Welcome to Adrian Coe's 40th Birthday Bike Trip blog!
The planets have converged sufficiently on home and work fronts to allow this trip to go ahead!
Departure date is set for the 20th April 2009 and this blog will capture planning and trip updates throughout.
To keep in touch with progress please enter your email address in the field on the right of this page.
Destination is Marrakech and I will be trying to raise money for SOS Children's Villages so please show your support by following the link below.
After Jackki left Marrakech I had a sense that essentially I had done what I wanted to do in Morocco and that the trip needed a boost to avoid the last week feeling like that long journey home after a great holiday. Had to get back to the mindset of travel being the holiday and find some momentum.
Decision made I decided to pile on the miles and head north with the objective of reaching Tanger quickly but without resorting to the motorway. It was a holiday weekend of some kind in northern Morocco so I made a few stops to watch the multi-coloured festivities but didnt hang around too long.
Got to Khenifra just as it went dark on Saturday night, found a hotel easily enough but went slightly up market in the hope of a hot shower. Success. Lots of miles in the bag and properly clean again!
Up early to a clear and beautiful morning, adjusted the chain on the bike in the shade and checked everything out. Started without problem and off we went headed north again.
Basically just kept going apart from fuel stops (unleaded for her, cafe au lait for me) and got to Tanger in early afternoon. Absolute chaos as expected but since I already had a ticket it was all made much easier since I simply had to ride up to the Police and Customs desk. Passport and bike paperwork stamped without the help of the many people offering it and then joining the queue of bikes and cars waiting to get on the fast ferry.
There were a dozen or so bikes this time and we were loaded straight after the foot passengers, of whom there seemed to be thousands and I was amazed just how trusting some of the guys were. They parked the bike as directed and then just left it to be strapped down by the crew. My paranoia was not allowing this and I strapped the bike down myself and checked it with the crew as always.
Rough crossing with sick bags being handed out and the boat jumping around all over the place. Bikes all okay and I rode off into Spain to start the return leg. Intention is to take a different route and see a little more of Spain, first stop Benalmedina and another hot shower but get me away from all these British holidaymakers with thousands of kids and English bars, cafes. This is not my kind of holiday location but it served its purpose last night.
Brief update tonight from Beni Casim just north of Valencia. Lots of miles through spectactular mountains today but a lot of motorways involved.
Had a late full English breakfast before setting off at midday. Route via Malaga, Granada, Murcia and Valencia. Tomorrow heading for the Pyrenees and any route suggestions by email would be welcome.
What a spectacular day of riding! Took the N630 (need to check that road number later) from Vinaroz to Zaragoza this morning and the sections around Morella were fantastic.
Trying to keep pointing North but staying off AutoVia as much as possible was the plan. Hooked around Zaragoza on the motorway and then took the N230 (another one to check) after Huesca (nice little town where i stopped for coffee) and headed firmly into the mountains.
Got up pretty high through the ski resorts and there was still plenty snow around but the roads were clear and the views stunning. Crossed into France and heading the general direction of Pau. Stopped at a little restaurant/hotel around 5-30 pm to enjoy the mountain air for the evening and hopefully watch United v Arsenall on satellite telly.
Set out after breakfast and a strangely disturbed nights sleep, not sure I can handle the drink any more!
Another great day of riding without touching a motorway once. The mountain trail down to Pau was spectacular as expected and I then focused on getting up toward Le Mans using only N and D roads and found some great roads, towns and countryside through the Loire and Dordogne. Did a bit of campsite scouting for the summer en route.
Didnt quite make Le Mans but settled for an F1 hotel and adjacent Macdonalds between Poitiers and Tours. Blog update courtesy of free McD wifi!
Plan tomorrow is to get to Le Havre without motorway and maybe get the overnight crossing instead of the daytime one on Friday. If not I will try to visit the Normandy coast and look for Arromanche/Gold Beach for my Grandad RIP. Friday is a bank holiday in France to celebrate victory in WW2 so am expecting closed petrol stations and hotel shortages so preference is to sail home overnight.
Well my last day in France unfolded as planned with a lovely scenic ride avoiding motorways and following the course of the Loire to avoid major cities in the morning. I rolled up in Le Mans after lunch, did a lap of the 24 Hour circuit, toured the museum and had lunch in the circuit cafe.
Made it to Le Havre around 5PM without rushing and changed the ferry booking. Took a last ride further up the coast to Etratat instead of hanging around in Le Havre and boarded the ferry around 10PM for a good nights sleep en route.
Arrived back in the UK to clouds and pouring rain then went the wrong way coming out of Portsmouth and headed along the A3 instead of M3. All corrected as usual by heading north on first available road and then had a wet but drama free ride home.
As I pulled onto the drive the trip meter ticked over to exactly 4900 miles at journeys end. Thanks for following the blog and I will add some photos and a reflective blurb over the weekend but right now I am home safe after one hell of an adventure.
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