Two guys, two bikes & two tents.

A 1999 journey from Plymouth to Santander and onward to the Costa del Sol via Portugal.

My rusty steed a 1979 Suzuki GS425

My rusty steed a 1979 Suzuki GS425.

Once the coffee had been drunk and the excitement of being shouted at in Spanish had abated, we retraced our route to a police station that we had noticed on the way into Palencia. The idea being to attempt to get directions to a campsite. To be fair, the Spanish police tried very hard to help us, but we had no Spanish and they couldn't find one policeman who spoke English. But with perseverance and a crude sketch of a tent, we eventually made ourselves understood and proceeded down the road in the direction of the pointing fingers, waving to the half dozen gestulating policemen that had followed us out to our bikes as we went.

Paul's 1985 Honda CB400N

Paul's 1985 Honda CB400N.


Paul's puncture

Paul's puncture.

We continued riding until we came across a campsite, (Camping Cubillas near Valladolid), where we stayed for the night. There was a swimming pool and a restaurant, plus a large garden with a BBQ. It is located in an area popular with walkers and anglers, only a 10 minute walk away from the Pisuerga River. So we made the most of the facilities because like everywhere else we visited, there was a charge per bike, a charge per person and a charge per tent. It was cheaper for a family of four in a camper van than it was for two guys on motorbikes slumming it in one-man tents. It didn't seem to matter that we arrived just before dark and only stayed until the sun came up, it was the same price for 8 hours as it was for 24.

La Fuente de San Esteban

La Fuente de San Esteban.

In the morning, once the tents were all packed up and the bikes loaded up again, we set out to go to Portugal, but then disaster struck near Castrillo de la Guareña when Paul developed a flat tyre. We searched through our collection of spares and spanners, and found that although we had some patches, we had no rubber solution (glue). So leaving Paul with his bike at the side of the road, I rode the ten miles into the city of Salamanca to find the materials to effect a repair.
I spotted a likely looking establishment fairly quickly, and after much pointing and hand waving, ended up purchasing an inner tube of the correct size and a tin of instant puncture repair; before returning to photograph the event for posterity. When I got back to the scene of the puncture, Paul had taken refuge under a bridge, because the sun was really really hot and not at all what our English upbringing had made us accustomed to.

Because of the delay caused by the puncture, and my excursion to Salamanca, we didn't get as far as Portugal as we had intended, but instead had to stop for the night at another campsite near a place called La Fuente de San Esteban, which is located about mid way between Salamanca and the Portugese border. The same type of tariff applied at this campsite too, a charge per bike, a charge per person and a charge per tent. Six blokes in a minibus with a six man tent would have paid less for camping than what we were paying. But we really couldn't have known this prior to making the journey, and we both used the knowledge gained to our advantage at a later date.