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Thread: Calum's Road - A Ride Of Two Halves

  1. #17
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    This was now the start of the M-Way slog south with the vague idea to try and reach Milau. I ended up leading the pack, as on the previous day, and that seemed to stay the default position for most of the trip in Europe with Nakambale taking up the job of ‘tail-end-charlie’. I’d never ridden in a group before and found it both a fun and frustrating experience. Fun ‘cos it was quite hard work doing your best to keep everybody in your sights and set a speed that worked for everybody and frustrating ‘cos that speed was somewhat slower than I’m used to riding on Euro M-Ways at But anyhow, I soon got into it and we all settled down to a steady ride south.

    Poor Mikey didn’t have hand guards (let alone muffs), how he coped with the cold feck only knows My winter kit consisted of three Merino wool tops, a fully heated fleece, my Twat suit and army Gortex over jacket. Not to mention a snappy little combo of muffs and gaucho. Even with all that kit (most peeps had similar) we were having to stop every 80 miles or so to get hot drinks inside us and just generally thaw out. It was well below freezing all day and the snow was just getting thicker the further south (and higher) we got.

    It soon became clear that no way were we gonna make Milau that day. We stopped near Claermont Feraund and admired the snow from the warmth of the services………



    A short hop down the M-Way and we find an Etat (cheap motel) for the night.

    Bikes are parked up



    Pictures of people taking pictures of snow taken



    And a number of rare French Ninjas spotted



    We retired to our rooms to get changed and out of my window I spotted one of these



    Now, you see Buffalo Grills all over France adjacent to main roads and I’ve always been fascinated by them but never been in one. In a twisted sort of way (I’m veggie) I was really looking forward to, at last, eating in one…….it wasn’t to be. Some of the others had gone in search of a drink but there was no bar in the Grill………..they were found next door in a bowling alley where we were to have the biggest pizzas I’ve ever seen, even Bhud was defeated by his



    Suitably satiated we crashed out in preparation for the next days ride; the climb into the Auvergne / Midi Pyrenees proper.

    Up bright and early and it’s bogging cold, we hit the M-Way, head south and start climbing, climbing climbing. It’s stunning scenery and stoopid cold. The higher we get the deeper the snow gets and the whiter everything gets





    I was getting spooked all the time by the surface of the road, was it ice, was it dried out salt But still couldn’t help but admire the stunning views. Then, before we knew it we were in cloud/freezing fog. I’ve never been on a bike (or car) in conditions like this before. Ice crystals floating in the air like some sort of twisted trip, clothing and bike turning white as it was covered in a layer of ice and we slowed right up Even so Bhud and I managed to end up ahead of the others as Thunder’s glasses had frozen up and they’d had to stop.

    I then did one of those really, really stoopid things………….I was riding along with a small clear area in the middle of my visor that wasn’t iced up and I wondered to myself what would happen if I opened my visor. Deep down inside I knew exactly what would happen if I opened my visor…………I still feckin’ did it though didn’t I Wooooooooosh and the visor was frozen I then rode the last 5 miles to the services with my visor open, I thought my feckin’ eye balls were gonna freeze solid and fall out, god that was painful

    Bhud and I waited at the slip, the others caught up and we all went and had warming cup after cup of coffee. Here’s some more pretty pictures of snow, in the services this time………………..







    Those of the bikes that had temp gauges all maxed out at minus10’C when passing through the freezing fog……….so god knows how cold it really was

    The ride continued, still beautiful, still stoopid cold but always very spectacular as we started to hit the swoops and bends that lead, inevitably, to the Milau bridge. The sun was out and I swear we hit a balmy minus 5’C on that section. I was having fun, playing silly noisy buggers with my right hand through the tunnels and generally larking about with Bhud and myself passing and riding along side each other.

    Then the bridge was below us and quicker than a quick thing we were on and then over it. It really is a spectacular sight as you approach it or from below but, sadly, such a disappointment when crossing as the high barriers mean you can’t see bugger all over the side.

