Britbike forum

Classic British Spares Klempf British PartsBaxter Cycle BritBike Sponsor SteadfastCyclesSRM Engineering Lucas Classic Motorcycle Industrial tec supply Hepolite Pistons The Bonneville ShopLowbrow Customs

Upgrade your membership: Premium Membership
New Sponsor post
Closeout Sale - BSA Apparel & Merchandise
by C.B.S - 10/23/21 4:05 pm
New FAQ post
How To: Add attached images in between text
by Morgan aka admin - 10/03/21 9:46 am
Manuals on DVD - Buy 4 for 3
All 4 DVD Manual
Member Spotlight
Magnetoman
Magnetoman
U.S.
Posts: 7,364
Joined: November 2011
ShoutChat
Comment Guidelines: Do post respectful and insightful comments. Don't flame, hate, spam.
Top Posters(30 Days)
Rohan 87
Top Likes Received (30 Days)
koan58 21
NickL 15
Newest Members
RolandM, David Baines, Pratty, AndyW, ChrisTriumph3
11,878 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
5 members (Magnetoman, Boomer, Deadstiffcatt, TR7RVMan, tiger_cub), 31 guests, and 78 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 2 of 3 1 2 3
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 968
Likes: 26
D
Britbike forum member
Online Content
Britbike forum member
D
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 968
Likes: 26
C'mon, now, I resemble that remark!

This has been another enjoyable tale here on Britbike. Thanks for sharing, Koan!

Triumphs on eBay
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 3,520
Likes: 27
R
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
R
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 3,520
Likes: 27
Hi; Koan; may be you need to go again to Spain; is a very nice place and more modern than UK actually.
Also if you thought that Spain is wild; you will be very surprised to ride in most places...
By the way, "Fechado" is closed in Portuguese not Spanish. In Spanish is "Cerrado" so may be that was the Galicia area? (besides Portugal) Portugal is a marvelous place to ride (motorcycles and surfboards) and to live.

Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
K
koan58 Offline OP
Britbike forum member
OP Offline
Britbike forum member
K
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
Hi Reverb, we didn’t go any where near Galicia, but the southern journey was quite close to the border with Portugal (if you look at the map). I can’t explain the word “fechado” except it was used. All I can say is that.
Please remember this was 1983, when was your experience of Spain?

Portugal and Spain were angry neighbours for many centuries, the established border between them not fully determined till quite recent times. Perhaps some of these areas still feel a Portuguese influence? Just a guess.
I have enjoyed visiting both countries several times. You will hear of my first visit to Portugal later in this tale, but I have also worked and holidayed in Portugal and Spain in later years. I have enjoyed it every time.

In my tale I am only describing what I experienced at the time. I only got to feel the moments when I was in those particular environments, that is all I can attempt to describe. I have no wish to denigrate Spain or the Spanish. Both the people and the country were an amazing eye-opener for me, at quite an early stage in my adult life.
If I describe some aspects as primitive, at that time, it is because the things that I was exposed to, were. That doesn’t reflect on the nature of the people in broader terms, but it is what I saw in the places I went. It was actual reality, like it or not. I report it as such.
I have no intention to upset you.
All the best pal, Dave

Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
K
koan58 Offline OP
Britbike forum member
OP Offline
Britbike forum member
K
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
I missed a detail that belongs in the previous section. By Salamanca it had become obvious that Rob’s chain and sprockets were well past their sell-by date, (the chain skipping on the rounded protrusions once teeth on the rear sprocket under acceleration was a subtle hint) but there wasn’t a Suzuki dealer in that town. Informed that Seville did have a franchise, we really wanted to get there in shop hours to get started with what ever was needed to get replacements (suspecting they might need to be sent from afar).

With an uncomfortably over-tightened chain, the Suzuki could still manage a steady 60 mph on the level, so apart from up hills that is what we were attempting to maintain. We see two motorcycles far ahead, getting closer we see they are policemen, riding Sanglas 500 singles at 35-40 mph. Getting increasingly frustrated, we tail them for several miles, thinking we’d be inviting trouble by overtaking. Then we just went for it, and passed them – they just looked at us and smiled. I don’t think I’ve ever over-taken a police motorcyclist in my life (apart from when they are sat like predatory animals by the side of the road) other than that occasion.

So back to the now, we have arrived in Algeciras after that extremely windy ride along the southwest coast. The road signs indicating high side winds weren’t overstating the fact. It is surprising how tiring that is. We find ourselves on the seafront stretch and several times over not much distance a chap of North African persuasion would try to attract our attention by shouting “chocalada” or “sh1t”, thrusting a sizable dark brown block towards us.

At this moment, we aren’t interested (might be later), but from what we’ve seen so far, this is a grotty dump of a port, and would dearly like to get to a campsite away from the grime. A young chap with some English offers to show us the way, he hops on the back of my bike and we get there. He declines any modest recompense for his help, so I drop him back roughly where he began. Only back at the campsite do I discover my wallet is no longer in my jeans back pocket. There wasn’t a large amount of cash in it, but I had lost my bank card, so I was no longer able to draw on my account. Henceforth I would be dependent on Rob’s money (which had its own problems later on).

