10th JULY 2007
29th June | Sunday
1st July | Tuesday
3rd July | Thursday
5th July | Sunday
8th July | Tuesday
10th July | Friday
13th July | Sunday
We woke quite early and, after checking the
bikes, started off towards Albacete. This turned
out to be a busy, bustling market town - on
market day! We were looking for a Pharmacist's
shop for Henry. The wind noise from his crash
helmet was driving him nuts and he wanted to
try and get some wax ear plugs. How the hell
he was going to explain that to a Spaniard,
I don't know! Suddnely the 3 were 2. Bill was
behind me but we'd lost Henry in the busy traffic.
I rang him and he soon answered. We soon worked
out we were in the same street some 250m apart
and were soon waving at each other. Bill and
I had found a parking space in the busy street
but had attracted the attention of several Gypsies
or, as Bill called them, greasy dagoes.
We knew that if we left the bikes, then they
would be picked clean in no time at all. So
Bill stayed with the bikes and I walked back
up the street to find Henry. He bought something
to stick in his ears and we all re-grouped at
the market and had a coffe before continuing
on our way.
We were making good progress in the heat of
the late morning when Henry disappeared from
view. We retraced our steps and found him berating
his dead bike at the side of the road, in the
mid-day sun. What a strange problem. We had
a spark, and fuel and compression. It even seemed
to be happening at the right time. But each
time Henry thought he'd fixed it, It would fizzle
out again. I knew my priorities and went to
buy some lunch. When I came back, Bill was stood
with the biggest grin on his face. He had spotted
a loose wire on the low tension side of Henry's
coil. Soon fixed and we found somewhere to go
and sit to eat the bread, cheese, ham and fruit
On and on we went, in the general direction
of Andorra. The scenery was getting better and
better. Escarpments towered above us with rock
stratifications painting crazy patterns on outcrops.
I half expected to hear neep neep and see Road
Runner flash by followed by Wylie B. Coyote
dashing up the gorge. More wonderful Spanish
tarmac and steady bends that go on and on.
It was getting near to the time of day when
we needed to find a site. We saw a signpost
and turned left, as directed. The vista just
got better and better. The road wound up a valley
and through tunnels underneath a hilltop town.
On the other side of the hill, we came across
the only thing that could have been a camp site.
We stopped and found someone who made it clear
that there was no way that we could camp the
night here. Even when I got my wallet out and
started waving Mucho Euros at him.
We started back down the valley and had the
idea to find somewhere off the road to pitch.
We made our way up a track and found a field
out of site of the road. The field had been
used to grow straw which had been baled and
had been left, scattered about in the field.
We got some nosh underway and made decided
that as there was no chance of rain, we might
as well sleep al fresco. By the time Henry and
me had made up our minds where to pitch, Bill
was snoring for all he was worth. He had just
laid down his bedroll and sleeping bag, laid
on top and whamo! He was gone. We covered him
up with everything we had, coats and a blanket.
I looked at the ground and decided that, even
with my bedroll, it looked a little stony. I
dragged several of the straw bales together
and made a bed. With my bedroll and sleeping
bag on top, I was set fair. I've never seen
so many stars since I hit my head on the garage
STATSISTICS - DAY 12:
239 miles Valdepenas - Villel
2534 miles in total
Average 211 miles per day
In the morning, we cleared the site to make
sure that we weren't going to be a nuisance
to anyone. After the usual check of the bikes,
we off, once again. Henry'e £4 fold up
chair had given way underneath him Bill's had
suffered the same fate under my bulk, a week
We set off after some coffee and generally
headed north. We planned to make it as far as
the south side of the Pyrenees, if we could.
More and more landscapes to die for. Henry had
to make a nature call. The services consisted
of long concrete half-pipes fixed end-up to
provide some privacy from the road.
Henry returned some minutes later and declared
the services the worst in Europe!. He was not
impressed. We hooked up the cookers and got
some nosh on the go and a brew. What a view.
I looked up and saw eagles soaring on the thermals.
Another one to tick off in the "I Spy"
Bikes were checked and topped up with oil. On
and on we went. Never getting bored. Trying
to take in all that we were experiencing.
More roads to F1 standard. It seems to be the
norm for Spain. Still, at least we know where
all the EU money went. The strange thing is
the roads are so good but there is no traffic.
The vistas are so good that I
have made plans to return here as a seperate
touring holiday. Afternoon turned to evening
and we needed another site. We took directions
from a garage in a town, just south of the Pyrenees
called Oliana. We found the site in the shadow
of the Pyrenees. It had a pool and Henry went
for a dip while Bill and I sampled the beer
for him. We ate in the restaurant and settled
in for a good night's sleep.
STATSISTICS - DAY 13:
267 miles Villel - Oliana
2801 miles in total
Average 215 miles per day
Up and away, up through the Pyrenees
towards Andorra. More breathtaking views and
the air was so cool and clear.
