Transalp travels south to Andorra for some RB2 fun.

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dibbs
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Re: Transalp travels south to Andorra for some RB2 fun.

Post by dibbs » Sun Sep 27, 2015 6:57 pm

Come on Glen you can do it! I can't wait for the next instalment cox f*$#@ng X factor is sooooo boring lol......

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Glenn_G
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Re: Transalp travels south to Andorra for some RB2 fun.

Post by Glenn_G » Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:28 pm

Sorry for delay, here's some more :

Monday morning up in the darkness to have enough time for cuppa tea, breakfast and remove wheel before 09:00. Walking the rear wheel across the bridge I get a few strange looks from passers by but on the other side close by is a FirstStop garage and using my best schoolboy french and sign language I ask if the owner/manager has any roulement de roue, he is concerned he has no new seals to go with new bearings - I say not to worry if he can get me the actual bearings. Awhile later he drives off in his van and returns with a couple of small boxes and takes my wheel into their workshop (their mechanic is working on a Picasso so busy), with the sound of hammer blows I can hear him working on my wheel so I kill time by checking out the river, mountain views and a canoeist :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 1615815874

Walking back to the garage a little while later and the wheel is there with new bearings and all for under 50 Euros - result I thought and very relieved (thumbs) Lots of merci beaucoup's given and a nice tip, as I push the wheel down the road I see the owner/manager holding up my 50 Euro note to the light of the window checking it is real :laugh: I'm back at the campsite for 10am! I forgot to take any pictures when removing the rear wheel, my hands were greasy and didn't want to damage my new phone :) , but I got to use my new ugly stick (thanks KtmRy) again when I changed the front tyre :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 3536264610

My 12v electric mini pump got the tyre pumped up to about 25psi and then popped its fuse but I had no spares, so I would have to check this later at a garage, but it seemed seated ok for now. Feeling a little more relaxed now bike concerns were sorted I set off to take a few pictures of the bridge :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 4393861170

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 3909866962

I then set off south via a nice winding road out of Millau along the 992 past St Georges de Luzencon but realised I need to save time and get on toll roads to get to Andorra quicker, which unfortunately meant bypassing Carcassonne. So went east at St Rome de Cernon via 999 back onto A75 south and it was also getting warmer in the lower altitude, then too hot stuck in bad roads works with traffic tailed back for miles. I managed to filter through to some extent but all three lanes of traffic was taken off the A75 at junction 52 which forced us onto minor roads into Lodeve and then out back onto the A75 at junction 53 not much fun. Then south on changing scenery past Beziers, Narbonne, then went west at Perpignan getting to Prades for the night, filling up before looking for a campsite and found I was almost on fumes again :pinch: :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 1706066018

A nice lady gave me directions to a campsite, and ended up at the municipal site of Camping Plaine Saint - Martin, Prades.

Distance so far 977 miles

Tramp
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Re: Transalp travels south to Andorra for some RB2 fun.

Post by Tramp » Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:03 pm

great read Glenn.....and you havent arrived at the pyrenees yet (thumbs) ...the french are true engineers and wont leave you stranded if they can help it :laugh:

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Re: Transalp travels south to Andorra for some RB2 fun.

Post by Glenn_G » Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:52 pm

Tuesday morning and again up earlyish in the dark, breakfast and packup, quick chat with a cyclist camped nearby who is into day 3 of a 10 day east to west Pyrenees cycle ride - hardcore ! Then I was off west on nice twisty 116, 20 & 2 roads through some of my old ski/snowboarding holiday resorts such as Pas De La Casa, Soldeu etc (they dont look as good in summer/daylight as I remember'd ...) and then onto Andorra La Vella. I followed a waypoint to a fuel station on the outskirts of town to fill up before venturing offroad on the RB2 route. Filled up the bike and got a nice bottle of vino tinto for later as unsure where I'd end up :whistle: , also just about managed to get the airline to work and checked/upped the tyre pressures to 30psi f&r to cope with the rocks and make them last longer (easier to take air out if grip was an issue later). I noticed next door was a Motocard shop and had a look around - impressive lineup of stock. I desperately needed a new pair of mx boots as you can see by the ripped leather, loose rivets and cable tie use :laugh: :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 0998995330

So meet the new storm troopers :laugh: :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 0667860402

I know they look naff in white but in my defence they felt sooooo good first try on, and they were out of stock of all black so I bought them :laugh: As it was warming up I changed over to offroad gloves, top etc and also removed the footpeg rubbers to help boot to peg grip when offroading. Now I was actually about to start the RB2, which was one of the main goals, I was feeling more relaxed. The other goal was a surprise visit to see an old school friend Clive in Roses which was arranged via his wife Di to be Friday evening, and as the RB2 was meant to be 3 days and 450km I couldn't hang around too much along the route. Also after last years experience of attempting the RB10 route I think Vibraction over estimate how long it takes to do these trips (or I'm too slow, bad navigator or faff too much taking pictures etc :laugh: ). So rode out of town down to Saint Julia de Loria off onto the RB2 start feeling great that I'd made it this far, and with expectations of what was to come. Climbing up the switchback roads with cracking views :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 8142384402

