In the shadow of death

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Trip Summary

Name: Cheesy Rider
Destination: Faro Rally, Portugal
Distance: 2,550 kms (1,593 miles)
Vehicle: Chopped Honda C90

Trip Diary

Pass the angle grinder
When all is lost, turn to Jesus
Let’s not meet in a dark alley
In the shadow of death
Seize the day, not the engine

In the shadow of death

Back on the road in Portugal the mission continued. We were on track. It was a record breaking summer in much of Europe. The temperature was up in the high 30’s and forest fires were an ever-present sight. We had no particular route to follow. We just cruised, feet up styley, looking cool, except for the occasional speed wobble. Sometimes a really violent wobble took over a rider. We knew this meant a bee had just flown inside their helmet lining. It had happened to all of us.

On journeys like this you make your own luck. Never knowing where you’ll stay each night or what is up ahead is part of the adventure. One afternoon we approached a sleepy hillside village. The church bell tolled, some donkeys brayed and a group of old men on a bench puffed on pipes and stared as we squeaked in to town.

From the look on their faces maybe they were expecting trouble from these strange looking bikers. They looked less concerned when we came out of the local shop clutching ice creams. As we sat by the village fountain a few locals came up. The village was having a bit of a party and did we want to join them…

The keys to the graveyard

Turned out to be quite a lot of a party. The villagers seemed to be on a mission to remove any trace of alcohol within a 20 mile radius. After sending the donkey off for replacement crates of beer on two occasions the village was eventually declared dry at 3am. We were bestowed with a rare honour and granted the “keys to the graveyard”. This may have been on account of our inability to walk any further.

We woke bleary-eyed in the shadow of death. The shadow was only little so once we stood up we were back in the land of the living. We packed up and would have thanked the villagers but there was not a soul around. Just an ice cream sign creaking in the breeze.

We had a glorious, trouble-free day’s riding. That evening we found ourselves on a campsite by a lake. The night before had clearly taken its toll as it took until 4am to declare the bar dry.

The day dawned to blue skies and groggy eyes. Jim refused to get up so we had to pack the tent away with him still in it. Unfortunately we had some problems strapping him to the bike so we had to resort to shock tactics. We placed him and the tent under the full gaze of the sun which soon had him wriggling for fear he might get shrink-wrapped.

Later that morning we reached the Atlantic coast. The trip was suddenly going far too smoothly. Never a good sign.

< Part 2 Let’s not meet in a dark alley

> Part 4 Seize the day, not the engine