On Friday 11th June 2010, 10 intrepid explorers embarked on a trip that would change their lives forever, well maybe not forever but for a while. I haven´t laughed so much for a long time, or been quite so wet on the bike. Fair weather bikers pah, not us we carried on through rain and hail and along muddy, gravely downhill hairpin strewn roads. We also visited some of Spains prettier towns, ate lovely food and enjoyed a beer or two.
Day 1 Distance 170 Miles
Five bikes set off and five returned which is always a good sign, unfortunately one had a limp but more on that later, the first part of the journey as always, wherever you are in the world, is the boring bit, the first 50 miles or so could be part of a shopping trip or your daily ride to work, something you do regularly, it's only when the roads become less familiar and during the first stop that the holiday mood (ROAD TRIP) feeling starts to take over.
Our boring bit was from the meeting point in Ondara, Costa Blanca, to the first proper stop for fuel and refreshment just outside Sagunto, north of Valencia. We used the N332 for most of the journey passing through small villages, it´s not a bad road with a few nice corners to try out the handling fully loaded and some good straights so you can zip on a bit, if the mood takes you, watch for the new speed cameras though. After the N332 it´s on to the terminally boring A-7 to circumnavigate Valencia and then left (North) onto the A23.
Tostada con tomate for me and a few litres of fuel for the GSXR and we are away again passing the village of Sot de Ferrer on our right with it´s small chapel overlooking the town.
From this point in the journey we tried to stay off the new A23 using the older road instead, however it´s not to be as all signs that point to Teruel and our resting point for the evening also point back to the dual carriageway. Just after Segorbe we managed to find some of the older road with it´s sweeping bends and sleepy villages, much better. After Jerica for a couple of miles the road is badly worn with potholes, great to test the suspension and the patience of your pillion. We then turned left onto the even older CV209 which winds steadily up to 1007m and through a wind farm.
After a brief stop for photo´s it was off again towards Teruel via the N234 and A23, finally arriving at our hotel mid afternoon in time for sightseeing and a beer or two.
As with many towns in Spain, Teruel has a historic centre surrounded by modern uninspiring sprawl, it is important therefore to get into the centre, stay there if possible to get a real feel for the place. Our home for the night was the Sercotel Torico Plaza with rooms overlooking the Torico Plaza itself, one of Teruel´s prettier squares. We ate at the Ristorante La Tarantella, situated just out of the top of the Torico Plaza, superb Pizza´s, nice wine and great company.
Here is a selection of touristy pictures from Teruel. Click here for more information on Teruel and it´s history.
Day Two Distance 101 Miles
Day two started with the customery continental breakfast at the hotel and followed by a trek to retrieve the bikes. Parking in the historic centre of Teruel can be problamatic but we had managed to find some bike spaces behind the Correos.
Today's destination was Cuenca with a stop at the historic town of Albarracin. The journey started well if a little overcast, out of Teruel heading north on the N234 for a few km before turning left onto the A1512 towards Albarracin. The A1512 is straight for approximately 10km so a few cobwebs were blown out before the road dropped into the valley and snaked along the side of a small river. This would have been great in the dry unfortunately the elements were against us today and a light drizzle started to fall so with waterproofs donned and speeds suitably restricted we meandered the last few km´s to Albarracin.
Albarracin has been classed a World Heritage Site because of it's unspoilt traditional buildings and cobbled streets. As you enter the outskirts of the town stay on the main road until you can see the steps leading up to the left, park in one of the car parks and enter the old town by foot. Click here for more information about Albarracin.
Views of Albarracin.
Ever onwards, even in the rain, setting off with waterproofs on, we continued along the A1512 following the river and valley for a few km´s before turning left onto the A1703 and then 1-2 km´s further on turning right onto the A1704. This road is brilliant: it weaves it's way along a valley then up and over ridges, the surface is good, the bends are superb, glorious views and fast straights all mixed together. Past Calomarde and Frias de Albarracin where the road classification changes along with the name to the CU901, rounding a bend the road goes from N road (UK A road) quality to a 1 lane potholed mess.
There was a small roadworks sign which warned of rough road for 10 km, 1 km later the roadworks began in earnest. A huge project was underway to widen the road, which winds down the side of the valley for 9 km. After much discussion we continued very carefully downhill along the mostly gravel road in the rain (not for the faint hearted) if I had been riding a GS instead of a GSXR it would have been great fun. Fortunately, we all made it in one piece if a little muddy. Turning right at the bottom of the hill onto the CM2106 /CM2105 was a huge relief back to normality.
This is another great road winding it's way along a valley and past the villages of Huélamo and La Toba with a large reservoir on the left, too much rain to stop for pictures though. We stopped at Uña for a quick lunch whilst we warmed our hands. Setting off, we only had a slight drizzle for our last few km's to Cuenca and our overnight halt. Originally we had planned to stop along the way at Cuidad Encantada which is an area of natural beauty with large unusual rock formations, due to the weather we skipped this stop and headed straight for the hotel and a warm shower.
The hotel for this evening was the Hotel Cueva Del Fraile a converted monestary approximately 2km out from the historic centre of Cuenca, set in beautiful grounds in the countryside. Due to the rain we all decided to forego any further sightseeing for the day and hunkered down in the bar for a well earned beer or two before dinner.
Day Three Distance 256 Miles
Day three started with a comprehensive mix of English and continental breakfast, before packing up and heading back into Cuenca´s historic old town. As you follow the side of the valley you get the odd glimpse of your destination and the valley below.
Parking in the old town is difficult. There are some bike specific bays down the right side of the cathederal, however when we were there they were all full so we took a chance and abandoned the five bikes in a quiet corner of the square, it was early Sunday morning after all. More information on Cuenca and the surrounding are can be found here.
After a whirlwind (1.5hr) tour of the old town we headed back to the bikes to find a traffic warden and Grua asking us to move our bikes. Parking in the wrong area is therefore not advised. Heading out of Cuenca down the cobbled streets we were glad of the sunny weather, our journey today was homeward bound this being the last day of the trip, on the way we planned for lunch in Albacete and then cross country towards Alcoi, Planes and eventually Pego where we would grab a coffee and disperse.
Views of Cuenca.
From Cuenca we took the N320 to Motilla del Palancar, where we stopped for liquid refreshment, coffee and unleaded, this road is superb with long straight sections between huge fields and then fast flowing bends, great to make up time, we covered the 58km in less than 30 mins, a few pictures were taken along the way for posterity.
After Motilla del Palancer we stayed on the N320 to La Gineta then turned left onto the A31 (more boring road unfortunately) to Villena, we missed our planned lunch in Albacete as the bad weather had returned by this point, opting instead to stop at a roadside bar just after Albacete to shelter from the rain.
From just south of Villena we turned left onto the CV80 towards Alcoi, then Muro de Alcoi, this is all fairly boring dual carriageway, the rain had however cleared by now so we could enjoy the views across the valley. Turning onto the CV700 from Muro de Alcoi through Planes and on towards Pego the fun should have started as the road is good if a little twisty and the early evening weather was superb, however due to a problem with the chain on the GSXR we limped the last few miles to our coffee stop before each making our own way home.
Thanks to all those who came and made it such a great weekend.
|Chrisbiker750 & Back Seat Driver|