The weather forecast had been great for today, clear skies and a warm and sunny ride north, we had a great route planned to take us further north into Portugal and then across to Leon in Spain followed by a run up to the Spanish north coast for a final push into Santander for the ferry.
Last minute change of plan. Rain and lots of it in Guarda, the sky all around looked black and gloomy, definitely not going off into the mountains of northern Portugal in this weather. It was far too risky with wet twisty roads and fully loaded bikes. So we opted for the more direct route that we had taken to get here a week previously. It is a boring route but has some twisty sections but formation riding at speed was the order of the day.
Map reading blunder
An early map reading error saw us travelling in the wrong direction, so a quick turnaround was required before filling up and then we were off again, still in the rain we headed for the Spanish border. It started to dry up the further north we went but it had a look of rain almost all the way, so we stuck to our plans of heading straight for the port.
Because we had delayed the start of the ride and the early map reading blunder (hands up to that one) we did not manage to get onto the twisties from Palencia. We’d have to enjoy the mountain section instead, where we could bank the bikes over that to the edge of the tyre, on the motorway. No chicken strips on any of the bikes today, as we came out of a long 2 km tunnel we were hit by a bank of heat and it got hotter the further down the mountains we rode. This only aided grip as the speed became higher and the bikes banked over even further, absolutely amazing and a place I will grow to love on future trips.
As we entered Santander we found our way to the ferry and enjoyed a well deserved beer a few hours before boarding. We found a nice little beer bar right next to the port where you could sit al fresco and watch the world go by. Our traditions started on this tour, when we arrive at the destination we have a bit of bonding time. We sit and relax and have a beer to celebrate the day’s ride. It allows everyone to unwind and we can give any info we need for later on before people go off to do their own thing.
A calmer crossing
It was now time to catch the ferry, we passed through customs and boarded the ship ready for the return leg. As it is a 24 hour crossing there is time to relax and unwind, have a good evening meal, a few beers and a good sleep to catch up on some much needed rest. The trips are fantastic but you are fully pumped with adrenaline when riding all day and there has to be a time where you come back down from the natural high.
The ferry was late leaving but with a calm crossing forecast we would make up the time of the delayed departure. It was a very calm crossing through the Bay of Biscay, the channel was good too, so in the morning we would be fresh and ready for the return home from the port of Plymouth.
About the riding
Not much to report on a motorway ride, but the pace was set and it stayed pretty quick for the rest of the day. This time everyone had a turn up from, there were six of us and we all took it in turns to ride about 30 miles each before swapping round. This meant we all had two turns in front before reaching Santander.
The pace was good, the riding in formation was good too and the overtakes and general ability had risen considerably since just over a week ago when we were heading the other way.