Spain #6

Yo recorrer ……

Just like I have my morning ritual, so does my neighbor. When he stumbles out of his caravan at a quarter past seven and sits down on the steps with a pack of heavy rolling tobacco, he produces a sound from almost every opening of his body. And that he unabashedly is just scratching his ‘thing’, I’ll leave that out for the sake of convenience … ..

Today I am going to pack and move on. It has been nice in Peñiscola. My morning ritual is a bit more decisive, packing a tent, packing suitcases and saying goodbye to Willem and Jeane and paying for the extra night. I nod to the supermarket and get water and sandwiches. A lot of water. Today inland again and I want to do without everything, but no water. I also regularly watch survival programs on TV and lesson 1 is always making sure you do not dry out. Now it will not happen, but suppose something happened somewhere there on that country road where once every 3 days a car drives and it is 4 hours walk to civilization. Just in case…..

First I want to descend along the coast and if possible via Parc Natural de la Serra d’Irta towards Torreblanca. There is a road running according to Google, so hop … we’re going. Just before the parc is a sign with a ban on quads. I am not a quad, so it should be possible even if the road is unpaved. But a quick look at my fuel gauge and a small calculation from the bare ball make me decide to return and first look for a pump. I will encounter a number of engines on the way back and they will probably think, “what a scaredy hare for a bit of unpaved.” They may think. At the pump there is an agent and I ask in liquid Dutch if the road is open for engines. “No señor … ..no!” Okay, so via the main road. Unfortunately. I drive to Santa Magdalena de Polpis on the N-340 and turn back into the interior. Good road surface, bad road surface, everything is over again. The holes are getting bigger and frost damage is clearly the big problem. But that view, that rise, the climbing, the turns …. My engine is bursting with pleasure and I join. I climb higher and in the valley a village lies peacefully. I take a picture of the road surface, although this is still in reasonable condition compared to other places. Chunks of stone are splashing under my tires and sometimes I can not help but crawl upwards in the 1st resistance and high yaw because of the sometimes impossible turns. Big Red does what he has to do, make me happy. Godver, what I enjoy … the power when you turn that trottle, the hum, the push under your ass ……… I go up and of course go down again. High in gear I slow down on the decompression. The exhaust flops every now and then, nice sound I think. But it does not stop. My route should be reached after an hour, I left at 9 o’clock and now almost 11 o’clock is about doubling of the time. But how cares ……. If you want to drive the permitted speed here, then your first names must start nominally with J-P or something. The landscape is rough, becoming increasingly gray, ash-gray and dry. Against the desolate, but I think it’s cool. I drive again in my own Death Valley.

At Cantavieja I will treat myself to lunch. I stop, put the engine in sight and take a coke and something with egg, ham and bread. We will probably call that a bouncer. The cola is faster than the bouncer, but that is not strange. But ehmmmmm bouncer is ultimately not the right name for what I get. Not that it does not taste, but it looks different. There is a couple and there is a long walking stick. “Camino?”, I ask. “Si, si … ..”, the woman answers. A short conversation with hands, feet and Google follows. He had also ridden on a 1200GS. He looked at me with awe as I drove away. 

The landscape remains dry, it cools down and that is not surprising. I climb up unnoticed. A look at my altimeter in my watch betrays that I am already at 1100 meters. Brrrr, it gets even fresh. But it can be done. The Velcro fasteners of the sleeves a little tighter and the arms pull it again. We climb through, Big Red and I …… and then I see a sign with 1507m. Holy f … .. We’re going really high. But that quickly gives a nice surprise in the form of snow. I see in the distance greeting white paste lying along the way. Huh, it’s really snow …. Motor on the side, grab a camera and dive into the snow after a quick check to see if there is no yellow-snow. If you do not have to eat it, then it is probably not an option. I have some fun, just put a dot on my head and take a picture. But before I realize it, the melting heap of PLOEP glides right into my neck through my mind, into my collar and soon I feel the cold drops running down my back. BRRRRRR! Cunt, that’s cold.

Well I have a good saddle, a Corbin, nice and wide and hard. Good to do, but it still remains a challenge. A nice option is a sheepskin, and eye eye, I spot 37475746 sheep on a meadow together with a shepherd. Hmmmmm, now I can put a sheep on my saddle, but then I and my feet are no longer on the ground and probably in conflict with the happy shepherd. I let it take some pictures. Some short hairpin turns follow and slowly the land becomes redder and greener again. The desolate gets some color again. And what color … Terracotta is nothing. And I am going to call Spain ‘layer country’. Everywhere I look I see the structure in layers. Sure, it will be the same with us, but you can not see it in pancake country. I turn a long bend to the left and my eye falls on a gigantic rock formation. Moooooooiiiiiiii ……. I stop on the road, lights on and I have a yellow cardigan on. They see me when someone arrives at all. The most beautiful agent in Rotterdam and surroundings has ever told me that being seen is the first step towards safe driving. I have been driving all day alone, so I’m not worried now. The photo is made and I quickly spurt further. It remains cool, not cold but fresher than on the coast. Tonight I think I put an extra layer in my sleeping bag. Not sexy, but tasty ……

As the journey progresses, I notice that I am getting easier. I do not pay any more attention to the time and when it is almost half past five I am going to look for a campsite. 1 is 50 km to the NW and no idea why but I call him first. I probably think that they are still closed. Alternatively, a campsite in Titaguas. I enter the village and ask a woman where the campsite is. She murmurs something and I do not get a flicker. She notices that and all of a sudden she only asks for cigarettes. Well, you’re fine with me. But she obviously does not know that. If I make it clear that I do not have cigarette butts, she runs away cursingly. I laugh at a bump. Hilarious.

Further on 3 people stand on the sidewalk to paint a fence and I ask again if they are English and happily the woman speaks English well. She shows a campsite on her mobile and the man says in liquid English “Ai laike jor baik, señor!” “Me too!”, I say and they laugh. I thank them and drive away with a short horn. Another 10km according to maps.

The campsite is quickly found, it is open and there is room for me.

Well the camping is Peñiscola no luxury, this is the superlative. But I love it, I do not need anything. No more than a piece of land where I can whack some herring. The tent is on, the burner is burning to boil water and I have a choice of 3 flavors of noodles. I fry them all 3 in 1 pan and eat in mind the most delicious 3 course dish in years …….

I stray!

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