Sunday May 17th 2009
After a really great stay in the hot cloudless spring weather of southern spain it was time to be heading back home. I had the best of reasons to go - an impending house move and a new baby well on the way, but it was hard to tear myself away from a life of decadance down Malaga way.
I finally got on my way around midday, the bike felt heavy and unwieldy having got used to being unfettered by all the baggage it had faithfully lugged down here some weeks ago. I took the main coastal autoroute past Malaga and heading round the coast towards Nerja then Motril - with stunning glimpses of beautiful coastal scenes at nearly every turn.
I headed over to the scenic area south of the Sierra Nevada that I had missed out on the way down - The beautiful Alpujarras region.
It was after having turned inland away from the coast road that I had the first intimations that something was not well with the bike, a certain vagueness to the handling and on slower corners a tendency for it to 'shake its head' - the bars weaving in my hands. I tried to put it down to the load, but it slowly got worse. I was disconcerted.
I hit the heart of the Alpujarras at Orgiva and immediately took a turning out west to Lanjarron, - the wrong way! Getting to Lanjarron I realised my mistake and hot-footed it back towards Orgiva aware that this was a long day already.
As I neared Orgiva again, the bike started to wobble any time I was cruising, - if i sped up or slowed down it was stable - otherwise it wobbled. Eventually I had to stop and investigate. Well I soon found that the rear wheel was wobbling crazily, - I looked at the wheel nuts and they appeared tight. I guessed that the bevel box had failed somehow. - That's it, the end of the trip!
I limped back into Orgiva and stopped outside a garage. I just sat and cursed for a while. I couldn't believe it was all over, but I had to start thinking about arranging a place to stay and getting the bike recovered.
Idly I fiddled a bit more with the wheel and nuts and then a brainwave! - The nuts were tight but the studs were loose. - They must have backed off somehow. With a glimmer of hope growing I wandered into the garage, where the friendly owners lent me a large wheel brace. I pulled out one stud and behold - it still had healthy threads. I put it back in and it tightened up ok, so I tried the others and they went ok too. So a hint to owners of the earlier monolever BMWs - ST and GS with three instead of four wheel studs - beware they can loosen up with potentially disasterous results. Allright the trip is back on. I returned the brace to the garagistes, loaded up and off I went.
So then the next couple of hours were spent trundling through the breathtaking scenery of the Alpujarras.
In the Alpujarras pictures say more than words;
Trevelez. At an elevation of 1476m the highest village in Spain.
Well from the lows of Orgiva and the heights of Trevelez it was a long ride back down and through the desert region of Almeria to the beautiful (and still unspoilt) coastal village of Agua Amarga.
If I had not been far behind schedule it would have been a fabulously enjoyable experience, but as so often on this trip the time was just slipping away.
I arrived too late for food at the Hostal Family, and here's the state I was in. An exhausting but ultimately rewarding day.
Posted by Rob Hodder at May 17, 2009 10:30 PM GMT
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