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Old 10-17-2011, 02:50 AM   #1
markie_wales OP
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2005
Location: Hampshire, UK
Oddometer: 919
KTM SE and BMW 800GS do Portugal/Spain

Posted on the UK KTM forum as a thank you to some folks over there - you know who you are!!

http://www.ktmforum.co.uk/adventure/...de-report.html

Been asked to post here as well - so here you go!



So I have a route for North to South Portugal off road that I've been sharing with various folks, and as I haven't been for ages, and there have been some roads built over some of it, I thought my mate and I could do it again this year and update the route. So off on Brittany Ferries to Bilbao we went. Stopped over in Leon the first night to crack the back of getting to Portugal, and by 11:00 ish the next day we were at the start of the route

The first part of the trial....



Mmmmm the memories were coming back and I was looking forward to a week of so doing the trials. If you do this route the first days riding will see you riding round the edge of a lake[1]. It's nice easy riding and we decide to stop for lunch on a sort of beach bit.








Looks ideal doesn't it? Well half way through lunch I was wandering 10 meters or so from the bike along the shore and there were 5 dead puppies there. Some coward must have chucked them in to drown them. What's up with people? Either give them to a rescue centre, let them free somewhere or kill them humanely. As I say - coward. Anyway, "Dead Puppy Lake" is a nice place to stop for a break / lunch. I tried to get further round the shore on the bike for somewhere more tucked away but ran into a dead end. The slope was ~30 degrees running down into the lake, and I managed to drop the bike turning it round - doh! Good news is that was the only time "my" bike went down on the holiday. We won't mention the 800gs my mate was on....

The next day started off with some easy trails up and over a ridge with a bunch of wind turbines on them. More of a service road than a trail, but OK to shake of the mild hang over. And cracking views from the top.



The route then turned quite a lot harder (didn't get any good pics) and near the end of the day my mate had a low speed drop round a 5 mph hair pin. Unfortunately he really wacked his ribs, and was struggling that evening.

The next morning he wasn't up for moire of the same, so we changed plans and headed for the Picos where we knew some easy trails to do for a day. We stayed mainly on the back roads and took a few of the easy trails along there. I was following my mate and it seemed like he just decided to ride into the bushes at the edge of the trail! He nearly made it back but dropped it just as he hit the trail again.



The SE had better gravity defying properties....



We stayed in a monastery that night in Carrion which was pricey but very nice. If you're flush, I recommend it!





Next day into the Picos proper. One of the short-cut trails is now closed to vehicles which was a right pain as it's a ~30 miles detour to the well known Espinama -> Sotres trail.Had picked up some food for lunch on the way so stopped on this trail for a picnic.










After which my mate was very low on fuel so we (bad) skipped the next couple of trails to find him some petrol and (good) got served by the most gorgeous Spanish ~20 year old we saw all week. Honest to God, it's worth going to it (just east of Arenas de Cabrales) to get fuel just to oggle! Ended the day in Laredo which is a Spanish seaside resort. While my mate was in a hotel just off the beach trying to secure a room for us a bloke comes up and starts berating me in Spanish (of which I have next to nothing) but I think it was "don't stay here, come to this other hotel round the corner". I gave up trying to make myself understood, and reverted to "I have no idea what you're saying - just leave it eh?". He then pointed at the bikes and muttered something which included "disappearo". I firm English I said "I know what you look like, if they are not here tomorrow - I WILL FIND YOU" - he buggered off then. We locked the bikes up in the courtyard[2] and all was well. The only "incident" with the locals all holiday.

Got up a bit bleary eyed. No idea how that happened although the Mexican and Margaritas may have had some effect. We decided to just head south / south east for the day with the general plan to stay in Zaragoza that evening. I saw a small back road (on the GPS) out of Laredo heading that way, and thought "that'll do". It turned out to be miles and miles of off road trail through woods/forest - really good riding. Some grit, some sand, some pine needle covering - fantastic. When we hit roads again we rode for a couple of hours then got bored so found some off road trails again. It turned out to be very narrow, and the rocks ranged from what you can see below to skull sized rocks. I was following my mate and coming out of a stream bed, I saw he was having a nap under his bike. Given his ribs were still sore, and discretion being the better part of valour, we turned back.