Then onto the gravel roads into the woods the front end took a hit on one of the slight whoops and appeared to have cracked the front fender abit and the extension bracket was rubbing on the tyre :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 1075192994

To avoid it splitting totally and giving me road spray all week, out came the gaffa tape, after levering the extension bracket back in line :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 7681534658

I also noticed the weight/side loading of the rear panniers had been constantly pushing the rear of the right sidepanel so that it's front peg mount was damaged (a previous rawl plug/araldite combo bodge that's lasted a few years till now) :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 9381403330

I managed to use a webbing strap to take the strain and keep the front of the panel tucked in nicely, worked for the rest of the trip :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 5662068626

Taking it easier now following the route but still struggled to navigate to waypoint #17 ending up doubling back twice both easterly and westerly tracks before finding the correct southerly turn off. Not long before I find a small fallen tree on a downhill slope, so I wedge some rocks on my side with a view to riding over it :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 5400812738

However instead of just going for it, and probably because I'm taking it easy now as mindful of being on my own solo off roading, you can guess what happened next can't you :laugh: :


...

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 8643352994

Even though it was a downhill slope try as I might I could not lift/push the back end over the tree, bugger. I'd worked up quite a sweat now, more haste less speed me thinks. Only option I could see was to lift/roll the front wheel back over tree and try and turn the bike around the narrow trail (uphill!). Eventually managed to do this and thankful I didn't drop the bike, took off slowly back uphill a little before going downhill. Saw some nice big mushrooms in the open fields going downhill looking for #17, which was proving tricky :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 3255200722

(Over the next few days in Andora & Spain, I saw several cars parked in unusual remote locations, where it appears people love to forage in the woods, and you would sometimes see them with their wicker baskets.)

However just before #17 was a wire fence, but worse still a little way past the fence I could see lots of rocks & large boulders which appeared to block the path and rather than risk getting stuck again I thought I'd try and find a detour. Interestingly, just past these rocks you could see the intended gravel road which seemed to go in two directions, one way presumably onto #18 and the other way maybe I could find an easier route to it. Looking at the topo maps/gpx waypoints I think I found another route to link up with #17, #18 etc - it was completing one of doubleback routes earlier that afternoon I'd done trying to get down the hill to #17 doh. Rather than try this detour now because it was late afternnoon about 5pm and I'd not seen any campsites/b&b for hours I looked for somewhere to kip for the night. Being high up in the mountains not sure I wanted to wild camp so when I came across this refuge I thought I better'd play safe and use it :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 8867485266
https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 6090317394
https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 8593493570

So cooked up some tea, and the vino tinto came in handy I'd bought earlier :laugh: :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 0672643346
https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 1930380322

Once inside the refuge and the sun was gone ~8pm up here it was dark, so headtorch out for awhile sorting stuff out for tomorrow earlish start. Although the refuge metal door could be locked/bolted from the inside I left it unlocked in case any walkers needed to drop in/stay later. I tried not to think about horror films my kids are into before I went to sleep :woohoo:

Distance so far 1076 miles

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boboneleg
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Re: Transalp travels south to Andorra for some RB2 fun.

Post by boboneleg » Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:04 pm

Superb Glenn, keep it coming (thumbs)
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Re: Transalp travels south to Andorra for some RB2 fun.

Post by stanbloke » Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:08 pm

nice one Glenn, makes me miss the Pyrennes even more!!!....me and Paul-s had some cracking days up there. :)

.....hmmm, now i have an xt with knobblies heh heh heh. ;)

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Re: Transalp travels south to Andorra for some RB2 fun.

Post by PHILinFRANCE » Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:41 pm

Nice one Glenn, it is bloody good in them there hills
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. SO come on Bob,Stan and Paul Jax shack is all but up and running ...fancy a play in the hills B)

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Re: Transalp travels south to Andorra for some RB2 fun.

Post by Simon_100 » Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:12 pm

Ace report matey - following you with glee (thumbs)

Regs

Simon
Be sure to visit www.thespanishbiker.com the invaluable guide to motorcycling in Spain - plus guided rides, HISS Events* and off road touring support service



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Re: Transalp travels south to Andorra for some RB2 fun.

