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Thread: Round 6: 2013 Ramble 1

  1. #17
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  2. #18
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    Mmmmm..

    Long Island Ice teas again....

  3. #19
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    Thanks again all

    Internet seems to be very patchy in Portugal where I am now. Maybe its just my luck but it's very slow, slow, quick, slow slow..

    Quote Originally Posted by peterc View Post
    ..I love me screen spoiler esp for motorway stuff, but tend to remove for country/twisties. Im off to tour Spain 9th July, look forward to some routes that yuo will cross no doubt..
    Enjoy. Spain is quite something

    Only had the spoiler for some 300 miles but definitely converted. It lifts the air right over me and I can ride totally comfortably with the lid flipped up. Well pleased, great little thing

  4. #20
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    Day 2 - Santander to San Vincenta de la Barquera

    Well all of this self congratulatory business about packing early is soon out the window when I realise of all things I haven't packed my sodding belt. I'll need to sort something, It'll not be cool to stroll around the Iberian peninsular with my hands in my pockets holding me trollies up.
    Today will be a lean day- I'm doing this 'Fast diet' thing at the moment, so two out of five days there'll be no pictures of food or booze and no slurring on the keyboard.

    Not an extensive update. Most of today is on the ferry as we land at 18:15. The weather, whilst beautiful yesterday, is downright murky..



    I spend the afternoon in the lounge chatting with a few folks and time passes quickly enough. Before we know it we can see Santander and a familiar sight no doubt to all those that have taken the ferry..



    .. So off we go back to the cabin, bits in bags, gather by the stairwell. There's a smiley Brittany Ferries girl there that makes the time go a little quicker, and then it's down the many stairs to the vehicle deck. It's the usual shuffle/squeeze/wait affair to get off the ferry, we're there a good 25 minutes until we can get going.



    Out we go and be now it's pouring down with rain. Oof. My summer jacket and cargos are not the required outfit for the occasion. Ah. Rain jacket lodged in the bottom of the pannier. We make it out of the port and on to the Autovia- I just opt to get on with the main drag, it's only a 40 minute hop around to the hotel so I just crack on, with speed the weather protection is good, better with my 'new' screen spoiler.

    San Vicente de la Barquera is just down the coast and a very pleasant place it is. However it is really raining hard and the hotel room is lovely, great balcony so I settle in for the evening. A word on the Hotel Azul de Gulimar, as recommended by Tosserfolk of the parish. Absolutely first class.




  5. #21
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    Day 3 - San Vincenta de la Barquera to Miranda do Douro

    My diet went alright yesterday. I had an apple and a yoghurt. Party on, dudes..

    I'm up after a great night of zzzz's at little past 7am. I can see that the tiles on the balcony are wet. Its still raining. Hey ho.
    On going down to breakfast I'm greeted by the little man behind the desk with no English. He looks out of the window, shrugs his shoulders and says "Agua". Quite. We've plenty of time so we'll see how things pan out, maybe it'll improve.

    Thought for the trip: Make the lagers long a cool, make the breakfasts long and leisurely..



    Time to pack up. After my last trip saw my phone ruined by the damp I'm not taking any chances, so I'm deploying this herbert. Evidently you can go swimming with it (quite why you would want to is beyond me) but as long as it is rainyroadproof I'll be happy enough.

    [/]

    So I'm now en route to the Picos. It's raining and dreary but by the time I've dropped on to the road into Potes the rain is easing and the riding is enjoyable. Heading in from the North the road becomes a great little technical affair, narrow and winding, carving through the gorge, and with very little traffic it's a real hoot.

    A brief stop in Potes, home of Picos related Eurotat.



    Ah Cider, or Sidre. It's not all bad, I suppose



    Snaffled. I know someone who'll appreciate that..



    Whilst shopping I run into a group of four Brits from the ferry and chat to 800GS guy. "The hotel chap is saying there's snow forecast over the San Glorio Pass, so we're going North instead" he says.

