Leaving Vancouver on a beautiful Spring night!
HEY SCHENGEN ZONE…..WERE BACK!!
Palais Royal on the Plaza Oriente Madrid
The much less glamorous side of adventure motorcycle riding.
We arrived in Madrid in the evening after a long night flight from Vancouver via Heathrow. Jet lagged we made it with one bag still in London and took the flat rate taxi to the hotel. After taking some sleeping drugs we passed out. Awaking at 1040 we were late to meet our friends for lunch. We walked over to their new apartment to find there was no name on the buzzers at #3 M street. This meant pushing all the buttons starting at 1 A and buzz every one until….3C!
The plan for the day was to get the bikes out of storage 200 km south of Madrid. Thanks only to the kindness of our friend Modesto herein Madrid is this is feasible. We had to borrow his car and drive to a town 20 km north of the city to pick up his motorcycle trailer from the storage unit/workshop. It was 430 by the time we left San Sebastian de Los Reyes and headed south. After a stop at a gas station for a lunch at 530 we were on the road.
Driving when jet lagged is a tricky proposition and we of course missed the exit to the exit to the village we going to and this added another hour to our day. WE had not remembered to bring one of the GPS’s home with us so we would have it for times like these.
Finally we arrived to La Solana and had no issues loading the bikes on to the trailer and the gear into the car. Luckily in my state of exhaustion I realized I did not see my riding boots. I had left both pairs in plastic bags with one set sitting on each of my panniers when we left in October. I searched the 20000 square foot storage and finally found them about 15 meters from the bike on the floor beside an old car. Our friend had been out tho the bikes to get some pannier mounting hardware we had (He shipped them for us to Michael in Austria who still has the Touratech pannier system) from my pannier and had moved the bag. Are we really sure we want to do all this??? Did I mention its cold and raining.
Well now it is nearly 9 pm an getting dark and we have a 250 km drive back to the storage unit to drop off the trailer and then drive back to the city.
It is now dark and the storage unit is hard enough to find in the industrial zone in the day light. We picked the correct exit off the highway and had the general area, but just could not fine the back alley. McDonalds at 1130 pm for wifi and we were set. We were actually 1 block off from where were supposed to be by guessing. Now back to the city. We managed to charge one of the GPS’s enough to use it.
Our friends don’t have a street parking permit near their new apartment yet and so this meant driving around the very narrow streets to try to find a parking space at 1 am. Frustrated exhausted and confused by the one way craziness of the inner city lane ways we finally gave up at 1 am and pulled into a parade (31 Euros ouch), stumbled to the hotel and crashed. That lasted about 25 min and our jet lag kicked in again. Finally at 430 we took drugs. Are we really sure we want to do this?? Feeling a bit overwhelmed and on a bit of a time crunch. We have 2500 km to get to the rally in Toscano by the 29 th of April and today is the April 9 th. We would also like to visit some friends in the south coast os Spain in Almirante and that is off course for us. We would like to take in Carcasonne and Avignon France that we missed last year as Daniel was on crutches. We also have several sets of friends riding this summer in Europe and would like to meet up with them. AGH!
Day two of the ordeal started groggily when we got up at 11 and staggered up 6 blocks to get the car. Then headed back to the shop, but at least we knew how to get there now. The bikes were unloaded and Dan noted the front brake sticking, but it finally moved normally with some rocking back and forth….. The plan for the bikes today is
1. Oil Change- bought oil at Calleja. Of course the last oil change was at BMW and they stripped the oil pan bolt on the 650. This meant extracting the bolt and driving over to BMW to get a new one.
2. Sara’s Skid Plate remove stripped bolt-can not remove bolt from old skid plate mounting
3. Install new Cyclops Adventure Sport headlights- The BMW lights suck and they have burnt out the reflectors and now are so dim they are useless. . Very straightforward installation. Does require a bit of labor to get the windshield and plastics off and on. Also on the 800 Daniel needed to use a Dremel to cut down the Dash to accommodate the light box.
4. Rewire bikes & lights
5. Install Voltage meters- to monitor charge and hopefully prevent having to change the stator on the side of the road the next time. The meant enlarging the hole on the 650 Touratech dash that was the cigarette lighter socket previously and enlarging the light switch hole on the 800’s Britannia composites dash.
