Looking across to the snow capped alpine mountains seen from the back seat of a motorcycle

Home Travel StoriesNorthern Spain 2018

Dam Lost

Day 7 29th May

I was warmer last night thanks I think to foil blanket on top of the lilo. The Cicadas were loud once again but I have learnt I can deal with them by burying my head into my sleeping bag. However the buzzing noise from what I think was some farm machinery, some kind of fan, drove me a bit mad. I had to wrap my ears even tighter inside the sleeping bag to try and deaden that noise. Even so the noise would still penetrate and I did not get a very peaceful or good night's rest.

I could have done with a sound sleep as today we plan to cover around 200 miles. The forecast remains grim. Rain is still predicted and lots if it. So it would appear our discussion last night to change our plans from going south to Salamanca and heading instead back up north to the Ponferrada area, where there is a slim chance of less rain, remains a good plan.

Expecting a thorough soaking on route I am greatly cheered that I pre booked a warm dry lodge at El Bosque de los Sueños in Cubillos del Sil - León for tonight. 

However although the deluge was and still is forecast for all day the morning is dry, we are very happy to get to decamp in the dry. It is an added bonus we did not expect.

We will hit the motorways today as it is a long ride to get to the lodge at El Bosque de los Sueños.
We pull on the waterproofs in readiness for the onslaught. As we travel on along the motorway I become aware of a unexpected occurrence...it is still not raining. It is still dry when we come off the motorway to stop for fuel. 

I find the A road which appears to run alongside the motorway more interesting than the motorway itself and ask Ren if we can stay on this instead. Ren however doesn't want a long day of fighting with the elements so suggests a quick as possible method of travelling is best for today rather than our usual bimbling. After all the rain must be due any second.

Unbelievably we are still dry when later on we stop for a drink of tea. The wind is cold so the hot tea is most welcome to warm me up.

Black threatening clouds surround us. They travel everywhere with us. But somehow we just keep dodging the actual rain. We seem to exist in a bubble of dryness. We can see rain in the distance. We ride through wet streets where the rain has preceded us but none falls upon us.
This is most surreal, I always get rained on.

Our good fortune however runs out when we end up missing a junction we want and we end up on the wrong motorway which is a TOLL road...Nooooo! The mistake costs us €10.30 for a few miles of toll travel, ouchhh!!

Once off the toll road we get lost some more on the mountain roads, somehow we just keep heading in the wrong direction.  Damn it all, I can see Ren is getting frustrated but hey ho we get to see a most impressive damn while lost. We only stop for a quick look because time is pressing on.

Vertical rocks and angular mountains around the Damn
A tiny Spanish village nestling in the bottom of a vast steep lush green valley
What appears to be a small lodge with the beautiful reservoir and hills behind
An information sign telling us about the damn and the village of Los Barrios De Luna
Damn it we are lost again.

Ren takes the unusual step of employing Sat Nav to help us find our way. Unfortunately Sat Nav is even more lost and confused than Ren is as it takes us into a one track village that life last visited in a previous century. No wonder no one comes here, it is a dead end to nowhere. I wonder briefly if we have entered the twilight zone and the tune from the TV series runs through my head as I consider the possibility we may be trapped here forever. 

I have to stop my musing when I see how upset Ren has become. It is a lot of responsibility to be the path finder. I make soothing sounds and endeavour to make light of the situation to try and relax Ren. It's fine haa haa we be fine haa haa no problem haa haa. Just err get out of here quick because by the look of things the inhabitants have become aware of strangers in their midst and I think they think supper has arrived early so Go GO GOOO!!! In a haze of churned up dirt we escape with our skin intact, no thanks to bloody Sat Nav. 

Eventually we find the right roads and arrive around 5pm at the lodges. Ren did amazing once again at getting us to our destination. 

A large welcome sign in many languages at the entrance to the lodge site
Wahoo we finally found it.

The surrounding area is not particularly picturesque as it is situated near a large power station but the lodges themselves are within their own pretty landscaped enclosure. 

A selection of wood lodges amidst trees, shrubs and lawns, quite pretty
Lovely landscaping surrounding the lodges.

There is a note taped to the office door saying no one is currently at the office but to call the number below. It transpires the owner is picking up his son and will be back shortly. We chat to another guest, he is English and is walking the Camino. Apparently he got a discount off his lodge for being a pilgrim.
The owner arrives and is most pleasant. We get booked in and he tells us we are welcome to park our bikes inside the fenced complex. In fact we are even allowed to park the bikes on the lodge's covered veranda, perfect. 

Ren's CB500X Honda on the veranda of the lodge
Sharon's Kawasaki Z250SL on the veranda of the wooden lodge
Happy bikes.

The lodge is extremely spacious with two bedrooms. If we were travelling with another couple the lodge would have been far cheaper than camping. There is a kitchen with a fridge, kettle and microwave. The only problem with this charming place is a drip from the hot water tank in the bathroom. This is solved by placing the mop bucket under the drip. 

Ren relaxing on the double bed of the wooden lodge
A small sink, microwave and cupbaords make the kitchen of the lodge
4 metal framed bunks in the second bedroom of the lodge
Our little bit of luxury. 

We have a stroll into town. Locals see us looking a bit lost and wave us over to ask us what we are looking for and offer help. We want a shop and are directed to one. The shop offers a very limited choice of suppliers but we find something to microwave. 

A stone house with bent and aged guttering and windows next to a sharp clean modern property
Cubillos del Sil displays the typical style of Spanish houses, unkempt next to modernised. 

As we arrive back at the lodges the clouds begin to roll in and quickly darken to an ominous steel grey. It is turning cold and we have the delightful pleasure of putting the heating on. Ahhh bliss.