    Hmm. It's a long way round from where I'm headed so in for a penny and I think I'll give it a try. The San Glorio is about 25km on from Potes. Although there is zero traffic coming or going I'm heartened when I reach the pass sign which says 'Abierto' (it is also green so that's a clue if 'no hablo espanol'). Again, the riding is superb- me on my little private road.

    We make the climb up the mountain and I keep an eye on the temp guage. 9, 8, 7, 6, 5.5, 5, 4.5, 4.. And that's it; it doesn't get any worse than that. Excellent. As we head to the top visibility has disappeared and there's a fair amount of snow around, although the road is immaculate. I just keep out of the shadows and the glossy bits, and Bob's yer uncle.

    Up on the pass.



    I thought this photo was alright until I saw it on the laptop. Bit suspect, I reckon. 'Bambi worrier..'





    Heading over and we're greeted with the Leon province sign. Not for the first time in these parts I experience the change in weather 'over the top'. The sun is peeking through the puffy clouds and it's clearer ahead



    The sun, snow, mountains, colour.. Spectacular. Quoting a foreign friend of mines amusing English catchphrase.. 'Better cannot be'.



    And one more..



    More Brits ahead- I start to run into the Maserati convoy coming up the other way, this area does attract us alright.. you can't blame us though.

    The run down to Riano is glorious. A few villages aside it is a brisk little section. My riding was tip-top, even if I do say so myself, these days few runs get me keyed up to really get going, I've become a bimbler you see, but this is one fine exception, and the run along the lake up to Riano is very quick and (I'm sure you WC GS'ers will love it when you're not wheelieing over speed bumps, eh Nutty? )

    A mid-morning stop is taken once I reach Riano. You have to love Spain, right..



    Suitably refreshed and it is back to the tarmac, heading South West. It's now lovely sunshine amongst the puffy white clouds. Again the run is very good and pretty brisk. We head down past Leon on fairly nondescript roads, but the sun is out and that changes the mundane to the extremely pleasant.

    A castle and a piece of Lemon Cake stowed from breakfast in Valencia de Don Juan. Sun is out, so pop a little factor 8 on. Later discover 8 was not enough, cue bright red nose.





    On we go. A quick snap at one of the Advertisement formerly known as Tio Pepe's bull..



    I'm now in the rolling hills approaching the Duoro valley.



    Lovely tricky little uneven roads, proper GS country and everything is in its stride. A small bit of drama when I'm passing a field of sheep and a dog, gnashing and barking vaults the fence on to the road. Evasive action is taken and I'm past him. That would have been the end of Fido and I'd most likely have taken a tumble. I've never splatted a dog so I couldn't tell you.



    Dramas over I take another minor route to cross the Duoro, as I make the descent I'm flagged down by a humourless speccy twat in a fetching pink roadworks van. He's annoyed and gesturing me to turn around. I can now see they're resurfacing the bridge. A sign would have been nice before I ride 10km down here, but there you go. I stop for a snap and I can see he's waiting up top for me to turn around. So I deliberately take my time. Some manners would be nice.

    So as I loop around I make my new discovery of the day. Garmin don't regard Portugal as part of Western Europe, despite being the most Western part of Western Europe. Spain is there on the Zumo, but not Portugal. I get that white background with crissy crossy motif. When you get to it you get the main drag and bugger all else. Groan.



    A but of faffing around finds the hotel. Another good find, erm once I found it anyway.. The Flor do douro hotel. A room with a balcony overlooking the river and the damn, a garage for the bike and an incredibly friendly owner. He has no English, but he has French so that's enough for us to be well set.

    Out for stroll. There's the river, way down there..



    .. a Pizza at the very friendly Pizzeria Gorgonzola..



    ..and the very nice view it has out to the Duoro. The damn is where I crossed over, and on the other side is Spain.



    All topped off with a swift half in the Benfica Bar.



    Tie on a Superbock stout or three back at the Pizzeria and watch the final parts of Benfica going through to the Europa Cup Final. There's some shouting and tooting of horns in the streets.



