BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Granada here we come.


Our target today was Granada, 350 kilometres away to the south. We weren't in a real hurry so we took our time getting ready and packing the bike. Not long before we were about to leave we received a phone call from Malena. She informed us she'd just heard that authorities are requiring snow chains to be fitted if you are travelling the road into Granada. Um, snow chains? That's something I didn't have on the check list for the trip. We might have to go a different way. 

We thought we'd head off anyway and see what happened. 

(A small aside. The Tom Tom sat nav wasn't talking to the headset, AGAIN. End of whinge)

Off we went. Oh my god! Talk about wind! It was blowing a gale. I immediately decided that Granada was off the list for today. I wasn't going anywhere near a mountain in these conditions. We'd head toward Motril instead. From there we could do a day trip to Ganada tomorrow if we wanted too. It was so windy we were actually blown into the next lane once, and came close quite a few times. I was battling to sit on 100 kph the wind was that strong. It was scary.

Then Suzanne yelled at me that she saw a body lying on the side of the road, with what looked like a helmet next to it. "Oh shit" I thought. With a million thoughts screaming through my head we got off the freeway, broke every speed limit we saw, made illegal turns here and there, and after a bit of messing around made our way back to where Suzanne saw him. He was moving and no it was a backpack not a helmet. We both agreed to stop and keep our distance just in case, and watched as he got up and walked the opposite way. Very odd, perhaps he just fancied a nap in the sunshine in the ditch next to freeway??? Well, that's a lot better than a lot of possible outcomes.

After my heart rate settled we continued towards Motril. The wind really was incredible. It was the worst I've ridden in by far. I did have a bit of a chuckle during my white knuckled ride though. A guy in a white Audi came up behind us in the left hand lane. He was travelling a fair bit quicker than we were and was about to pass us when he obviously noticed us weaving all over the road. He made a couple of attempts at passing us, but backed off each time. Remember, he was in his own lane, but our erratic riding was obviously scaring him (not as much as me though). Then he backed off and pulled into our lane behind us. He sat there for about five minutes till there was a lull in the wind, the he pulled out and passed us. As he went past he looked across at us smiling and shaking his head.

We saw the TV news later and there was vision of scooters lying on sides, blown over by the wind, flattened street signs, building damage, and rough seas - in the Mediterranean. And we were out riding in it. Crazy!

We found a little town that looked like a good place to have a rest, and some lunch. After a bit of searching we found a cafe and settled in for a good feed of Tapas. 

As we left our lunch stop we rounded a corner and found a mini traffic jam. It was caused by a little kitten on the road. (How do they always find us?) We stopped the bike and jumped off. Now here's a picture. Me, lying on the road in front of a stationary car, with all my riding gear on. Anyone who came around the corner would have thought the worst, but I was actually trying to get the kitten out from under the car. It was wild and wasn't coming anywhere near me. Then it ran across he road under another car. Suzanne and I were stopping all the traffic trying to catch this little thing, but with no luck. Then it was gone. The driver of the car behind was motioning to us that it was up under the car. But the car drove off, they may find it when they get home . Hope it was OK. Back to the wind again...

As we approached Almeria we could see hundreds and hundreds of plastic covered, hydroponic greenhouses. They covered miles and miles and miles. 

I was intrigued and looked them up on the web. You can read about them here:

We may have run out of fuel and had to use our emergency backup again (Hi Bert). And the trip computer may have said we have thirty five miles left in the tank! I'm not admitting anything.

We enjoyed another spectacular Spanish sun set as we rolled into Almeria. 


As we neared Almeria I decided that I'd had enough. I was exhausted from riding in the wind so we found a cafe with Wifi (pronounced like iffy with a "W" at he front), sat down with a beer, and searched the web for a cheap hotel. We ended up at Neuvo Torreluz and couldn't believe how nice it was for the price. We booked two nights. And it has a bath, so Suzanne is happy.

Downstairs in the adjoining Taverna they give you a free Tapa with every drink. We spent about twenty euros and had a really good feed along with a few drinks. It was a good finish to the day.

Maybe the day after tomorrow we'll make Granada. We'll see.

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