Next day we move a little up the Costa del Sol, to Marbella. Even though there are many skeletal hotel building projects in progress, it seems like paradise compared with Algeciras. We join some welcoming itinerants camping just inside of the sea wall. It wasn’t a campsite as such, but no-one seems to care or bother us. There are some toilets nearby with running water for basic bodily maintenance, and even though the weather’s not brilliant, it is still warm enough for a dip in the sea.
In true Spanish fashion there was a holed and beached (what would have been luxury) cruiser decaying on the sands a little way north.

I hadn’t brought a camera with me. Rob had purchased a high end Nikkon SLR just prior to the trip. It was auto-feed blah-de-blah, but he hadn’t studied the instructions. I still don’t know for certain what the problem was, (I suspect it may just have been that it needed batteries for the film winding) but all the photos he thought he was taking to this time didn’t exist. He got the hang of it at this time in Marbella, so from now on I will be able to embellish plain text with a few ornaments.

We had a most pleasant few days at that informal camp, R&R it could be described as. One evening we went in search of something like beer, maybe even Watneys Red Barrel. A place proudly named the “Englsh Pub” in large, bright neon lettering looked like the answer to our prayers. However, unlike any pub I’d been to, the door wasn’t open. A bell needed to be rung. We showed our passports to the scary looking doorman and were invited in, went to the bar, no Watneys, no Double Diamond (works wonders work wonders, for those that remember) so just two expensive bottles of non-descript lager. Then we’re surrounded by (admittedly good-looking) girls trying to get our attention and to spend money on them. I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, and it dawned on us just the same. We drained our drinks and left in short order. “English Pub”!

Camping by the beach proceeded very enjoyably, with characters from various nations getting drunk and mellow together. Some of them were adept at fishing from shore and gave us a few good barbeques.
Every now and then we could see across to vague outlines of the Atlas mountains. We had spent some time relaxing and thinking of how far we had journeyed without any true objective. Rob raised the subject first (I couldn’t as I was now his dependant), but I did think the same. As we’re here now, why not take the little trip and visit Morocco?

So we go back to Algeciras to take the ferry to Ceuta. It is something like a 20 mile crossing between continents, but costs much less than travelling from my native Isle of Wight to Portsmouth. It is a very different type of ferry, without the gentille holiday-makers I am accustomed to. This was a rowdy assembly of raucous HGV drivers and arabs. It feels just slightly dangerous, though nothing nasty seems to happen.
Arriving in Ceuta (which was still a foothold of Spain in Morocco), we get to the border of Morocco some miles inland, early afternoon. We are destined to be stuck here for some hours.

Rob isn’t carrying a registration document for his bike. I don’t remember why, possibly a change of address or similar. But he hasn’t got it on him, and that’s what the border control is bothered with. They are concerned with vehicle thefts across borders (fair enough). After maybe four hours of international phone calls, eventually the fax comes through that allows us to proceed. We enter Morocco.

Bureaucracy is a wonderful thing, and is cherished by people in uniforms, yet I long for the unlikely day when the world can be freely travelled, without passports, ID and visas, as it was before the modern era.
We say we live in a free society, but do we really? I suspect we’re deluding ourselves on some level.

Irrespective of my silly thoughts, after that prolonged entrance to Morocco, we don’t go very far until a comfortable campsite is found, near Tetouan. The perimeter of the field is grass plants

2 members like this: Gordon Gray, Tigernuts
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
K
koan58 Offline OP
Britbike forum member
OP Offline
Britbike forum member
K
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
A few pics that really should have gone in the previous post. I'm not very smart at this business.

Arrival at Marbella on the Costa del Sol. As you can see, it was just our luck that there wasn't much sol,(I wonder if we could have made a claim against the Spanish tourist board) and Rob hasn't quite mastered the art of focussing his flash camera. Straight away a curious itinerant takes an interest and invites us to join the merry throng. I'm the hairy ape.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]


The campsites that we did find open in Spain (generally ones near large towns) were pretty cheap, but it's nicer when it's free and pleasant, especially when you've lost your bank card. This wouldn't have happened in the UK at the time, and probably doesn't apply in modern Spain either.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

I think it's wonderful how people from widely different origins just find each other at a certain place and time and simply get on with having a great communal experience. Temporarily free of the usual pressures and competitive nature of modern life, folk can truly drop their guard and savour the company of others in an unaffected way. It's just a shame that it is temporary (like the feeling you get at a good music festival weekend), and one has to return to the hamster-wheel eventually.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

As we leave Algeciras on the ferry, Rob catches this pic of Gibraltar. It is evident that the wind is blowing from north to south across the high peak, forming the cloud. This was an atypical situation for Spain. The rain clouds had never been far behind us on the southward journey, We would run straight into them on our return journey.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]


Having eventually arrived at a Moroccan campsite near Tetouan and set up the tents, I prepare a relaxing smoke.Alcohol wasn't available in the locality. I believe that it may have been in the larger tourist centres, but we weren't in one of them. The film "Casablanca" certainly suggests as much, but that was set a little before our visit. There were compensations though.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

I hope you enjoy!

