Am off on my travels yet again. This time I’m riding to Spain… again… for the HOG Rally in Cadiz. After the rally I will be riding to Gibraltar where I am leaving the bike in storage.
So, just one week to go! Am leaving on the 8th May 2015 to catch the overnight ferry to St Malo and onwards.
I was hoping to travel on the panhead I have been building for the last 4 years, but sadly it is not to be as the paintwork is not ready. Therefore I am riding my newish Fatboy that I just traded my crossbones in for.
Day 1 – We’re Off…
Tuesday 9 June 2015
So today is the day.. am just preparing to leave on my way to the ferry then over to France. I will try to maintain the blog/vlog everyday, but if I am riding for long stretches I might be too tired. Sorry
Watch this space for more adventures.
Arrived in Portsmouth about 5pm, so not bad going and no rain… yet.
After carefully packing, unpacking and cutting it down to a minimum, for me that is, I forgot to pack a bracket thing for attaching the gopro to the bike… humph. So decided to try and find somewhere to buy one, but no such luck.
Arrived at the ferry at 7ish and got on quickly, but a wee frenchman couldn’t make up his mind which way round he wanted me to park… round and round.
Got sorted eventually so unpacked my overnight stuff and went to find my cabin. In the cabin I suddenly thought I’d left my passport on the bike, in full view, so hurried back down to the vehicle deck…. no passport eek!!! Looked all over the bike, but nothing. Back to the cabin to check again… nothing. Went to the information desk to report it, but no passport handed in… now I’m panicking. Back down to the bike to check again… still nothing. Back to cabin and pulled everything out… there it is, hiding in the spare glove bag… grr but very relieved… phew!
Just had a small bottle of wine, only 250cl but because I hardly ever drink, am feeling a bit tipsy… hic!
Off to bed now… bonjour St Malo in the morning…. nite nite.
5 Responses to Day 1 – We’re Off….
I try to shelter in a doorway but it is so heavy there is a flash flood in minutes. I run round the corner to see if I can find anywhere a little dryer to put the trousers on. Luckily there is a shop where I can get sorted. Once done it’s back to the bike and on the road. The rain has eased off slightly and before long has stopped. Arrive at the hotel, which is very nice ineed. Apparently the rooms are normally 98 euro a night so mega deal! They’ve got a swimming pool mmm might go for a dip in the morning. Of course everything is wet again, all draped around the room drying out; the bathroom is really warm so put the boots in there hoping they will dry out by morning.
Ok off to bed now. Zzzzzzzzzzz
Day 7 – Oh I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside…
Monday 15 June 2015
Day 10 – Roasted leg anyone?
Thursday 18 June 2015
The plan today is to take it a bit easy…
First thing, after breakfast, ride over to Puerto Santa Maria where the Cadiz HD shop is based; Puerto Sherry is just a few miles from there. OMFG the phone routes me onto the A4 nowhere to turn round for 10 miles road again grrrrrrrr, that’s another unnecessary 20 miles!
Eventually arrive at HD. Nice shop but very expensive… No way I’m paying €78 for a tee shirt.
Next plan is to find a garage near to a cafe so I can have a coffee while the bike cools down then into the garage to give her a wash. No such luck as now it’s time to get lost and worse than that it’s really hot today so am wearing shorts. My right leg is being slow roasted by the engine and exhaust pipes… It is very painful… I must get out of here. I tell the phone to route me back to my hotel, but it’s still playing up so it takes ages to get out of the town centre, more leg anyone?
Once back at the hotel I take some time to cool down, both temper and temperature wise. I check on my phone for the nearest garage and there is one just 1.2 miles away… Must make sure not to turn onto the A4 again!!
Find the garage no prob… Give the bike a quick jet wash, buy some water and head back to the hotel.
It’s now 2pm… Guess I’d better eat.. There are some nice cafés at the rally site so decide to ride over. The first café doesn’t have anything I want so try another one. They are only serving drinks and ice cream so have a coffee and 2 boules of ice cream, which make me feel sick… One of the downsides to the op… You think I would know better by now.
Here is Puerto Sherry before the invasion tomorrow…
Spend about 2 hours there then promptly get lost again… Seriously!!
I actually end up at MacDonalds… I just cannot face another trial to get some decent food.
Finally get back to the hotel about 7.30 and am really knackered, so sorry no BSL for yesterday and today.
