Pulling Back from the Abyss

Jeff has decided he will ship his big motorcycle back to the US. It’s been in Spain for a year now, and while we’ve enjoyed many adventures, a decision was required to a) properly license it, like now, or b) send it to it’s homeland. He chose b, for multiple reasons.

But to fly it to the US, we need to ride it to Heidelberg, Germany so our importer can export it. A road trip was in order. I need to go back to the US again, but I promised Jeff I would take this ride with him.

We left this morning 3 hours later than I wanted. Why? Don’t ask. But Google maps said it was a 7ish hour long ride to our first overnight stop in Carcassonne France, via the small principality of the country of Andorra. Trouble started right out of the gate.

I like to plan things and be on time. I like a schedule, and I appreciate accuracy. Not perfection, but still an effort towards a realistic representation of a plan. Today was not my day. Half way to Carcassonne, the gps calculated it at 11 hours door to door. Wait what?!

The disagreements started somewhere around Tortosa. By Lleida? It was open hostility. By the border of Andorra? It was war! We have headsets in our helmets so we can speak to each other as we ride. Usually its pleasantries about what we’re seeing. We laugh. It’s fun! But today? This was perhaps our Achilles heel.

At first, the lack of planning was just a minor irritant. But over time there were words spoken, I won’t say by whom. I’d had only had one coffee and neither of us had eaten anything. We didn’t stop because ‘we were making good time’. It progressed from there.

Initially, it was just about the trip. Then it became centered on old grievances. We broke up in the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees. I tried to call a divorce lawyer after Andorra but then realized we were in France, and that could get hairy.

50km outside of Carcassonne I stood on a hilltop overlooking vineyards and beauty to die for; with a numb backside, totally dehydrated, ranting about how in less than an hour I would be at a bus station buying a ticket to Perpignan, and then promptly hopping the first southbound train home to Valencia. I’m pretty sure I quoted Abraham Lincoln and The Gettysburg Address. I’ll admit, there was a lot of pacing and arm waving.

For his part, Jeff offered to pay for my bus ticket and wave me off with a hearty double middle finger. The upside was that it was the first thing we’d agreed on all day!!

We got to Carcassonne and I had prepaid for our hotel weeks ago (someone planned) which is risky considering my track record with hotel bookings and Jeff’s hotel snobbery. But this time, as luck would have it, he liked the large room at the top of the turret. I could tell because, after riding for 11 hours the corners of his mouth quivered, just a bit.

I changed out of my sweaty riding clothes and agreed to join him for food before my long night on a bus and a train began. A scrumptious charcuterie and two glasses of rose’ later, followed by filet de boeuf, and things were looking up. And he’s smiling now. Eye roll.

After riding 423miles today in the hot Spanish sun, we have decided we are staying an extra day in Carcassonne to see the sights, to rest our weary backsides, and our egos. I’ll post some of the photos from here and some of the other stops on the itinerary- including CERN to see the Supercollider outside Geneva Switzerland. It can only get better from here.