El Adventuradors!

Posted on January 8th, 2008 by Jody Forrester.
Categories: 02. Spain.

As we’re preparing to leave Spain for Africa tomorrow both Jody and I have a sense of regret that we’ve not really scratched the surface of this country – we haven’t made an impression, and neither has Spain made much of an impression on us. The vibrancy that we’d expected in the people hasn’t been there, instead there seems to be a general apathy in most people we’ve met. I think perhaps if we’d had more time we’d have found our niche here, but warmer climes beckon… Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all been bad – travelling through the country on bikes has been an almost ethereal experience. You aren’t isolated from your surroundings by a cocoon of climate controlled air, so you brutally experience the climates and smells of the places you pass through – passing chicken farms has become a firm favourite! Far off mountain ranges are reached in minutes, and plains give way to beautifully sculpted twisties, Jody and I transforming instantly from overland voyagers to Valentino Rossi’esque speedsters, before reminding ourselves that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and dropping back to more sensible speeds. We just can’t help ourselves sometimes. One thing that has been of very mixed value here has been the GPS navigation. All the auto routing has been next to useless because there has been so much road building done recently. Whether the EU development fund is financing this I don’t know, but whoever it is, we’d like to thank them for building some very nice roads indeed! Jody and I have also been using this initial time as a period of “teambuilding”. We’ve spent virtually 100% of the time together on other trips (such as the hike to Base Camp), but this is a bit different. After a long day in the saddle tempers sometimes get frayed when navigating endless un-signposted one way streets to find a hotel is a classic. I tend to vent by having a massive bleat then am right again 5 minutes later. Jody now knows this, but was justly shocked the first time!

We’re also getting the routines down pat with unpacking and repacking the bikes – we’ve already sent some gear home, and also had a throw out on the ferry, but Jody’s bags are still bulging. He insists that it’s all essential stuff, but I’m not sure that the range of cosmetic products that he’s brought should really need to fill an entire one of his panniers! I’ve got loads more stuff that I want to say (riding with your own thoughts all day gives you plenty of time for introspection), but I’ll be merciful and wrap this up here as I’m sure that the experiences in Africa are going to be more interesting to read about. Tomorrow we leave for Morocco, and the start of the real adventure. We are ferrying to Cueta in the morning. For anyone worried about the cancellation of the Dakar rally, and the reasons for this (i.e. was it due to terrorism?), Butch and Jill Forrester have done a lot of research for us, and spoken to officials in the embassies of Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal, and we’re confident that the risk in no higher than usual for the area. We’ll take every precaution possible when riding through these areas, and will be updating the SA’n embassy contacts every couple of days. Take care everybody, and thanks to everyone who turned out to see us off, and especially our Support Team of Butch, Jill and Carey Forrester, and Catherine Mallik! Thanks so much for all the support in getting us out of London on time! Mum and Dad I know you’d have helped too, but there’re more pressing things to do, like spending time out at Lang’s Beach! © Dan