We tootled on up the mountain through tunnels
and winding our way ever higher and, in no time
found ourselves in Andorra. The town is full
of duty free shops and garages full of cheap
fuel. Shame we filled up last night when we
asked for directions! We stopped in a Truck
Stop for a Bagette Breakfast.
On up through the mountain. More breathtaking
views. Then, a fork in the road and a choice
of "tunnel" or over the top? No contest.
We went left and upwards. Climbing on and on,
all three bikes coping without question. This
seems to be just what they were designed for.
We reached the summit and sat
there for a few minutes, feeling so chuffed
with ourselves. Taking in the views and breathing
in the clean crisp mountain air. I felt such
achievement that all three bikes had held up
so well and that they were coping with the mountain
passes admirably. Then around the corner from
the north side of the mountain came a gaggle
of French cyclists. They'd made it all the way
up from the French side without the benefit
of any horsepower! Chuffed ' no more!
The run down the other side was just as exhilarating.
We eventually ran into a French town called
Ax Les Thermes. As we climbed out of the far
side of the town, zig zaging up the hair pin
bends, I realised that Bill and Henry were no
longer behind me. I turned around and went back
to look for them.
Bill had come to a junction and was not sure
which way to go. It was on a steep incline and
he had tried to hold this bike on the front
That's where it happened..
Twin leading shoe brakes don't do backwards
and so Bill decided that going over the side
was preferable to going back down the mountain
backwards. Henry tried to save him from toppling
and he went over as a gesture of solidarity.
So, we have the junction of three roads with
two motorcyclists stranded on their sides in
the middle. What do you think the French motorist
does in this situation?
Pas de problem monsieur, we treat zem as if
zey were zee mini roundabout, n'est pas?
Not one of them stopped to help.
Once we were all vertical again, we decided
that it was time for a cuppa. It seems to cure
all. Henry sparked up his thermo nuclear device
and we brewed up. Another hour or two's riding
and we stopped for lunch.
Bill kept watch for the Gendarmes while Henry
and I did a little light shoplifting. Not the
truth, of course, but the words do seem to fit
the picture, don’t they? We tore apart
a cooked chicken and it went down well with
some French bread and yet another brew.
Restored, we headed across country to Carcassonne
then picked up the Motorway east to Narbonne.
We stopped in yet another services for some
agua and fuel. The bikes were parked in front
of the shop and a gaggle of French bikers on
"plastic rockets" drew up. The usual
gestures of friendship were exchanged and they
gathered around our bikes pointing and talking
amongst themselves, our languages deviding us.
One of the French rideers had full multicolour
leathers on complete with knee "sliders".
Bill approached him and pointed to his outfit.
"Monsiurre, this" he
said indicating the fine garment. "I have
one just like this at home in England. Your's
is very nice."
They all seemed to understand
and their facial expressions indicated that
they were either impressed, or maybe a little
"The only difference is that
these,- " said Bill, pointing out the sliders
"On my suit, they are worn away to nothing
- gone" Bill further explained by mimicing
getting his knee down, first one side then the
other, then back again.
They all realised that they had
been teased and roared with laughter. British
humour. Next year - Germany.
Before long, we were speeding
(on Enfields?) north towards the next goal,
The Millau Bridge, but before that, we needed
another nights rest. We turned West off the
autoroute and asked directions for le camping.
We followed the grunts and gestures and found
a delightful municipal site on the shores of
Lac de Salagou. We were all soon fully erect
on our pitch and headed over to the local bar.
When we found out that the beer
equated to over £3.00 per pint, we decided
that tonight was going to be a dry night. Being
a municipal site it had no camp shop so we were
stuck! Henry was almost in tears. Here we were,
in the middle of the French Langadoc region,
renowned for its abundance of cheap plonc and
he was having none of it!
We went back to our pitch and set about getting
some scram going. Chicken and mushrooms with
pasta. We must have moaned a little too loud
about the price of the beer and lack of wine
as the chap in the next pitch appeared with
a bottle of half tidy plonk rouge. It turned
out that red wine didn't agree with him and
he couldn't bear to see us in tears any longer.
He then appeared with another.
We got chatting and, although I'd never met
him, he was from Newport, about 15 miles from
me in South Wales. It turned out that Mike had
worked in the same industry as me before he
retired and we had many friends in common. Small
world. The wine soon disappeared and so did
Mike. He returned with a case of beers and the
evening went into a spiral dive from that moment
on. We ended up in front of their friend's caravan
having a merry old time, drinking their beer
When we realised that everyone else had gone
to bed (but not asleep, thanks to us) we said
our goodbyes, thanked them for their hospitality
and retired for the night.
STATSISTICS - DAY 14;
240 miles Oliana Lac de Salagou
3041 miles in total
Average 217 miles per day