotel enroute to Bilbao I thought.

I was really tired now 12 hours on bike and more twisties thrown at me into Bilbao which made me a bit annoyed TBH, passed

town after town no hotels lots of resturants but no Habitacions hotels
pension anything.

I managed to get into Bilbao and got horribly lost not finding a single hotel not even a rip off one until I passed an Etap.

Which wanted 120 Euro for bike parking , for a double which is all they
had left and the receptionist was somewhat snooty.

Met some English riders in the lobby on a CBR600FY an R6 and a 99 R1, they were catching the same boat, they hadn't

travelled far and had enourmous chicken strips on their bikes.

I was made to wait in the queue again for 20 minutes and decided to head out to Santander. It was surprisingly easy to use

the signs to get to the motorway towards Santander and passed a roadside hotel off a slip road in El Punte.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02474.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02475.jpg

I walked into the first hotel I saw as I was exhausted close to 14 hours on bike I gladly paid the 48 Euro for the room

which was ensuite aircon, with a 24h bar and free WIFI (not that I had anything to use the Wifi of course).

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02441.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02477.jpg

Met an English couple who'd also recently come from Andorra see the same bike in both pictures?,

They had set off almost immediately after the Andorra photo was taken though I did their ride in a day what took them two

but out of necessity not choice.

Dinner was lots of chorizos and chips and I went into the cheaper bar next door which had what looked like a dangerous card

game going on , lots of middle aged guys having a tiff over their cards I thought a fight was about to break out, I watched

sipping my beer and they dealed again this went on all night.


http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02478.jpg

It had rained during the night

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02480.jpg

I looked back and thought good thing I did come this far as if I had stopped in Pamplona I'd not have made it.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02481.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02482.jpg
http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02483.jpg

I met an old man who on a bandit who'd been touring for 28 days and managed to spend 400 Euro in total , he'd cooked all his

own food and camped wild a few times putting 100 miles a day in, gives
me food for thought for my next trip.

http://i345.photobucket.com/albums/p390/ItchyBCF/DSC02486.jpg

The sun set north of Santander , and the ship sailed its way back to Plymouth....

Where we were kept by immigration for 2.5 hours urgh horrible... I bid Plymouth Adieu and hit the A38 to visit an old

friend, and a few hours later a rainy ride home up the M5 and M6 to get home.

I shall probably maybe be back September 2008 IF I can raise the funds and or if I still have a job on Monday.

As on my way to Santander I think I got the fire in my belly back of riding , after losing it a fair bit from seeing far too

many riders die and nearly killing myself last year I'd slowed down a fair bit, pre 2007 crash it was its raining hard lets

go up Snake pass in the rain cold and wet and still go around at insane speeds.


My writeup ends here the rest as per usual is just my thoughts on all of this and words of wisdom for those

Camping

Most if not all of the camp sites I went to had VERY hard surfaces to camp on Stinkwheel's guide to putting up a tent says

you should look for a softer spot, but when the entire country is hard dry soil which comes up in chunks when you put tent

pegs at an angle , a hammer with big think tent pegs is a must or some plastic bags to put stones or even water in them to

weigh down the corners. In Fortuna I saw a guy break the concrete surface with his tent pegs.

Most except 1 camp site had no bog roll , bring your own or steal bar napkins or get the stuff at petrol stations when you

fill up.

Unless you are cooking your own food look for somewhere to eat before you start necking beers as some camp sites were

remote.

But its cheap lowest at 6 Euro , highest at 17 Euro, hey if you park your bike outside its 3 Euro cheaper too though I

didn't go so far , and many of the showers are cold check before you check in.

Heat/Sun

The heat isn't as bad as I thought, Maurice had taken his leathers off out of the ferry, I kept them on till I got past

Seville, my heat proof suit WOULD have worked as in the shade it was significantly cooler.

Hot wind is a bit of a problem though.

On the coast you get humidity and mozzies, on the central plataeu you get dry heat.

Drink plenty of water and put the Aqua hose inside your leathers and wet your inside and its fine, like riding in a mobile

sauna, YMMV as I am conditioned to the heat fairly well.

Bring a dark visor!, I didn't and my face has a circular tan mark on it which looks bizzare.

Double D rings are the work of the devil unless you have a hydration pack (it fell off in the UK) to drink from , I had

bottles getting the double D rings undone when you are going to be sick was unpleasant and end of the day was frustrating to

get off. And hey if my last S800 Shark survived a 100mph+ crash using
a seat belt type strap double D rings are overrated.

Also take it easy on some of the isolated areas like day 2 and day 3 , I barely saw another vehicle let alone bike on those

isolated no phone signal routes, you crash there and you are going to be sitting in the sun for hours if not days before

help comes.

Petrol

Spain is cheaper 1.26 Euro correct at 18/07/2008 was around the average peaking at 1.30 on motorways

Portugal is significantly more expensive 1.70 was the most I saw.