Must up early to go to the rally site and pick up my prepaid rally goodies… Oh I’ll also have a good look around the market stalls and other tents as the rally starts tomorrow.
Day 11 – Where be them Hoggies?
Friday 19 June 2015
Arrived at the site about 10am… A bit late really so was expecting a ginormous queue for the wrist bands and rally packs. That’s odd… There’s not very many bikes here… Usually there are several hundred the first day, if not more… Where is everyone???
The queue is short so am swiftly through the process and have my wristband; now to get my rally pack… No queue at all… This is weird!
Have a wander down to the market place… Dead…
Into a tent where they will stitch on your rally patch, just €5, well she said 5 and he, (the guy doing the sewing), says 7… A short interaction in French ensues, (they are from France and at every rally), so am not sure how much it will be. While I’m waiting I pick up a keyring that hooks onto your pocket… Niiiiice. In the end the sewing costs €5 so obviously she won the altercation. Look around the rest of the stalls… Not as many as usual, but they all sell the same tut anyway… Millions of tee shirts, waistcoats, jeans, gloves, leather bags etc etc. mostly black; since losing the weight am trying to introduce colour into my wardrobe, nothing here for me really.
Think I’ll get something to drink and maybe some lunch… There is a terrace at the hotel reserved for HOG members, (that’s Harley Owners Group btw), and I make my way there. It is absolutely empty, not a soul… This is spooky… They have a buffet so I have a look in, it’s €30, which is a bit pricey but seems very nice and includes a barbecue and 2 drinks. The terrace is in the shade and I think it’s a good place to plot up for a while, so hang the expense, I’ll treat myself.
I’m the only customer, then about half an hour later a group of Italians appear and shortly after a group of 4 event staff… That’s it! The food and service is impeccable, but what a waste…. They must be fuming.
I spend about 2 hours there, very relaxing. Time to make a move. Wander down to the market area again, still don’t buy anything. Usually the stalls are cheaper than the shops, so I have a look in HD Cadiz’ tent; nope same price as the shop, they do have some old rally tees for sale at €15 a pop, but who wants a tee from a rally you haven’t been to?
Still very few people here so decide to make my way back to the hotel… Get lost again, this is getting old.
Have to admit am feeling down today, there’s zero atmosphere at the rally and am left wondering why I’m here. Yes I love the riding and visiting different countries, but the rally is just an excuse, a destination so why oh why am I staying here for 4 days??? If it wasn’t for having to eat and find accommodation I wouldn’t speak to anyone, so am feeling a bit lonely. (Except Glo if course, we speak everyday on facetime, which is really great… The wonders of modern technology). I don’t know if I can even be bothered to enter the bike into the custom show tomorrow…. See how I feel in the morning.
Nite nite 🙁
Day 12 – Braw Hoggies frae Bonnie Scotland
Saturday 20 June 2015
Get up and decide, what the hell… I will put the bike into the custom show, at least it’s something to do. I give her a quick clean up… Rid the wildlife off the front at least, then make my way to the rally site. Lost again… I’m not even going to talk about it cos it’s just grrrrrrrrrrr……!
Arrive at the site, park up and go look for some info about the show. I ask in the HOG information tent, but the woman doesn’t know so wait for her to wander off and find someone to help. There does seem to be a few more people here today, but nothing like the usual number… Strange. Eventually she comes back with a bloke who looks about 11 in tow, he tells me where I need to be, so off I trot.
I need to bring the bike to them and then they will fill in the paperwork. As I pull up on the bike, a woman shrieks, ‘that’s my bike’ omg people will think I’ve pinched it! It seems Zoe used to own my bike and she is delighted that I am putting it in the show. She thinks it should win, biased or what, and is very appreciative of the few touches I have added. She is actually lovely and helps to lift my spirits.
I park the bike in the ‘Ladies of Harley’ category, I’m the only one so far, and proceed to polish the chrome. It is baking hot and the show is in a bright white amphitheater, it’s absolutely roasting.
As people pass by, they make appreciative noises and some even take photos, good boys. Suddenly I am joined by another bike… I recognise that v-rod… Blimey it’s Elaine from Scotland, we met in Portugal, (see 2012 for details).
