Day 17: Adra to Motril - Grampies Go Valencia to Paris: Spring 2024 - CycleBlaze

February 23, 2024

Day 17: Adra to Motril

Brutal winds spoil the fun

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The very strong winds of yesterday had abated in Adra this morning, but the sea must have still felt the effect, because the surf was crashing in with more enthusiasm than we have seen in the Mediterranean so far.

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Bill BonteFor traffic noise, you might want to try the SENA mesh intercom helmets. They have built in speakers and mics, so they appear and function like a standard helmet. My wife and I have used them exclusively for years, particularly for riding around Portland. Well worth the money.
https://store-us.sena.com/products/r2-evo-road-cycling-helmet-2022-edition
Bill Bonte
Moscow, Idaho
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1 month ago

As we ride I usually have trouble hearing Dodie because of traffic noise, but here on starting off,  the problem was the surf!

For a very short distance we rode along seafront on what in Mexico or Cuba would be called the "malecon", though we have not heard that term used here as yet.  This quickly changed to what I have decided to have as a "beef", which is the shoulder (of varying widths) beside a standard highway. When Scott and Rachael rode here, they thought the road was great, but as we'll get to, horrendous winds made the arrangement unsafe for us.

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As we set off, there were interesting things to look at - like a lighthouse, white house perched on the cliff, and one of the watch towers that we were to find about every 5 km along the coast. We even spotted two nice birds, one of which (if our ID is correct) is a new one for this year.

Lighthouse
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House on the cliff
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Karen PoretWhy are the windows barred at the TOP? Are they afraid someone will climb up onto the roof and rappel down?
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1 month ago
Karen PoretTo Karen PoretStill would like to know the barred window reason, if you have any idea. Thanks!
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1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Karen PoretDon't know the actual reason but shutters or bars seem to be totally common all over Europe. Maybe to keep kids from falling out?
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1 month ago
Karen PoretTo Steve Miller/GrampiesThanks Steve! There must be a common denominator if these are so prevalent.. It’s the location that got my eye.
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1 month ago
Watch tower
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There is one about every 5 km
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This again is our road, and Motril, our destination, is not so far off.
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European Stonechat - female
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24150 Northern Wheatear - notice white eyebrow and rusty chest
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A closer look.
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BONUS: While we are looking at birds, here is one that took off before I could focus. But it is a bright yellow, something we don't usually see hereabouts.  Any ideas what this fuzzy creature could be?

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We will not be going to the city of Granada this time, but at least we are in the region.
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The shot below gives the general idea of our roads for today. On the positive side, it is smooth, has great views, and a decent shoulder.

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Here we see the Autovia definitely going high, and I thought we would get the next level down. But in fact we went under both bridges and swung closer to the coast, which was nice.

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Karen PoretLooks like the 280 overpass near Crystal Springs watershed complete with a Caltrans maintenance yard below. ;)
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1 month ago
Oh good, we went under both bridges.
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Swinging down toward the water gave us a chance to observe that the greenhouses, here too, run absolutely all the way to the sea.

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Karen PoretInteresting pavement! Pink and white with a flair :)
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1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Karen PoretMany streets and walkways are intricately paved here.
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1 month ago

Here is the town of, I think, El Pozuel0, with two defensive towers, one low and one very high.

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At a roundabout near those bridges, there is a unique installation. Usually you find a boat or statue in these spots, but in this case its a model of the town.
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In Castillo de Banos we came across a tower with a different design from the circular ones we had commonly been spotting. This tower also had the distinction that in 2019 Scott and Rachael put its picture in their blog and promised a kudo for anyone who would research exactly where they saw it. Ok, it was in Castillo de Bano! 

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In case your Spanish, or translate program, or computer screen is a little weak, here is the summary: Defensive towers have been along this coast from the days of the Moors, and after that from the 16th century, probably to watch for returning Moors. But in the 18th century you had both North African pirates to watch out for, and also the nasty British.  The info panel refers to British-Spanish confrontation caused by the War of Succession. Some large forts were built, able to withstand bombardment, but they were costly, so we also got mini forts. I think this was one of them. It seems to be from 1765.

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At this point we were still going well, and rather enjoying the road, which climbed and dropped, with cliffs beside, and with tunnels through some of the headlands.

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Looking up, this seems like a risky parking spot!
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The shots below seem almost like duplicates, but its just that road like this went on and on.

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In the shot below, we are looking down on Castell de Ferro. You clearly see its low and high towers.

