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Thread: Discombobulation 2017

  1. #49
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    And so Northbound..

    The week passes and its time to head on. The chaps have a very early flight from Faro airport, so I figure to be up with those guys and away. The temperatures are soaring across Portugal and Spain, so again hitting the road early with pleasant temperatures seems like the right thing to do, for both me and the bike.

    A solid, half witted start today from me though.. pompltly spilling a dink over my laptop. Bloody hell. So if any lettes ae missing fom my eport today you’ll know what’s gone on. What a complete tosse.



    Away we drift from the Algarve, off to the North.

    All is going well. The bike seems all good. I follow the Cheapie ‘S’. We have a coffee on the main drag and then disappear onto the back roads. Lovely.



    Even time to stop for some photies.



    The Cheapie Satnav takes me onto gravel roads, which I enjoyably follow for a bit before thinking, hang on, this is probably, erm, not the right thing to do given the state of the bike. So I retrace my steps and do a bit of re-routing.
    As we get through the day a bit of bad news for the Cheapie S. With the temp now sizzling at 40 degrees, it’s deciding to switch itself off. The thing actually is jolly hot so Iet’s stick it away to let it cool down. Oh well. But I do have the Zumo for reference of where I am.
    If only I had a map.. yeah, well we all know there that one went..

    But behold, there is some better navigational news. My Zumo finally says ‘not enough memory’ to compute the route and cancels it..so, I can see the map around me and zoom in and out, and that’s really all that I need.

    This calls for a celebration.. More coffee and custard thingamybobs. You’ve just got to..



    A few stops are taken including this little oasis spot. I’m in no rush.



    More winding on little roads. Just going North / North East. Up and to the right. That’s where Santander is, right?

    So, its early afternoon now, and I’ve probably gone about as far as I planned to go today, but it’s all going well, so plan will be to rack another hundred miles in the afternoon sun, and that’ll make the next couple of days even simpler.
    Well, that was the plan anyway.

    North of Abrantes, and suddenly the clutch problem is back with a vengeance. Nothing. Bollocks. I’m kind of in the middle of nowhere here. So I take a decision not to stop, clack it into third, most useable I guess, and then carry on until we hit a town.
    A jumped red light later, I’m in a town called Villa de Rei. It is a pretty small place, and with a bit of luck and a bit of eeny meeny miny moe at a couple of roundabouts, I unceremoniously stall the bike outside a café.

    I order drinks, phone recovery and hunker down.

    A very drunken old woman comes over to introduce herself. We have a discussion in French, where I tell her the bike is dead.. est mort.. and she tells me that she loves me. Well that went well. Eventually she drifts off, I assume to her next bevvy..

    About an hour and a half later the recovery truck arrives and we’re loaded up



    We’re carted back, not that far actually to a depot just North of Abrantes. The bike is unloaded and after some hampered discussion due to no one knowing what each other is saying, eventually put in a garaged part of the compound.

    When you think you have it bad, it could be worse. Drinking and driving, gestures the recovery driver. Yikes indeed.



    That’ll take a bit of buffing out.

    So now it’s a matter of logistics. From a follow up chat with the recovery guys, the bike will be taken to a dealer tomorrow for diagnostic, which is the first thing in the process of actually working out what will go on.

    I leave the key, holding it aloft like some sort of treasure. The three guys there don’t want to leave it in ignition of the bike, so are looking for somewhere appropriate. We settle on the crash bar bag ‘Aqui, aqui’ everyone is saying, so that’ll be that. But the little voice inside says’ eek’. We’ll see.

