5th JULY 2007
29th June | Sunday
1st July | Tuesday
3rd July | Thursday
5th July | Sunday
8th July | Tuesday
10th July | Friday
13th July | Sunday
A day off today. Plenty of phone calls and
pictures sent back to Frances. I'm really jealous
that Henry has Leslie here. Still, there's lots
for me to do before we can set off again. I
had to get my rack repaired if I was to be able
The odd-job man for the complex gave us some
vague directions to where we might get some
welding done so, after a fine breakfast, Bill
and I set off for the blacksmiths and the others
made for the beach. We rode round and round
and weren't getting anywhere. Then, out of the
blue, found ourselves stopped by the sound of
an angle grinder. I popped my head in the door
and found a fully functioning workshop. I approached
the guy who was obviously in charge (he had
clean hands) and showed him the broken rack.
A bracket had broken at the weld and it needed
about 3 minutes with a mig welder. If he hadn't
spoken so fast, I would now be able to tell
you what the Spanish for Sod Off, English Pig
I asked him if there was anywhere else?
I think he told me to try next door. Well, not
being very impressed with the level of customer
insolence, I moved on up the street. Another
workshop and another guy fabricating another
set of gates.
In I went, with my rack and asked if he could
help. He must have spent last night drinking
in the same bar as the last bloke. Same speech,
same hand signals. I didn’t interrupt
him. I just knew that I HAD to get this rack
I put on my best puppy dog face and looked him
smack in the eye. Senior, I pointed to myself
and said desperado por favor?. It was all I
could think to say. He tutted and sighed and
grabbed the rack from me. Three minutes later
it was fixed, as good as new.
He shoved the rack back in my hands and I opened
my wallet asking him how much? The strange thing
was he wouldn't take any money. For a drink
beer I gestured with my hand. He smiled and
still wouldn't take anything. Strange people.
Perhaps they just like to have a heavy duty
moan now and then? Not like the English, what
Bill and I made several attempt to find the
others on the beach but, to be honest, it was
too hot to be out in the noon-day sun, even
for us mad dogs. So we did the only thing that
could be done, in the circumstances. We found
a bar with air conditioning and had a beer.
Lunch was swordfish cooked fresh. It was scrumptious.
We made our way back to the apartment later
in the afternoon and refitted the rack and luggage.
It transpired that the reason that the rack
had failed was that I had bracketed my panniers
from the same rack meaning that it was carrying
some 300% of its design load! I rearranged my
luggage as best I could so that there was less
weight on the back of the rack. In addition,
we lashed things up with as many cable ties
as we could fit on. That would have to do.
It was decided that we'd go out for dinner to
a tapas bar. We ended up in more of a restaurant
and dined al fresco
Plate after plate of food came to the table
and we all tried a bit of everything. We wandered
off around the town afterwards and just managed
to catch an Italian style ice cream shop which
we raided for desert.
STATSISTICS - DAY 7;
Just an extra 10 miles around Ayomonte
FRIDAY 6th AUGUST 2007
1402 miles in total
Average 200 miles per day
After a good night's sleep, we set off for
Portugal and to meet a friend of Henry's named
Bart in Silves, Portugal. It was Bart's birthday
and we were invited to the party! A straight
ride along the motorway to Silves would have
been over in less than three hours so we decided
to take a more circuitous route via the mountains.
We soon left the motorway and started off inland,
climbing up into the hills and winding our way
ever higher. The scenery was nice but nothing
compared to that which we had seen on the way
down to Ayomonte. We knew that a break and lunch
beckoned and as we rounded a bend we came across
The only problem was that they only served beer,
no food! So we had a beer, well it would have
been rude not to. Topped up with yet more agua.
We were getting through litres of the stuff
a day. Ten minutes later, Henry woke me up and
we set off down the mountain
We came across a little village and found a
shop and did our bread, cheese, ham and fruit
trick again. All eaten, sat on a bench in the
shade on the side of the road in the village.
We carried on down the hills, heading for a
resort named Portimao where we could achieve
our goal and prime directive, to have a dinner
of B-B-Q'd sardines on the beach! We had looked
forward to this from the early planning stages,
months ago and it had become the goal for the
entire trip. As Bill had said we won't need
a map, keep the sun on your left in the morning
and on our right in the afternoon and follow
the scent of the sardines.
We made Portimao mid afternoon and looked out
a café / bar on the beach.
We asked expectantly for Beer and Sardines for
three and looked aghast when we were told No
sardinas. Disaster. We settled for the beer.
Bill said that, when he had been to Portimao
before with Naomi, there were numerous sardine
stalls on the dockside where the river disappeared
inland under a lattice work steel bridge. Well,
I figured that as we were on the coast on the
west side of Portimao, if we headed back through
the town, and kept to the coast as much as we
could then we would have to find the river and
we would then find the bridge.