I immediately say hello and ask if she remembers me… She does… How lovely to meet up with her again. Then along comes hubby, who says straight away, you’ve lost weight, to which Elaine says,… I was gonna say the same but didnae want to. I explain that I’ve had an op and it seems so has their mate, Jimmy, who I also met in Portugal, he’s lost about 10 stones too. Anyway they wander off and I continue to polish the bike. Once I’m satisfied with it I’m feeling dehydrated and need a drink so make my way towards the HOG terrace. I can’t really afford the buffet today, but I see another buffet has opened up at €15 a go so I have a look in and it seems good. Only 1 drink included and no barbecue, but again is in the shade and I do have 6 hours to kill.
Finish lunch and am heading back to the bike when I bump into Lynn, (Italy 2010) and Derna… small world or what! Lovely to see them.
After checking the bike I walk back towards the HOG Terrace and past it to the smaller bars and cafes on the quayside. Stop at one for a drink as the view is nice. After waiting ages for a waiter I go into the bar to order an orange juice… No juice… Ok water then 🙁 what about the wifi… No wifi :-(( ok I get my water and sit in the shaded area on the quayside. The bill comes, €1, not bad… I’ve only got a €2 coin so turn to my neighbour behind me to ask if they can change it for me…. Woah! It’s only Alex and Jimmy, two of the scots… We start chatting and soon we are joined by Elaine. They are such lovely people and I feel so comfortable with them. They are like me, ordinary folk who love their bikes and touring, we get on really well.
Of course Elaine and I are rivals in the bike show and to be honest I think she should win it, her bike is so good and unusual as its a v-rod. However, E tells me about this other bike that always wins.. The story goes that Steven Tyler from a band called Aerosmith had this very bike built for his wife and then when they divorced took it back and sold it. This couple from Spain then bought it and have been touting it round the shows ever since. Of course with that kind of provenance it wins all the time, but I have to say I think it’s horrible… It has diamanté rhinestones, pink ones, stuck all over it FFS… Yuck!!! Seriously yuck!!!
That’s it… next to mine.
There is a fourth bike in the category, it’s quite nice, but still not my taste. I’m still convinced E will win.
We spend the rest of the afternoon together, killing time til the results of the show. Alex has got his bike in it too… That’s a seriously lovely bike, the detail is fantastic, I especially love the leather work. He likes to surprise people when they are looking at the bike… It has remote control air suspension so without warning will suddenly rise upwards confusing onlookers as they don’t know Alex has the remote.
The results are in… Alex gets 2nd place behind a Lithuanian trailered bike (a bike that has been brought in not ridden), diamanté Doris wins the Ladies of Harley Category and we go over to see who has got second place. Elaine feels sure it will be the other Spanish bike, whilst I think it will be her. I am truly gobsmacked because my bike has got second place! Elaine, Alex and Jimmy couldn’t be more delighted for me… What lovely people they are.
I have to ride it up a ramp onto a platform to receive my prize and a photo with Bill Davidson… Err who? One of the Davidson family, but not sure which one.
The MC then announces me as the winner… Christina from Espania.. Um no Ireland, second place, Padraigin… He obviously can’t face trying to say my name so just shouts Ireland a few times. Bill shows me my trophy and says I can collect it later, then it’s all over. I am so made up… What a fantastic day I’ve had.. Such good company too. Thanks to Elaine for taking the photos for me… If I hadn’t bumped into them today I wouldn’t have a record of it so it must be fate.
Back to the hotel… Lost again… Quick shower and change then out to meet up with the guys for a drink. Met up in a small bar, very busy with mostly local people. Later on there’s a live group performing with lots of clapping and very loud singing, but it’s great to see young spaniards really enjoying traditional music.
Late back to hotel… Plan to meet up with the guys in the morning for the traditional bike parade… Um better do my packing now then. Yawn, am so tired…. Zzzzz
Day 13 – Scorcher!
Sunday 21 June 2015
Struggle to get up this morning after the late night…. Get downstairs to start packing up the bike only to find that one of the other bikers staying here has decided to wash his bike down with a hose… He doesn’t bother to move his bike, which is parked next to mine and sprays water all over the bike I spent hours cleaning yesterday!! She is now full of chalky water splashes… Inconsiderate b@&£#%} and then to add insult to injury, when I remark on it, he offers me a rag to clean the bike myself….. Fume fume.