Thick heavy clouds darken the skies over the town
The rain clouds have found us.

We have dodged some serious bad weather today. I guess changing plans and getting lost confused the rain Gods and they never knew where to burst their clouds. Finally the rain has found us but we are now super snuggly and so warm in our heated lodge.

Happy BAT's and happy bikes as well, dry and cosy under the veranda as the rain comes down in Spain. 

A really heavy downpour seen from the warm dry comfort of the lodge
Sharon's 250 is dry under the veranda while the heavy rain soak outside
It's raining it's pouring but for once we are all dry.

 Route (I think, don't forget it was a day of lostness!) 

Campsite Puerta de la Demanda
BU 820 west
N120 for fuel Villanueva de Argano
Back onto A231 at jcn 132
Stayed A66 onto toll not N120 as hoped
Off A66 onto CL626 at Magdalena
Should turned off but stayed on CL626 to dam at Los Barrios De Luna
Back and onto LE493
Lost in Brañuelas
Onto A6
Jcn 387 onto CL631
Cubillos del Sil

We'd love to hear from you - contact ren@bikesandtravels.com

Building Up To España In the prologue to their journey Ren can't help but feel that the forthcoming journey might be a costly disaster. Forever the optimist.
Getting Ready For Spain Sharon is determined to be ready, organised and prepared for her forthcoming trip to Spain. However life is even more determined to ruin her plans.
Bodging Daaan Saaaf Ren bears witness to an impossible event. Then there's some last minute bodging to be done.
Motorway Miles And Muses Sharon's derriere proves more than tough enough for the big ride across England. Can she manage to lose them emotional luggage while securing her physical luggage though?
To The Ferry What are the chances of Sharon getting out of bed very early twice in the same week. Well she'd better had otherwise the Muppet's will miss the ferry.
Ocean Blue Sharon's more excited than nervous but this is the first time the Kwakker has been aboard ship. That's if customs let her on board.
Lost Off The Ferry The great adventurer and motorcyclist Ren is proving that he is in fact a useless idiot. He can't ride and he can't find a campsite that is open. Oh what will become of the BAT muppets?
Campsite Conundrum Sharon is having way too much fun while Ren is trying to find a place to sleep. Well someone has to be happy when Ren's such a grump.
Discovering The Picos After a troublesome first day in Spain hopefully Sharon and Ren's luck will improve. Thing is they have a 187km detour to reach their destination. There have been worse detours though.
Heaven's Mirror Putting fear and doubt to bed for a while Sharon enjoys the wondrous ecstasy of nature and the joy of riding a motorcycle through it. Oh and a lot of sharp corners too.
Rain In The Picos Will the rain bring doom and gloom to the already grumpy Ren? Luckily there's enough scenery and interesting things to keep him going.
The Sound Of Silence In spite of a dire weather forecast Sharon's day in Spain is filled with the beauty of nature, fond memories and the creation of great new memories.
Riding to Burgos Is motorcycle touring a non stop stream of excitement, beauty, wonder and exploration? Erm, nope. It's a rather ordinary day on the road to Burgos.
Tin Tin It's both a good and bad day for Sharon as she travels from the delights of the mountains to the grim reality of the city and the rain. At least her hair is looking good.
Higher Than I've Ever Been In spite of the weather forecasts. In spite of no longer being in The Picos. In spite of Ren being a pessimist. In spite of all this it seems Northern Spain has more delights in store.
Magical Kingdom Sharon's having another amazing day riding around Northern Spain. She's on a high, metaphorically and literally.
Boots And Burgos Ren is suffering a footwear malfunction and it's time to go and do that city thing. Can Burgos convert Sharon and Ren into city lovers?
Burgos Bimble Sharon explores the city of Burgos, Spain. Architecture, stone masonry, pilgrims and tempting food. But can a city really endear itself to this country girl?
Lost In Luxury How to turn a fortuitous and splendid day into a nightmare. Just follow Ren and he'll sort the rest out. Still, it could be worse.
Dam Lost Fearing the weather Sharon is braced for a drenching. Thing is the weather isn't really the problem.
Gritty Northern El Bierzo There's time to explore a different part of Northern Spain today. It might not have the beauty of The Picos De Europa it is however a fascinating area.
Blink Of An Eye Sharon has an interesting day poking around north west Spain. There's a something of a shock in store for the evening.
Back To Beauty, Dodgy Caravan It's time for the dynamic muppets to saunter their way back towards the ferry and Ren is in reflective mood. Wonderful scenery, weird accommodation.
The Good, The Bad And The Musty It's a day of confusing emotions for Sharon, but life is for living. Will this evening's accommodation be as luxurious as the previous evening's?
Beautiful Potes While going to a now familiar town is hardly intrepid at least it means Ren is calm, chilled out and not lost. For once.
Head In The Clouds Sharon is calmed by the wonders of Northern Spain's wondrous scenery as she returns to the comforts of Potes.
Sun, Sand, Sea And Santander The weather has improved now it's time for the dynamic muppets to head back to the ferry. Ren is intrigued by stories or walking across Northern Spain, will we see "Walks And Travels" or W.A.T.?
Splish Splash Santander The beauty and grandeur of the The Picos means Sharon does not want to leave, ever. It's back to the city, ready to sail home. Fear not, there's still pleasures to be found.
The Ferry Home It's the dynamic muppet's last day in Spain so it's time to catch the ferry. A mixture of sadness and relief for Ren, but what about the other riders in the queue?
Final Thoughts On Spain Ren crosses the T's and dots the I's on the Spanish trip.

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