Thursday, 30 September 2010

September 9th - Santander

Arriving in Santander, summer at last!

Santander, looking out of the Portside windows as we approach Spain, we see the weather looks great, a clear blue sky, summer all over again.

We unload the bikes, peel off the boat, and out of the terminal gates, freedom, and Morocco lie beyond.

At this point, It's probably a good idea to clue you in as to who rides what.

Myself, I'm on The Grand Wazoo, a modified 1100/1150, the oldest of the lot, and just over 80 000 miles on the clock, home made panniers, and probably in contention with Jason for being most overloaded.... Fingers crossed

Shad, a new 800GS, with only several hundred on the clock, no panniers, 2 ortliebs on the back, and a couple of Kreiga 10's on the front, well balanced and definitely no worries there.

Alan, a ropey looking Tenere 660 that he's not long had, and already a recent dyno jetting episode has left it thirsty, and not able to go much faster than about 70mph. Soft luggage, and ortlieb on the back, seems sturdy enough, he has every faith...

Jason, the newest bike of the bunch, a sparkley 1200GS, and in definite competition with me as to the amount of gear that can be plastered to it, these include a Cosco bag, plastic bowls, a huge tripod, and wait for it, an inflatable bed.. Not a thermarest, but 8 inches of full blown comfort. So, Huge ortlieb, Cosco bag, tank bag, and ally luggage.. we'll see how long it all stays for.

Darren, Nicest bike of the bunch, (writers opinion only, and does not reflect the views of the group), a 1200GSA, that later was to spend more time on its side, than upright, ally luggage, and a small ortlieb. Definitely the least amount of luggage.

So that's us, a bunch of guys who, aside from Shad & Myself, have never set eyes on each other before...
After Me and Shad managing to lose the other three in Santander, we wait at a fuel station till the other three find us, and make a beeline out of town.

We make great progress, the sun's out, by 1pm we've hit the outskirts of Santander, and we're burning a path down to Algeciras.
The motorways are great, nice and wide, and with minimal traffic, and the scenery is pretty damn good too, poles apart from our grey industrialized roads back home.
We make 300 miles easilly before we start thinking about a place to camp.
Now, wild camping in Spain isn't kosher, but that's not to say we weren't going to do our damndest to try, after all, we'd agreed, no easy ride till our sleep-over at Ouarzarzate.

EX205, that's where we find ourselves, and near a little town caled Hervas. We ride through the villiage like a squadron of lancaster bombers, reverberating off the walls of the houses, even Shads 800 sounds like a boxer!

After exiting the other end of the village without seeing anything that floats our boat, we continue up a narrow winding road into the mountain. We stop while Alan, whose Tenere is now refusing to idle, goes up a gravel road to check for a suitable blend for the night.

A local family walk past, and stop to chat! Urgh.. who's got the bloody phrasebook?
Between our pidgin Spanish, and their broken English, they warm to us, but reinforce what we already know, and that being the fact that wild camping is a No-No, however, they say the police never come here, and tell us that a few miles up the road is a nice flat place to camp.

So, Alan back with us again, we head on up the road, however, round the next bend, I look down to the left, and see a small field in the valley, accessed through some rusty gates, and down a winding dirt track. We all head down one by one, and decide that taking over the field for the night is a great plan, We kill the engines, and begin to decamp.

Everything is still wet from the dirty Portsmouth weather we were sent off with, so the panniers are emptied, tents are erected, and the Grand Wazoo serves as a clothes horse, in an attempt to dry some of the gear and clothes.

Alan tucks right into stripping down the Tenere, as it's now sounding like it's running on half a cylinder, and a full tank is only returning 100 miles. Fairing, plastics, seat, tank, lock stock the lot,everything comes off. Carbs are examined, wiring is looked at, some things are prodded, whilst others are poked, all this is now being done by torchlight, as we finally lost the sun 30 mins ater making camp. So there we all are, our first camp together, one bike in pieces, 2 toolkits spread out on the ground, various stoves boiling and cooking...

Dinner is bread, olives & chorizo, and Rooibos tea... and as Alan beavers away, the silence is only broken by the sound of cowbells down in the valley.

(and Darrens snoring)

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