Hit the roads again a for a couple of hours then found some easy trails running through a bamboo (I think) area beside a lake. It wasn't for long (a few miles) but good to break up the road riding.





We decided to check into Zaragoza for 2 nights so we could hit the desert without luggage the next day, and boy was that the right decision! Just chucked the tools & spare inner tubes on the back and off we went. Some really nice riding - bits of which looked like the African savanna, and some was just as arid as you like. Oddly though, there are a few rivers through it which they use to irrigate the area, so there's more agriculture than you'd expect.





It was around 4 or 5 o'clock and were were heading back to Zaragoza (still off road) when my front tyre felt a bit squidgy and I thought I had better check the tyres that night before our last run up to the ferry the next day. 200 meters later, I though I had better check them now. You know what's coming don't you? Well in 1,000 degrees heat[3], in the desert, yup the front was flat."Luckily" we were about 150m from building that provided some shade, some smooth concrete to lay out the tools and bolts etc, 200m from a pile of bits of wood we had just ridden past to prop the front up with, and 50m from a fast flowing irrigation channel with cold, clear(ish) water in I used to cool down afterwards and wash my hands in. So "if" I was going to get a puncture that day, it was a good place to have it. My mate was very helpful as a photo journalist, not so much help as a puncture repair assistant!!



the little bugger that caused this....



New Touratech SE front wheel stand



I was putting the wheel in, no matter how much it looks like I was having a dump.



me, not falling in the water which I think was the shot my mate was after



So after changing the tube in that heat, boy did I deserve my first beer that night. And the 7th.

The last day is a bit of a blur. We came out of Zaragiosa on the autoroute to get out of town and then meandered back towards Bilbao. Did some off road trails when we came across them, and at one point followed a very large irrigation canal for about 10 miles (off road). When we got to the other end there was a big sign saying "don't you DARE go down here" - whoops. We hadn't seen anyone, and to be honest I don't know why the restriction is there. It was easy off road trail riding with a few hills that the canal tunneled through.

If you are in the area, I'd highly recommend stopping in at Elciego. They have a hotel connected to a vineyard that looks in the same style as the Gugginhiem at Bilbao but smaller. The wine is rather good as well (brought a few bottles home). I didn't get good pics, but hopefully you'll get the idea





Heading north from there were rode up very high ridge and looking back down the amount of trails in that area make me want to go back again some time. And that was the end of the real trip. Took some back roads back up to Bilbao, ferry back to Pompey and then an hour on the motorway home[4]. At 230 miles since the last fill up I was worried my fuel light was out. At 240 miles, I knew I had to strip the bike down to fix it, but thought I'd give it a "deep clean" after the holiday. At 248.5 miles it came on. I've never had close to that before (only had the tank ~5 months) so I guess taking it easy on the off road and back roads to Bilbao had an effect. Or the heat we had allowed the tank to "grow" a bit, as I've never thought I could get 30 litres in, more like 28.5.

Anyway, back safe and sound.

SE crashes 0
BMW crashes 3
SE drops 1
BMW drops 0
Miles ~1750
Sticking to the N -> S Portugal plan 3 out of 10
winging it when things have to change 10 out of 10

cheers

Markie

[1] If you do it please keep your speed down round it 'cos there are loads of families / kids hanging out
[2] only time we locked the bikes all holiday. because either we had secure hotel parking, or it just seemed very safe where we were.
[3] I'm not making that up - it was one thousand degrees Celsius - well maybe 30 - 34 C
[4] bad traffic so filtered for 15 miles or so
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markie_wales screwed with this post 10-17-2011 at 03:41 AM
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Old 10-17-2011, 03:58 AM   #2
ata
expat in the jungle
 
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Bilbao, close to the fu****ng Guggenheim
Oddometer: 2,257
good RR, Markie

thanx for sharing
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:28 AM   #3
markie_wales OP
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2005
Location: Hampshire, UK
Oddometer: 919
Thanks Ata - my first one :)

Back to the Pyrenees next year I think - still lots I want to do there I haven't managed yet.

cheers

Markie
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Old 10-17-2011, 05:44 AM   #4
ata
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Bilbao, close to the fu****ng Guggenheim
Oddometer: 2,257
Pyrenees are not bad
but if you wanna enjoy trail routes i would suggest you others spanish areas








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