1 member likes this: Gordon Gray
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,235
Likes: 83
I
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
I
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,235
Likes: 83
Casablanca, and Morocco in general, was occupied by France before and during WW II, so alcohol would have been available at that time.
But today Morocco is again an independent, Muslim nation, and alcohol is forbidden to Muslims by the Koran.

Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 182
Likes: 7
K
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
K
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 182
Likes: 7
I was there about a year after Koan doing a very similar trip, almost identical apart from I didn't even have tent, alcohol was available in a few discreet places, hotels etc, but you'd pay through the nose for even a bottled beer, hence the preference for the local "tobacco" for relaxation purposes.

1 member likes this: koan58
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
K
koan58 Offline OP
Britbike forum member
OP Offline
Britbike forum member
K
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
So here we are now at a campsite near Tetouan in Morocco. Instead of just a fence or bushes ringing the site, it was bush with its evident leaf-form. Alcohol was not available here, just water and pop. In the morning an old guy would come round with a tray of articles, cut from thin dark brown sheet in the shapes of leaves, flowers and the like, shouting “chocalada”. It was a fine start to the day.

Having an aimless wander around on the bikes we encounter a camel driver who was happy to let us sit on his animals for some tourist pics. Foolishly, we hadn’t agreed a price beforehand. We’d assumed 50 dirham (~5 quid) would do, but when affronted by this offer he got rather irate, so we jumped on the bikes and skedaddled, leaving him with no dirhams and his knife waving in the air.

At this opportunity it would have been nice to follow the old hippy trail to the Atlas mountains. So many had done that, then got arrested and jailed on their return. A set up. Fortunately, we didn’t have the resources to even contemplate such a foolish venture.

So after 4 days of relaxation we caught the crazy ferry back to Algeciras, and headed west. Taking the inland route this time, avoiding the windy coast, we got to the estuary border between Spain and Portugal at Vila Real de Santo Antonio. This was a car ferry at that time, (though it looks like there is a bridge a little way north nowadays).
We got on the boat, and got on well with a character driving a coach converted for luxury travel, it had a ramp and space at the back to store a small car, though there was only a small motorcycle in it at the time (made me think of the Italian Job).

The Portuguese customs let Rob straight through, but collared me. At last my lack of insurance had been noticed (not at the entry to Spain, not at the entry to Morocco).
I had to leave my bike there while I walked ~500m into the town and got 2 weeks insurance (costing the equivalent of ~£8). That was good enough for them, and they let me enter.

Stopping two or three nights at Faro, an unusual place where a river’s multiple outlets creates islands connected by small bridges. Campsite on one island, nearest bar on another. We ride to that bar and the locals get us completely legless and have to push the bikes back to the campsite, taking an age with many stumbles along the way.

We arrived in Lagos, towards the western end of the Algarve. Famous for the crappiest of monuments to Henry the Navigator (I would imagine it’s gone by now), it’s actually quite a nice town, with a campsite just on its western edge of town (so good for town and beach). Not the prettiest campsite, with its shambolic assembly of caravans with spaces between for tents, but it has facilities and the town is easy walking. A lovely craggy beach is only half an hours stroll further west.

So, as is the usual practice, passports are surrendered at sign in (I think this has changed in more recent times, all they need are bank card details).
Major difficulties soon followed. I had been depending on Rob for money since ~two weeks earlier. Now Rob couldn’t get any money. He had more in a different account, but it needed to be transferred to be accessed. No internet banking back then. Even the local banks couldn’t help, they wanted to see a passport, and the campsite owner wasn’t releasing our passports until payment (we appealed to his common sense, to no avail).
We are in limbo, with no cash, while Rob works with his mother on the bank phones to get this sorted in the UK. For all their possible failings, Barclays were good for this situation.

Just to get by we shamefully abused the Portuguese hospitality, sitting at outside tables, ordering food (not lobster and caviar) then sloping away guiltily.
It wasn’t a large town, so fortunately we didn’t have to do this more than two or three times until the banking problem was resolved. To this day, I still feel guilt (when I think about it) that we didn’t sort it out with those restaurants. Hey ho, St Peter’s gate awaits.

So we’ve been stuck in Lagos for rather longer than we would have expected. The weather has finally caught up with us, with quite a few heavy showers in the time we’ve camped there.
I haven’t been able to burn petrol for some days, and when I attempt to ride to a petrol station, the bike won’t start. With bell mouths in the rain, water in the carbs seems the most likely culprit, so the bowls come off and it sorts the problem.
The bike is kept in the shelter of the washing block till the next day, when we leave to go north.

