Every adventure starts with the same rituals. Check the bike, pack the bike, go to bed early and
leave as early in the morning as possible. This time was a little out of the ordinary. I would leave
relatively late because of the temperature in the morning. I'm not planning to freeze off the bike,
so leaving around 9 am sounds a bit more comfortable than the usual 5 am.
The ride to the start of what has become GLR 1, would take me around 15 hours. For the night, I would stop halfway at a campsite. Doing so enables me to start the second day fresh and early. After all, it's an adventure and I expect nothing to go as planned.
The second morning of endless rain and again I'm forced the pack the tent wet. It feels like one of the greatest sins to pack my tent this wet, but I have no other option.
I left this region three weeks ago, feeling overwhelmed by the 30-degree heat. Not the rain and cold transform the region unrecognizably.
I arrive at the trailhead of GLR 1. It's nice to ride offroad again, and the feeling of adventure starts to lighten my mood. It stops raining and I call it a day a little early to dry out all the wet gear inside the tent. I end up at a campsite with a hot shower.
The shower building is no more than a simple shack. I welcome the warmth of the water, nonetheless. Regretting my decision the moment when the water stops flowing. The comfortable outside temperature hits me, and I'm glad to fiddle myself into the sleeping bag afterward.
It's only half past 8 in the evening, but it's already pitch black. Daylight becomes scarce when you're late in the season.
Waking up next to the clothesline, I could smell the moist air inside the tent. I'd to know better by expecting that any of my wet clothes were dry in the morning. The nights are cold and moist, how did I expect that it would dry overnight? The most important thing for me is having dry socks. Everything else can dry on your body, but sock won't.
I boil some water to pour it inside a stainless steel bottle. Nothing fancy, just a plain bottle. After putting the socks over the bottle, the moist came steaming out in seconds! It’s working, nice!
It finally stopped raining and I get somewhat emotional when the sunlight warms my face. Finally a day without rain. I'm able to pack my tent dry, so the day starts out well. It turned out to be a wonderful day. Not too many roadsigns who demanded me to seek an alternative route, just a simple good day.
I set up camp with sunset view. The weather forecast warns me about wind gusts for the upcoming night, so I secure the pegs once more before I go to bed.
It was a rough night and my knee still hurts, but way less than yesterday. After an easy morning, I get restless again and go out for a little ride to the supermarket. Normally I use the GPS but this time I used Google maps, so my groceries trip won't show up on the log data afterward.
While on my way back to the campsite, I noticed that I maybe took a wrong turn. I don't recognize the surroundings anymore, and I notice that I don't even remember what village I pitched up my tent. After riding around, I find my way back to the campsite and I feel somewhat ashamed by the whole happening. The upside is that I'll be able to get going again tomorrow.
Today turns out to be a fun day. The route consists out of some fast dirt roads and I'm able to make some progress again. Not too many difficulties fortunately today. The rain and wind have become usual to me, so nothing new about that.
In the evening I pass by a campsite that appears to be still open. After again asking around, I find the owner. He turns out to be a rider himself, so this one is on the house. Nice!
By nightfall, I hear a lynx barking in the valley. This time there is an answer. Probably her young cub. It amazes me how many times I've heard a lynx already this year!
What a night! I've only slept for maybe two hours. Wind gusts were pounding the tent from all directions. Even the spot I've chosen to pitch the tent was horrible. Cars coming from across the lake were shining their headlights right onto the tent, waking me up by the thoughts that somebody was coming with a flashlight.
I start to pack the tent with first light. Trying to keep the tent as low as possible, preventing it from flying away. The wind and rain are endless and I start to question myself if it is all worth it. I only have 122km left to finish the GLR 1 and I'm pretty confident I'm able to finish it today. Because of my early departure, I'm able to finish the route around 3 pm. By that time I'm soaking wet. Apparently, my jacket has started to leak because of the never-ending rainfall.
Time to get to the start of the next route, and of all the places the new route could start, I chose "Lac du Salagou" as starting point back when I prepared the routes. I know by now that I need to spend the night at an Airbnb, just not another night like last night.
It felt wonderful arriving at the Airbnb, a warm shower and a prepared bed. This is going to be a wonderful night after all!
During the night, Leslie came to shore in Portugal and caused severe weather storms in the neighboring villages where I am now. My hosts tell me that due to floods 12 people had died last night. I'm glad that I stayed at an Airbnb and not in my tent.
The horrible weather continuous during the day and I'm convinced that I will stay inside the rest of the day. I'm also in doubt if it's worth the hardship to continue or just pick up the new route next year.
I decided to try my luck in the Pyrenees. There's nothing left for me this year. Local roads are badly damaged or even none existent due to the floods. It stomach feeling tells me that it's too dangerous to progress in this area.
In the morning I get awakened by the sound of rain against the window. I’m stocked to get to Spain and hopefully better weather. After breakfast and some tips from my host, I get going again.
It keeps raining the whole morning, but I don't care about it at this moment. I pass by villages completely submerged in a meter of mud, people trying to get the remaining water out of their houses.
At some villages just before Carcassonne, I find myself in a disaster area. Military personnel is controlling roadblocks, helicopters flying over and people are just trying to get out of the area. I'm just looking for the nearest highway to leave the area, but because of that, I trapped myself in this whole situation around me.
Just to make the situation worse, the motorcycle starts to rattle real bad and I need to stop. When I stop and check where the noise is coming from, it tends out to be the chain just hanging barely around the sprockets.
I don't know how this could happen, but I need to fix it immediately. So here I am, again in the pouring rain, unpacking my stuff to get to the wrenches.
It's not working out the way I hoped it would be. The adjusting screws are sticking too far out, and I'm afraid that they would collapse. I need to turn around the axle to give me some more leverage. But turning the axle around without a stand is harder than I expected. After half an hour I think it's all set and done and I pack everything again.
Why did I not put the gear in neutral? After moving the bike around, the chain is to tight and I'm losing it at this time. I need to unpack everything again and loosen up the chain. I’m really done with it now. I just want to go to Spain.
After riding for about four hours again, the sun starts to show itself behind the clouds. The Pyrenees are visible by now and the sun is shining. It's colder due to the elevation, but I don't care at this moment, it's dry!
After finding a campsite for the night, it's time to dry everything out. All my clothes are wet, even down to the underwear. But I don't care, I'm in the Pyrenees by now.