BMW Off Road Adventure in Portugal
So, the day arrives and we are all loaded up. Herself and myself. At the check-in counter the security lady asks; “What are all these for?”…we have a suitcase full of riding gear comprising of… Helmets, jackets, pants, boots and stuff. I reply; “for riding motorcycles.” The look on her face tells me that I must be stark raving mad…but I am used to those looks, give her a wonk and lock up my suitcases.
We spend 18 hours flying and transiting and eventually land in Faro, Portugal.
Clearing immigration and customs quickly we are out at the arrival hall. Scanning the pickup drivers, I spot one holding the BMW logo. Our eyes make contact and there is instant recognition as we start walking towards each other. Pleasantries exchanged and we are in the taxi headed for Vilamoura and our hotel.
Evan from ORS greets us at the lobby. There will be a briefing at 9pm. All is good. And we are so so excited.
Go up to our room and enjoy the beautiful view and we freshen up. 7pm and we head to the restaurant for dinner. 9pm comes along quickly and the briefing is given. Riding starts at 9am the next day and I am in the “Fast Group”. Briefing done and its back to our room to sleep and rest.
7am and the alarms wakes us up. 730am and I am having breakfast. 830am and the bikes are all lined up outside the hotel as promised. I am so excited. I have bike number 57 and I am sitting in her soon enough. She does feel a bit different from mine and I eventually figure out that it must be on account of the lowered foot pegs and raised handle bars I have on mine.
We ride out to the fuel station and are all filled up then its off to the tracks. Standing on the pegs and riding the trails. I feel a bit stiff but slowly it comes to me. Enduro Pro mode is on, Traction control is Off. Will leave the ABS on and on these new GSes, the ABS is a miracle…and I expect it will take a miracle for me not to drop the bike
Day 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 pass like a blur. All we do is wake up and ride all day. Its amazing and at the same time awesome while still being a bit scary. Riding with people reveals that we are all basically the same. There are great people everywhere. Lutz and his friend John who have done this 2 years ago. Howards who describes himself as the electrician who sits behind a desk…a too doer to the core with a habit of getting into “trouble” so much so that “its Howard’s fault” became a sing song for us all! Chris and Brian, the Canadians! Lol…always with the remarks that would crack us up! John and Laim, birds of a feather that flock together bunching up to smoke their cigarettes together. Ian, the quiet Welshman who is also an ex BMW instructor and advanced Rider Trainer in Wales. Then there was John with the open face white helmet.
The high points of the trip…or rather the low points. EVERY ONE makes mistakes! And I mean Everyone. From stalling the bike on a 60degree uphill climb to ploughing the country side with the boxer engine. In our group, none of the mistakes is the type we can’t walk away from but others are not so lucky in the other groups; 2 dislocated knees and a broken leg are the outcomes.
On the whole, it’s a great time and more importantly, we got to meet the most wonderful people.
Day 6 is Saturday and we are in the shuttle headed to the airport. Everyone is quite with thoughts of the great time we have just had. With thought of work again on Monday!!!
Conclusion……We can’t stop riding!