Time is marching on and I don’t think I’ll make it to meet up with Elaine, Alex and Jimmy for the ride. Elaine texts me a few times to let me know what is happening so I do my very best to get everything done… Fit windscreen, tool roll, air seat pad, panniers etc etc. at last I’m leaving at about 10.20… The ride is due to leave at 10.30, but they never go on time so still try to make it. For the first time the satnav doesn’t get lost… I arrive at the rally site, but no-one is there. Text from E says they are at the camp site…. Err where? Then I spot a biker talking to one of the event people who seems to be giving directions…. Follow that bike methinks. Yep he obviously knows where he’s going and pretty soon there are 5 or 6 of us following him.
Manage to make it and catch the tail end of the parade. Slowly make my way through the bikes, remembering to switch on the gopro… Film here soon, when I’ve edited it.
Ride with an Irish chapter group for a few miles, then continue to thread my way through looking for the Scots. At last I find them and continue with them for the rest of the ride. After some 50 miles we end up in Jerez de la Frontera and pull up in a lovely cobbled street. Everyone is boiling hot and desperate for a drink so we sit in a small cafe. We seem to have lost Jimmy in the last few miles and it turns out he is in a different part of Jerez.
Now it’s time to say our goodbyes. It has been great and thanks to you all for allowing me into your company, I hope we will all meet again soon, maybe at Thunder in the Glens or Irish Bike Week… Who knows?
So I set the satnav for La Linea, the last stop on my journey before Gibraltar. It is sooooo hot and incredibly windy riding through the hills from Jerez to La Linea… Not only was the parade a scorcher on my leg.. again… But the air itself is scorching too this afternoon. I stop for petrol and some water and the phone packs up… It says it’s overheating and needs to cool down…eek! It does revive after a few miles, so I don’t get lost, for a nice change.
Arrive at the hotel, which is very nice. It has a small outdoor pool so the first thing I do is go for a swim… Lovely jubbly.
Into Gib tomorrow and the end of the journey…
Sad but glad as will see Glo on Monday… Am looking forward to it.
Ciao Bella xx
Day 14 – Gibraltar.. home from home
Monday 22 June 2015
Just 5 miles to go across the border from Spain into Gibraltar and on to my apartment.
Take my time this morning… well I do have all day. Decide to clean the chalky water splash marks off the bike before I go so end up leaving about 12.30ish.
It’s another glorious day and before I know it am parking up outside the apartment building. I’ve forgotten to bring the keys to the apartment, but luckily Jill and John, who look after it for us, have the spare set… whew!
So what’s the verdict?
A great ride… shame about the weather the first week… pretty wet… think it is the wettest tour I have had so far.
So here is the usual breakdown:
England x 1
France x 1
Andorra x 1
Spain x 1
Gibraltar x 1
Total distance travelled – 2170.5 miles
Ferry – £144 (one way) including cabin
Accommodation – £426.39 average £35.53 per night
Food – £178.67 average £13.74 per day an odd coffee I didn’t get a receipt for so really £15 per day
Fuel – £228.41 average £16.32
Toll Roads – £26.80
Shopping – myob still
France – from Condom to Massat.. lots of twistys on the way, shame I didn’t put the camera on.
Spain – back route from Torrevieja to Murcia
Best HD Dealership
All were good, except…
Worst HD Dealership
Cadiz… sooooo expensive with Granada a close second
Tactica by C&R, Valencia, Spain of course… I mean a €98 room for €36 what do you expect?
Eden Mar, Guardamar del Segura, Spain – Ugh!
Favourite Country Visited
Gibraltar, but I’m biased
Least Favourite Country Visited
Andorra, but mainly because of the weather, not being able to find the hotel and standing in dog shit
What I Would Do Again
Still travel on Brittany ferries… so good.
Ride in France
What I Wouldn’t Do Again
If I go to another HOG European rally I won’t stay for such a long time… although it turned out great in the end, so mmmm have to think about this one.
What to Remember for the Next Trip
Update the Garmin Maps
Bracket for the GoPro mount
Check toolkit is complete
Switch the bloody GoPro on for the good bits
I understand lots of people had a problem leaving comments, including my partner, its seems Blogger, as part of Google, requires an account to leave comments… if you wanted to leave a comment and couldn’t please do send it to me by email and I will upload it. Will look into moving the blog elsewhere next time. (Now moved to WordPress www.pogshogs.com)