Phew, what scorcher today has been!
Harley and I got away from Tudela at 09:30 and promptly found heavy traffic for nearly twenty miles until we got onto the Autopista, then we virtually had the road to ourselves! The sun was pretty unforgiving, even at that time of the morning and the temperature was already well into the mid twenties Celsius. The landscape remained quite parched, though nowhere near as arid as our desert exploits saw last evening. We skirted Zarragoza, a large mess in Ebro valley. I know it has nice parts, but the industrial sprawl that has surrounded the old city kinda spoils it for me. The regional names around those parts always seem quite romantic to me; Navarra, Aragon (where Catherine, Henry VIII’s first wife came from) and then Catalonia. The Autopista is a toll road, not cheap, but sure gets you there quicker than the National Routes. I grabbed this quick shot at a toll booth to show the typical scenery that went on for miles and miles!
We cruised into Llieda, for fuel and a visit to the Harley Davidson Dealership where we were made very welcome….all of the staff were ladies. Excellente! The cathedral citadel towers above the old town.
One of the many things I love about my Harley is the way she enables me to engage with complete strangers. By the park gates was just such an example, a group of teenagers gathered around admiring her and I soon realised by their use of signing that they were deaf. One of the lads indicated to me to blip the throttle and when I duly obliged, great merriment ensued, the lad indicated to me that they could feel the vibrations in their stomachs! Try sitting on her for 200+ miles pal, you’ll know what vibration is then! Well actually no, she doesn’t vibrate much at all really, but I digress. Others rushed to the back of Harley to put their hands in the exhaust as it exploded from the pipes, never have I seen such happiness gained from feeling the air vibrate in such a way! After a few minutes of such goofing about, I had to say farewell to our new friends and hit the road. We turned the corner out of sight and stopped, so I could wipe a tear away. That bloody motorbike frequently has a way of putting life into perspective for me and reminding me of how lucky I am for so many things! It’s just one of the reasons that I love her so much, got tears in my eyes again thinking about that moment…
After Llieda, we turned north and started the slow climb to the Pyrenees. I was looking forward to getting some altitude and hopefully cooler air. The land soon began to grow towards the sky and the valleys narrowed as we found harder geology.
Halfway it was time for lunch, fresh apricots and peaches from a roadside stall. Why can’t we have stuff like this in the UK…? Oh yes, cos it’s too bleeding cold and wet! Nice view though.
After a bit more climbing we arrived in the Principality of Andorra and clocked up another country that Harley has graced, that’s six so far! Naturally we just had to visit the H-D dealership, which is not only one of the newest in Europe but probably the most exclusive…until one opens in Monaco!
Now this place, Andorra, is something else…
It’s a bit of an anachronism, the place that the Moors never got around to grabbing when they took over Spain and subsequently no-one else has bothered with! It’s supposed to be a tax haven and also cos it’s tax free a shoppers paradise…well not exactly! Looking at the dealer tee shirt that I bought in Llieda it was €25 before tax, but here in Andorra the same shirt was €27, that’s two bucks more expensive in real terms!!!!! Get this too, Andorra ain’t even in the EU, let alone the Euro zone, but hey any cash will do! The drivers gain my “Most bonkers in Europe” award, the blanket speed limit is 50kph, but now and again there is a 200metre stretch of 60kph, just watch ’em go! That’s when the driver of a Porsche 4WD found out a Harley goes faster, just had to be done! Bizarrely, the fastest stretch of road in Andorra is in the Twin Valleys Tunnel at 80kph, I dunno why either…! Gotta say that I’m not over struck with Andorra, a mate says it’s good for skiing but apart from the highest capital city in Europe I don’t think it’s got that much to offer, give me the Alps any day!
The view out of my room.
Catch ya later!
“Riding down the highway, stoppin’ in the byways, playin’ rock and roll.”
In memory of Piran, an old git, but a true friend!
Yesterday don’t matter when it’s gone.