Madrid and up the coast of France

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Here we parted from the Swede for a few days, as we needed to get back to Madrid today. This meant a 650 KM highway ride back to Spain.

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We arrived to Modesto’s apartment where he had stored our new chains and sprockets and our NEW PANNIERS! First we needed to get the old Touratech racks off. Several of the crappy screws were stripped on one side of both racks and this meant actually cutting the rack off with a grinder. Opening the boxes from Bumot we were so stoked to see what great build quality the racks and panniers had. The hardware is stainless steel. The boxes are very attractive. The lid system opens out so that the top lies flat and can be used as a shelf. There is no chance it will slam on your fingers. There is no stupid wire that gets caught all the time. The top has a rubber gasket so they will not leak like sieves. We were also given lid bags for 2 cases and liner bags for all 4 boxes. They are really well designed and constructed.

Next we headed to the workshop of Modesto’s friend Javi to cut and install the chains and the sprockets.

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We finally finished up and left Madrid at 6 pm. We managed to get 167 km north before we had to stop for the night.

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We had been invited to the Bordeaux home of Mike Waterman, who we met at the Moto GP in Argentina last year and who coincidently is going to Iceland on the same ferry as us in June. This meant a 544 KM ride today.

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Getting up in the morning it was pouring and this continued all day. We rode north again trying to get on and off the highway to avoid the tolls. Near the border of France the road signs are in Spanish and Basque. Welcome to France!

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We were headed to Mike’s house near Bordeaux. What hospitality. We had aperitifs, bubbly, red wine, oysters on the half shell, steamed mussels, duck, and cassolet. All this and we managed to get to bed finally at 3 am.

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It was raining, but only lightly today, as we made our way north to La Rochelle to meet up with the Swede.

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The fastest way from the coast is to get the ferry from Le Verdon-sur Mer to Royan, which stays on the coast but saves driving the long way around the inlet.

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This is a nice little French city on the sea, but in the rain it is just not as picturesque. Today we say goodbye to the Swede again until we get to Sweden in July.

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One of Orvar’s old employees was running a restaurant here so we had dinner there. The foie gras was incredible.

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We set out in the rain, but it only lasted a few hours. We tried to stick to the small roads on the coast, but after 4 hours we had only made it a couple of hundred km, so we headed inland a bit to a secondary road.

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We stopped for the night near Carnac to see the Carnac stones, which is a large collection of megalithic sites around the village. There are more than 3,000 prehistoric standing stones, which is the largest in the world. They date from 3300-4500 BC. There are 11 converging rows of stones that may have been a circle.

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From here we continued north and then west thru Brittany to get to the port at Roscoff.

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