There were only two severe worries on my bike during the entire trip, that was one of them. The other was somewhere on the return journey, the return oil pipe slipped off the tank stub (I had been slapdash, and didn’t have clips on the pipes).
Following me, Rob saw this and alerted me. It didn’t matter much, I still had plenty of oil in the tank.

There was a reason I usually went ahead of Rob, it wasn’t a sense of superiority, honest. Just not nice to follow a two stroke trail.

Other than those events, the only other maintenance was to adjust the rear chain twice, the primary needed no adjustment, and I would never usually check valve clearances (and so didn’t) in such a modest amount of miles (~4000 in total).

So ultimately released from our financial and bureaucratic confinement, we launch on our northward mission through Portugal. We’ve already had heavy showers, the sky looks quite loaded with wet gloom, for the first time we put on our incontinence pants (as I like to term waterproofs). Um, looks like fun ahead.

1 member likes this: Gordon Gray
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 1,672
Likes: 192
N
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
N
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 1,672
Likes: 192
Bloody triffic, sounds like it was a ball.

Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
K
koan58 Offline OP
Britbike forum member
OP Offline
Britbike forum member
K
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
So a few pics to accompany the previous post.

An opportunity to play the tourist arises during a "relaxed" wander around on the bikes in Morocco. Few vehicles (stolen or otherwise) on the bubbling, cracked minor tracks in this region. The camel owner seems amiable to begin with.
It is quite hot, especially in my leather jacket, but I don't have enough surviving bungees or spare space, to avoid wearing it. The local by contrast seems quite comfortable in shirt with a jumper. Adaptation is a wonderful thing.
Notice the inviting mountains in the background. Tempted, but we didn't go there.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Rob's more comfortable in shirtsleeves. People have different angles on life. Looking at the water tower in the pic, I can imagine the camel man saying "I look at the world this way".

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

We met and cracked on with a chap at the campsite called Jamel who was very free with "relaxation". He was also open about the fact that he moved it to Spain. He was waiting for a specific day's sailing. We didn't pry into his affairs, but after four days in Morocco we chose to leave for the same ferry. We met him on board, so he'd already been through Spanish customs at Ceuta. I suspect there was some "understanding" with certain officials. We bid farewell at off-loading, and some hours later find ourselves at Portuguese customs at the entrance to the Algarve.
For some reason, they didn't bother Rob, but I was stuck. Perhaps they didn't want to deal with two sets of paperwork, later afternoon, towards the end of their shift, who knows? Expecting an extortionate demand for short-term insurance, I go armed with all the notes from Rob's wallet, which I change from Pesetas to Escudos on the way, the first insurance broker provides what is needed for very reasonable expense.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Via Faro we arrive in Lagos. Through banking problems we're stuck here for longer than intended, though there could be a lot worse places to be stuck. Serious rainfall hits us for the first time in the journey and after emptying my carbs of water, I leave the bike in the shelter of the washing block overnight, till we leave the next day.
That's me wearing Rob's kagoule, cleaning my grubby hands after sorting the carbs.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

From now on it's northward, into the rain.

Last edited by koan58; 10/10/21 5:34 pm.
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,262
Likes: 13
T
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
T
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,262
Likes: 13
Looking forward to the next instalment! I have to ask how you managed to get that 2 weeks insurance? I wouldn't know where to start in a town in this country, looking for temporary insurance (well, I certainly wouldn't have done in 1983). With the language barrier (I'm assuming you didn't have much Portuguese?), I'd have had to find a translator somewhere, as well as someone who could tell me where I could go for the purpose. It seems like a tale in itself and I'd be interested to read about it, if you do requests! Maybe it's a case of, when the need arises, you just manage somehow?


If anything other than a blank space is visible here, something's wrong.
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
K
koan58 Offline OP
Britbike forum member
OP Offline
Britbike forum member
K
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
Hi TN,
Glad you're enjoying it! I haven't given it much thought for a long time, till asked for a pic, and amongst them I came across the that grubby one of the bike late in the journey, which provoked the rest of this.

I'm no polyglot, but had enough French to get by there. Three years in medical microbiology gave me a little understanding of some Latin roots.
This helps with many of the important basic words in Latin derived languages, I may not have the precise word, but I could often find a word that would get my meaning across, however ungrammatically.
To their credit, European folk generally have more English than we have of their tongues.

I don't remember the terminology I used 38 years ago. Perhaps something like "Espagne Portugal moto frontera insurance". I'm also quite gesticulatory and willing to draw diagrams. Whatever, it wasn't too difficult, and a calendar is all that is necessary to decide on the period required. I'm sure that being in a border town they knew what to expect.
As it transpired,my 2 week choice was rather optimistic, and the insurance expired before we got to the top of Portugal. From knowledge of short-term insurance in the UK, I was worried, but the reality turned out to be delightfully modest.

