Spain, July 2009 − Travels − Captain Tom

Spain, July 2009

My first motor bike trip to Spain. I will meet some of my american friends and some new ones

See an overview of where I have been this week

Map 2009_07_spain

1 First Day

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In oder to save time I will use the auto train from Berlin to Narbonne in France. It saves me about 1000 miles of riding per direction and will bring me over night very close to the border between France and Spain.
There is an Auto train terminal in Berlin
Some other passengers are waiting
The cargo section of the train next to the coaches
Funny coincidence: An Audi Q5 on top of my K1300R
Another interesting car on the train. It took the (obviously quite unexperienced) driver about ten minutes to get the Lamborghini into it's place.
2 2nd day

Riding from Narbonne into the heart of the Pyrenees Bagneres-du-Luchon. All day long I am following the traces of the Tour de France which is in this area at this time of the year. Pass roads are painted, campers are parking everywhere and villages and cities along the route are well prepared to take care of the spectators.

Unfortunately the weather is not cooperating this day. It is getting very foggy and wet and it is difficult to make distance - especially when on very tiny minor roads.

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I reach the mountains and get magnificent views back to the mediterranean scenery
Tiny little roads all day long. This one here looks very promising but the road is closed. So I have to turn around and find a different way
Clouds are haning in the mountains and make it quite foggy. On one pass I had about 30 feet visibility. I could only go about 10 miles an hour there.
More clouds, more wet roads
3 3rd day

The day starts as the previous one has ended. Clouds and wet roads.

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This is the view out of my hotel window in the morning
Getting up on the pass it still looks like this
But when I reached Spain the weather suddenly changed to sun and dry roads
I pass a woderful gorge on a tiny little road just 6 feed wide and with a lot of gravel on it but the views are amazing.
A town on a hill just in front of me
A reservoir with very blue water in it
Dizzy from all the twisty roads
Another great view into the flat lands while entering a huge 3000 feet high plateau
On the way up to the last pass this day. Weather has changed again to overcast sky and some wet roads
4 4th day

Finally nice weather. We will head back to France and included into the tour is about 120 miles of freeway. The roads before and after are great. Passing Bilbao is rather eating kilometers in heavy traffic.

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Morning sun over the moutains at Potes (HDR picture)
Chris is getting ready
Computer aided riding. Hector just putting in some extra horse powers for the freeway.
Paul and Chris having lunch in a little restaurant on the freeway
Stop on a wonderful little road between Spain and France
The view from the mountains very close to the French border
A french cow is watching
This view is from the French side of the pass
Chris and Hector working their way through a flock of sheep
Chris and Hector finally made it
5 5th day

Tourmalet is our goal today. It is one of the highest passes (2114 m/6300 ft) in the Pyrenees and full of bicycle riders. You have campers all over the place waiting for the Tour de France passing by on Sunday.

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Having a caffee after riding through a lot of ugly french villages
View from Tourmalet eastern ramp. The clouds are hanging low and we expect not to see much on top of the pass
The summit. A bicycle rider monument, hundreds of cyclists and due to the clouds nothing to see
View down from the summit. Some clouds are below us. From the picture one cannot really imagine how steep it is.
Hector looking for a hole in the clouds
And the view up the western ramp of Tourmalet
Later in the day we climbed another beautiful pass called Col d'Aubisque (1709 m / 5100 ft) with a lot of gravel but amazing views - if there weren't any clouds
6 6th day

A nice loop over the pass into Spain and back to France. We revisit a pass we did two days before. We have blue sky all day in Spain and good weather in France too. Roads in Spain are phantastic compared to France and elsewhere in Europe. We have a lot of fun on big and smaller passes with little traffic.

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View on the northen (french) ramp of Col du Somport (1650 m/ 4900 ft)
Paul and Hector on the summit
A nice little valley. Find Paul on the picture
A great little pass with top views
Paul, Hector, Tom and Chris
Another pass which we were on two days before (the one with the cow). Now it is sunny and beautiful up there
Chris, Paul and Hector...
enjoing this view
View from the top
Paul and Hector are arriving
7 7th day

I have to return to Narbonne to get my train back to Germany. I have to be there by 3 pm so in order to make the 400 km in time I leave at 6:30.

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Morning fog in the valey is hit by the fist sun beams (HDR picture).
About 80 km into the ride I see Tourmalet on the right hand side.
A wonderful Pyrenees panorama
Beautiful place for a rest in between
Coming closer to the Mediterranean Sea. Vineyards everywhere.
Bike is loaded.
Farewell France, farewell Pyrenees.
8 Eighth Day

Just getting home. Fast country roads and some Autobahn. Nothing to report.

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