6. Install new wire harness on Sara’s Bike- old one fried and install new light switch for accessory lights.
Day 3 mostly went smoothly
7. Sort out all the gear as it is now in one location and separate that for the bike trip and that for walk on the Camino. Managed to downsize some of the stuff on the bikes.
8. Finished the oil change on the 650 with the new drain plug.
9. New Crash bar hardware (remove stripped Touratech bolts that made the last stator change on the side of the road such a hassle as we had to do it without removing the crash bar) Thanks to Modesto for the extraction tools.
10. Remove old and install new Front Sprocket covers
11. Fuel Filter Change-when we removed the mechanism from the 650 we found the pre filter was missing and had to fish it out of the bottom of the tank. Luckily Dan had researched this and was aware there might be an issue with the hose attachment on the 650. On the 800 the ring clamp is a screw on type, but on the 650 it is a clamp on version. This meant you had to destroy it to remove it and he had bought the correct screw on replacement part. Yeah Dan!
12. Take off Sara’s tool tube- Dan feels the need to get the weight down on the bike. They are a great way to keep the dry bags on the back and not have to since down the roc straps so much. Dan will keep his for now to be able to lock on the rain gear. The covers will come out into a small dry bag. We have downsized our other gear again so stuff just fits inside the panniers now.
Sleep in rest and try to get the tires organized. We have happily decide that after some sleep and sorting out a lot of the logistical issues we do not just want to go home. We had a walk up to the palace and a snack on the square. We also had time to spend with our friends and thank then for everything they have done to help us. We could not have accomplished all this without them. We went out for Mexican food and then celebrated with some traditional Hungarian Palinka shots!
Our luck may finally have changed we even got a parking spot out front of the shop!
13. Return to the shop for final touches, check oil and tire pressures again. Sort and pack the last of the gear an tidy the shop.
14. Tires installed Angel del la Cruz Moto in Madrid. Nice guys and super clean shop. They got the tires for us in less than 24 hours and made an installation appointment as well according to our schedule.This is where Modesto comes to the rescue again. We could spend all day sourcing tires and a shop to put them on and he can accomplish this in 5 minutes on the phone.
Drive 40 km to Navelcarnero to stay just 15 minutes from the village of Villanueva de Perales, which is where DMX suspension is located. We arrived to the town after a bit of a scare as we entered the very long tunnel under Madrid and of course lost GPS use. This was a bit harry as it is 4-5 lanes of very fast moving traffic and multiple various branching points none of which said “autovia sur-oeste”….Finally after 15 minutes we exited to find we were luckily pretty much on track and we had managed to not screw it up. This is very easy in Madrid as every 200 meters there is a collection of direction signs and especially in the tunnels it can be so easy to go the wrong direction.
This is a very nice small town with beautiful stone buildings. We stayed in a small Posada off the main square and did a walk along the ruta Truistic thru the town.
Drive to the 18 km to Villanueva de Perales. About 9 km from the village Dan’s front caliper was seized and smoking. I went on to DMX to get help and the guarda civil (highway patrol) stopped to protect the bike from accident as it was parked on the narrow dirt verge of the road. Once it cooled he could soon get going and arrived at DMX before I could even get a transport truck arranged.It turns out the last BMW dealership overfilled the reservoir and it was to bursting. Take some out problem solved.
15. Suspension service- DMX
16. Chains & Sprockets- done at DMX since they have the tools and there we had the time.
17. Fork Socks- re install new ones. We had always used these on our dirt bikes and on the road bikes until we had the suspension done last year. they advised no socks. That said about a month after this I got a rock chip on the back side of the right fork and this caused a leak in Norway. We had a new seal put on in Finland, but within 2 weeks it was leaking again. The nick was so small we could not see it. Finally when we got to Sweden again to Bike Trollhattan where they found the nick and smoothed it out and replaced the seal.New fork stickers!!
Damian and Ursula and there team are so fantastic. They fit us in on a day when they already had a lot of work to get done. They stayed until 10 pm to get as much done on our bikes as possible. They still had time to take us for a full Spanish lunch with the menu of the day, beers, and whiskey! They were also kind enough to let us stay in the spare office in the warehouse since there is no hotel in the village. We had our mats and sleeping bags, power and a bathroom with a hot shower, what more could you ask for?
The next day they just has a few things left to do and after taking us to the village for breakfast they were done by 1130. Thanks for the great job again. Love the new fork stickers.