Two years earlier I had done a much briefer 8 day trip through Europe, taking in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and we coped ok. I think if one were travelling in asia it would be a different language story. Not much commonality then!
Dave

2 members like this: Tigernuts, Noe
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 3,501
Likes: 46
D
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
D
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 3,501
Likes: 46
What an adventure. You could not have planned that trip if your last name was Disney. Thanks for sharing.


1968 T120R
1972 T120RV
Any advice given is without a warranty expressed or implied.
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
K
koan58 Offline OP
Britbike forum member
OP Offline
Britbike forum member
K
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
Because we had originally only expected to be away from home for a small number of weeks in mid-France for the grape-picking season, the southward journey was a daily exercise in unforeseeable novelty. France was every bit as expensive as the UK for most things, except booze was cheaper if bought from a hypermarche. Drinking in bars and eating in restaurants was expensive, but it is something we would have liked to do more, as you experience the local people and environment that way, rather than just buying stuff from shops and consuming it near our tents. We didn’t have the resources to stay in France for long without earning, so before the money got short we imagined that we’d just poke our noses a little way into Spain.

The revelation that apart from the cost of petrol (which was still something like 70% of the UK price) the prices of food and booze, even in bars and restaurants, was less than half that of at home and in France caused us to rethink the range of travel possible. Portugal turned out to be slightly better value for money yet. Remember that this was pre-EEC membership for both of these countries. Subsequently much of this differential reduced and with the advent of the common currency, even more so.

So the southward journey through Spain, for us, really was riding through new daily experiences, some dramatic landscapes, places with people having a very different recent history and approach to our own. We had only the vaguest sense of where to go (we had no map as such, we just got any freebies from tourism offices etc) and no defined objective. Looking back on it now, when subsequent life has been all about achieving targets and fulfilling responsibilities in time, it was probably the only truly free couple of months of my adult life.

The weather was good to us until we bounced back to Portugal from Morocco. That is always good for a motorcyclist’s spirits. That makes the ride a joy, rather than something to be cautiously endured.
Also, turning round to head home seemed a negative step, even though it was to be through a new country, people and landscape.

We now had a fixed objective. It was that familiar place called home, with thoughts of friends and family, warm baths and showers and warmish Gale’s HSB.
The increasingly frequent rain added to a degree of dread. I had done several spells of dispatch riding in London, always during the winter season, coping with heavy rains, snow and ice, but fully dressed for the occasion and always with a warm, dry abode to return to. We were feeling a little poorly prepared for this.

We were no longer adventurers, but distant exiled pilgrims far from home (at least 1000 miles by the shortest route).

There was a bit of a mindset change, the northward journey became just something we just had to do.
If the weather had been ok then it would have been an enjoyable journey through a beautiful country. But it wasn’t. The rains became more persistent as we travelled north. People in Portugal said it was the rainiest season they’d known in twenty years (which was comforting).

The first day found us on a campsite on the outskirts of Lisbon. The bridge across the Tagus was quite something, I can only compare it with the old Severn Bridge in altitude and scale. Plus there is a (smaller) version of the Brazilian Rio statue on a high pillar, which does hit the eye.

Rain was showing the deficiencies of my DIY tent repair in France, water comes in, gathers on the integral groundsheet and soaks my sleeping bag. Yuk!
We spend an extra night here to let my bag dry a little, which gives us the opportunity to wander round the city. In general I’m not a fan of cities, but this is an exception. Much of it is ancient and there is an unrestored ruined area from an earthquake in the 1700’s. I have already fallen in love with Portugal from what I have seen on the Algarve, and this only adds to the charms for me. I have been back ~half a dozen times, for work and pleasure, and I’ve loved it every time.

We moved on, but not very far this time. The rain was horrible. We had only open face helmets, Perhaps less than 100 miles. My leather jacket weighed at least three times what it normally would, my jeans and boots likewise. Rod wasn’t faring much better, even a cagoule allows water to enter from the neck, which eventually gets everywhere. When the cold water finally soaks the nether regions, that is a region too far.

So we had to stop, put up Rob’s tent by the side of the road, and shiver our way to sleep. By the morning we felt as if we were rotting from mould, totally dis-heartened, dis-shevelled and de-humanised.
We packed up the wet stuff (this was now a grievous chore) and headed north through the rain to a place near Oporto.

Not being able to face the prospect of another night in ideal fungal growth conditions, for the first time in the trip we signed in at a pension, had luxurious showers, meals in the salon and a decent bed. Bliss!
Though I was upset by the Sopa especialada da la casa (sorry if I remember that wrong Reverb) which was little crabs upside down with their claws sticking up out of the soup, a real turn off for me. We stayed another day because we were dry and warm and loving the sensations of such.
Here Rob proposed (no I don’t mean that, sharing a tent is one thing, romance is quite another) that we just dump the bikes, and catch a plane from Oporto to wherever in the UK.
I valued my bike rather more than he did his, apparently. I would continue my return trip alone if necessary, but I was stuffed with out his financial support. The abort idea was abandoned, and the journey carried on in all its glorious wetness.