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Down we go, into the town.
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Castell de Ferro is one of about 130 "Magic Towns" in Spain. Such towns presumably have some special architecture, ruins, flowers, or such. We are not sure about this one, but we did spot this painted stairway:

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Scott AndersonGlad to see what ag great- looking place this is. We’ll be staying here.
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1 month ago

The painting at the bottom:

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A look back at Castell de Ferro and one of its towers.
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It was just here that our day fell apart. The problem came in the form of a forceful headwind. We canhandle that, even up hill, but in this case there were also blustery gusts. They were really forceful, so forceful that it was not safe to be riding the bikes. We were forced to get off and push, even on the downhills. The wind was buffeting around my ears, and I thought about putting in something to act as a earplug.  If someone in a bar or something pushes you, it's irritating and could start a fight, but what if a natural force just pushes you around without stopping - for hours?

The road looks innocent.
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And Calahonda is 6 km away.
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We were pushing hard, but also on the lookout for a place to stop and eat our sandwiches. There was one pullout, no bench there, but there was a pair of workers from the town, with a truck. They were having to collect up plastic trays that had been dumped by some jerk of a greenhouse operator.

The trays
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Karen PoretThis is SO depressing! I was certain before reading your comment that the trays were blown out from the wind on the truck! :(
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The crew responded well to our interest in their work, and took us over to the ditch by the cliff, to show off the skeleton of a goat.

Look in the ditch over here, if you really want to see something!
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I don't think my camera quite penetrated to what they were showing. But they gave us a souvenir goat horn, which is on the bed beside me now:
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Bill ShaneyfeltGonna make a horn outta that horn?
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We left our two friends, and continued pushing. We came to an overlook that had a stone table, ordinarily a fine place for lunch. But not this time. We secured our bikes against the table and a tree, but kept close in case they would be blasted down. We took out our sandwiches, and had to keep a very firm grip on them to keep them from being taken out of our hands. No kidding.

Scott had a shot of this and labelled it a ruined tower. It is that, or is it a natural outcropping? We'll have to go back and check.
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Scott AndersonI don’t think it can be natural. Maybe a relic of the mining era?
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1 month ago
Here we see Dodie pushing the bike downhill. A road is long and lonely when you are traversing it like this. I admired Dodie's gumption, and never suggested "maybe we can ride this bit". That was easy, because there were few if any bits that I thought could be safely ridden.
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There are times when we look ahead at the route and begin to think that given the hills or some other difficulty, that we might now make it to our planned  stop, and safe haven.  This is the first time that that happened, not due to hill or headwind, but due to wind gusts. We were pushing at 3.5 km/hr, so I began to figure on when at that rate we might actually arrive. We did have a chance t do it before dark.

We made several attempts to see if we could ride, hoping to cut that arrival time back. Here below you see Dodie riding into Calahonda. But if you look, you see that she is not exactly upright!

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The flags tell the tale.
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We tried riding here as well. But in fact soon gave up. In the shot, the car is giving a really wide clearance.
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It's not a great shot, due to the cars, but the point of this photo is that I finally realized that Spain is very mountainous! In fact yesterday we even saw the snow capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada.
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We bypassed Motril town, because our place was at Motril beach. However, the long reach of our camera picked up the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Head. This church from 1631 is said to be the premier sight of Motril. I have no idea what their Virgin's name means. Credit to Dodie for spotting this from high up on the highway in the wind.

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Keith KleinHi,
“Our Lady of the Head” sounds like the patron saint of ship’s toilets, but I’m guessing the head refers to the hill upon which it stands “cerro do virgin” (forgive my attempt at Spanish). Maybe you should offer a candle for relief from the head winds!
Cheers,
Keith
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1 month ago

Today's ride: 60 km (37 miles)
Total: 786 km (488 miles)

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Bill ShaneyfeltHad to chuckle about the wind... Growing up in Mojave, CA was a wind adventure. For years after I left, I carried newspaper clippings of damage during high winds with gusts exceeding 100 knots. We routinely had picnics using paper plates that we held down with the heel of one hand and held onto our sandwich with the other. Typically pbj, which tends to hold together pretty well. Visited with friends from college, and a girl in the group said she would never doubt anything I said again! Yup, gotta hold onto your food or it will blow away. I do not regret not returning to Mojave to live. It literally took me an hour to push my bike home against the afternoon wind if it came up on a day I rode the mile to school in the morning. I do feel very sorry for you having to battle those winds on a bike. I fully understand! Hang in there.
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1 month ago
Karen PoretTo Bill ShaneyfeltAt least you should have a restful sleep being so tired from all of that unnecessary activity..I liken your wind problems to The Netherlands canal rides.. Or, maybe The Netherlands is “tame” compared to what you just experienced?
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1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Karen PoretWe rode the 30 km Afsluisdyke twice with no problem! I am standing outside Carrefour in Nerja with the bikes, typing this, but I just had to jump quick to catch Dodie's flying bike!
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1 month ago