Sunday, 12 May 2013

Day 29 and Day 30 THE END !!

And so we come to the end of our epic month long trip.

The Last two days were spent on the ferry from Bilbao to Portsmouth which we boarded Tuesday morning and after a pleasant day and night spent with fellow bike travellers we departed at 10 am on wednesday.
A 3 hour ride home and our trip was over.

It was a fantastic month with lots of fantastic memories. We have tried to document as many on this blog as possible. However their are so many moments and memories which we cannot always remember to blog. My advice to anyone reading the blog to see if Morocco is for them is to just do it.
It is a fantastic country . The people are fantastic , wecoming and extremely friendly , the scenery is fantastic and if you can get off the main roads and get onto some of the pistes (trails ) , then you will see sights and meet people that you will not believe.

My personal biggest memory (Ian ) is travelling along a fast piste , coming around a corner (a little too quickly) and there on the side of the piste was a young girl of about 8-10 playing the violin !!!!!!!
My regret is that i was travelling too fast to stop . I would definitely have liked to have stopped , listen and yes offer her a few Dirhams! There are lots of other memories , but that is one i will never see again ! (I have even forgiven the beaurocratic, (crazy), unorganised , entry system as i now believe i actually had it easy , but dont let it put you off going to Morocco ......its all part of the Adventure.

A few product Reviews.
1, Yamaha Tenere 660 XTZ (Ian and Justin)
Absolutely fantastic bike choice. Neither my bike or justins missed a beat. We suffered no break downs, worries or any problems of any sort with these bikes. Highly recommend for any RTW trip .

2, Kriega Overland 60 Luggage.(Ian and Justin)
We had a few initial concerns with this soft luggage system rather than the metal boxes we could have taken . However we had no security issues at all . The ski clip mounting system is a little fiddly and can be awkward to undo , especially next to the exhaust , but you soon get used to this . We both suffered with a clip breaking which was the one supporting the fuel and water cannisters , which we had to then cable tie on , possibly a design fault? Due to the weight of the fuel/water? However as we were not removing this panel from the bike (we locked it on every night ) this did not become too big an issue.
Fuel was not actually required as the long range of the Tenere was superb.
Water was extremely important in the Desert.

3, Lomo Roll bag.(Ian and Justin)
Excellent roll bag for storing all that camping equipment.

4, Klim Badlands Jacket.(Ian)
Superb Enduro Goretex riding jacket.
Lots of vents to allow airflow even in the 39 degree heat.
Stayed dry in the heavy Spanish rain.
Tough and felt that it would offer superb protection if required.
A Heavy jacket , but this is due to the top quality armour fitted to back , shoulders and arms.

5, Rukka Trousers (Armacore) (Ian ) Jacket and Trousers  (Justin)
Again superb kit . Stayed dry in heavy spanish rain and fitted really well . Justins Jacket was a bit lighter in weight but still tough and again felt like it would offer top protection if required. Only thing we noticed was that Justins Jacket bled colour when it became wet , which was a little concerning.

6, TKC 80 Continental Tyres. Both Bikes
Really good on /off road tyres. We had extemely good grip off road and never felt like they would give way. A few issues in sand but lets be fare , the bikes were too heavy for this and if you were only doing sand you would have a different tyre and bike choice. On the road we could not believe the amount of grip and lean angles available on these tyres.
Expect approx 4-4500 miles on rear.
Highly recommend

7, Sidi Adventure Gore Boots. (Ian)
Really comfortable, and extermely waterproof (even river walking). A taller Enduro style boot which i prefer.

8, Arai x4 Crash Helmets (Ian and Justin)
Extremely comfortable and great helmet. Easy to use with Goggles as well as visor as opening is large enough.

These are just a few bits of our kit that we wanted to review.

18 Months of planning
1 Month of our lives .
And an experience we will never forget.
We hope our blog has been of interest to anyone reading it , and most of all we hope it makes you want to get out there and do your own little Adventure. No matter how small or long .......Just do it .........