I led the way and followed my plan. For a moment,
I thought It must have looked as if I knew where
we were going. Just then, around a bend and
voila, there was Bill's bridge and the quayside.
We parked the bikes up and surveyed the area
for the sight or smell of sardines. Nothing.
Bill said that the quay used to be festooned
with little stalls, all cooking sardines over
charcoal. Looks like the Health and Safety twats
have made it to Portugal! We decided that we
hadn't come all this way to fail. Across the
road from the quay was a very quaint local restaurant
/ bar. We ventured in. He had one of those large
tanks where you can pick your lobster or crab
for lunch. Henry approached the man.
One question, one word.
Sim said the man, nodding his head. Another
One, two, three bellowed Henry pointing to Bill,
me and himself.
Sim, sim, sim and this time a thumbs up!
A one word language great!
We'd already had a beer at the last place so
opted for three cokes. The chef disappeared
into the kitchen and returned with a bowl of
bread and the back he went. He came back 5 minutes
later with Octopus Salad. Now, I didn't want
to say too much about it because Henry and Bill
both tucked in. I think of myself as adventurous
but I couldn't face a second fork-full.
Another 10 minutes and we had a plate of grilled
sardines and potatoes to die for.
Plenty of garlic, lemon and olive oil. A bit
of careful knife work and the flesh lifted clear
of the bone leaving a Tom & Jerry style
fish skeleton. No bones to pick out of your
mouth. They were well worth the ride. One of
the best meals we had eaten so far.
Once we had finished, we returned to the bikes.
Henry phoned Bart and got directions to a camp
site. We struggled a bit but, before long we
were at the gates of the best site we had seen
so far. Henry went to the reception to book
us in. Big problem. It turned out that it was
a private site for members of the International
Camping Club and that Enfields were not allowed.
What prejudice. We were banjaxed.
It was getting late in the day and we had no
idea where we could go. Henry decided to call
Bart, his friend in Portugal whom we had come
to visit. Bart knew of another site and would
be with us in 10 minutes. Bill found some shade
and we waited. Little did Bill know that he
was sat on the steps of the local Home for the
True to his word, 10 minutes later, a black
BMW car swooped around the corner and out got
Bart. After the pleasantries, we all followed
Bart to a site, right out on the Eastern side
of town. We all checked in and Bill found a
basket on the reception counter full of sweets.
He was just about to hand them round when he
realised that they were condoms! Perhaps I should
have slipped a couple in the end of his sleeping
bag? That would have set the cat among the pigeons
when he got home!
We pitched our tents and had a lightning change
of clothes and a quick wash. Then it was into
Bart's Beemer for the party! Out through the
countryside to another town called Silves. Bart
lived with his charming wife, in a two story
house in town with a delightful roof garden.
This was where the party was to be. Bart was
from the Netherlands and his wife was from Argentina.
Before the night ended, the roof garden would
resemble the United Nations with people from
over 8 different countries. A brand new gas
B.B.Q. and a keg of beer greeted us. It turned
out that they were having problems with the
beer as it was serving 90% head and 10% beer!
I gave them my experience from my barman days
and soon, good beer with a respectable head
was being produced.
I talked to Bart about our experience and how
far we had travelled. Bart explained that he
had an Enfield but that he couldn't use it on
the road at the mome3nt as it needed registering
locally and he had mislaid the paperwork. I
asked him if he had bought it locally.
Oh no, I bought it in Madras When he explained
that he had then ridden it back overland via
Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Greece………
I felt very humbled. And there was me going
on about a mere couple of thousand miles under
my belt in civilised countryside. It made our
effort seem like a walk in the park.
Soon we were joined on the terrace by Bart's
parents, his brother and girlfriend and many
more friends and acquaintances. All in all,
we ended up with British, Dutch, Argentine,
Brazilian, French, Portugese. It ended up more
like a post Eurovision party. The party went
on until the early morning and then we found
that despite Bart's best efforts, there wasn't
a taxi to be had for neither love nor money!
Bart came up trumps again and ferried us back
to our site in his car.
If you’re reading this Bart, thanks once
STATSISTICS - DAY 8;
134 miles Ayomonte - Portimao
SATURDAY 7th AUGUST 2007
1536 miles in total
Average 192 miles per day
Despite the party the night before, we were
up with the skylark. We wanted to try and get
as close to Gibraltar as we could before the
day was through. We had a lot of miles between
us and home and as we wanted to take in Gibraltar,
The Millau Bridge in France and call in on Brendan
then we knew we had to get the daily average
up. We also didn't want to have to do all of
the trip from here to Calais on motorways but
a high proportion was going to be inevitable
if we were going to stay on track.