Andorra is cheapest 1.09 in one place I saw.

Ferry

Plymouth Santander ferry ticket cost £155 out £142 in , using reclining seat both ways , a cabin is
£90, and sleeps 4 , possibly worth it. Problem is it leaves Sunday evening and Wednesday evening too
which means you lose a weekend.

Plymouth to Santander 20 hours
Santander to Plymouth 17 hours

The alternative is Portsmouth Bilbao which takes 25-29 hours and you MUST have a cabin which pushes
the price to about £400 in and out BUT buys you an extra weekend , you pays yer money you takes yer
choice of course.

Cost

Even with slumming it camping , cheaper petrol and £10 of beer + £15 of food daily I think this trip cost
about £1200 including ferry tickets insurance , obviously the costs increased as I lost my tent and 10 Euro
a night became 30-50 Euro a night, added to the fact that the Pound is losing masses of value against the
Euro made this trip 30% more expensive than 2007.


Miles

I managed 4351 miles including 600 down to Plymouth and back

GPS vs Maps?

I still like maps but I'm tempted by GPS I only got lost in cities which I think where GPS stands out also GPS has the

advantage of telling just how sharp the next corner is without having to recon the route
first. But as the aussie guy said GPS is a serious dumbing down, the only problem with maps is that with Kev and David there

were new roads built and roads renamed , though you got the same problem with GPS as with maps. Spain also has the problem

of changing road names they were changing some of them while I was out there you just have to use some sense to navigate

around. Its maps next time still, though I now de-recommend the
red Michellin map in favour of the fold up Michellin maps that give you an over view as they can be folded easily and as

said you get an over view.

Spain vs France

If you could some how combine southern France and Northern Spain ie Santander-> Andorra -> Montpellier -> Nice N85 and back

to Toulousse this trip would be ideal. Spain is alot cheaper though beers averaging in at 1.50 for a small beer 33cl so was

petrol which brought the cost of the trip down quite a lot.


Conclusions?

Interesting experience but I think I crammed in far too many miles each day but that was purely as I wanted to see the

south, there are interesting bits in the north too, though next tour which maybe quite soon will be sticking to the north

only. But hey life is about different experiences the combination of low(er ) cost (not that low due to poor Euro vs £)

great abandoned roads very few cops (much fewer than France) go give it a go.

2008(c)
____________________
Spain 2008France 2007Big one 2009 We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will. In the end, your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching.


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Charlie
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PostPosted: 18:53 - 19 Jul 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bloody hell Itchy I don't think I have ever read such long a two posts before. Enjoyed it though, you have an interesting writing style.

Sounds like you had a good trip looking forward to doing something like this myself one day. Hopefully not dropping my bike though *touch wood*

I think you should try Morocco though, looks better than Spain if I am honest. Cheaper too.

I had some friends who did the Portsmouth - Bilbao crossing and on the way back Santander - Plymouth. They much preferred the Santander - Plymouth one, said the ferry was LOTS nicer.

And I shall be on the Point Avon Sunday evening.

I am quite jealous, I want to tour!
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js
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PostPosted: 20:20 - 19 Jul 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a top report Thumbs Up send that into a bike mag they will be very interested in that Two Wheels publish reader's tours.

Did the copper stop after he hit you?
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Shay HTFC
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PostPosted: 22:23 - 19 Jul 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was a class read. I was laughing out loud at times.
Can't wait to start my trip around Scotland now! All these awesome write ups are getting me excited.

P.S. Your writing style is good. It's like you are actually there talking to me, rather than me reading some text. Thumbs Up
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dodger
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PostPosted: 22:31 - 19 Jul 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been looking forward to reading this and it was worth the wait. Don't know quite how you managed to lose so much stuff from the back of your bike!?!? Confused

Unlucky with losing your tent as well, I know exactly how that feels!

Quote:

The Don had recommended the N260 into Andorra so we did it, traffic and road works made it slow going


Very, very surprised by that. When I hit the N260 it was virtually deserted with a pristine surface and was the highlight of the tour.

Glad you enjoyed it though... Very Happy Thumbs Up

p.s: Just looking through your pictures makes me want to go back out on another tour... Rolling Eyes
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Faldo
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PostPosted: 23:01 - 19 Jul 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, that was some write up Itchy.

The bit about about pissing on a fence and get electro-colla-cuted did make me laugh. It's just one of those things that when your on you're own you just take a step back and go "FFS"!

As Dodger said, how the fuck did you loose so much stuff? I did see a few posts on here when you were away (Sounded like you were "very, very drunk"), were you loading the bike up in that state too ? Laughing

Lets see a picture of your bodge job on the gear lever too!
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maurice
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PostPosted: 11:27 - 21 Jul 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice write-up, my liver isn't envious Laughing

Itchy wrote:
I notice Maurice stopped touring once he started working too infact his motocapers site's pictures are all gone. Its somewhat ironic
that he lives in the south and touring is easier yet no longer tours


o rly? Razz

http://www.motocapers.com/bcf/France077bcf.jpg
http://www.motocapers.com/bcf/France096bcf.jpg

N85 on a pushbike is quite different!