    Back to HQ. So let's see. A room for 25 euro, dinner and drinks for less than 20, and just under 40 to top the bike up (do fill up in Spain, by the way). Anyhow, a complete full-on day for seventy quid.

    The bloke in the room next door snores. I know there's a family in the next room over so I restrain myself from shouting at him to belt up. Even with that noisy git I'm still finding it hard to fault today.

  6. #22
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    Nice one Rob, keep it coming. How long are you away for this time?

  7. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Nutty GSER View Post
    Nice one Rob, keep it coming. How long are you away for this time?
    Ta As it stands I think for a month..

  8. #24
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    about time big fella ride safe

  9. #25
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    obrigado

  10. #26
    David Lee
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    Nicely written report Rob, waiting for the next instalment

  11. #27
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    Brill report as per the norm, jealous of your clear screen spoiler, mines scratched (very), small point R, keep an eye on the 4 little rubber things that grip to the bike screen, they can come loose and fall off, im running on 3 at pres. Cant wait to get touring
    Ride safe

  12. #28
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    Great stuff, safe riding

  13. #29
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    Nice to see the winter lay off hasn't diminished the writing reports.

    Keep up the good work and the photo's which remind us all what we are missing (you lucky bugger)
    [SIGPIC]http://www.ukgser.com/forums/image.php?u=1024240&type=sigpic&dateline=1267183772 [SIGPIC]

  14. #30
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    Thanks for the comments, appreciated as always

    Quote Originally Posted by peterc View Post
    Brill report as per the norm, jealous of your clear screen spoiler, mines scratched (very), small point R, keep an eye on the 4 little rubber things that grip to the bike screen, they can come loose and fall off, im running on 3 at pres. Cant wait to get touring
    Ride safe
    Cheers Peter- keeping a close eye. Boy is that thing great

  15. #31
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    Day 4 - Miranda do Douro to Manteigas

    Well thanks due to our very own Mr K for the recommendation of Miranda do Douro. Nice one, Chris

    I'm up early in an attempt to try and salvage all things Garmin. What I need to do is get the Portugal map on of course. In classic Portuguese 'Information Superdustytrack' internet there is no connectivity. Bollocks. Plus, my phone won't get roaming data. Double bollocks.
    Mental note to self: When I ask at a place "Do you have Wi-Fi?" I should supplement that question with "Is it actually connected to anything, i.e. the Internet?". There are plenty of crisp and clear 5-bar connections from the laptop, just bugger all coming down it. So without the GPS section of UKGSer to refer to (I know there is a thread there as I posted some info on how to do it a while back) I try to see what I can do.

    The version of Garmin's hatstand mapinstaller product is very curious. I don't know what has gone on, but basically it won't let me take any maps off of the device, only put them on, and there's no room to do it, so you're stuffed. Honestly, its enough to make you want to chew your own leg off.
    Last year, after much gnashing of teeth, pulling of hair and ageing on the sofa I managed to put the whole of Europe on to an SD card and that ran on my old Zumo before I ruined it.
    I try and repeat that feat from memory- I back up the files from the Zumo to the laptop, and delete what I think are the map files on the unit. I install the maps I need onto a shiny new SD card. Fingers crossed.

    Of course, this is all takes considerable time as the little blue bar does its thing. So in the meantime I pack up and go and have breakfast.

    When I come back I'm cheered by a map of Portugal. Winner!
    Anyway, thus concludes GPS news. Tune in next time for 'I can't stand basecamp'.

    Back to breakfast: Warm bread, ham and cheese, jams and coffee. Basic but plentiful. Smiley man from the hotel wishes be 'Bon Voyage' and with the little hand on ten we're out into glorious sunshine with an ever so slight chill in the air. But most importantly the rain jacket is banished back to the pannier from whence it came and long may it stay there.

    The bike sits in Mr Smiley man's garage so we pack up out of the sunshine.



