Monday, 5 March 2012

Sunday 4th March
Woke up this morning to heavy rain and wall to wall grey skies. It was chucking it down. So wet weather gear on and off we went – and on time too – with an escort of bikers who’d heard about our trip and come to see us off. Thanks guys – really nice of you to make the effort . Rode twenty or so miles to Portsmouth on nearly empty roads, except for some classic high performance cars obviously on way to their own thing. Got onto the ferry without mishap, although the ramps and decks were very slippery, needing concentration to keep rubber side down. Good practice for the roads to come. A few other bikes on board but the faces of the tie down crew on board was priceless when they saw the swarm of soaked riders astride small bikes approaching. We were so wet that some of the boarding cum key cards we’d been given just minutes before at check in had disintegrated and couldn’t be used to open cabin doors. So the poor old purser was pressed into service  earlier that she’ expected, issued new cards, and one by one, we did the bikers shuffle, wriggling out of wet gear and hanging it up to dry in not very spacious cabins, ready for a (hopefully) drier start in 24hours time.
Crossing was a bit rough and a few people had a bad time on the boat. Not much you can do about that though. I was fine but I had a bad headache all day - woke with it and couldn’t shake it off, so I slept most of Sunday afternoon in the cabin. Felt fine after that.

Monday 5th
Glad to say those in the group who suffered all day yesterday from sea sickness had recovered and got rid of their green grey tinges. Beautiful day today so lots of Spanish coastline clearly available as we approached Santander. Managed to get off the boat and ride all of 400m before being stopped and turned over by customs. In the end, they just wanted to check our passports, which was a bit of a shock for Sue who couldn’t find hers. Then Will got knocked off his bike by a passing KTM who just rode off and left him to it. But he was OK as was his bike. And all this before we’d even left the port complex. Warm and sunny in Santander, removed a few layers and took the scenic route out of town, courtesy of an over-helpful Satnav. But eventually got onto the route that we wanted south – and up – which meant it got colder as we rode, so most of the layers were soon back on. 
Empty roads, all paid for by citizens of Europe, stunning scenery, eagles and storks. Still cold but bright as we rode, now near Valolladolid. Manage to find a hotel, fixed the bikes in the carpark. All showered and ready to get some well deserved food. 

Layering up
Bike fixing
Will having a 'tab'
Peter of Arabia