Spain/France – August 2014

Trip to Spain and France on the XR1250

This was the first trip where I used my SpotGen3 tracker
Trip Overview
The level of detail on the map can be changed by using the menu on the spotwalla page

Each year I get to have a week away on my own. My wife Myleene is great when it comes to that and we keep things balanced by doing other things is the rest of our holiday time during the year.

I’ve had two lots of major spinal surgery and have a collection of titanium holding me together so I unashamedly don’t bother with camping any more. I’m just happy riding the bike.

My solo trip this year was over to Spain on the ferry and then ride up through France before getting another ferry home again. Nothing major, and a trip I’ve done before on many occasions. The only real difference ifs that I am now making a conscious effort to record the trips in one way or another.

The bike is an XR1200X which has been punched out to 1250 with head work and cams and changed the primary gearing for better long haul riding. It makes for a nice sports/tourer with one major flaw – the tank size. I’ve owned it for several years and completed 10-12 trips on it but sold it earlier this month.

I actually ended up with an extra night away because one of my best mates birthday was the day before sailing and he lived very close to the ferry port in Portsmouth.

So, without further ado….
First stop – Breakfast on the road

Stupidity after a day and evening drinking beer

Queueing for the ferry at an ungodly 06:45 down at Portsmouth

Sunrise somewhere in the Bay of Biscay

Approaching Santander

Hotel in Santander for the first night

View from the bedroom window in the evening

View at the bar in the evening. Carajico – coffee and cognac.

The following day it was a run up to the Pyrenees. I love the area and the roads.

Lunch on the road. Simple food

Busy road – not!

My home for the second night

It was very hot (for a UK local!) and the cold beers before dinner didn’t last long.

The following day it was more of the Pyrenees and over the top from Spain to France. Destination Lourdes. Yes, that one

I had to stop for lunch, as you do. I was near the border but managed to find a nice stop on the lead up to one of the Col’s.

Nice tapas lunch for seven euros. Really can’t go wrong

And onwards…

Then it was time to climb again. Welcome to Col du Soulor.
Its been used for the Tour de France a few times

I rode through that cloud

These views really do make it all worth while

Got someone to take a photo of me on the bike whilst I was there. We had some “cloud issues” because they were rising and at one stage we were lost inside one

And onwards again…

The peak of the Col …complete with goats, sheep etc

and the view down the other side

Then a few hours later I arrived in Lourdes. I witnessed my first miracle at the hotel when I managed to get all my gear into the smallest hotel room I have ever been in! After that, it was off to the grotto.

And as soon as you leave the grotto, you walk straight into a load of tacky garbage for sale…

Broadcast yourself from the grotto

Souvenirs…

Holy train

It all left me needing a drink. Luckily the good lord provided….

And another one late on the evening

To go with my fromage and cognac

Someone kept watching me….

The following day it was time to head north. Up to Limoges. I stopped to pick up some lunch and parked beside this old Renault

And later on stopped for lunch

I didn’t really stop on the roads much. I wanted to crack on. Here are a few shots of Limoges

However…I did manage to find Le Cave au Bierres!
This is a nice little number from Belgium. Its a Kwak

and a cheeky Chouffe

Next day it was time to head to La Rochelle. Packed and ready for the off

On the road

And having arrived in La Rochelle, I get to park outside the hotel again.

Then it was time for an afternoon stroll. Anyone for sardines?

Ooooo, how did that get there?!

And lo and behold, I found La Academia de Bierre!

A night time foray

And that wrapped up the trip. The following day was another 300+ miler up to Caen for the ferry. When I arrived, I just had time for a last meal and beer

And that wrapped up the trip. I was on the ferry overnight and back home by 11:00am the following morning.

The bike performed flawlessly. It had been up and down the mountains, carried the gear, had several long days in a row in stupid heat, been wound up to 130mph+ in a few areas and didn’t miss a beat. Its a great bike and my new Speed Triple 1050 ABS will have a lot to live up to but i’m sure it will cope admirably.