    Any how, I had other things on my mind. I was looking forward to the next section of M-Way, the swoopy, fast section that drops and drops and drops until you are back at sea level approaching Perpignan. All the pent up frustration of riding in a slow moving group was gonna get a welcome release

    As we hit the first of the bends myself, Bhud and Mikey broke away from the group and gave the bikes some well needed welly. This is one of my fav fast roads. Ever. Full stop Top fun was had by us all and I had an interesting time discovering just what Heidis are like on a fully loaded GS at three figures; never dangerous but feeling the blocks move at those speeds was interesting and ultimately kept the speeds sane

    When we stopped at the bottom to wait for the others we noticed something strange…………….no snow For the first time in the whole trip N O SNOW

    We then headed off for Perpignan and the crew was introduced to filtering French style; as we hit a traffic jam approaching road works all the cars pulled over and created gaps to let us through – I love riding in France

    Eventually we hit Perpignan and another Etap was found and stayed in.

    5.44pm 12/1/10

    “Well, what can I say about today? I’ve NEVER seen so much snow in all my life. Passed through freezing fog at one stage, extremely beautiful but extremely cold! A really surreal experience, the visor froze up and I had to ride with it up which just froze your eyeballs. And……and……all my feckin’ kit turned white with a layer of ice, what was all that all about!? Three of us went for a hack down the twisty M-Way after the Milau, my favourite, and as we got lower and lower it got warmer and warmer. As we hit Perpignan it was a very comfortable 5’C, most of us even turned off our heated grips it was so hot! Early start tomorrow”

    Andres
    Doris doesn't give a fuck...be more like Doris!



  2. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Outtomunch View Post


    Top picture that

    Oh, and the freezing fog was inded f-ing cold -17 if I recall
    Gert

  3. #19
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    I hate cold icy weather at the best of times, but what you've described is much, much worse than I can remember ever having ridden a bike in. All of you are nutters of the highest order, and that should be taken as the compliment it's intended to be.

    I'm enjoying the writeup, though.

  4. #20
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    Enjoying this, well done mate.

    When riding in snow, whilst very scary you can see what you have to deal with. More worrying are surfaces that you are unsure about, maybe in poor light. One morning whilst separated from the group, I started early about nine am in an attempt to catch Sid and Glen, it was Bitterly cold and I realised there was ice about, but I was only a few hundred meters from the motorway so I went for it.
    Safely on the motorway, I was travelling about 55 mph, as I approach a sweeping bend to my right in a wooded area there were two Gendarmes in the road sliding their feet on the tarmac (indicating Black ice ) A bit further round the bend there were cars in the barrier !!!
    It still sends shivers up my back now.

  5. #21
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    This is great

  6. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nakambale View Post

    Oh, and the freezing fog was inded f-ing cold -17 if I recall
    I'd forgotten that - here's your bike at the services, just after emerging from that fog; see the white stuff on the bike..........that's not salt that's frost picked up from the fog



    Andres
    Doris doesn't give a fuck...be more like Doris!



  7. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Outtomunch View Post
    Poor Mikey didn’t have hand guards (let alone muffs), how he coped with the cold feck only knows
    Twas a tad on the baltic side and there are a limitied number of times you can get a heat via this method...
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  8. #24
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    Great RR and excellent pics... Keep it coming

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  9. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outtomunch View Post
    ...I thought my feckin’ eye balls were gonna freeze solid and fall out...

    People normally take psychedelic drugs to get that kind of experience

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  10. #26
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    On the road for 7 the next morning the rest of the crew were starting to pack up their bikes as I rolled out of the car park and out onto the still dark M-Way south to the Spanish border. I was on a mission; my folks were just south of Barcelona near Sitges and I wanted to pop in for a couple of hours - the original intention had been that we would stop over with them but timings didn’t work out in the end.
    Hopefully I’d catch up the others in Valencia where we had decided we would crash for the night.

    As I crossed the border the sun was coming up and as the Mediterranean sun did its business I began to feel proper warm for the first time on the trip. Hacking down the M-Way was good fun, I could go as fast or slow as I liked without constantly having to check in my mirrors, I was having so much fun that I decided to ride through central Barcelona rather than skirt around it – hitting it at full on rush hour time I rode past the Sagrada Familliar and down through the new developments in the harbour area, picking races with the locals on their scooters, but never with a chance of winning

    9.30am and I’m at my folks and we sit outside on the roof terrace having a slap up breakfast – the weather we’ve just come through already seems a million miles away, sat there with a coffee looking down on a calm, deep blue sea

    Mr & Mrs Outtomunch Snr:



    Back on the road and I’m off south again, heading for Valencia. It’s warm but very windy. I get me head down and decided I’m gonna catch up the others

    Stopping for petrol I got a text saying that the ‘southern’ contingent (Crapaud, Paintman and Milk Tray Man) were in Benidorm and we’d all meet up there, finally the Calum’s Road riders would all be together (well nearly all together, Sockpuppet was heading for Madrid at this stage having ‘sort of’ sorted his bike).

