Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mooching around the Pyrenees

A catchup blog as we have just spent 6 weeks on the road, the first 3 weeks hunting for some more Aires to add to the website listings - and we found some crackers! All of which will be added in as soon as time and internet access allow. The second 3 weeks were guiding some of our Club Motorhome members through some of the lesser known parts of eastern Spain.

We started from our Spanish base and used the newly setup Aire at Daimus for our first stopover. Being not too far from home gives us the chance to get ourselves all setup tidy for the rest of the trip. Expecting to be away for around 6 weeks its handy to pop back for anything major that's been overlooked. As it turned out there wasn't anything to be concerned about.

From there we headed north and stopped at a German restaurant that we had been told about 10€ a night or free if you use the restaurant, which we did. We spent a pleasant evening in company with a Belgian motorhome couple.

Heading north but still in Spain we pulled in at an Aire we used some 3 years ago to check it out as it was due to be one of our stops on the Run in Spain meet in a few weeks time. All was well except for the heat! 37.5 degrees..... We sheltered in the shade of a large building until sundown. With no hookup cooling in the van was limited but we managed. Typically Spanish we were disturbed at about 10.30pm when all hell let loose as the local drum band turned up for a practice session. Loud doesn't even come near to describing it and the sound reverberated around the surrounding mountains. All good natured though....

I had some concerns about one of our rear tyres keeping its pressure as it certainly looked a little soft. Checked with a gauge it certainly was! We called at the first available garage to use their air line. I had recently fitted some posh wheel-trims and matching valve extensions, these had been fine in storage but may have been leaking a little in use.

Up into the Pyrenees we made for the Bielsa tunnel rather than going right over the top. Still plenty of winding steep climbs though and our unreliable temperature gauge was dancing all over the place - mainly in the red! I had checked though and nothing was that hot under the bonnet so I knew not to be alarmed by it. We had to wait at the entrance of the tunnel for our turn at the contraflow system and the van didn't like that at all. The trouble with all this computer controlled system things is where they get their info from....... The engine was not overheating but the gauge sensor(s) said it was so the system shut the engine down to half power just as we had to lead a queue of traffic through 4kms of tunnel - great! All was restored as we exited and started downhill again and no troubles since!

We had a schedule to keep in that we were due to meet up with caromac's sister who was going to be on holiday near Bergerac, but until then we could just wander from Aire to Aire. The first we came to, not far from the Bielsa tunnel was high up in the Pyrenees. By a ski station and more or less deserted at this time of year we found ourselves completely along and were absolutely stunned by the magnificent views from our overnight parking spot...

Next morning the tyre was well down again... Then I remembered I had a small tyre compressor somewhere. Connecting this just let more air out - the compressor pipe had perished. With no air lines within miles we gingerly drove down the mountains and looked for possibilities of help in the villages. We came across a small council depot and they said I could use their compressor - brilliant! It didn't work! Not so brilliant. With even less air in the tyre now we crept along. I spotted a small farm complex with a blue cylinder just inside the door, a compressor perhaps? Pulling in there were a couple of lads working there and it was indeed a compressor... and it worked! They wouldn't take any beer money as a thanks but we were very grateful. I removed the offending valve extension and we've had no more troubles since.

We slipped into a daily routine of generally heading in the direction of Bergerac but wandering off course to check out any likely Aires, staying at ones we liked.

To be continued.....


  1. I love your posts - so informative and exciting - still planning our first trip abroad to Ireland next May - and then to Portugal when my husband retires the following year - after reading your blog I think I will have lots of info I can draw on!

  2. Thank you, I'm glad you find the info useful :)