Sunday, 3 October 2010

September 10th - Hervas, & the angry farmer

The angry Farmer

The alarm sounds at 6am, and the first job is to get the coleman fired up.
Looking through the food rations, I decide to save the "boil in a bag" food for the desert, and fall back on a suspect tin of spanish beans and bacon instead. I dent in the sides of the tin, smugly satisfied that when ready, the sides will pop out, letting me know.
5 minutes pass, and the can remains dented... ready or not, they're being eaten, so the unexploded device is removed from the boiling water, and the ring-pull given a sound yank... whereupon the apparently inert can of food then explodes, covering not only me, but the drybags, and the gear drying on the Grand Wazoo, in an oily orange mess.

Well, the beans were awfull, like giant faber beans, and the picture on the tin, offering the promise of juicy bacon chunks, delivered nothing more than lumps of a white fatty substance. After two forkfulls, the tin and contents were discarded, and the gear was cleaned of the offending orange matter.

Surveying the campsite in the light, I noticed a vegetable patch, complete with newish looking rotorvator, hmm, someone obviously tends this regularly, not good for us, so we make haste, and pack up.
By 8am, Shad and Alan wind their way up the dirt track to the road above. Shad is set to take some pictures of everyone rumbling past, when from the bottom, I see a 4wd decending the track... Ooops, no doubt the owner.
Intent on getting the bike away, I pay no attention to the commotion above, and continue to strap the remaining ortliebs to the panniers. Jason & Darren are about to peel past me, when the pickup arrives at the bottom. Out jumps a very irate Spanish man, and I recon he was swearing, as his arms were waving about as he ran between the truck and his veggies shouting loudly. I did try appologising, but he was having none of it, out came a book and pen, as he tried to take our registration numbers down, that was then followed by the mobile phone, and as if to add weight to this arsenal of weaponry, he let his dog loose as well.
Lucky for us, it was a Jack Russell sized thing, and its bark was no match for my Remus, so we left, loudly, and in haste I should add.

Regrouping at the road above, we assumed he'd phoned the local Police, so we decided to hit the road to Algeciras, and put a few miles between us and the field.

08:30, and we're back on the A66, heading towards Sevilla. We shift through Plasencia, Cáceres and Merida, making good progress in the mid-morning sun. Temperatures are mid 30's, the sky is blue, and with the roads quiet and wide, life couldn't be better.
We hit a little town just of the A66 called El Ronquillo, and decide to hole up there for an hour or so, it's about lunchtime, and we could do with some food, and a leg-stretch.

We rumble into the sleepy little town like astronauts on two wheels, and find somewhere to pull up... conveniently that just happens to be opposite a bar.
As we park, Jason notices a rather large bolt on the floor, and asks if anyone's lost one.. As it turns out, it was his, and none other than a frame to engine bolt.. ooeerr, how handy was that, a few meters further, and it would have been lost forever.
Shad goes off in search of a bit of food, while we decamp, and break out tools to re-unite the bolt with Jasons engine.

Shad's done a quick recce of the three closest cantinas, and settles on "Bar Los Plácids", which not only has a marked lack of food, but no-one speaks a tad of english either. Oh well, sign language it is again.
The barman's great, and understanding the fact that we're hungry, he offers to make Shad a sandwich... Super, I go and order 4 more, the barman asks what I want on it, and he keeps repeating something that sounded like "Hammos", oh well, go with that then, to which I smile and give a thumbs up.
He smiles in return, and lifts up a blackened foreleg of some or other recently departed beast, and still with hoof attached, proceeds to shave slices off it, onto a hunk of fresh bread.. Welcome to El Ronquillo.

We all eat, although the barman has run out of bread for Alans' sandwich, so Alan supplies his own bread, and still gets charged full price.

After resting up, and re-stocking the water supplies we head back out of town, and on to Sevilla.
To be fair, the traffic jam at Sevilla, was the only one we'd come across, and it didn't last very long either, onwards to Jerez then, when suddenly we come across our first toll.

Ok, Alan's in front on this one, with me behind him. Now I'm watching to see how this whole toll system works, and whether it's free for bikes, like back in Blighty.
I see Alan fumbling with his tank bag, and then see an assistant emerge from the booth, open a panel on the gate, do something, and then see the boom arm raised.
Fantastic, free for bikes I think, and as Alan goes through, I rev the Grand Wazoo into life, and with a surge of Remus induced power, take off after him, Only to meet the boom arm on its journey downwards.

Boom arm VS the Grand Wazoo...
The arm hit the old girl squarely across the eyes, but with the throttle still open, myself and the big bird managed to bend the arm outward at a magnificent 45 degrees before sheepishly stopping.
So there I was, sirens going, attendants rushing out, and me and the bike wedged under a bent barrier, you had to laugh really.
The attendants were great, and I guess the British flag on the mudguard explained it all. I paid the required 1.50, and was released to continue my trip...

After everyone had composed themselves, we decided to abandon the motorway, in favour of taking the A371 across country to Ubrique, and try and blend a campsite there for the night.
The ride was not to be dissapointing, with some great straight roads surrounded only by fields, and some superb mountain passes. We hit Ubrique at around 5pm, and decide to exit the town, looking for a quite place to hole up on the Algeciras side.
We split off onto the A373 and a few miles outside Ubrique, we stumble upon an overgrown campsite. There, sitting pretty on the side of the valley, is an abandoned stone lodge, leading down to BBQ areas, and tables... what a beautifull site.
it was in a decrepit state, and little overgrown, but we honestly couldn't have asked for a better place to set up camp.

We rode the bikes up onto the pavillion, where as if by some pre-ordered request, there were five spaces to park, one for each bike.
We de-camped, and set about once more drying gear that still hadn't properly dried out since Portsmouth, Shad, Alan, and Darren rode back into Ubrique for some supplies, leaving me and Jason to recce the area and relax.
We had decided to sleep beneath the stars next to the bikes, as the weather was too warm for tents, and the pavillion was dry and relatively sheltered. We cooked, ate and drank, and did some maintainance on the bikes, all somewhat alert after Jasons' bolt incident.

After a dinner of noodles, more olives, chorizo, and pears, we finally retired at around 11pm, drifting off to the sound of barking dogs from across the valley, and of course, Darrens trumpeting from the far end of the pavillion.

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