    Sat there, Red Bull in hand I’m thinking Benidorm? BENIDORM? FECKIN’ BENIDORM? Now, I’d not particularly enjoyed staying in Ibis/Etap hotels on the way down……being a signed up middle class, Radio 4, Guardian reader I would normally steer clear of such places and go for yer local town centre cafe/hotel type of place but needs must and Ibis/Etaps answered that need so no real probs there. However, feckin’ Benidorm I thought to myself………..what sort of feckin’ ‘adventure’ is it staying in Benidorm
    Arriving in Benidorm I wind my way through the streets looking for the Hotel Diplomat and I start to chuckle………..and before long I’m laughing out loud ………….and as I pull up outside the Hotel I’m beside myself – this is gonna be fun I thinks to myself

    And it was, despite myself, I couldn’t help but like the place

    Walking into reception I spies Crapaud lost in a PC – I introduce myself and then go off to book in – feck this hotel’s hot No sooner am I in my room there’s a knock on the door and in comes Paintman We have a good ol’ chat about our respective trips, the highs and the lows and wander off down to the bar to catch up proper loike. Turns out Milk Tray Man has gone on ahead to Algeciras……….. At this point the others arrive; turns out they did an ‘Outtomunch’, choosing to go through the centre of Valencia en route, rather than go around it – feck this hotels’ hot

    As we all slowly cooked at the bar I noticed a temp. gauge above the lifts; 32’C No wonder it felt so feckin’ hot – turned out the hotel was full of elderly Brits on cheap ‘escape the winter’ deals and they liked to keep warm!!!! At least it meant I could wash and dry my kegs in record time.

    Went out for a (very good) authentic Spanish Chinese that night and once again we were up and off the next morning head yet further south, this time destination Granada, a short hop and hopefully the chance for some R&R

    Everybody was very excited to be off and away on their bikes again…………







    1.27am 14/01/10

    “Lying here in bed, can’t sleep ‘cos it’s sooooooo feckin’ hot! Been a long day today, up at 5.30 and at my folks for 9.30, shame we couldn’t stay there…..actually quite warm……got a message to go to Benidorm. Off the M-Way and all you see is row after row of tower block hotels and we’re staying in one! The streets are just full of old Brits, even had one guy come up to me and say “I used to have one of them, one of them Nortons” – just like home! When I speak Spanish to the hotel staff they speak back in English? Met Sid and John, John’s cool, Sid’s bonkers Mikey and I watched the old ‘uns dancing in the disco; Mikey was the first one to notice it but the place smelled of poo and wee, guess that’s what the Airhead Weekend must be like…………right, try and get some sodding sleep……………”

    Andres
    Doris doesn't give a fuck...be more like Doris!



  11. #27
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    Another day, another dollar and next stop Granada. Quite a ride that day, started off lovely, warm and dry but as we climbed into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada we hit some pretty full on windy conditions. Violent gusts that did their best to blow you across the lanes of the M-Way. Overtaking trucks was interesting and the conditions meant that we had to limit our speed somewhat. The scenery was stunning in places and at one point the most beautiful rainbow appeared, perfectly arched over the church in a village we were passing, like a sign from the heavens. You could see the dark clouds that we were heading towards us and we were playing kiss and tell with the rain.............it was only a matter of time before we got wet.



    ..........and if you’ve ever wondered what a rainbow looks like in b&w



    Eventually the inevitable happened and it pissed it down. It was all Bhud’s fault ‘cos he’d reckoned the bad weather was at last behind us and taken his muffs off, told him he was tempting fate but would he listen..............