(btw website server change and haven't got round to re-uploading everything)
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DidierD
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PostPosted: 12:54 - 21 Jul 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent mate. Sounds like a hell of an experience! Thumbs Up
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Mudskipper
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PostPosted: 20:28 - 21 Jul 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great read, well worth half an hour of my time Thumbs Up

Especially like the bit about Alberto. Very thought provoking. Karma
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kitty kat
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PostPosted: 22:38 - 24 Jul 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was just about to go to bed when I came across this thread. It is now well past my bedtime, but reading it was well worth being tired tomorrow.
Brill write up, glad you got home safe (do you still have a job?)
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Itchy
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PostPosted: 17:06 - 01 Aug 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

kitty kat wrote:
I was just about to go to bed when I came across this thread. It is now well past my bedtime, but reading it was well worth being tired tomorrow.
Brill write up, glad you got home safe (do you still have a job?)


Dunno went in for 2 days after getting back , and got severely bollocked, by each of the partners.

I then sculked off on unpaid leave, to sort some things out of my own, I'm going back Monday to see what the situation is.
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Iain 007
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PostPosted: 01:33 - 02 Aug 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't wait to go touring, hopefully next summer Thumbs Up Very Happy

awesome post btw Clapping
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Carl_steveo
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PostPosted: 01:35 - 02 Aug 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow i just come across this and what an amazing read. sounds like you had a great time and some bad times aswell (binning bike, pissing on electric fence and not getting your leg over lol)

i am incredibly jealous
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Modo
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PostPosted: 08:22 - 02 Aug 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

As always dude your post tour reads are funny and informative. We should fund a camera crew to follow your next trip, there is money to be made from your euro exploits.Laughing

Some of the things that happen to you are funny as hell.....unfortunate......but funny, you couldn`t invent that stuff had me howling at times Laughing

Thumbs Up top class
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trevoriv
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PostPosted: 17:25 - 02 Aug 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you do go back in Sept this year gimme a shout, I'm in Murcia for most of the month.
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Itchy
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PostPosted: 19:04 - 02 Aug 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

js wrote:
That's a top report Thumbs Up send that into a bike mag they will be very interested in that Two Wheels publish reader's tours.

Did the copper stop after he hit you?


no,

They do? , I had a poke around and all they seem to have is the short way round and this tour on a super scooter which is a bit

Embarassed
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maurice
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PostPosted: 20:13 - 02 Aug 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

Itchy wrote:
js wrote:
That's a top report Thumbs Up send that into a bike mag they will be very interested in that Two Wheels publish reader's tours.

Did the copper stop after he hit you?


no,:


That's pretty shocking, doesn't give much hope for catching hit and run drivers if the police are at it. Rolling Eyes
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theopj
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PostPosted: 22:34 - 02 Aug 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

Modo wrote:
As always dude your post tour reads are funny and informative. We should fund a camera crew to follow your next trip, there is money to be made from your euro exploits.Laughing

Some of the things that happen to you are funny as hell.....unfortunate......but funny, you couldn`t invent that stuff had me howling at times Laughing

Thumbs Up top class


They'd have to be careful, might get hit by a flying tent, toolkits etc!
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StevenF
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PostPosted: 23:36 - 02 Aug 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice write up - Took me long enough to read it!

When I started reading, I got the impression that you and R1!ad were going on the trip together, but apparently not. It's amazing that you managed to cross paths, what are the chances of that!

Looks like you had a load of fun, touring is something I will do in the future.

How do you find touring on your own?
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L-Jam
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Joined: 15 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: 17:28 - 13 Jun 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a fucking brilliant read.

Thumbs Up Karma
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Noxious89123
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PostPosted: 00:21 - 14 Jun 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just sat here an read the whole thing, very cool Smile Thumbs Up
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Raf
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Joined: 18 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: 00:21 - 16 Jun 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very entertaining. Almost like reading a book. Im leaving for monaco at the end of the month so its interesting to read up on your adventure. Will have the read the rest tomorrow.. Im shattered.
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Tracey Suntan-King
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Joined: 10 Nov 2012
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PostPosted: 12:59 - 03 Jan 2016    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Itchy, I found this from your link on Mudcow's Portugal post.

It's en epic tale, I hadn't realised you were quite so bonkers as to drink beer with no sense of consequence or pee on an electric fence. You seem so sensible these days!

The other thing I like about this thread is your lovely, bouncy hair!
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-Matt-
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Joined: 28 Apr 2013
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PostPosted: 17:03 - 03 Jan 2016    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really good read and pictures Thumbs Up never seen this thread before either.
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