planning a trip through france to spain

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by tommyvdv, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    great! thanks

    what exactly is the rain season? hope to god it's not June :D
    #41
  2. The Spanish Biker

    The Spanish Biker The Invaluable Guide

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    Hi Pip,

    Great images taken over the last few days by the look of it!

    The northern 'spur' is well worth the ride, I usually enter and exit that way, then ride the circular route around the air force target range - yup definitely a no-go zone :)

    There's no rain 'season' as such, but April and September are unsettled, just luke the rest of Europe - but the Bardena Blanca - note that it's one part of a bigger region/reserve - is usually 'sheltered from rain.

    But being Spain when it does rain . . . and especially in July and August always be careful of thundery weather, which is often very violent.

    Your worst problem is wind, however, when there's a high in the Bay and a Low in the Med. you get a terrible 120 kph wind there called the Cierzo, and the only thing in its way for hundreds of kilometres is you, so if you see warnings on the weather reports, believe it!

    Regs

    Simon

    PS Pip - are you here now? My HISS trail rally in the Catalan Pyrenees further east starts Sunday/Monday. PM for details if you're interested
    #42
  3. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

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    Thanks!

    The north track was fun to ride, I backtracked once I'd left the valley behind to explore the other half of the circular route. It seemed like there was an interesting smaller track leading down into a small canyon just north of the famous mountain needle, but with the heavy rains it was pure mud.
    I just found a map of the roads on their website. From what I saw, everything but the blue and red roads is off limit.

    Those photos are a few weeks old and I'm back home, sorry. That said, Lleida is 1,022 miles from here, so it would be a great opportunity for an iron butt.:hmmmmm
    You'll hear from me by Friday if I get a cabin fever ...
    :wave
    #43
  4. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    I failed to state the obvious. Great shots!
    I've put the blue roads into my itinerary just to be sure. The information desk at the park will probably have brochures with the same roads marked on them.

    [​IMG]

    The second track starting at the road going from "Valarena" to "Tudela" isn't marked on my map. I'm guessing it'll be obvious once we get there.
    How about viewpoints? Are there any places to camp or stop with a great view over this place? I think i saw some shots taken from "sanctuario de sancho abarca" that overlooked the whole domain. Would be nice to enjoy the view before we go in and after we come out of this place.

    Hoping it doesn't get too rowdy out there. One of us has never confidently rode gravel before :)
    #44
  5. The Spanish Biker

    The Spanish Biker The Invaluable Guide

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    Thanks to both of you guys, you've sent me searching for more stuff than I knew about! The situation of the Sanctuary does seem to have panoramic views over both the Bardena Blanca (white which is the desert bit) and Negra (black, which is forest) so you get the best of both worlds.

    Spanish users of Wikiloc are a brilliant source of routes:

    The first route is a bicycle trail but looks to me like it would al be 'legal' because it's not in the park itself - well at least I don't think it is!

    Secondly this route takes in the Bardena Blanca but on less well known trails. The author claims that all the trails are legal but I can't comment on that. It joins the main 'circular' route and as far as I recall every one of the junctions keeps you on that trail with prohibition signs. But I think I might just have to toddle over there soon to make sure . . . it's almost on my way home from my Pre-HISS reconnaisance trip to the mountains of Teruel in early June!

    So, Tommy, when in June to you reckon on being there?

    Note that the route doesn't take the northern 'spur' that Pip reommends - me too! I'm not absolutely sure but I think you can connect that spur with the western trail - see the map in Pip¡'s link to the Bardenas site - by following a trail that runs just outside the park's boundaries, parallel with the main road from Carcastillo to Melida (NA126) or otherwise just take that road to make a round trip.

    Camping is difficult near the Bardenas. There's a camp site just north of Ejea that is one of the 'resort' type that I don't usually like much. But in this case probably worth it! In any case the restaurant looked good when I checked it out a few years ago, so maybe that's a good option - it's very close to the park..

    Ejea is an important service town for the big agribusiness there and I think it has lots of cheap 'commercial' hotels. But otherwise it's not very interesting.

    If you wanted to add a bit of culture check out Sos de Los Reyes Catolicos, which is a historic 'city' with lots of hotels - OK, it's touristy but none the worse for than once in a while - and that's not Benidorm touristy!

    On the subject of the trails - unless it's wet you could ride an Electra Glyde with slick tyres on these - you get used to the gravel, it just feels a bit like having a slightly flat rear tyre. But do stop to look at the scenery, those sink holes are lethal!

    Some piccies on the way - my Wifo connection is being blasted by thunderstorms!

