Spain - Day 16 : Windmills and gas stations
The men with the jeeps hadn't returned during the night. We drove over the hole-filled path back to the main road. After 10 kilometers we arrived at a bakery. The lady asked where we had come from and where we were going. When we were outside we heard her tell someone about us. The road went over a mountain. That was the first climb since the Pico Veleta, since there we hadn't been lower than 600 meters.
Bram at the Puerto de Los Pocicos.
Bart at the Puerto de Los Pocicos.
After the top we had left the hilly area and the route would be flat again for 100 km. The roads were very straight today as well, which was nice because that allowed us to cover a large area of the map. At least that way it looked like we were going fast. We were counting how many days it would take to reach the Pyrenees. On top of a slope we sat down to lunch. The windmills on the horizon showed that today we didn't have a headwind for the first time in two weeks. As bread spread, we had 'Dulce de Membrillo', pear puree. It tasted well on the fresh baguette.
Today's route passed through a remote area of Spain. Only once every 50 km we would pass a town. We stopped at a gas station in La Roda to buy water. The guy working there looked suspiciously at us. He first needed to remove the lock of the refrigerator before we could take out some bottles. We sat down on the curb and listened to some bad music. Every gas station in Spain seems to listen to a different radio station with lousy music. I went to the bathroom to wash my hands and towel. It would be possible to just wash ourselves with a towel on in gas stations' bathrooms every day before camping in the wild, that way we might really do without campsites.
We were still at the curb, and the boy there kept eyeing us. On the wall was a thermometer in the shade. The guy looked confused when I got up to take a picture. It was 33 degrees. That was around 1 o'clock. Usually, it got warmer until 4. We were so used to it that we hardly needed sunscreen anymore.
33 degrees in the shade
We rode over roads that were straight for dozens of kilometers without a single village. It went so fast that we had time to take an hour long break. We wanted to get a drink and ice cream at a gas station. A woman arrived from a nearby house. She worked at the station but, because there were so few customers, she just sat at home looking out the window. During previous cycling vacations, the supermarket cashiers had nearly all been pretty. This vacation, they were not. On this trip the gas station attendants were the pretty women of the holiday.
We had another look at the map and realized we wouldn't make it to the next campsite today. The second one was 100 km away, meaning we would need to stop early tomorrow if we wanted to stay there. We were three days ahead of schedule, so there was time to take a detour. We could take a detour to another campsite today and then continue from there.
First, we needed to cycle to Motilla. There we bought more food for breakfast. A liter of yogurt each constituted a nice part of dinner. From there, it was 18 km to Olmedilla de Alarcon, where the campsite was. There were a few challenging hills along the way. Because we were counting down the kilometers, they seemed to take much longer than the rest of the day. In the village were again a bunch of old people. They were kind enough to tell us there was no supermarket. We headed to the campsite hoping there was some food available there. During the first four days of this trip I wasn't hungry, despite not eating massive amounts. Now we were at a point where each of us would eat 1,5 baguettes and half a liter of yogurt and still be hungry. The lady at the campsite said she had 'cerveza frigo y bocadillos'. A while before she said something that sounded like 'bocadillos' to a boy holding bread, so we said 'yes' and hoped for the best.
This time we didn't get 'green grass', but a sandy area. Above the sand was a cloth to shield the sun. By the time that would be of any use to us we would be 100 km away. In the showers, we first charged the GPS, camera, and phones. It was nice to shower after three days of camping in the dirt. The first water that ran off of us was very salty. Another nice thing was that we could wash our clothes. Bram had a problem, though, he only carried one shirt and a pair of pants, so he couldn't properly wash anything.
On the campsite in Olmedilla
After showering we went to the bar to order 'dos cerveze dos bocadillas'. We sat down on the terrace with our beers, nice in the shade. We could feel we were tired. The lady of the campsite came over to talk about the bread in Spanish. We only understood half of it. She started making something that looked like a hamburger. She asked if we wanted mayonnaise and ketchup. We said 'yes' which seemed to confuse her. The pieces of bread taste very good. I put on as much mayonnaise and ketchup as I could get my hands on so I would eat more calories. We received unshelled peanuts covered in salt with the beer. We didn't get the point of the salt, the peanuts inside didn't taste any different because of it.
Every paragraph in today's story is about food. That's because the route wasn't super interesting. Only more of the same nothingness, no high mountains. We went to sleep after finishing our beers.
The route of day 16.
Distance cycled : 179.38 km.