The hilly region in the north of Portugal leading back into Spain is a fabulous landscape of twisty roads, which would have been far more enjoyable had we been able to relax. Yet with visibility reduced and wet, unknown road surfaces, it was taken with a sense of paranoia.

We stop once more somewhere in north Portugal, I can’t remember exactly where, but the half dry bedding is more tolerable than it was a few days earlier.

The hills crossing from Viseu to Spain are outstanding. There aren’t words for this, just see some pics. Sadly our moist and miserable mental mood didn’t make the most of this at the moment.

The weather improved dramatically on escaping from the north Portugal hills, sunshine and warmth re-exploded upon us from then until the north coast of Spain.

The road going into Santander through the mountains is truly remarkable. That sticks in my mind from that day in 1983, how immaculate the surface and so wonderfully bendy, with a few short tunnels, so enjoyable for a triton to swing along. It was like a dream. When we got to the end of it we considered whether we should go back and do it again. We didn’t, sadly.
It was a utopian piece of road in 1983, I’ve never been back there since. Anyone been that way in more recent years?

Finally at a Santander campsite, warm, comfortable and dry, waiting a couple of days for a sailing, We cook our last camp meal, a vegetable curry in a pan heated by candles. In the time it has heated up, and boiled over, and consequently put the candles out and gone cold again, we have got stoned, fallen asleep, then woken to find the cold mess spilt all over the groundsheet.

I wonder if there is some sort of metaphor there for the whole pointless panoply of life.

1 member likes this: Tigernuts
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 3,520
Likes: 27
R
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
R
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 3,520
Likes: 27
...seeing the old Triumph and that new enduro in those photos I see a motorcycle and a "vehicle" in that way of thinking could be that the owner just tired of that crappy weather decided that it was no problem to let that vehicle there and take a plane (another vehicle) Home.
Regarding Asian adventures; I do not know exactly but I lived for a few months in Japan without knowing Japanese language and was doable due to many have disposition to help and there are things that are Universals.
Regarding the soup; with what you wrote could be in Portuguese: "Sopa especial da Casa" or "Especialidade da Casa: Sopa" but the soup that you described seems to fall in the first sentence.
In Spanish is "Sopa especial de la Casa" or "Especialidad de la Casa: Sopa"

Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
K
koan58 Offline OP
Britbike forum member
OP Offline
Britbike forum member
K
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
Yes reverb, my mate certainly didn't value his bike in the way that I valued mine. I have had many other bikes over the years, there is only one that has stayed with me. Even though that story was only ~3 years into my ownership, to me it was too precious to throw away, instead of just perseverering through a bit more rain misery.
I don't know how I'd cope (language-wise) in Asian countries, I just about got by for 2 days in Thailand, but like I said most of them have enough English to help out.
Yes, the name of the soup was as best I could remember, could have been any of the versions you present. The problem for me is is had small crab legs sticking out of it, which is not to my taste. Many would love it I'm sure, just not me. The pronunciation wouldn't change that I'm afraid!
All the best pal, Dave

Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
K
koan58 Offline OP
Britbike forum member
OP Offline
Britbike forum member
K
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
A few pics to go with the preceding and concluding post.

Rob didn’t bother to get his camera out all the way from Lagos to beyond Lisbon, a symptom I think, of the mental malaise that had set in with the persistent wet weather.
Even though we passed many interesting and beautiful places, we just weren’t in the frame of mind to be interested or to stop and appreciate the beauty.
We were just trudging on, with our open face helmet linings soaked, my leather jacket and gloves acting like wind-chilled sponges, transferring cold water to my lower torso and down my jeans (inside my incontinence pants) to the insides of my boots, like some sort of masochistic hydrotherapy.
Pushing into the gloom of the downpour and filthy spray kicked up by other vehicles (I didn’t have goggles) felt like I was being punished for all the sins I had committed and would commit in the rest of my days.

After a day’s sightseeing in soggy clothes in Lisbon, with a hearty nosh up (I had absolutely fallen in love with sardinhas – larger than I was used to sardines grilled BBQ-style with a fabulous salad and fried potatoes – I’m feeling hungry just thinking about it) we press on. About 100 miles north of Lisbon our ironic humour doesn’t allow us to pass this without a pose. Note the sign looks like it will be horizontal eventually.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

The landscape became more dramatic as we went on, such that at intervals between the huge bags of water euphemistically termed “clouds” we were sufficiently inspired to stop, stare and allow the camera to take in some light.
It was along this stretch that Rob took the pic of my weather-beaten Triton which I posted early in this thread.
So here are the last few pics from north Portugal/Spain.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

After arriving in the rather more pleasant dry, warm and sunny north coast of Spain at Santander, it was an opportunity to spread everything out in the sunshine to dry out.
Three nights here waiting for the next sailing give us a couple of days to reflect. Now that we are comfortable and content again, we are wondering if we have done the right thing by booking our ferry tickets.