    Pip, shame you're away from the region - question, why did you leave the German weather here when you left? :rofl
    Regs

    Simon
    #45
  6. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    we'll be there by the 10th I guess. it's really hard to make out when we'll get where. we've got some distance to cover and a lot of nice places to see. I'll check in here when we're starting the teams Pyrenees from the east
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  7. The Spanish Biker

    The Spanish Biker The Invaluable Guide

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    Well, as far as my plans go: I'm meeting some Spanish friends near Teruel over the weekend of June 8/9th and will be heading back to the Pyrenees then. I'm very keen to explore these routes so will be spending a few days maybe at or near to the Bardenas or at least in the Mallos de Riglos, or Ochagavia or somewhere like that.

    So we could co-incide if you like. As you say, nearer the time . . .

    Meanwhile:
    You want the track just to the east of the village. It s signposted from the main road that bypasses Valarena so you don't go into the village at all. If you're coming from the North-East just stay on the main road and you'll see the sign.

    Don't be put off by the scruffy farmsteads at the beginning of this lane and be very careful of Sunday drivers, coaches, etc. as the lane is narrow and raised above the surrounding terrain in places. In fact I would always recommend entering and exiting the park from then northern 'spur' it's just so much more dramatic!

    And now - at last!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Regs

    Simon
    #47
  8. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    "Sos de Los Reyes Catolicos" looks nice.

    I think i'm starting to get it. The northern spur you're talking about is a track that starts less than one km to the west of Carcastillo from the Na-5500 direction SW for the first 6km shortly after that entering the park and leading to the loop.

    oh and…
    nice shots :)
    #48
  9. The Spanish Biker

    The Spanish Biker The Invaluable Guide

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    Yes and no! The entrance is off the NA 128 between Carcastillo and Sádaba roughly half way and on the Navarre side of the frontier.

    It's a bit notorious for being diffucult to find - I got lost last time turning off the road too soon :rofl But there's a sign on the main road. I wrote the trip up on my blog last year and put the correct route on the Googlemap!

    Regs

    Simon
    #49
  10. WIBO

    WIBO Will it buff out?

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    My opinion..RT et al ref northern France is correct.




    Your route looks great...Verdon Gorges has some great roads and views( I was there a couple of weekends ago)

    The good thing about the Pyrenees is that it's not packed full of tourists/camping cars etc the way the Alpes are so you can cruise along nicely.

    Cirque de Gavernie on your map...I'd try for Cirque de Troumouse instead. Well worth the ride up past the restaurant on your left hand side when riding up ....park at the top car park and dander off for a picnic. (Some people think that when they get to the restaurant that that's it)

    Very scenic,although it's a dead end road, and you'll pay a couple of euros to get to it. A great ride that not too many think or know about.


    :D


    .
    #50
  11. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    thanks!
    i'll look into it
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  12. WIBO

    WIBO Will it buff out?

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    Yip...instead of turning right at Gedre and going to Gavernie turn left and go on to Troumouse...They're both great rides but IMO Troumouse is more scenic.


    :D
    #52
  13. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    by the way. are there any unforgettable camping spots anyone knows of? a spot with a view would be nice.
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  14. WIBO

    WIBO Will it buff out?

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  15. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    looks like the weather is not going to cut us any slack. hope it'll improve by next week
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  16. WIBO

    WIBO Will it buff out?

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    Yip...

    For info.

    I use www.lachainemeteo.com as it's usually quite accurate.

    Enter your town and you can get a 12 day forecast.

    :D
    #56
  17. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    prepped the routes. come Friday we set sail!

    thanks for all the info.

    if anyone has a spot in their yard where we can spend the night it's not too late to show us your hospitality :)

    @simon: I'll be checking in once in a while to let you know when we'll be at bardenas

    weather in France looks horrible, we'll feel right at home
    #57
  18. The Spanish Biker

    The Spanish Biker The Invaluable Guide

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    Camping Castillo de Loarre is one of the best - handy for the Bardenas too :)

    Alquezar the camping itself is lovely. Although it hasn't got views as such the old Moorish village is stunning and only a few hundred metres walk - excellent restaurants in the village and handy for the Sierra de Guarra, which is well off the beaten track but worth the detour.

    A note about Alquezar in particular and in general: pay the night before you leave - the reception doesn't open until 10.00 and the girl also opens the filling station opposite at the same time - result? ABSOLUTE CHAOS!

    I'm setting off tomorrow too, leaving my pad in the Pyrenees bound for the mountains of Teruel so we're ships that pass in the night!

    Have a great time in Las Bardenas - it looks like you've brought a change in the weather - thanks! But it's still snowing on the north side of the Pyrenees tonight :eek1

    Cheers and ride safe!

    Simon
    #58
  19. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    we'll be leaving for bardenas from
    cap de creus on friday so i'll guess we'll make it there by The 10th. give or take a day.

    hope your in the same weather we've been having!
    #59
  20. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    senterada, leaving for huesca. weather is forcing us to skip the scenic route.
    #60