    I'm heading South West and further south into the Duoro park. Miranda is easily left and we're soon whizzing along the N221. Great brisk riding.

    I pick a point to veer off in an attempt to get closer to the river. Here she is.



    The rock formations on the cliff behind me are superbly colourful.



    I continue down into the village of Mazouco. I can see a route by the river and this is for me. The village sits precariously on the slopes and I get the impression they don't get a lot of passing travel. People stare, mouths open, I might just as well landed from outer space. I politely coast through smile and nod.
    The single track descent down to the waterside and Santa Ana makes the Hardknott pass look like the M62. A bit of planning is needed but it is great fun.

    I reach the side of the river. Down here there are Orange groves. Peaceful, tranquil and the scent of the citrus flowers is just something else: intoxicating and wonderful.



    Well it grew outside the fence, so that's lunch for me.



    I meet this laddy on the road. He comes over to say hello. Eeeeorr.



    About half a mile along the riverside I run into an old bloke stood under a tree waving his stick at me. He's got the pip at me, for what I don't know, but he has. Maybe scaring his Oranges or putting the wind up his donkey. He's gesturing me to turn around. You know what? I don't like the look of him. I enquire that it's just a few kilometers, no more than five down the road, OK? 'Nao' he says. I gusture that I'll go up and turn around where I can and I carry on.
    I'm glad I do crack on and ignore our resident toothless simpleton as there's nothing untoward ahead. I'm brought out to the town of Freixo de Espada A Cinta. I check for any signs that local or agriculturo traffic only as emerge into the town but there's nothing. I guess some of them just don't like flash visitors on their shiny contraptions.

    A coffee is taken at the café. A young girl couldn't be more delighted to serve me. Very smiley. A lovely smile it is too. Obviously she uses a different dentist to the bloke down by the river.



    They have a very tempting selection of cakes, but I'm being good. Fool.



    And so it's back to the action ono the N221 in a rapid but tricky little section. Yesterday gave me some confidence back in my riding. Not sure what happened towards the back end of last year but I thought I was just becoming a total bimbler. But the bike is feeling crisp and so am I, so we push along nicely.
    I can recommend the N221 as one of the finest roads I've had the pleasure to ride, hours of fun to be had; it's the gift that keeps on giving. Fast sections, tricky sections, up, down, left, right.

    On one of the many damns on the river..



    Oh the scenery, gazing back to the Port Vineyards..



    And here lunch is taken courtesy a take out box from Gorgonzola's under the shade of a tree with the most wonderful view.



    A few more miles on and I just feel like another break. No rules to adhere to, no timeline so why not?

    Images of Portugal..






    A stop to smell the flowers.


    ..


    Back to the N221, and even when we leave the Duoro park region the road just keeps on doing it. Through Figuela de Castelo Rodriguo, down past Pinhel until things unceremoniously end and you're presented with the A23. Eurgh. But we navigate around Guarda and now over towards the Sera da Estrela Natural Park.

    I hope you've been paying attention as these names and roads are important - you need to remember them for when you do it, because you simply must. What? Yes I mean it.

    Past Guarda we take the M619/N18-1 down to Valhelhas. Another epic road. Do, do try it. Finally we're at our destination and the Hotel Berne, as recommended by Micky ..another seal of tosserpproval well deserved
    Ah, there's the hotel over there..



    And there's Manteigas, looking particularly lovely in the early evening sunshine..



    Unpack and the steep walk up in to Manteigas. Into the Supermercardo.
    Um Bongo was particularly reasonably priced



    Back to the hotel for a couple of leisurely Super Bocks on the terrace followed by an early night.

    I can't tell you how good today has been. If I could bottle and sell days like this in the saddle, you know something, I'd need never lift a finger again.


  16. #32
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    I'm right there with ya Rob

    Enjoy
    Adventure.GS
    Tours, training or custom made earplugs ... it's all here.

    "If you want the rainbow then you have to put up with a little rain" Dolly Parton

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