Thanks for reading 

Monday, 6 May 2013

Day 28, No more north!!

Another slow start this morning again due to the alcoholic water in Spain!!!!

We have spent the day on a variety of roads to make it to Bilbao, again including some fantastic climbs and bends and very little motorway ,thanks to Ians route .one small moment occurred when we were separated today for the first time in Bilbao, due to the navs falling out again and us both being not quite knowing which way the other was going to go, it was a little comedy sketch on the road, Ian went right, Justin went left...... So Justin went right and ian went left, etc until we ran out of road and ian finally went right and Justin went left. This was not a problem as we had radio contact and agreed Ian would sit on the motorway while Justin found his way back on, luckily Justin had an off road bike, so after a car park, small bridge, footpath with man on a bench and some grass we were reunited.
Great isn't it we travel thousands of miles , stick together all the time and when we are 5 minutes from the port we get split up !!!Do you think the other person was trying to tell each other something ????

We are both puzzled now by how we can ride so many miles over every kind of terrain without any aces or pains, but sleeping in a 5 star hotel and we both wake up with shoulder and arm issues.

We have checked in to the ibis hotel city centre Bilbao, the room is adequate ,although Justin is getting used to sleeping on what looks like a park bench ,but it suits him in his tramp like appearance(and smell). we have been told that the centre is a 20 min walk away??? We were also told not to walk down 2 streets, the ones to get to the old town as these were dangerous and as the lady on reception described it a little like morocco!! We don't think she likes Morrocans! We had to make a large by pass to get to the old town safely!!!

So after some wife shopping, we headed to the old town for a couple of beers and diner, after a nice bottle of wine, this gave us a little bravado. So we headed for the dangerous roads, or little morocco, and believe it or not it was just like a Moroccan town, small shops, lots of people hanging around and lots of shouting, instead of being worried we felt at home and Justin had the colour of the locals so fitted in, Ian did not as much but could speak there lingo !!

Bilbao has been has been a pleasant surprise as some of it is quite nice !!!

The card has refused to come out of the bag as it is scared and has promised a final appearance tomorrow night, somewhere special!!

Tomorrow night we will compose our final blog, with a review of our kit including how good our camping gear was as well as of our best bits and best photos.

Day 27 A day of nearly's

It was due to be a tourist type day, Justin had seen hire bikes, like the ones in London on his way home the night before and had decided that we would hire them and go for a push bike ride around the city. Excited like a little child Justin dragged Ian out of bed and we hurried over there for 11 am, the machine said swipe your card and enter your pin, but there was no where to swipe your card, then a helpful Spanish man came up and with a smile on his face and shooing his head. Not deterred Justin walked Ian back to the hotel and asked at reception wherevhe was told these were just for the local people, 1st nearly.

So off we went for a 40 minute walk in to town, when Ian had a great idea, on his way home last night he remembered the tram sign saying there would be delays today due to the football, and as the stadium was just round the corner Ian this time dragged Justin off all excited.

On route to the stadium we checked out Zaragoza FC and they were playing at 5.00 today and the were in the Spanish premier league playing Real Vallencao. Ian was now very excited, but doubtful we would get a ticket, but we found the ticket window and as luck would have it they had a few seats left for 50 euros a seat. We then discussed for a while until Justin left the decision in Ian lap, In the end we walked off to town with no tickets, 2nd nearly.

Once in town we spent the next half an hour looking for a bar that was showing the GP, but they only had signs for football. We had not given up but needed some fluids and a re-think so we sat outside a bar and had a beer, it was then decided that it was only 12.30 and we needed some food and would then think again, but before we went for food Ian needed the little boys room, 30 seconds later he came running out with a smile of his face beckoning Justin inside, confused but compliant Justin follows ian in to find the Moto 2 on the TV thank god Ian has a week bladder or we would of never known, 3rd nearly.

So off we went for a great tapas meal and a bottle of wine before the start of the race and then headed back to the bar for a couples of beers and the race.

