A day out riding with Dominique

Dominique is a charismatic young Austrian man, I kept thinking he's just like I imagine Gustav to have been.  

More about Dominique in unfinished story A little bit of Cradle Mountain history in Morocco. 

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Today I rode from Granada to  Baza, a distance of 100 km as the crow flies. With Dominique suggestions for some great roads and scenery I linked his suggestions into a 350 km circuitous route around and over mountain ranges and stunning coastline. Dominique didn't come with me, he's off riding BMWs in Portugal  

From Granada I got onto some minor roads, heading back towards Malaga, great farming country, lots of olives, almonds and a few fields of hay. Tractors on the roads, no livestock and beautiful bends a plenty. I then switched back towards the Sierra Nevadas, covered in snow and quite splendid and come down to the coast through a very rugged valley, bridges and tunnels everywhere. I got quite a surprise when I popped out on the coast to see yet another built up area of high rise appartments. 

 just to let you know it was me concentrating to make sure I got the tractor in the snap. 

just to let you know it was me concentrating to make sure I got the tractor in the snap. 

 every 5 km across much of France, Spain and Morocco I've come across these signs. Do they refer to the green thing in the photo above this one??

every 5 km across much of France, Spain and Morocco I've come across these signs. Do they refer to the green thing in the photo above this one??

 beautiful countryside, not quite as good as my Sulphur Creek hinterland though. 

beautiful countryside, not quite as good as my Sulphur Creek hinterland though. 

 springtime and all the roadside weeds are flowering, the poopies make it look very pretty. 

springtime and all the roadside weeds are flowering, the poopies make it look very pretty. 

Ive been running a dialogue in my head about whether to abandon the "lap" concept as all I've seen in the last few weeks from Tarifa to Malaga has been very high density living and no beach access for much of it as the resorts claim their bit of beach!! So I thought I might stick to the hills where there is always good riding, and it's a bit cooler on the really hot days too.  

Once on the coast today, I did think inland is the way to go, each time I tried to ride to the waters edge it was always a dead end and pretty yucky.  

 another white washed holiday town, this one is Solabrena. 

another white washed holiday town, this one is Solabrena. 

I did persevere however and was rewarded for that. I finally found some beaches, unpopulated and unpolluted. Gorgeous. Even Harri was impressed.  

 Harri catching a few rays on his Aussie beach towel. 

Harri catching a few rays on his Aussie beach towel. 

And then it just gets better, still following some of Doms suggestions I cam across an amazing coastal road. 10 times better than the Great Ocean Road, scenery, beach, pull off spots, and as I was heading east, still trying to do the lake clockwise I had the best views.  

 great picturesque coastline 

great picturesque coastline 

 Mediterranean panorama 

Mediterranean panorama 

It reminded me of one of Franks story's. When he was still living in USA, he decided to ride a 125Hodaka around Australia. (This was in the early 1970's) doing his lap from Sydney to Sydney he thought I would be best to ride clockwise. He was along way out of Sydney before he realised that because we ride on the left he would have got much better views going the other way!!!

 lunch stop

lunch stop

 the Spanish love their tunnels. 

the Spanish love their tunnels. 

 more coastal beauty

more coastal beauty

 looking over the edge, this is where I imagine the rich and famous take a holiday, near Calahonda 

looking over the edge, this is where I imagine the rich and famous take a holiday, near Calahonda 

I had lunch in a beautiful beachy restaurant, they grilled tomatoes, capsicum, eggplant and zucchini for me, served with fresh squeezed OJ. The veggies couldn't have been fresher, the whole local area is covered in shade houses for veggie growing. In places they are right up to the beach, they are everywhere and very conspicuous on the landscape. 

 shade houses for veggies, grown right up to the beach. They reminded me of Bedouin tents the way they are roped down, for wind prection maybe. 

shade houses for veggies, grown right up to the beach. They reminded me of Bedouin tents the way they are roped down, for wind prection maybe. 

My afternoon was then spent heading inland over the Sierra Gadors and Sierra Bazas. Both beautiful and the Bazas got up to 2000m, no snow but the road surface was a mess due to the snowy weather. 

 looking down at the road I'd just ridden up. 

looking down at the road I'd just ridden up. 

 looking up at more windy roads. 

looking up at more windy roads. 

 churches always take pride of place. Some of this terracing is natural. There are stones everywhere!! 

churches always take pride of place. Some of this terracing is natural. There are stones everywhere!! 

There was no traffic on these roads and as a deer ran across the road in front of me, then around the next bend were a flock of sheep and goats, not fenced and not tended I got to thinking it is probably a good thing I have my SPOT in my pocket.  

 Spanish snow poles, up about 2000m on some gravelly road. The vegetation here was thyme, with a very tiny leaf, I could smell it riding along. Heavenly. 

Spanish snow poles, up about 2000m on some gravelly road. The vegetation here was thyme, with a very tiny leaf, I could smell it riding along. Heavenly. 

And just to cap off an amazing day, the lovely woman that runs the guest house I'm staying in is visiting Cradle Mountain in January, so I shall see her again.  

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Carmen, my host for the night. She is coming to Cradle Mountain in January. So I will see her again.