France, Spain and a bit of Portugal 07

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by vstrom, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. vstrom

    vstrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    221
    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany
    This ride report is about my recent journey to northern Spain, a bit of Portugal, Pyrinees & France. I was riding with my dear friends, zt & Jordi for 16 days and had covered 7.668 km.

    Jordi is Catalan, living in Vic near Barcelona and was our host this time. zt started first, on June 22nd after work and did some 300 km to reach my place near Frankfurt, Germany. And then it started.

    My bike was ready for the trip. New oil & filter, new brake pads, spark plugs, new chain & sprockets. I had discovered a broken cable for the side stand sensor just few days before the trip. Anyway, bike was ready to go 2 days before the planned start.

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    Replacing the cable:

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    Bike is ready:

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  2. vstrom

    vstrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 1.

    zt arrived on June 22nd at cca.22 and had a late dinner. We left the flat next day at 07. First day was planned very ambitious and was not of the easiest days we had. More than 800 km planned, half using motorways, half standard local roads.

    At the first petrol station, 5 minutes from home, my Givi key broke and part was left in the lock. Do I have to write how happy I was at that moment. I went back home to get the second key and put my rain gear on, because weather was getting worse. Lucky me, we had a torrential rain later on German motorways riding south. After we've entered France, zt's visor detached on one side (C2 Schuberth). It was not possible to found the lost part, and he had to continue riding like this. It was very difficult for him, because we had more rain in France and very strong wind all the time.

    Luckily, weather got better later and we had some very nice and scenic ride through France using tiny little roads. Finally, we arrived to a nice camp we had previously booked a bungalow and Jordi was waiting for us there. The last shock for the day - I wasn't able to open my broken side case, even using force. All my camping equipment was locked.

    From the right to left: Jordi, zt, ib:

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  3. vstrom

    vstrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 2.

    Checking out and continuing using local road through France. We thought we'll be able to avoid motorways to reach our planned destination in Spain, but it turns to be impossible. Again we did some 800 km, half using local roads, half motorways. We had a bit of rain, we were learning how to overcome ZUMO navigation stupidities, we had some very nasty side winds in south France, great roads in Spain.

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  4. vstrom

    vstrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Day 3.

    We had to fix two things before continuing our ride: my locked side case with broken key in the lock, and zt's visor problem. So we went straight to Jordi's place, managed to fix zt's helmet using spare parts from Jordi's old C1 helmet and to drill the lock and open my side case. We had a short coffee break, later a great lunch eating local Catalan food and back on the road in the early afternoon. Great scenic roads, great pavement all the way. We were really enjoing ;)

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    Then we've entered Andorra, tiny little country hidden in mountains. The main city Andorra la Vella is nothing but a big supermarket, with every other shop selling motorbiking equipment ;) This is Andorra on the map. scale is only 2 miles/5 km...

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    But, the country is beautiful:

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    And camping for the end of the dynamic day:

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  5. vstrom

    vstrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 4.

    When I was preparing for the ride, I thought I'll need only summer clothes and didn't have much for colder weather. After all, I was going to Spain, it was the end of June, beginning of July. It should be hot like hell. Well, not in the mountains ;) It was very cold, beautiful sunny day, but cold:

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    We did many passes that day. Weather was OK in the morning. Later we had some clouds and at the end of the day, some rain and temperatures around 3 C.

    Problems with credit cards in France:

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    The one exceptionally beautiful place:

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    At the end of the day, tricky roads full of gravel, wet and cold, a bit mystical:

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    New camp, weather improved, standard dinner, beers, planning for the next day:

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    Our rides were tough. We were riding all day, our stops were very short, so we were tired at the end of the day. At 10pm I was dead tired, ready for bed :)

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  6. vstrom

    vstrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 5.

    More Pyrenees for the day. Our destination was somewhere on the Atlantic coast in Spain. Cold & wet morning, but the nature was beautiful:

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    Leaving Pyrenees for now, and reaching Atlantic coast:

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    Bungalow again, one very beautiful area in Spain - Picos de Europa. We decided to stay there for two days and explore the regions more thoroughly:

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  7. vstrom

    vstrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 6.

    Great Picos de Europa:

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    Could you imagine a more beautiful place to take a lunch break?

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    More beautiful areas in Spain national park Picos de Europa:

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    Great canyon on our way back to camping place:

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  8. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    60,266
    Wow... stunning tour :bow :bow :bow

    Thanks for the great pics and sharing your superb ride and report :clap
    #8
  9. vstrom

    vstrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Thanks Gadget Boy ;) There's more.


    Day 7.

    This was the day that I call perfect - absolutely the best day we had. First, protected area, road open until Jun 30, then closed for the next 2 or 3 months. Natural lakes on 1000 m altitude in Picos de Europa national park:

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    Coffee break, planing where should we go:

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    Atlantic again:

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    Great road for pegs scraping:

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    There wasn't a bad road on that day:

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    This section was particularly nice:

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    We have found a very nice camping at the Atlantic coast:

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  10. vstrom

    vstrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    221
    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany
    Day 8.