    We hit Granada and finally the rain relented, I tried to get us into the ‘old (Jewish) quarter’ but my failing memory and road works/diversions conspired against me so we stopped at a bar and re-grouped to discuss where to stay. As we stood there dripping all over the nice polished wooden floor Roger took a call from Sockpuppet saying he’d just arrived in Granada and where were we? Bizarre and uncanny timing or what Five minutes later and Thunder’s taken another call from Sockpuppet. This time the news wasn’t as good, he’d lost the front end on his bike, trapped his leg under the l/h pannier and was convinced he’d broken his leg

    Bhud and I set off to try and find him, all we knew was that he was somewhere on an industrial estate beside a Carrefour. After some fannying around we eventually found his bike but no Sockpuppet – he’d been carted off in an ambulance. The Police were still at the scene and couldn’t have been more helpful so, once they’d given me directions to the hospital Bhud went back to the others to sort out getting a rider (Crapaud) out to the bike and I headed off to the hospital to find Sockpuppet.



    I found him in casualty, smiling and happy (must’ve been the drugs!!!!) and then promptly got kicked out by a very officious nurse. Sitting in the waiting room I passed the time watching some rather lovely security guards watching me

    We ended up stopping three nights (I think?) in Granada in the end, while we sorted out Sockpuppets med. Insurance/bike repatriation etc.............

    Granada is a beautiful city (Alhambra Palace etc) but I didn’t get to see much of it on this visit, I did get to know the hospital really well though! On one visit, just after they operated on Sockpuppet’s ankle I found him in the recovery room – judging by the reaction of one of the nurses I’m not sure I was supposed to be in there

    Had a lovely meal in a Moroccan restaurant one night with Mikey.......a taste of things to come

    All things, Sockpuppetwise, sorted and we were ready to head to Algeciras; gateway to The Dark Continent

    8.36pm 14/01/10

    “A mad day, met up with the wonderful Sid and left Benidorm. Had a great Chinese and it ‘was’ a fun and surreal experience, so glad we went there! Nice sunny, warm ride then the wind picked up and the heavens opened.......most amazing, strong gusts of wind coming down off the mountains, kept the speeds down even slower than normal – is that possible! Beautiful scenery, fab rainbows, very cosmic! Pouring rain in Granada and got lost in road works – message from Richard (Sockpuppet) that he was also in Granada then another one that he’d come off. Bhud and I had a little adventure trying to find him, found the bike. I’ve now been sat here in the hospital for three hours, feck it’s hot, just like Benidorm again.................prognosis is a broken ankle”

    11.13am 16/01/10

    “Saturday morning, went to see Richard and his room’s empty. Finally found him in the recovery room after an op on his ankle, still out for the count. Got back to the hotel lunch time, most of the others had gone on up to the Alhambra..............said I’d join them but TBH was shattered so crashed out. Had a night off whilst t’others went to visit Richard. Mike and I wandered up to the old Jewish quarter and had a Tagine, probably the first of many......................
    At last we’re on our way again, stopped on a M-Way services, sat outside, having a coffee and an hour away from Algeciras – should be a another ‘day off’ tomorrow and then t’others will get their tyres changed first thing Monday morning, ready for the off..................................”

    Andres
    Doris doesn't give a fuck...be more like Doris!



  12. #28
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    Feck this is taking ages to write Thanks for your patience

    Another fun ride, down to Algeciras. Hit some resurfacing for a few miles which was entertaining, lots of little parallel grooves on the road, great fun on the Heidies as the blocks locked into the grooves It was actually better the faster you rode – I enjoyed that bit. Sun was out and we were all in good spirits and as we pulled into the beautiful old colonial Reina Christina hotel in Algeciras Milk Tray Man was there to greet us

    Nowhere had been arranged to get the tyres changed so Paintman and I went off to find somewhere for the crew to get sorted. I remembered seeing a bike shop in the way into town and so we headed back there.

    Ruiz Brother Special Motorcyles



    And it was there that we found Jesus, Jesus Ruiz Well we did eventually, after he’d got off the phone sorting a domestic………………….

    Whilst waiting Paintman practised his poses



    Any way, got the tyre changing booked in for Monday morning; 8am if possible, 10am if Jesus has shot his sister in law. Somehow I had the feeling he was only half joking when he said that…………………….