    I spend another 30mins on hold to the recovery line to work out what to do next. It’s now just before six and it seems harder to get through after office hours. But we do, and I tell them I’ve organised a hotel so we can take it from here.
    Eventually a taxi is summoned to take me the 15km or so to a place called Pego, just outside Abrantes, which is where my hotel is that I’ve sorted. The taxi pilot - a very pretty and smiley young lady who doesn’t seem to speak English but seems very charming.
    In contrast to a whole host of the Portuguese drivers I’ve been driven by, she’s a revelation. It’s quick pace but quite safe and confident. Nice. As she skilfully passes a car I find myself muttering ‘Wow, let’s get married’.
    She giggles.
    Not so long later we’re through Abrantes, crossing the river Tagus in reverse of my tracks a few hours back and then to a little place called Pego. We find the hotel, but it’s behind locked gates.
    She stands at the bell, trying to get through. Plenty of gesturing, looking back and a bit of eye rolling.



    Eventually the gate is opened. She says ‘The man here, he is a very kind man’ in a very smiley demeanour. So, clearly English is spoken then..

    It was worth the wait. A super place, with Mr Alberty, the owner, who used to live in Chippenham. A very nice chap indeed, actually.



    'You’re my only guest today', says Mr Alberty. 'The pool water is lovely, I can recommend it', he says.

    After I’m my room, a little less flustered, and two Super Bocks up from the mini bar, Mr Alberty returns.
    He says 'Would you like to go and have a nice dinner?'.
    I say 'Do I look the type of person who would like to go and have a nice dinner?'.
    He looks me up and down and says 'Yes'.

    Tell you what, he's a bloody good judge of people, that Mr Alberty.

    'A car will be here for you at 8, they will take you, and bring you back after. It is all taken care of'.

    Lovely. After the complications of today, the simplicity of the evening sounds just the ticket

    At 8pm, I’m out from the room and met with transport..



    I'm bid farewell by Mr Alberty, who gives me keys and a blipper for the gate. 'Enjoy' he says 'and tell them to serve you the wine that I drink'. Right ho.

    I'm left in the trust in the brother in law of the owner of the Santa Isabel restaurant who is at the wheel of the Discovery. He tells me he's retired and does this a fair bit, all part of helping the family. He's clearly very, very happy to be doing it, and gives me the bonus of a tour of Abrantes with a stop outside the castle at the top of the hill to boot. Lovely stuff.

    And not so long later we're at the restaurant. Ah yes, this is the place:



    By now, all of this being restrained with food and booze goes out the window. Give me food/beer/wine/port/etc. I’m not bothered about the order. Just bring it!

    When life throws you lemons…



    Recommended wine is ordered, and turns out to be quite a hit..

    Is the beer good, also? I ask. What the hell, let’s find out eh!



    Oh and it is good, by the way.

    I ask what is recommended for dinner. 'Blackened Pork' I'm told. OK- I'm in. It’s delicious. I finish it.. at which point the man returns and says, 'You appear to have finished all of your pork.. would you like some more?'.. It’s too difficult to say no.. and an exact duplicate appears..



    Dessert then.. and Port is brought.. a bottle left in my custody. Whoa..!



    To cap the evening off, I'm then returned to base in a very lovely, bouncy, floaty 41 year old Mercedes E280, again piloted by the same chap as the earlier Land Rover. Given circumstances it’s a perfect evening, I’m going to give that eleven out of ten.


  2. #50
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  3. #51
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    enjoy yourself. Very jealous of your adventure.

    Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk

  4. #52
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    Watching with interest

    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

  5. #53
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    Please can I come on one of your adventures, Rob?

  6. #54
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    robert you many crazy

    what now??

  7. #55
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    Really enjoyed reading your report Rob, funny you should mention rain and Jaca in the same sentence, I had been exploring the Pyrenees, as I approached Jaca the heavens opened. Solace was sought in a fabulous hotel where I dined with some captivating touring Australian farmers, much wine was consumed. The next morning I delayed my start because of a fuzzy head but more truthfully the torrential rain that continued, at 11 am the manager told me the weather was unlikely to improve for days so on went the wet gear and off we went with the Zumo 550 set for Santander. The rain just seemed to get worse with each mile, I recall seeing caped, hunched over pilgrims attempting to walk the Camino de Santiago in this god awful weather. Anyway somewhere approaching Pamplona my waterproof Zumo screen went blank and that dear sir is why you were able to buy the replacement I bought from Garmin.
    Happy dayz Rob and like Nutty I'm coming on your next trip. 😊

  8. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Nutty GSER View Post
    Please can I come on one of your adventures, Rob?
    Quote Originally Posted by paintman View Post
    Happy dayz Rob and like Nutty I'm coming on your next trip. 😊
    Me too ... me too ... me too

    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

  9. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky View Post
    Me too ... me too ... me too

    A plan is underway. Maybe. If Rob will let us come along.