    Continuing our ride following the Atlantic coast:

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    Spain is full of these:

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    Views were great all the time:

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    Shortly after that, we had the worst weather of the entire trip. We had a constant rain, after several hours of riding we were completely wet, we couldn't find a camp with free bungalows and rising tents were not an option. To be worse, all hotels were booked, and time was passing by... It was close to midnight when we asked our Zumos for the nearby lodgings and were lucky enough that the first hotel was not fully booked and that they were willing to give us a food at that late hours. We parked our bikes in the sheltered and secured hotel area after midnight.

    Since this was our 8th day of constant riding, we made a decision to take a day of rest. On the next day, we did nothing but drying our gears, eating and drinking beers, chatting, sleeping, and all over again. Great change after cca. 4.000 demanding kilometers.
    #10
  11. allan16

    allan16 Damn Kids;Git Off My Lawn

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    AARRGGHH !!!!!


    How can you stop now ?? !!!

    Keep it coming !! You Are Making Me Crazy !!

    Geart Report !!




    btw...do you plan to post a pic of your route on a map (don't even know if that's possible...[​IMG])
    #11
  12. vstrom

    vstrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Thanks, I'll continue after lunch break, or later today:dg

    I have almost all the waypoints. Will post the MapSource screen image at the end of the report, OK?
    #12
  13. vstrom

    vstrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany
    Day 10.

    Our goal was to enter Portugal and ride through northern part of the country. This is not a very long distance, so we had a plan to enter Spain again at the end of the day.

    Road in Portugal was fantastic, and pavement just brilliant. Lot of traction, may curves, nice nature. We didn't make many stops, so there is not many photos from Portugal.

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    Last point in Portugal, looking at the map how to enter Spain again:

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    The Spain territory north of Portuguese border is great, and this part is also a national park:

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    We have found a nice camp inside a protected area, near the natural lake:

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    Beautiful day to ride. Again :)
    #13
  14. vstrom

    vstrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 11.

    Our idea was to see the area south of Pyrenees, that is contrary to this high mountain area very dry and looks almost like a desert. It was great for zt and me to see and experience this part of Spain. Curvy roads:

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    At the end of the day, we've found a nice camping place again, and met an older German lady. It turns that she was traveling completely alone in a camper van, after being for 4 months in Marocco, going slowly back to Germany. She was almost everywhere, India, Pakistan, etc... We named the country, she started with traveling story. Amazing!

    Her English was perfect, but we found out why. Her husband is English, and she was living for a long time in England. We had dinner together and chatting long after all other were already sleeping. That was a nice evening to remember.
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  15. vstrom

    vstrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Day 12.

    That was the second best day we had. Somehow this is unfair to classify days like this, because it was a great journey, and most of the days were just perfect. But this two days I have selected were really exceptionally good.

    Imagine this. Cold morning, you start riding like in winter conditions. In mid of the day you find yourself in the middle of the desert. At the end of the day, you sleep under the mountain peaks covered with snow. And all of this in just 500 km ride using local roads, of course.

    Let's go to the desert. Give me my winter gloves!

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    Temperature was only 4 C!

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    But soon after that, we were approaching a desert area south of Pyrenees, around Zaragoza. Suddenly, temperature was close to 40 C!

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    No roads there, only unpaved sections ;)

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  16. vstrom

    vstrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    One of the most impressive things I've seen was when I was riding on the dry unpaved road, in almost a desert, when I saw mighty Pyrenees with peaks over 3.000 meters still covered with snow. Amazing nature...

    We started to climb Pyrenees again. I like them more than Alps!

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    What a great canyon this was:

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    Again, nice camp, very beautiful place on earth:

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  17. vstrom

    vstrom Been here awhile

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    Day 13.

    This was the last day to ride together. zt had to go to Vic with Jordi to replace chain and sprockets (we were tightening the chain after every 1000 km), and I wanted to ride through France avoiding motorways as much as possible so I've planned 3 days for cca. 1.500 km distance.

    Beautiful morning again:

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    The most spectacular road we have seen. Absolutely gorgeous canyon:

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    Mountains in yellow...

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    The last camping together, very remote place in Pyrenees, we were the only guests:

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  18. vstrom

    vstrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Day 14.

    We had to say goodbye in the morning of our 14th day riding together. I was happy to go home and to see my kids, but on the other side, sad because out trip was almost over. Jordi's rear tire was flat this morning, but we managed to save the day using sprays. Luckily, Jordi was riding again and did well all the way to home!

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    From there on, I was on my own. 1500 km more to go, 3 days to ride alone.

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    Back to Andorra:

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    Nice camping in south France, but not so funny as when we were riding together:

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  19. vstrom

    vstrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Day 15.

    I was enjoying my time riding small curvy roads in France:

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    At the end of the day, I've found an open camping place. There were only 2 more campers with me. It costs only 3.7 E including hot shower ;)

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  20. vstrom

    vstrom Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Day 16.

    Riding home. I was OK, happy to go home, but riding with friends is much more fun.

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    And finally home:

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    Some statistics:

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