Post by Glenn_G » Wed Sep 30, 2015 7:09 pm

Thanks for feedback guys, managed to type some more up from my diary notes and best of the pictures :

Wednesday morning up at silly o clock for a pee, which was abit spooky in the dark at the top of a mountain - eerily quiet, apart from the occasional cowbell :cheer: . Then up awhile later proper with the alarm at 06:30 but still dark so had to use my headtorch for prepping breakfast and getting ready. I didn't think I'd get bored of porridge but I did by the end of the week :( Sun rose slowly whilst packing the bike, and soon enough off back tracking to find way past #17 and saw a little red squirrel run across the track. Soon enough I found the track past #17 to get to #18 via a different route, here's the view looking back up the hill, the upper right hand side in the trees was where I got stuck on the fallen tree, along with the open downhill mushroom spotting lower middle, with the left of the shot where the wire fence/wall of rocks & boulders blocked the path/track :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 9178144642

and it was the westerly track I half did yesterday :pinch: ! I did not go to the end/get this far yesterday as there was no reference/trail/track shown on gps/gpx. I was initially a little annoyed I didn't find this out yesterday, but then realised I probably would have carried on further and missed out on the opportunity to stay overnight in the refuge - which I really enjoyed, so maybe these things happen for a reason...

Feeling really good (from the refuge experience) and that I'm out earlyish doing the RB2 with fantastic views :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 3302736658
https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 7907207602
https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 6941560866

Along here I disturbed a largish bird of prey (no idea what) and it flew along in front of me for a little while before peeling off down the valley. Further on I need to avoid #43 due to locked gate across the track, and had made notes to detour round to #47, which proved tricky initially doubling back across fields, down dead ends but it lead me to getting some nice shots :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 1741497090

and my favorite picture of the trip :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 2696004450

Got back on route and carried on with a quick pitstop to fill the hydration pack and reserve water bottles at Adraen :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 9777662706

Then decided to cut out the small #81 to #111 north easterly loop around to save a bit of time (this was to be a big mistake as it included a fuel stop!) and so carried on blissfully unaware south from #112. Stopping sometimes to capture the scenery (though photos never give you the same perspective as your own eyes/vision) :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 1446865122
https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 1766804034

I also detoured around the downhill ruts at #124 to avoid any mishaps :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 8202632114

doing a north easterly loop from #122 round to pickup #130 late afternoon going onto reserve and carrying on thinking there would be a fuel stop on route surely. It seemed to get more remote and so stopped to check fuel stops on garmin south but my Pyrenees maps ended just ahead (did not have Spanish topo with me) and could not see any close by. Garmin was saying 20 miles to PrePra but that was north, and I had less than that left in reserve - started to get stressed abit now :woohoo: Reluctantly tracked backed hoping to see a 4*4 as had seen the odd one now and again, sure enough one approached a little way back - but did not slow down - bugger ! Thinking to myself 'don't panic Mr Mannering' as it was gone 4pm now but a little further on back tracking came across a dwelling in the middle of no where and someone was in their back garden, so pulled up and approached them, a little unsure but tried some basic French and Spanish and it turns out he was Spanish/Castellano. By using sign language/pointing fingers and my Garmin map he directed me to head to Saldes which apparently has a fuel station (not shown on my garmin), so I left hopeful after lots of muchas gracias and a quick picture he laughed at when shown :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 2753378674

Managed to fill up at Saldes and decided to camp early tonight, first site was private and not taking visitors, but then found Camping Repos El Pedra Saldes. I found a pitch and put my tent up facing outwards and so could see up out through the trees to the Pedraforca :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 0096817746

A quick checkover the bike and all okay thankfully, only this minor thing:

https://picasaweb.google.com/1114373175 ... 6337616386

Distance so far 1176 miles

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Re: Transalp travels south to Andorra for some RB2 fun.

Post by Simon_100 » Thu Oct 01, 2015 6:48 am

I'm really enjoying your report Glenn. The problems you had with the Vibractions guide is quite a common one, it's almost impossible to keep entirely up to day but they do invite comments and updates from users on their website that are worth checking.

I'm not entirely sure of the route, but from your description, place names, etc. but I think a lot of your route would coincide with the waking map that accompanies the GR11 guide from Editorial Alpina. The guide itself is in Spanish - there is an excellent one in English from Cicerone Press - but the map is a big improvement on the ICC 1: 50 000 maps for the kind of details it seems that you needed.

Regs

Simon

PS - from Saldes I think I can guess the trail you will next be on - one f the loveliest in the Pyrenees?

PPS the ICC maps only ci¡over Catalonia, so Andorra is off limits for those maps too!
Be sure to visit www.thespanishbiker.com the invaluable guide to motorcycling in Spain - plus guided rides, HISS Events* and off road touring support service



*Highly Informal Sojourns in Spain

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