Once the race was over and we could consume no more beer we decided we should practice the Spanish art of a siesta, and headed back to the tram, we bought our tickets and waited for the tram, not thinking about the time, which was 1 hour before kick off and our hotel was just round the corner. So we played sardines on the tram for 20 minutes, it was so busy we could not even validate our tickets!

When we got off at the stadium, we enjoyed a little beer and the atmosphere while watching the away fans being frisked and escorted in a few at a time by the riot police.

Back at the hotel and a swim and a little nap later, we headed back in to the centre via the tram again, but there was no need to by a new ticket as we had the one from earlier that had not been used, had it??? So after a little wait we hopped on to a fairly busy tram and pressed our tickets against the validating machine at which point it made a loud reject noise and flashed red, we tried again but no joy. Unfortunately the tram was already on the move and everyone around us was starting to stare!!! So yet again we had 2 choices??

1. Get off at the next stop and buy another ticket, wait 20 mins for the next tram and then get back on the next train and validate.


2. Stay on the train with people staring at us and hope all would be well!

We decided to stay on, as we had paid for the ticket and hope for the best, as we stood there for what seemed like an age. We noticed a lot of signs about ticket validation and cameras and fines and although it was a warm evening it was not hot, but Ian was starting to sweat. As we got of the tram at our desired stop and looked around, a police car came round the corner with it lights on and sirens blaring..........

But thankfully carried on, 4th nearly.

The rest of the evening went without hitch as we wandered round the city and took some time to look at the Basilica, a new word for Justins vocabulary which he is enjoying practising which is the most impressive church we have both ever seem, but no photos!!

The card has been enjoying the city with some coffee stops on route!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

DAY 26 . Not Justin's Day!

Good Morning !
A late start after waiting for breakfast which didn't start until 10am ! Really worth the wait for a coffee and bread and marmalade ........but we did and off we set at 11am .
Great start , fantastic views and roads as we head North to Zaragoza our chosen destination .We knew it would be a long day but decided we prefer this than Madrid as we could then spend 2 nights here and give ourselves an easier journey to Bilbao on Monday (even though we still have not booked our return ferry for Tuesday yet!!)

Ian was leading and all was going well . Justin decided to take the lead .......suddenly he advised he wanted to turn off the road we were taking and head East ,,,,,,,a strange Descision as we should be going North , but despite Ian's SAT NAV screaming at him every 2 mins to make a U turn we decided to follow Justin's route for a little while .After 15 miles we decided tohave a little chat !!! On checking it appeared that Justin's Nav wanted to go sunbathing on the East Coast by the sea which despite sounding like a good idea , it really wasn't as we might never have come home and we really should be heading Inland ,North,

A fuel stop was made where Ian Made friends with yet another bird !

So a U turn was made and off we set on the most glorious roads north with lots of fast twisties and yet more mountains and yes even Snow on the summits

Eventually we left the mountains and dropped down into the Aragon valley . Yet another error by Justin as he had just stopped to put his Jumper on as he was cold!! Big mistake again as the Aragon Valley was roasting!

Yet more twisties and a great road , red rock everywhere .

Eventually we hit a Motorway which was long ,straight ,empty and boring but it had to be done . A stop for food and coffee was made . Ian's mistake was asking Justin for a coffee and a cake . Out he came with Coffee , bread, potatos Bravos covered in mayonnaise and a chilli sauce , and a local sausage on bread !!!(funny looking cake)!! My god the sauce was hot and set Ian off in search of indigestion tablets!!!

Whilst at the service station Ian suggested we set the Nav to a hotel of choice in Zaragoza as we were now within 100km of our ideal base ? After narrowing it down to 3 good hotels Ian suggested we plug the address in to the sat nav, but justin new better (again) we set off on the empty boring motorway (something we had not done for 3weeks )and kept ourselves awake by counting camper vans which we got a high count of 2. !!! As we entered the city with all its tragic lights, cars, busses and trams Justin thought this would be a good time to stop. in a bus stop and enter our destination in the nav. The only problem was we could not find the address and when we did it was not recognised by the nav, 7 busses later Justin had it pugged in to his I-phone in his tank bag and heading of in to the city and apparently it's quite hard to read a small iPhone map while ridding a bike and trying to to be hit by a varsity of motorised vehicles!!!