Aboard the ship, the bikes are strapped to the side wall of the vehicle hold. I am reluctant to have the straps over my petrol tank, but there is no choice, so I use some shirts under the straps.
As the boat bounces about in the Bay of Biscay I appreciate the prudence of putting the bikes in bondage.

About 24 hours later we disembark at Plymouth on a (it seems to us) very chilly mid-November morning. It definitely doesn’t feel like we’ve done the right thing.

Exiting the ferry terminal, I very nearly have an accident at the first roundabout. I am still in European mode, driving on the right-hand side and going anti-clockwise. It Shocks me back to the now.
170 miles later we are on the boring, ordinary, ridiculously expensive ferry that takes us to the Isle of Wight and home. I have a new home to go to, a house shared with two girls directly opposite the police station in Ryde (arranged before the trip). They did wonder why I had taken rather longer to move in than anticipated.

After a luxurious bath and a change into fresh clothes, I joined the usual reprobates down the local Gales Ales pub (the Castle with quality Horndean beer – can you imagine how good that tasted?). This was not a “neon English pub”!
All they had to say was “Haven’t seen you in a while, where have you been? Have you been ill?”


My thanks to all the folks who have followed and enjoyed my tale, and made welcome remarks and contributions. It all evolved from the request for a pic, which inspired me to look through my dusty collection of old hard copy (remember those?) and scan some in.
It made me think about the trip for the first time in many years. I was a young buck then, 25 years of age, I’m an older fart these days who wouldn’t contemplate such a demanding “holiday”. It has caused me to at long last organise the pics to go with my recollections.
I hope you have enjoyed my nostalgia as much as I have.

May your journeys be pleasurable, interesting and survivable. We can’t hope for much more. Dave.

2 members like this: Tigernuts, Gordon Gray
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,262
Likes: 13
T
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
T
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,262
Likes: 13
Thanks Dave. You have a real gift for writing - I hope you will write some more when the mood takes you.


If anything other than a blank space is visible here, something's wrong.
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
K
koan58 Offline OP
Britbike forum member
OP Offline
Britbike forum member
K
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
Thanks TN. I don't really have much more from my life (of a biking nature) that I think would be of interest.
I think the wonder of that trip largely came from the fact that it was completely unintentional, other than its very beginning.

Perhaps I could describe the whistlestop trip 2 years earlier, but it would be a short story. I have already sorted the old photos.
The highlight of that was to go over the Grand St Bernard Pass from Switzerland into Italy. I nervously watched my oil pressure gauge dropping all the way to the summit (the engine was working hard in lower gears through all the steep twists and turns, as well as probably being richly out of tune at altitude), but it coped, I think I was being paranoid.

I would very much like to hear others stories, there must be many. Some time after I got back someone gave me a copy of Jupiters Travels, which I still have and read again every few years. Now that is a journey!

Not many people have the opportunity to do such things. We were lucky to be out of work and have some money. So we could finance ourselves for a couple of months. Ted Simon had much sponsorship for his 4 year odyssey, and crikey he needed it.

I have loved travelling and meeting people in their own countries. I have been lucky to work all over western Europe, Israel, Australia and South Africa.
Just to leave with a (hopefully) amusing anecdote, working for a month in the western Cape wineries, I have a weekend off and go caving a couple of hundred miles east. On my way back, flooring the pedal in the little hire car, I get pulled over by a trap for speeding. The 2 cops can't be bothered with the complexity, and one says "give me enough for 2 McDonalds and you can go". 50 Rand did it.

The world is an amusing place. Cheers Dave.

1 member likes this: Gordon Gray
Joined: Jun 2021
Posts: 13
B
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
B
Joined: Jun 2021
Posts: 13
Hi Koan, I've really enjoyed your tale, great writing. I'm sure many here have stories from their past we'd all like to share in, maybe a dedicated section or in the Pub would be a good thing. Motorcycling is about so many different things, and where it leads you can be a wonderful, or otherwise, surprise as you've so eloquently shown. Thanks for sharing.
As an aside I've often wondered, are you a Blue Cliff Record or a Book of Serenity or other collection no. 58 ? Of course this subject is a whole other thing,
or is it.
Keep being amused, Eric

Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
K
koan58 Offline OP
Britbike forum member
OP Offline
Britbike forum member
K
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
Hi Eric, can you hear my single hand clapping? Glad you've enjoyed the blog. I so agree that motorcycling isn't of any value on its own (for example just riding around inside your own private museum, it wouldn't surprise me if that actually happens somewhere). My love of motorcycles derives from several areas.

I've always loved learning about mechanicals, from Meccano, Lego, model racing cars and trains, then bicycles, air rifles etc. A motorcycle just seemed the next logical progression, and when my Honda CD175 clapped out, my metalwork teacher at school let me rebuild it as my project. I think that level of encouragement was instrumental in my life course.

