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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 24 Nov 2002
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UK to Morocco and back in winter

Need to escape the fake santas so am taking my only bike (Honda Hornet 600) as far towards the sun as possible. It's the touring version (fly screen and heated grips ) so it should be no problem but i would like some advice on routes from someone who's done it.

I've got the ferry booked to Bilboa on the way down. From there is the high straight road past madrid the best way, or is it high enough to make riding in ice likely?

On the way back there's no ferry at the time i want it so i have to go up through France. I can go either side of the pyrenees. I know the east road up the spanish coast will take longer than straight up the middle but if both are possible which will give me the easier ride through France, should i go up the middle or the west coast to paris??

Also if anyone knows how their automatic motorway hotels work i'd love some info there, apparently you pay by card and don't see anyone. How long can you use the room and are there check out times etc idealy i could turn up any time and still get a good long rest, i don't want to turn up at midnight and still be kicked out at 10am. any experience?

Many thanks in advance for replies

Neil
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  #2  
Old 26 Nov 2002
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Planning the same trip in December. Who did you book the ferry with? Did you get a good deal?

Tony K
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  #3  
Old 26 Nov 2002
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Aha! if you're riding a KLR i have to thank you for my good deal, 136 from motor sport travel - cheers pal! Unfortunately the last ferry back in jan is 7th, i'm not leaving until 21st so that was too soon, got to be back by 13th.

How are you getting through spain? straight down looks favorite but i've not been there before, guess i'll go that way unless advised against it. Got to be warmer than england this time of year.

I'm really not looking forward to the ride back through france though. I'm starting to look into putting my bike on a train. could give me an extra day in the sun and save some frostbite. Again anyone done it before??

Thanks again for sharing that tip
Neil
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  #4  
Old 29 Nov 2002
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I'm taking the KLR yes, but I can't take credit for the tip - but I'll be booking with the same agent.
Route through Spain? I don't know - never done it before. Depending on time I might go the Eastern costal route through Portugal. Maybe drier?
Tony K
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  #5  
Old 6 Dec 2002
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I don't know that the east coast will be drier. Think Ireland, rain comes in from the atlantic and drops when it hits the land. Just guessing though. I'm thinking now getting to madrid in a day and then the rest the next must be no problem. The whole way in a day must be possible but a mad slog.

Winter crossing the bay of biscay could be enough to have me searching for a steady bed not long after getting off!

Have a great trip though, say hi if you see me, picking out a hornet stuck in the sand shouldn't be hard

Cheers
Neil
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  #6  
Old 10 Dec 2002
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Hi Hornet;
Since you are going through Bilbao you might as well go the short way. Weatherwise be prepared for anything, rain, wind, snow, ice... the east coast should be milder, (but it is a long detour), I don't know what the west coast would be like.
You can do Spain in a day but I don't recomend it. Spend a day in Toledo, if you decide to go through the middle, you won't be disappionted.
I don't know about automatic motorway hotels, but you shouldn't have any trouble finding a bed in a roadside hotel.
Have a blast and let us know how it goes.

Vagabond.
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  #7  
Old 10 Dec 2002
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Got to agree with Vagabond. Toledo is a brilliant place to visit. You should be able to get there easily by early afternoon on the bike. We were there in the summer which is way too hot (40degrees)and I would be interested to see what it's like in the winter.
Have used Village & Formula 1 etc. motels in France the auto check in with a card is brilliant but I don't remember check out times. i think we've usually left pretty early whatever.
Have Fun
Ally
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  #8  
Old 10 Dec 2002
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Bloody cold, that's what'll be like. Still worth it though.
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  #9  
Old 11 Dec 2002
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Thanks for the replies!

Toledo it is then, got to think going to a city as big as madrid would just be daft for one night. Any recommendation for a cheap hotel in a good location? I don't want to have to buy a guide book for just the one night and just stopping at any hotel isn't always best.