We are camped out in a little 5 star hotel which we thought was in the City centre , but after checking in and making our way to the room at which point both our draws dropped open, although the room and view was great that wasn't the reason, it was fact that it had an open plan bathroom and a toilet with a glass door which is not ideal when 2 men are sharing a room. and then Justin committed another little error ( locking the room safe with Ian's passport in ,but not setting the code ,resulting in him being escorted back to the room by the receptionist , security and maintenance engineer to crack the safe code and re set , to which he was asked if he actually knew how to set the safe code!), we found we were very near the City Centre ........40 minutes walk .........which is apparently Ian's fault for wanting a pool .........which is normally Justin's request even though he never uses it!

A visit to City was made on the Tram. But only after purchasing the ticket which is a simple Job .....push button ,enter money ,pick out ticket .But again Justin took control and pushed the wrong button . .........this button summoned assistance ........with a constant ringing and then a little Spanish voice after 5 minutes demanding to know what we wanted ......by this time we had our tickets and were getting on the Tram very Quickly!

We ate Tapas and Rioja in a locally recommended square which was fantastic .The City centre is highly recommended as the architecture and ambiance was superb.

A day off tomorrow to explore the City a little more , although we will also be finding a little bar to watch the Jerez Moto GP which at one point we were going to watch , but took the wrong turn!!!!!!

Friday, 3 May 2013

Day 25, we found the best track and the worst sign!!!

Another slow start this morning which we have put down to the water in the region, not the beer, wine or JD!

We were on the road by 10 ish and a planed 40 km down the motorway to find the next mountain range and we passed hundreds of bikes heading the other way to Jerez and we wondered whether we had made the wrong decision not to go to the GP race of Spain?? But we turned of the motorway to discover we had not, as we progressed down a little B road we came across a huge lake surrounded by rocks that look straight from the Nevada in the USA but but better than that they were also reflected in the lake. See artistic pictures.

After crossing the plane, we headed up the side of the mountain to find our track and the road up was so beautiful the track was going to be spectacular! We navigated to the start of the track without issue and stopped for a moment and a fag, before heading up across the top of the mountain and all was good,until.........

Ian spotted the sign, the sign that made Justin nearly get his dummy out, no motorbikes and no quads. We discussed the possibilities and consequences for about 10 minutes and decided to respect the law, we also found another way on to the trail a few, or about 50 km down the road, so off we set seeing more great roads and some beautiful villages including a little village with a 1 in 3 incline which is fine if your feet can touch the floor not so great if they can't ( poor Ian) we stopped for lunch in the sun and then carried on to find the track'

To access the track we had to ride for 12 km up the side of a mountain through olive groves which was very pretty until you reach the trail and then there was the sign again, the Spanish authority, the walkers and everyone else that hates bikers had got together and refused them access!!!!! No problem if you have a ford escort or a lorry or even a coach, but not a motorbike. No motorbikes none at all, not even a little one, no, no ,no and definitely no!! This was as close as Justin had come to having a rage, except the sand incident!! And Justin was mighty quiet on the way down!

So we hit the road and not just any road, but a road that once we had climbed and descended a 1000 metered in no more than a few km then followed the river to another beautiful lake. At the start of this road was many a great village and fantastic hotel with views of the river, lake and mountains, but we weren't worried as it was only 3 o'clock and there was another 50 km of river and lake roads to go, and there would be a load more places to stay!!!

We are now about 100km from the lake as there was no more hotels and no more villages, although purely by chance we have found the village of alcazas and a little rural hotel. We have spent the night eating tapas from the owner choice and a little tinto and some beer and brandy but no local water as that makes you ill!'

The card tonight is combining some TV watching whilst wearing Ian's pants, nice!!!