As much as tinkering with bits in a shed is immensely enjoyable, for me it is pointless if it doesn't take me somewhere to have new experiences and meet new people.
That's only my view, it doesn't necessarily apply to anyone else. As the years have passed, the excursions have become rather more limited. Nothing like the early 80's trips have I done since. I've had a few minor excursions in France, that's about it.

I guess the koan bit has aroused the curiosity? It impresses me when someone actually suspects a meaning, most people just take it as a meaningless screen-name, which I'm quite happy with. In the later '80s, so not long after the just described journey, I had an art/craft workshop in a place called the Golden Hill Fort near Freshwater, on the Isle of Wight. For anonymity when entering pictures into shows, I adopted koan as a "nom de plume" and it has stuck with me ever since. I also sold puzzles, which was part of it. I'm not a fundamentalist Zen buddist (even if there is such a thing), just a very aging hippy.

Cheers Dave

1 member likes this: Gordon Gray
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 5,959
Likes: 153
knuckle head
Offline
knuckle head
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 5,959
Likes: 153
Koan, I enjoyed your travels, written so I could feel it..I only wish to have been with you...But then we would be in the company of women with poor reputations . and dodging the police...


79 T140D, 89 Honda 650NT ,61 A10 .On a bike you can out run the demons
"I don't know what the world may need
But a V8 engine is a good start for me
Think I'll drive to find a place, to be surly"
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 5,959
Likes: 153
knuckle head
Offline
knuckle head
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 5,959
Likes: 153
Originally Posted by Irish Swede
Casablanca, and Morocco in general, was occupied by France before and during WW II, so alcohol would have been available at that time.
But today Morocco is again an independent, Muslim nation, and alcohol is forbidden to Muslims by the Koran.
Alcohol is available in most cities to those who drink. There are good local made wines and beer available...


79 T140D, 89 Honda 650NT ,61 A10 .On a bike you can out run the demons
"I don't know what the world may need
But a V8 engine is a good start for me
Think I'll drive to find a place, to be surly"
Joined: Jun 2021
Posts: 13
B
Britbike forum member
Offline
Britbike forum member
B
Joined: Jun 2021
Posts: 13
Good morning from the southern hemisphere , Can I hear your one hand clapping? ...Mu..........An aging hippy seems a fair description of myself also, although my hair is no longer halfway or more down my back I still value the mystery or puzzle of life. Some puzzles, for eg what is that new noise coming from the bottom end of the bike engine, need attention. Others will never give an answer and are perhaps, in my view best left that way as another of the great mysteries that have no answer. What does this have to do with Brit vintage/classic bikes? For me everything, as I think Koan was also alluding to.
To Hillbilly, Koan's tale may not have been a tellall, perhaps they were sometimes in the company of woman with poor reputations.As to getting a beer in most places, I remember being in Varanasi in India, considered by Hindus to be the most holy city where to die here gives you instant liberation. It is a dry city and alcohol is forbidden in and around outskirts for many miles. First thing said to me after check in to my hotel, Pst I can get you beer for tonight,I had a bottle every night I stayed .In the local vernacular " No problem"
Cheers Eric.
P S Bussho is the Japanese word for true nature which we all have or are, whether we see it or not { for Koan and anyone else who may have an interest]

Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
K
koan58 Offline OP
Britbike forum member
OP Offline
Britbike forum member
K
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 100
Hi Eric,
Reciprocally I find it interesting to appreciate that Bussho isn't just an anagram or meaningless pen-name. One's true buddha self, with all the unlimited limitations permitted by the constraints of infinity.
I find it both reassuring and terrifying at the same time that there are no bounds to how deeply things can be considered. The most worrying thing, to me, is that the most powerful people in our world do not seem to think that way at all. Rather, they prefer elementary monochrome narrative, which I suppose is simple to portray in a political pamphlet. But it doesn't reflect the intricacies of the immense variety of human situations, let alone mankind's relationship with nature. I must stop myself now, the mass of thoughts welling up in my head do not belong in this place.
So you are in NSW. I visited twice in 2000, the company I worked for (Flavourtech) had a business office in Sydney. Its manufacturing was in Griffith. The first time was assembly training at the latter (incredibly hot in the factory in February), the second was an AGM held in the Blue Mountains, truly fabulous with much recreation included. One of the entertainments was an entire afternoon/evening booze cruise around Sydney Harbour, in the course of which everyone got very drunk. Two of our Aussie hosts (usually the closest of work colleagues) were nearly at fisticuffs, with one shouting at the other "Why don't you fancy my wife? What's do you think is wrong with her?"
I thought that would be an interesting challenge for a guidance councellor. Pretty much a koan in its own right!
Cheers Dave.

Page 2 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  John Healy 

Link Copied to Clipboard
Job CycleBritish Cycle SupplyMorries PlaceKlempf British PartsPodtronicVintage MagazineBSA Unit SinglesBritBike SponsorBritish Tools & FastenersBritBike SponsorBritBike Sponsor






© 1996-2021 britbike.com
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5