    Back at the hotel and the evening was getting under way. It was fab. The locals and not so local came out to play, dancing to some smultzy Spanish music and Salsa





    Boys got smart



    Mikey pulled



    and the next morning a mysterious Eastern European had left messages for the boys……………some got a more comprehensive message than others



    11.05am 17/01/10

    “Saturday night at the Reina Christina is dance night! A middle age guy with wet look perm on keyboard and his good lady wife singing. Full of middle aged and elderly locals dancing Salsa and the like – fantastic to watch, really beautiful. Met a mysterious Eastern European woman and her partner, a US Intelligence Officer, all very James Bond…………………”

    Sunday comes around all bleary eyed loike and bikes are fettled.



    The only problems has so far were electrical; Thunder and I had no power to our GPS’s. Easily sorted on mine (poor connection due to corrosion) but Thunders problem, whilst the same, couldn’t be fixed.

    Paintman had no aux power or headlight, again (eventually) sorted by dodgey connections being sorted out.



    Whilst most of the lads went off to ‘The Rock’ for some sight seeing and shopping Paintman and I decided to head up to Rhonda, whilst following Paintman’s GPS down a dirt track we located and rescued Monkey



    and turned Paintman’s lid into a bunny



    There then followed a very memorable ride up into the mountains and Rhonda. It was the first non M-Way ride of the trip And we had a ball. Everything from tight and technical (SM territory) to fast and sweeping (sports bike territory). Of course, being on GS’s we demolished everything in our path



    Andres
    Doris doesn't give a fuck...be more like Doris!



  13. #29
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    Having got into a quickish groove we hooked up with another GS, happy to ride at our speed, got annihilated by a R1 who wasn’t even trying and then came across a bunch of Harleys……….fair do’s to the lead rider, he needed both lanes but kept us at bay for a good couple of Klicks

    Now Rhonda is a beautiful old Spanish city, most famous for the deep gorge, and bridge over it that runs through the centre of the old quarter.

    Bikes parked up



    a lovely lunch was had (bloody Twat suits get everywhere!)



    and some sight seeing done





    Andres
    Doris doesn't give a fuck...be more like Doris!



  14. #30
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    Up early on Monday morning, we pack and check out, tyres are strapped to the backs of bikes





    gear put on



    and the plan is to get the tyres changed and head off for the ferry to Tangier……..

    We arrive at Jesus’s place and he’s not there, looks like he carried out his promise

    Now Paintman and I negotiated a deal with the man and that involved handing over loose wheels to him, I think some of the crew were a bit surprised when told but everybody soon got down to it

    Mikey and Milk Tray Man gave a master class





    Bhud got his hands dirty



    But most of all fun was had pretending to be ruffty tuffty adventurers





    10am and out of nowhere Jesus is amongst us and tyres are at last changed





    As I wasn’t changing tyres I wandered off to admire some of Jesus’s bikes



    and discover that Harley riders suffer none of the confusion that we do when deciding what oil to use



    Now peeps were getting a bit on edge as we were all expecting to be heading off to Morocco that day and the clock was ticking on ‘Spanish Time’ which isn’t always the fastest even if it is a more congenial way of doing things.

    I have to admit I was loosing it a bit too, having run around sorting a courier for the lads to ship their winter gear back, going with Thunder to an industrial estate to get a bolt for his side stand and sorting a charging lead for Paintmans iPod in order to speed things up, all whilst the tyres were being changed. I was somewhat ‘disappointed’ to come back to the group to be told that the decision had been taken to stay another night as there wasn’t time to post the kit off and get an early enough ferry…………………

    Back at the hotel we all check in again and a couple of beers later I’m chilled again and we relax on the hotels world renowned crazy golf course



    Come hell or high water tomorrow is a first thang start and, at last Morocco

    “Monday afternoon and I’m listening to cheesey lift music in the bar of the Reina Christina again…………….spent the morning changing tyres, took a while and one thing and another it’s all dragged on and peeps think it’s now too late to cross over so we’re here another night, hey ho………..any way, no worries, Morocco tomorrow”

    Andres
    Doris doesn't give a fuck...be more like Doris!



  15. #31
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    Excellent RR... good to see B&W photos too

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  16. #32
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by David Nimrod View Post
    Excellent RR... good to see B&W photos too
    Ta

    Andres
    Doris doesn't give a fuck...be more like Doris!



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