  10. #58
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    Thanks, all

    Quote Originally Posted by Hairnet600 View Post
    robert you many crazy

    what now??
    Hey Mark. Stay tuned..

    Quote Originally Posted by paintman View Post
    Really enjoyed reading your report Rob, funny you should mention rain and Jaca in the same sentence, I had been exploring the Pyrenees, as I approached Jaca the heavens opened. Solace was sought in a fabulous hotel where I dined with some captivating touring Australian farmers, much wine was consumed. The next morning I delayed my start because of a fuzzy head but more truthfully the torrential rain that continued, at 11 am the manager told me the weather was unlikely to improve for days so on went the wet gear and off we went with the Zumo 550 set for Santander. The rain just seemed to get worse with each mile, I recall seeing caped, hunched over pilgrims attempting to walk the Camino de Santiago in this god awful weather. Anyway somewhere approaching Pamplona my waterproof Zumo screen went blank and that dear sir is why you were able to buy the replacement I bought from Garmin.
    Nice, John.. love it.

    Another damaged Zumo to my collection in the drawer.. thanks for number 4..

    Quote Originally Posted by paintman View Post
    Happy dayz Rob and like Nutty I'm coming on your next trip. 😊
    Quote Originally Posted by The Nutty GSER View Post
    Please can I come on one of your adventures, Rob?
    Quote Originally Posted by Micky View Post
    Me too ... me too ... me too

    Quote Originally Posted by The Nutty GSER View Post
    A plan is underway. Maybe. If Rob will let us come along.
    I'd be honoured to have you all in my company on the road.

    What I can absolutely guarantee is, is that I couldn't guarantee anything


  11. #59
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    Fiddlesticks.

    Problem solving generally doesn’t bother me. That’s what I kind of do for a living. Problems – well, they’re there to be sorted and solved. Obstacles can be overcome; road blocks mean detours and diversions, and that’s all part of the rich tapestry of life. Problems are only as big or small as you make them.
    That’s a spirit I’m going to need.

    So I slept pretty well, lightly pickled in a daze of beer, red wine, port and pork. But I get up at 8.30 to have breakfast when I requested it for. All most pleasant, the place as quiet as a mouse.



    Ah, that’s good news. My laptop appears to have recovered well from its drenching, apart from the right Shift key, which is not inclined to shift.

    I spend a bit of time chasing the recovery folks to find out what is going on. I’m promised calls back in short order which don’t materialise, and then end up chasing again. The issue seems to be that the recovery company can’t actually speak to anyone in Portugal; Everything is done by messaging, and so therefore it’s a long and drawn out process to try to get any sense out of anything or anyone done.

    After an extended breakfast I doze in the room but eventually do get a call back. The bike has been taken to a place called Pombal, to a dealer called Jomotos by all accounts. Google tells me it’s a Honda dealer by the looks of it. Boo. But a bit more poking around finds that it’s got another dealership with it, called J&M Motos, which is BMW. Yay! Better.

    Another call, more peacemeal news: Our Portugal office are arranging a hire car so you can go to where the bike is. I don’t feel the need for a hire car, but let it slide. Well, fine.

