Hello to all from rainy Cordoba,
The Odyssey 2000 saga continues and Mary and I are hanging in.
On our last update I had mentioned we were anxiously awaiting our 15 + hour bus ride to Gibraltar, well we made it and it was not one of our most enjoyable adventures. Following a meal fit for a prisoner of war, we lined up to get a seat on one of four buses chartered to drive us overnight to Gibraltar, buses I may add that had no facilities (improvised and bought a pail to rent to the passengers, no takers). We stopped at three way stations to answer the call of nature and to say we overpowered the facilities would be a gross understatement!! TK&A listed the evening as a bed, we should have read the fine print as it states "probable"
The only ones who slept were those 5' tall or less as the seats made coach class airline seats look like first class. Tim must have got a deal. We tried some sleeping pills but to no avail. The one saving grace was that upon our arrival we were treated to a nice (non shared) room and brunch. Would have gone out but the effects of no sleep dictated some much needed rest.
For those anxiously contemplating a trip to Gibraltar for your next vacation may we suggest you save your money. Unless you are into aggressive ape's and a few old buildings, and a big rock, there is nothing to recommend (sorry there was a good fish and chips place). Everyone is scratching his or her heads as to why we went there but I guess Tim had a good reason. We even had sit down meals which was a treat but after four months of 'survival of the fittest' eating it was interesting to see how we all responded to civility.
Following a lay over day and a nice breakfast it was off again to ride to Torremolinos, a 130km ride along the Costa de Sol. We chose an alternate route to that requested by TK&A, as Tim in his infinite wisdom had us climbing a mountain by going in land, as it was we still did about 3000+ feet of climbing. The dinner provided by TK&A was nice we chalk it up to a strong dollar vs. the peseta not a change in attitude by the organizers. We opted for a hotel as they are now into a contest to see how many tents they can put in the least amount of space, a game we chose not to play.
The next morning we had a nice breakfast and headed off on an 118km ride to Motril. This was a 3500+ foot day of climbing along an at times ugly industrial park. The weather made up for any of the grime, as it was one of the few days where we actually saw the sun, a nice change. We were able to rent a small cabin at the campsite and walked 1km to dinner at a restaurant down the road, not a bad one as meals go. The down side of the day was the two flats we encountered on our back tire. These were the first since Baja, Mexico so guess we cannot complain, not easy when you are on the side of the road changing tubes!!!
Next day was a surprise 80km day but the 6500 feet of climbing within the first 50km more than made up for the lack of mileage. The weather cooperated and in fact it got downright hot at one point, to Mary's credit she didn't complain (too much). Once again TK&A played stack the tents but compensated by offering us a MODIFIED picnic dinner. What you ask is a modified picnic dinner? Take one plastic shopping bag, add an aluminum container containing salad, another with cold pasta and another with cold mystery meat and greasy fries and you have a modified picnic dinner. To compensate we had an ice cream bar for dessert, as the warm yogurt didn't cut it.
When we arose the next morning it was raining, so along with about a significant number of other riders we found alternate transportation to our next stop, which is Cordoba. If we had ridden it would have been a 162km day with about 5000 feet of climbing. Believe it or not we opted for a 2 + hour bus ride!!! Buses we may add, that were significantly more comfortable than the ones Tim arranged for the 15+ hour ride, even had a toilet.
Things are busy in Spain as they are in the midst of religious celebrations and everywhere we go there are crowds. The people are dressed up in the traditional garb and it is neat to see the little kids all decked out in their finery. The only down side is the effluent left behind by the horses people are riding in the city streets, makes for some quick steering adjustments to avoid.
People are great, communications can be a problem at times but we do overcome. Spain is definitely a place we would return to but not with 250 other bikers.
About one more week remaining in Spain and Portugal, before we return to Washington, for the next leg of our trip. Mary and I are looking forward to landing on North American soil, as it will give us a chance to meet with our friends and family, both of which we have missed during the past four plus months. We are supposed to depart on the 12th with a new Canadian charter company, trust they fly 747's.
Mary and I are in good health and send our love and best wishes to all. Will close for now stay tuned for our next update with any luck from Lisbon, Portugal.
Dave & Mary