I'll ask in the equipment section as well but do either of you have an opinion about taking camping gear or at least a sleeping bag? It looks like i'll be going down the east side of the Atlas near the algerian border and i guess it's harder to find rooms down there?? On the other hand i'm on my own so don't want to much stuff to carry for security reasons, i also need room for spare petrol.

Many thanks
Neil
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  #10  
Old 11 Dec 2002
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We usually camp, but we have always gone in the summer and either on 2 bikes or on 4 wheels so space hasn't been as much of a problem. There is an excellent camp site within walking distance of Toledo that has bungalows to rent. I'll check out if it's open all year and get back to you. I have both the Rough Guide and Lonely Planet of Spain. If I get a chance I'll check it out. What date do you travel?
Ally
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  #11  
Old 12 Dec 2002
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I've booked the 29th sailing from Portsmouth. I plan to camp out most of the time in Morocco. I don't what the campsite situation is but what the hell. If the sun's going down in the middle of nowhere it's all academic anyway.
Watch out for a green KLR with a Yorkshire accent Hornet!
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  #12  
Old 12 Dec 2002
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Cheers Ally, that would be great, I'll be in toledo on the 23rd dec - not long now If you can give me the name and address of a recommended cheap place i can get a map from this website - www.mapquest.co.uk - good free site for printing a street map to take!

As for camping i've just bought a 2 bike cycle cover from halfords for 25 quid (ouch for a posh plastic sheet!) better value than the cheap motorbike ones i've seen though, packs smaller and lighter but big enough for the bike for security and to stop sand blasting in a sand storm (not sure how serious a problem that might be though and i'd probably prefer to get in it myself if it was that bad!) but with some fancy string work should make an OK shelter, got to spend at least one night sleeping out even if i do look slightly freaky next to the properly prepared. I gotta travel light though and i've just added a stripped down 12v air compressor to the (getting longer) list of must haves.

Tony - I'm going down the east side from Nador, i expect you'll know whos the dusty fool on a blue hornet before i'm sure it's you on a KLR, flag me down! Good luck with your trip down from Yorkshire, could be the nastiest part, a long spell of british weather to see you off. It'll make getting there a lot sweeter though

My map ('world mapping project/Reise know how' seemed better then the michelin or IGN maps for what i want)has camp sites in most towns at least in the more remote areas. other than that i've no idea how they'd be about people pulling of the road and pitching camp, can't think why they'd mind though as long as it was away from sensitive areas and land mines, don't suppose they'd even know. definately a top idea to do that, i would if i had the right bike and the gear.

Another thing i got from Halfords was some cargo tie downs, £8.99 for 2, i got 4 for the bike to strap on fuel and mostly to tie the bike down in the ferries. A friend of mine took the bilboa ferry 2 years ago and they only had old ropes to tie the bikes (no idea what they'll have on the Nador ferry) Unless you're good at a wagoners hitch you'd do well to get the bike tightly down. Bay of biscay in the winter and going side on to the westerly swells, i'd be sh*tting it if i thought the bike wasn't secure (not to mention the ones next to mine) one freak 30 degree roll and a greasy deck .....

pretty good these straps though, i'm finding halfords isn't all bad for a lot of stuff actualy

Cheers
Neil
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  #13  
Old 12 Dec 2002
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Hi Neil

Try looking on www.compingonline.com and searching for Camping El Greco, Toledo. I have checked and it is open all year. It has a very good restaurant (inexpensive) and bungalows to hire. I havn't had chance to look in the guide books for other accomodation but will try to check before you go.
Have fun
Ally

[This message has been edited by Ally Smith (edited 13 December 2002).]
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  #14  
Old 14 Dec 2002
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Thanks again Ally, i can't get that link to work though, i tried camping instead of comping (typo?) but still no joy. could you give it again

cheers
neil
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  #15  
Old 16 Dec 2002
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Hi Neil
Sorry about that the link is www.campingsonline.com hopefully you should be able to find that.
Ally
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