Motril - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

November 25, 2019

Motril

A minimal narrative today, because we have a longish ride ahead and need to get started.  Mostly, just look at the video photos and use your imagination.

The road east from Nerja is much different than the easy beach cruise coming from the west.  Starting at Nerja we leave the endless beaches of the Costa del Sol behind and are looking at a string of rugged headlands interspersed by tight coves sunken deep at the base of high cliffs.  The Sierra Nevada range tapers into the sea here, leaving only scattered spots for beach life and communities.

It’s a short ride, but fairly challenging.  Most of the way we’re either climbing or falling, not really seeing any flat land until the final few miles into Motril.  Also, most of the way we’re on the old coastal highway, because the terrain doesn’t support riding anywhere else.  The faster, more efficient autovia parallels us the whole way, tunneling through the headlands and thankfully sucking up most of the traffic.

It’s also a ride of thirds: the first and third are awesome, the middle third is the one we endure to enjoy the other two.  The first third especially is biking country - we see nearly as many bikes as cars between Nerja and Cerro Gordo, the jewel in the crown today.

We end the day at a business hotel on the beach in Motril, a place we’re staying because we couldn’t see a better spot for splitting the distance between Nerja and Berja.  It’s late in the season and many of the smaller communities and their restaurants are drying up, and we wanted to be assured of a meal.  As it is, there was no reasonable restaurant open on Monday night here by the the beach other than our hotel itself.  But, that was enough - we enjoyed a fine meal, and celebrated our three thousandth kilometer of the tour.

Video sound track: El Patio, by Abel Sanchez

After climbing through Nerja we stop for a last look and see this aquaduct we hadn’t known of. Nerja’s quite a bit larger than we had realized.
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This is the Puenta del Aquila (the Bridge of the Eagle), part of the Eagle Aquaduct (the same as in the previous photo). Recently restored (and still in use) after it was damaged in the Spanish Civil War, it was built in the 19th century to supply water to a now closed sugar mill.
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This is a beautiful but lumpy stretch of coastline, as we round one spectacular bend after another.
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This photo doesn’t quite capture what we’re seeing here. We’re biking into a deep hairpin curve, gaining elevation to double back up the road on the right.
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Seems like a daring spot to erect your dream home.
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We’ve hardly seen any large mammals on this tour, so it was a shock to spot this youngster calmly grazing beside the road.
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We were even more shocked when its minder, this adult Spanish Ibex, ran across the highway toward it and then stopped in the road just long enough for us to admire it before dashing into the woods. This is the closest we’ve ever come to an ibex in the wild.
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Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltReally. I can’t believe he just stopped within range, and the camera was already open.
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2 weeks ago
Ron SuchanekHe looks tender and delicious.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron SuchanekThat’s terrible! We may need to ban you from the journal if this keeps up.

Which reminds me. Did you ever see the film The Freshman, with Bert Parks singing “There she is, your Komodo Dragon”?
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1 week ago
Ron SuchanekTo Scott AndersonI was some of about 7 people who saw The Freshman, and I saw it several times. I'm glad we have that in common!
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1 week ago
For the next two miles we follow a semipaved side road that rounds a massive headland and avoids a long tunnel on the highway.
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These are the best miles of the day, and among the best of the tour. One gape-inducing view after another. The nearest white splotch is Nerja, but you can see far along the Costa del Sol from here.
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We’re biking through a small protected area, Cerro Gordo Natural Park.
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Looking back west To Nerja from the Cerro Gordo headland.
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From the tip of the point you can see far to the west, along the whole Costa del Sol.
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Rounding the bend, we look ahead to the next headland and the town of La Herradura.
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Returning to the coast road, we drop down toward La Herradura. The next six or seven miles take us through a string of coastal towns on a too narrow, too busy road.
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Almuñecar, if my notes are correct.
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Finally, just past Taramay (where we stop for lunch sitting on the edge of a fountain beside the highway), the good riding resumes. The traffic abates, the good shoulder returns. The rest of the ride to Motril is great.
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The slopes here are brown and sere, but intensely terraced. There must be enough water to grow things here in season, or in the past.
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Salobreña is guarded on the west by this fortified ridge. The town itself drapes down the opposite slope.
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The castle of Salobreña
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We were thrilled to look west as we descended into Salobreña and saw the snow-capped Sierra Nevada range.
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For the whole tour the thought has been in the back of my mind, wondering if there would be snow on Sierra Nevada when we reached this point.
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Jen Grumby¡La sierra está nevada!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyOh, of course! Keep it Up, teach, and I’ll learn some Spanish yet.
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2 weeks ago
On the beach in Motril I saw this flock rise in the distance and soar over. I assume they’re cormorants, but I’ve never seen them fly in formation like this.
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The view of Sierra Nevada from the beach at Motril.
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While I walked the beach I had my eye on this odd cloud formation to the east, hoping the sunset would catch it.
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Jen GrumbyWow! I would only expect to see clouds like this in a dream.

Beautiful!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyIt doesn’t quite look real, does it?
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2 weeks ago
Easy to spot your room in this hotel. It almost shouts its number out to you.
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Ride stats today: 28 miles, 2,000’; for the tour: 1,918 miles, 65,500’

Today's ride: 28 miles (45 km)
Total: 1,918 miles (3,087 km)

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Jen GrumbyCongrats on 3000 kilometers!
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2 weeks ago
Patrick O'HaraDitto! As always, I look forward to my bed time ritual......reading your blog, Scott. Kudos to Rachel for great video.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Patrick O'HaraGlad I can put you to sleep, Patrick. Better than counting sheep.
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1 week ago