16. May, 2016

Home again 16.05.16


So that's that then!

Back home, after getting into Portsmouth this morning at 6.45 am, and after a clear run home, we are now unpacking in the comfort of our home.

All in all, we are very pleased with how everything went, we rode 3,200 miles and both came home very happy that the motorbike and sidecar is the right thing for us at the moment.

It was particularly enjoyable being treated like celebrities wherever we went in Spain and Portugal as they really loved seeing the outfit.  On the way home this morning we even had English thumbs up, and a woman telling us "I hate bikes, but I love that!".

Now, we must get down to our final preperations for the USA, in just over a month......

Please check back here then, as we'd love to share our journey with you.



14. May, 2016

La Pena da Cova, Spain to Angouleme, France via Miranda de Ebro. 13.05.16-14.05.16


So, we've made the decision this morning that due to the poor weather we've had recently and a couple of issues still with the bike we're cutting short the trip by 3 days, hopefully back on Monday 16th.

This will also be really helpful as we've still got lots to do to prepare for the USA in about a month....

We made it back down from the snowy mountain this morning, in the fog and ice!! We felt we waited as long as we could, and finally set off about 11 am, it was very thick cloud that we rode through, and the only vehicles going the other way were the lorries heading to and fro from the mine. Paul took it extremely steady, and within 20 minutes or so we had reached the bottom, the temperature had risen from 2 degrees to about 8, and there were even a few patches of blue sky to be seen.

The rest of the day was spent using dual carriageways and we stopped for the night, at a hotel in Miranda de Ebro in Spain, about one and half hours from the French border.

This turned out to be a very interesting stop as Paul was sent off into a network of roads in order to find the back of the hotel and enter the garage. This was done by means of him driving into a vehicle lift and descending!

Later on we went out in search of food, which turned out to have all been eaten! It was another fiesta, the whole town had been out in the streets partying, and there was still a real buzz, and a band playing. We found food (the last olives and anchovies in town), but more importantly beer and g'n't's in the lovely 1920's Cafe Real. A lovely evening.

This morning we packed the bike in the garage and set off together via the vehicle lift to the outside world.... most exciting.

Today has been a straight forward day of riding, and we have covered 300 miles.

Tonight we have stopped at a chain hotel, in Angouleme, France and had a quick dinner in the Buffalo Grill, before making our way to Caen for our ferry, which leaves tomorrow night at 11pm.



12. May, 2016

Salamanca to Pena da Cova, Spain 12.05.16


Fonte da Cova, Casayo, Spain.

We awoke this morning to cold but crisp weather, had a quick breakfast, packed, and made our getaway.

We'd done a lot of research last night with the map and our weather app, before deciding to head West. Paul had found a great looking place in Casayo, in the mountains just above the North East tip of Portugal , and ok, so it might be raining a bit, but it was raining everywhere, so off we headed.

The first bit of the journey was on the motorway, which was easy, but chilly. After a stop for coffee, I decided that my silk balaclava was called for, and it was lovely, after that I was a lot warmer.

We started heading into the Mountains which despite the cold and odd rain showers is very beautiful.

In a small village, we decided to stop for lunch, and as Paul drove slowly through the street, he spotted what looked like a light in a cafeteria, so we stopped and headed into the gloom.

Inside a woman behind the counter briskly swept us into the back room, where all the tables were set for lunch. She told us, "put your things here, sit down there".

Once seated she rattled off a list of items that she had for first and second course, and we quickly established both what Paul wanted and also what I could have, without gluten. What followed was an extremely speedy and tasty lunch of lentils, chorizo, vegetables and beef, topped off with flan (creme caramel). Delicious and all done and dusted in 40 mins.

That lunch set us up nicely and also just about kept us warm enough for what was to come next........ Onwards we travelled, with the roads climbing up and up, until we were in the cloud. In the cloud?? Oh look, snow- there's snow over there on the mountain top, oh, hang on it is snowing, here, on us, right now and here's our hotel! What is this madness?

Anyway, we found the reception, dragged our bags out in the snow, covered the sidecar as quickly as possible, and ran in for warmth, ooh, lovely warmth. It was at this point that Paul told me it was zero degrees outside........ So let's hope we don't get snowed in tonight 🌨❄️

11. May, 2016

Salamanca. 11.05.16



Due to the change in plan, we decided to spend some time visiting the city of Salamanca today.

This is a beautiful and deeply historical University city with a beautiful cathedral.

We took the bus the 4 km (€1.40 ) into the city centre, and armed with our tourist map we set off to view the sights.

The university dominates the city, and the streets are filled with students. Many of the shops near the university are dedicated to reference books. There's also a large amount of museums, green spaces and many tiny and very old fashioned shops whose insides are lined with brown wooden cabinets. Truly lovely to see these.

The blend of new and old is very charming, and although it was quite cold today all the cafes had their tables and chairs out ready for custom.

As with most places we've visited in Spain, Salamanca is friendly, and people are helpful.

Very glad we have had the opportunity to visit somewhere we have only passed through, or by in the past.

We're now planning where we might head tomorrow, looks like there's still another couple of days of rain left yet......

10. May, 2016

Brozas, Spain to Salamanca, Spain 10-11.05.16


After filling the morning reading books and diving in and out of rain showers to visit the donkey, the time got to 1 o'clock and a man in a SEUR van turned up at the hotel with a parcel with a BMW part in it, the part that we ordered. Thank goodness, now just to follow the instructions on the Internet to put it on to the bike. The problem was that our key was no longer being read by the bike's computer brain, and so the bike has been permanently immobilised.

Out at the bike and dodging the now very heavy downpours, the new part was fitted in a temporary fashion, as shown and held on with cable ties. We then put the key to the new part, whilst turning the ignition on in the old ignition ring, and BINGO! It worked.

It was very exciting, but the time had ticked on to 3pm, the weather showed no sign of clearing and we decided to wait for the morning before attempting our getaway.

Come this morning, we were both a little nervous- would it still start? Would we be pushing it up the hill that left the hotel? Will we make the 136 mile journey to the BMW garage in Salamanca without breakdown?

Firstly, the hotel owner chose this morning to have his longest chat with Paul about how long we are away, and where we are going next........ then at last after six days, we're ready the bike is packed, and----we're off and away!

We both spent the first half hour worrying about when the engine was going to stop, but became slowly convinced that no, it wasn't - and the trusty steed brought us all the way to Salamanca, where we are now, to Ifni Motos.

We were met at the workshop door like customers that had bought a bike yesterday. Within a few minutes the boss had called out a mechanic, told us to put our helmets and jackets in his office and sent us to the bar next door for lunch.

Half an hour later a staff member came to find us 'your bike is ready'. We can collect it when they are back from their lunch break at 4 o'clock.

We booked into an apartment 300 metres up the road for Ifni Motos and that is where we are now.
Shall we stay 1 night or 2? The weather doesn't look very good for tomorrow and Salamanca is somewhere we'd like to have a look around........