Character building, I’m sure!

A gentle holiday? I think not. That’s the trouble letting the Map Man loose with a loose plan. Well, I don’t think his plan was ever loose, I know that Ed knew what he wanted to do. I don’t think though he’d taken into consideration where he was going and how long it would take. Well, ok, he might argue the point, just a bit.

Now, I’m not a lightweight in more than one meaning. I have stamina, however, like most, I’m fond of regular stops and actually knowing when and where we are going and where we’re going to end up laying our head. I realise though after years of riding with Ed that he always plans big, knowing that we will never actually get to the destination. Quite simply, I think that it took us 3 days of riding in Northern Spain to get to our first planned stop! On this particular occasion, which was only a day or so after our off road scrambling in-the-middle-of-nowhere. By regular stops, we will pretty much ride for about an hour and a half and then have a caffeine fix.Tourists only? This particular afternoon, we were once again in the middle of nowhere. There wasn’t a bar nor café in sight.

Just for a bloody change, I was low on fuel again and I was getting just a teeny-weeny bit cranky. I needed my caffeine and a stretch. The roads we had been on were gorgeous, however, I was getting tired. A grumpy Fi isn’t good. I was on the verge of losing concentration and that’s not good either. It seemed there was a list of ‘not goods’ on this day! I got Ed to pull over and we had a stretch and a drink of water. And a cig. I’ve not managed to give up just yet. I did have a little giggle to myself when we went round the next bend though, there was a town. Sodding typical. Now, it was Sunday and by all accounts the entire village was in one of the two hotels eating their lunch. Sadly though they didn’t have a room, for whatever reason; it was probably out of season. Never mind, caffeine and onwards. Phew, fuel on the way out the town. It was at that point Ed remembered the Mars bar in the top box. Aaaaargh!!

I had a glance at my favourite website for accommodation, however, there really wasn’t anywhere near. It was astonishing that there was a 4G signal, considering the location. We literally were in the middle of nowhere. The roads were ace, however, the next town was about an hour away. We passed a rather spectacular dam. We’ve seen one or two on our trip, one in particular near Riano that looked like someone had pulled a plug out…. just a trickle at a time though, enough so that there were ring marks. It was an amazing sight. The last time we went to Riano the lake was full and very beautiful. This time it was a different type of spectacular. The area haven’t had much rain though; that was obvious!

This dam, Salime Dam, that we saw late in the day had obviously been there for a wee while and had buildings above it that looked like they had been there as the dam was being built, but before the road was installed. They were ramshackle now, however I am sure had a lot of history. I think what I was seeking was part of the cable car construction that was used in the building. By all accounts, there wasn’t much money to finish the dam, but determination had the workers succeed. It was very weird. It looked like there was a railway line too. All on the edge of a very steep hillside, with amazing twisty roads. Guess who bothered their arse and looked it up!?Grandas de Salime

Just up from the dam there was a hotel. It was like seeing an oasis when I was fading fast on the energy levels. Ed rode past. I was marginally gutted, I might even have had a petted lip, as I looked longingly at this lovely sight…. however, he was convinced there was accommodation the next town. Not. We turned back down towards the dam. By this time, I was done. I bimbled down the hill, thinking that if I took my time, Ed might 1) go in, 2) check there was a room, 3) have wine poured. I like it when a plan comes together! He’d done all 3. Atta boy.

Dinner was a fab steak. Ed’s was HUGE. The steak was huge. Calm down.huge.

A really good sleep and a sense of humour injection and we were all set for the next day. It was a cold start. I warmed up quickly though. I realised that had we not turned back to the dam, it would have been a hard hour and a half ride to the next town. Oh, I would have been unbearable.

Right, I should stop whining I’m having a great time and haven’t dropped Smoggy since day 2! The roads have been superb, going to the most north westerly corner of Spain there was a direct route. Did Ed take it? Did he hell! We both agreed though that the hairpin in the middle of the very single track road was very steep, however, the one in Ireland at Toe Head was higher on the “oh shit” scale.

The weather has been fabulous, however, Baltic bloody cold some mornings. In my previous blog, I mentioned 12° through the canyons. That has been a high for the last few mornings! A couple of days ago, we headed off and we had to pop on the motorway for a wee stretch. The wind chill was brutal. It was registering at about 5°. At 80mph, that’s cold. There was a really odd micro-climate though which launched the temperature above 11° – it felt like we had stepped out a fridge into an oven …. well, not quite. The following morning, I got wise and put on my thermal. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, sounds great to me and you? The temperature ranged between 1.5° and 5° for the first hour. Ouch ya! My comedy tan is coming along nicely. It’s a combination of frost bite and 27° sunshine. Bummer, huh?

So far, the routes have been fabulous. Educational, character building and at some points plain crazy. I shouldn’t really be surprised. I should be an old hand at all this by now! Geez, all this excitement and we were still in Spain!

2 comments on “Character building, I’m sure!”

  1. Wilson Hutchison says:

    Brilliant Fi! You guys are a top duo xx

  2. JC says:

    If this is the preface I can’t wait for the book !

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