    Another call: Where is the key to your bike?
    Oh, FFS

    This was explained, and pinged back, and eventually I call the dealer and they find a helpful chap who speaks English. Excellent. Problem is, they key is nowhere to be found. Not so excellent. Oh dear.
    More calls back to the recovery people, who are in process of getting my hire car, but they’re not sure how I can return the hire car, given a minimum three day hire and the forthcoming weekend, blah de blah de blah. After much chatter, to-ing and fro-ing, I’ve got the point across. I don’t actually need a hire car. I need a means to get my spare key over to Pombal. Tricycle, Hovercraft, Tuk tuk, Taxi, Spacehopper, whatever. Just a means to get there, if you please.
    (By the way - do we all carry spare keys on our travels, folks? Best to..!)
    If I can get there my new friend at the dealer can sort the necessary.

    As of now, me and the bike are over an hour away from each other according to Google Maps.



    After what seems an age, it’s arranged. A taxi will come to collect me and take me to the dealer and then we’ll be making progress.
    I’m at the hotel way past time to go, but good old Mr Alberty couldn’t have been nicer. ‘Use the room and rest’ he says. ‘I will be working, but call my phone if you need me and cannot find me’ he says genially presenting me with his card.

    Mr Alberty working, coordinating affairs of the roof:



    A little later I pack up ready for the off. Perhaps packing will get ye taxi gods to summon me a bloke in a Skoda. Getting a little twitchy, I decide to take the five minute walk down to the gates to see if there’s any sign of the promised taxi. Sure enough, there’s a guy pacing up and down irately on his mobile phone. So I call M. Alberty, get the gate open, and ten minutes later we’re on the road, haring along.
    Not the best driving, and most of the time spent taking calls on the phone, but we get there and certainly quicker than Google Maps suggest. Today I’ll not be complaining. Much to do.

    Ah, here we are, and there you are.



    The guy I’ve been speaking to appears as soon as I’m out of the taxi; he seems to be a sort of concierge for the dealer. I explain that I’m trying to get the Ferry in Spain on Saturday, so all efforts would be appreciated. He’s swift of foot and rocks off to explain things; he definitely gets where I’m at. That’s handy. The bike is quickly shuffled off and taken away and resolved to be worked on - right away. An urgency I wasn’t exactly expecting but very welcome.

    Just before I arrived at the dealer in the taxi the breakdown folks call me; this time it is a guy from the Portugal office called Miguel. He asks where I’m at and where I’m going. Rolling back a little more, whilst in the taxi, I booked a hotel in the centre of Pombal. I managed to do this touch and go I reckon before throwing up (I’m not a good passenger, and hats off to the booking.com app).
    Miguel asks ‘do you want the taxi to take you on to the hotel after leaving the key for your bike?’ It’s a moment of common sense and clarity and really welcome given how annoying it has been to sort anything so far. So absolutely, yes, that would be great. I give him the address and details of the hotel. Five minutes later the taxi driver phone rings (amongst the many other times when his phone rings): Taxi driver says ‘Sim, sim (yes) a lot and OK’ and then leans over to me and peers at me through his aviators.. ‘oooootel’ he says.
    Odd bloke, but cushty.

    So we’re back off into the centre of Pombal, just five minutes or so back to town from the dealership. I’ve got all my bike gear in arms, flopping around, and bags with bits and bobs. The taxi driver helps me with my things into the hotel and very pleasantly bids goodbye. A few minutes later he returns with my headphones that have dropped out of my pocket. That’s a nice touch.

    So, we’re at the hotel – The Cardal Hotel now, slap bang in the centre of Pombal. It’s a modern, functional hotel and really quite nice. There are two chaps behind a high counter. One older chap that checks me in, and a younger chap with a comedy Mr. Bump style bandage around one of his thumbs. He offers to help me with my bags and bits and bobs, and before I can say no he’s carrying as much as possible with the comedy arm and thumb outstretched. He almost shuts it in the lift door. That was close and we both have a chuckle in the lift.
    Into the room, and I tip him. He really genuinely doesn’t want to accept it. I have to really insist.. aww.. he’s only a young chap, and he’s pretty much blushing. Really quite sweet.

    The room has a shower straight out of Buck Rogers, so I’m going to blast myself silly and do my washing.

