Friday, August 9, 2013

Postcards from Europe 2!

Awhile back I did a little blog on this, and today, when I pulled out my journal I've



decided to add a few more quips, hope you don't mind...

It goes like this; I read something not only about a particular route, people, event, but also how I felt at the time.



Wed May 20, 2009

Left San Momme at 9:15 am.  Had no problem getting through Pistoia, then south past Empoli where I branched off thru the Tuscan countryside to the medieval city of San Gimignano (Jimmy gee ann o).  The ride was thru gentle hills and lush vineyard covered valleys, much like the interior of B.C. but I'm in Italy!  Can you believe it!!  The BEST day yet!

 













Saturday May 30, 2009

Made my way thru Carcasonne via tiny little back roads, sun taking the chill off.  Crossing the Pyrenees into Andorra was amazing.  Up to 7800', still snow by the roadside.  Opted for the over mountain route rather than the tunnel.  Big time ski-ing, lots of traffic, stunning backdrops, road like spaghetti, twisting and climbing.  Cool temps.  Feel invigorated, alive.  



Waved thru border into Spain.  Didn't even dig out my papers, he asked if I was CDN and I answered "yes" go on he said.  I passed long lines of cars dropping down, down, down. Stopped in lovely city of Oliana, still early but I'm tired.  Hotel for 36E.  Wandered around downtown, still very warm, hot even, 30C in the shade.  Can't sleep, opened hotel window, listened to the sounds going thru the city. I said in '02 I would come  back to Espana and ride a bigger bike.  I am here.


 

Sunday May 31, 2009

Burgos is in reach today, then 300km to Ponferrada, a hundred more into Portugal.



WOW!  What a day.  left Oliana and realized after 60km that I left my passport and international license on the desk of the hotel.  The elderly woman threw her hands in the air when I walked back in.  She got it for me from the safe and hugged me like a bear! 

 








 

Nearly a thousand km today, ever west.  Was pulled over just outside A Rua with several other motorcyclists.  Police came by and asked /demanded a breath test.  there is a zero alcohol policy in much of Europe.  I decide to stop for the night.  Got a room for 24E at the very nice Hotel Espada short walk from downtown on the main street.  Used the internet at the 4 Camiones bar about 10 minutes walk.  Weather excellent, rode great roads/the best in all of Europe for biking, no tolls, cheap food and drinks, MotoGP on every TV.  Man do I love riding in Espana...

Thursday June 4th, 2009

Lazy few days, needed the break.  This riding across continents can be very tiring Ha!  I stay mostly on little squiggly back roads, and away from the auto pistas as much as possible.  Chilly ride to the west coast of Europe but dipped my fingers into the Atlantic... over there is Halifax and Canada!



Left Sarria at 9 30 am, stopped within 20km to put on more clothes.  Starting to rain.  Been dry most of the trips.  At Castropal, it comes down in earnest.  Now only 60F and dropping.  While in Sarria weather was reporting a major Hurricane type system moving in from the coast of Africa.  Hi winds, cool temps and lots of rain coming in.  Balboa was busy!  Couldn't find a hotel under 195E at the Guggenheim.  No parking on the streets, chain problems, worried about my luggage.  Took a few photos and mounted up.  



Got lost, then more lost then even more lost.  Raining hard, visor foggy, traffic daunting, heavy, fast, crazy.  Chain giving me grief.  Got help in traffic and driver showed me route out of the maze.  Grateful!  Rode auto via to Peage, drenched, heavy spray, very wet and slippery road surface.  Found hotel for 75E, didn't care needed stop.  

 

Dried (mostly) out clothing around radiators in room, everything soaked.  Had carport sat down looking over chain situation.  Found that outer plate missing on newly installed chain, was only held in place by pressure, could have been disaster had chain come off and seized the drive!  Cursed loudly both Zsolti and myself.  I thought the mickey mouse link they put on would be faulty.  Good thing I'd picked up a spare master in HU.  Very, very long day.  Totally exhausted. Glad I was alive.








Friday June 5, 2009

Crossed the Pyrenees in the morning, so foggy, you could not see 10'  Back into France, stopped for cafe and croissant at St. jean Pied de Port.  Chain loose again.  Missed Pamplona the day before, but was in no mood to run away from any bulls anyway! N135 to Francia.  Temp okay but very wet and damp.  Raining so hard I pull off the road, only 310 km today...






AS you can see by these excerpts, riding a motorcycle long distance can be a drag at times.  When the weather is swell, it's fab, but when its not... well let's just say, it can be a grind from one day to the next.


 


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