Thursday 1st September
Today I rode up to the beginning of the Picos up to Riano. The area is stunningly beautiful. There’s a large dam and reservoir that still seemed to be holding a vast amount of water despite obvious signs of its level having gone down.
This is my third visit to the roads of the Picos and it never disappoints. Each time I take different roads the Garmin sending me down a long but entertaining dead end track ending in a gravel trail prohibited to motor vehicles. Another rider maybe would have tried it out to see if it goes where I wanted to end up.
The bike has been great and I have been growing in confidence with it despite noticing I’ve lost a large nut on the bash plate (I needed to tighten the others) and wondering whether the wheel bearing at the front was leaking. I cleaned off the grease and dirt and I don’t think it is. Zooming through lovely twisties mostly 4th and 5th gears was such fun.
Back here at the campsite things are emptying out and quietening. The pool isn’t open now it’s September and also the bar seems closed. The ‘Chico’ wasn’t there this morning to pay for another night and the grumpy man with the loud voice seemed to be telling me that he will be back tomorrow. There are only two other tents one housing a mysterious young guy who seems rarely around and another with a car of a couple with bicycles with German number plate I think who arrived today to replace the British couple who left today. Also my neighbour a solitary older man who did not respond to my greeting had completely and noiselessly vanished, tent, cycle and all be the time I woke up, scratched my head and looked around. It’s quite nice being at the end of the season. A little forlorn though. It is super quiet. It’s a juggling act with time and the weather. I really want to avoid camping in the rain. It makes everything awkward but I am restless here. There is not much to do up at Laredo I know apart from walk on the beautiful beach. I keep checking the weather to see if it is still raining there. Even if I leave earlyish on Saturday I could spend the afternoon and evening on the coast.
Solution: I will spend the day tomorrow looking round Leon. Apart from the cathedral there is a gallery of contemporary art and I could head there first.
Watching a large camper van arrive made the phrase ‘Carry your home with you’ come to mind. Even with the limited space on a moto that’s the idea isn’t it – if you are camping? Maybe not so much if you are using hotels. But I like that idea. I will see if I can use it as an organising principal in future. My early aim of buying and adapting a light weight travel bike with off-road capability has been helpful to recall at times when I have been unsure about what I am doing. So some statement like that is good to have.
I think I’ve said it before but the evenings are the best time here. There is still sunshine but it is a perfect temperature. The sun is low through the trees. If I ever come back to Spain, maybe on the way to (attempt again to) ride the ACT again, I will stay here.