    Suitably freshened up I’m off down to reception. Can you recommend me a nice restaurant for tonight? Older reception chappy tells me ‘Certainly sir, across the square and behind the palm tree. A place Called Vintage’.
    I realise I’m in need of cash. Is there an ATM? ‘Oh yes sir, on the other corner’. A plan is hatched, minimal fuss once again.

    Later, I’m seated in the very restaurant by a welcoming young waiter with excellent English to make up for my shortcomings. In a day of hassle though, once again it's a welcome simplicity.
    There’s no menu I can understand, but he’s really happy to talk me through the menu options in detail. I ask for, and gratefully accept his recommendations, which incidentally taste as good as they look. I can almost nibble the screen here...



    Followed by..



    Somewhat later, I pinball back to my room, a wee bit elephant’s trunk. A pleasant view from the room into a warm night.



    Zzzz..


  12. #60
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    You certainly have a knack of turning lemons into lemonade!

  13. #61
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    haha can you bring back one of those plates please

  14. #62
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    On the road again…!!

    It’s light.

    The little red light flashes on the phone. Flash, flash, flash.

    I’m a little hazy from last night.

    Ah yes. The phone. Once I work it out, the message is ‘Please call reception’. So that’s what I do.
    ‘Sir, we have a letter for you here’. Most odd. I flip flop gingerly down to reception and am handed an padded envelope with nothing but my surname on it. In it, is nothing.. nothing but a BMW bike key. Behold.. it is my bike key! Excellent. I'd never have expected that and thought I'd seen the last of it.

    Breakfast is taken up on the top floor of the hotel. Pleasant. During which, I get a call, it’s my man at the dealer. ‘OK, I have spoken with the service manager and we think if everything goes well we will have fixed your bike around lunchtime. Please call around 11am to see how we are doing? We close from twelve until two for lunch. If the bike isn’t fixed, please will you come and have lunch with us’. All hospitable and promising. Things are looking up. I’d love lunch, but given times now I’d love the bike. Either way we’ll see.

    Breakfast..



    .. and logistics. Miles to go, but with a following wind, all will be looking good and it’ll be no problem making my rendevous with the MV Cape Finistere



    So, with it still early on I have a free morning. Splendid! And now a bit of an intermission, because I can go castle hunting, a rare treat, a chance to make up for all of these beautiful castles I’ve been hustling past.

    So refreshed, full of coffee and yoghurt we flip flop off to the castle.







    I do like a castle, me Please forgive my gratuitous castle pics..





    They’re preparing for some sort of event.



    Some commanding views of Pombal..







    A lovely chill out room attached to the café.



    Down the many stairs back to the town. Careful in the old flip flops, Rob.
    Another very nice relax space..



    And then to the cobbles as I retrace my steps back to the hotel.



    I find myself dribbling over working levers in anticipation of a working clutch…



    Back through the town to the hotel.



    I call the dealer chappie as specified. It sounds like we’re on. ‘If you can be here at midday, we’ll be ready.’ Great!

    I get ready and bumble down to reception who order me a taxi. I have a long chat with the girl behind the desk. She’s studied English, and speaks it fantastically but never has had the opportunity to visit. Money is tight. But, she says, we have great food and a great place to live, so life isn’t so bad I guess.
    I’ve sat in a bean bag. That was a big mistake. Cue a very unsightly exit on arrival of the taxi reminding me once of how I had to get in and out of a Lotus Elise.

    Into the taxi, and have a pleasant chat in my GCSE French to the elderly driver.. and then into the dealer.

    Off we go into the workshop for a nose about..



    .. and we’re checking with the senior bod we’re good to go.



    Success!

    Settle up..



    ..tarmac beckons..

    Shiny, shiny thing:



    Before I set off, my chap asks for a picture. I think it’s going on their facebook or some such.. Later he mails it to me.



    And finally back to the road- all seems good. Onward we go!


  15. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roberto View Post

    What I can absolutely guarantee is, is that I couldn't guarantee anything

    Great!

  16. #64
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