We wanted to avoid having to extend the holiday
into the third week, so the available time was
Added to this was the fact that I really didn't
fancy the ferry back from St. Malo to Poole
and was thinking of trying a shorter crossing.
I had phoned Frances, my wife, back in the UK
and set her the task of seeing what was available
on the Wonder-Web. She beavered away looking
at all of the available options. It turned out
that just about the best deal was the Channel
The added bonus was that the likelihood of seasickness
via this route was reduced to zero! This appealed
to me a lot. The downside was that it meant
more miles and more expense. But the one for
all and all for one spirit prevailed and we
all agreed that this was the plan.
Off we set along the motorway, past Faro and
back towards Espania. Before long, we were on
the Bridge over the Rio Guadiana, the border.
From here, I would be able to see the dockside
workshops where my friendly rack repairer worked!
Onwards towards Seville and then, we needed
to take a different motorway towards Jerez and
Cadiz and along the coast towards Gibraltar.
The temperature was getting hotter and hotter
and, even though I had always said I wouldn't,
I found myself riding in shorts and T shirt.
I was not alone! It was now the low thirties
and we climbed a long hill on the outskirts
of Seville just before we had to negotiate the
interchange with the motorway to Jerez.
That's when it happened.
I was leading when, all of a sudden, my bike
gave a clunk and felt as if it had jumped out
of gear. I dropped to fourth and let out the
clutch. No power at all. Nothing. I pulled over
onto the hard shoulder and Henry and Bill pulled
in behind me.
I explained the symptoms and we tried the electric
start. The engine seemed to be turning over
faster than normal. I tried the kick start things
seemed too easy. Henry whipped out the plug
and confirmed the fact. No compression. The
tappet cover was the next thing he removed and
we discovered the exhaust push rod was adrift.
Off with the tank and off with the exhaust rocker
cover and we found that the exhaust valve had
seized in the open position. Henry managed to
get to push rod back in place by de-adjusting
and re-adjusting it.
Then, as we were thinking about what to do and
as the engine began to cool down a little, the
valve began to creep back. Before long, we had
some compression back and, hey presto, it started!
It turned out (we think) that the heat, the
3 mile long up-hill pull and the fact that my
oil was a little low had caused the problem.
Henry said that it was a known problem with
this engine and was one of the reasons that
the PAV port had been placed in the head from
the exhaust pipe to cool the valve slightly.
The fact that I had removed and blanked off
the PAV port was another matter!
We were just about to start putting things back
together when, up drew the Guardia Civil (Traficō
Divisiōn) [Motorway Police to the you].
Bill ran over to them before they could get
out of the car. He waved two fingers at them
(yes, those two fingers) and shouted We'll only
be a couple of minutes chaps.
They both got out of the car, looking as menacing
as could be. Gaucho moustaches, sun glasses,
hats pulled low and guns on hips they swaggered
over to us.
Christ I thought. Where's Clint Eastwood when
you need him?
All that was missing was the Ting of spurs on
their boots. They brushed Bill aside and made
their way over to Henry and me at the disassembled
I babbled that we had fixed the problem and
were nearly finished….. The driver waved
his hand as if to say silence. He looked past
me and approached the bike.
Zis bike, ........... she has many, many years,
Bugger me if the Enfield hadn't done it again.
Anyone who's ever ridden an Enfield in recent
times will attest to the amount of attention
that they mistakenly think is being paid to
them when it is really the bike that sucks people
in! I suppose it's a bit like Peter Stringfellow
when he's on the beach with his missus. They
couldn't have been more helpful. They even gave
us directions to the nearest garage so I could
top up with some oil.
We motored onwards to a campsite at a place
called Conil De La Frontera. As with most of
the site we had found, it was 'Hobson's Choice
and this time, it seemed that we had landed
in the middle of a rave. It seems that if you're
a young Spaniard then the thing to do on a Saturday
night is to go camping and do the music / drinking
/ jiggy-jiggy thing. Ah well……bless.
I went into town and got some provisions for
dinner and breakfast. Chicken curry & rice
and more pork and paprika bangers for breakfast.
It seemed that Henry had pitched his tent in
what used to be the main short-cut to the toilets
and showers. He did the only thing that a Brit
abroad could do, in the circumstances. He erected
several garrotte lines at various heights to
make sure that he didn't miss out the people
that were vertically challenged! There were
many shrieks and squeals that evening followed
by shouts of Serves you bloody-well right and
Get orf moi land!. Ray Mears would have been
so proud. It's lucky Henry didn't catch someone
out who was sprinting to the bog with their
brown light flashing.
STATSISTICS - DAY 9;
245 miles Portimao Conil De La
1781 miles in total
Average 198 miles per day