Autumn 2020, at the time when Europe was about to be lockdown for the second time, 5 members of our big family share 5 days of freedom, an off-road trip somewhere in the South of the continent… 5 days, 5 protagonists, 5 stories!
The recipe: A bunch of friends, pack some camping gear, load them on a dirt bike, choose a general direction without a strict plan and hit the road. What could go wrong? In reality, many things can and will go wrong, but these difficulties are a bit like the spice mixture that makes fire-baked txuleta taste divine after a long day on the road. Moments you’ll never forget.
Rinsing off the accumulated dust in a cold mountain stream, once clean, don’t forget to take a beer cooled by the same stream and feel the first refreshing sip, sit by the fire, exhale and enjoy.
Two breakdowns, minor accidents and scratches later, a bear visits us, otherwise the experience would not have been complete… The recipe is good, the result better. Getting lost at times is not a problem, the goal being to get away from what the world had become in 2020.
It was dusty, muddy, hot, cold and sometimes foggy, but no regrets, except for Damien’s breakdown that Julien could not repair, he had to give up…
Monegros and its surroundings were more beautiful than I had ever imagined. I can’t wait for the next one. Thanks guys! “
What to say about this trip which started with a (minor) breakdown of Illmo, quickly identified and solved by Julien, and ended for me after 3 days…
3 days of riding on this part of the TET that links the Monegros desert to Catalonia. Between deserts and mountains.
Each bivouac looked like a gastronomic stage that would have made the least vegan run away.
Everything stopped for me at the end of the 3rd day. My 600 XR stopped and wouldn’t start again despite Julien’s efforts. The “strator” had decided otherwise…
The trip ended between insurance calls, long waits and cab. I’ll have to go back to this area soon to finish the track! “
Everything starts one week before leaving. In order to prepare my bag, I call Damien to know how we organize ourselves.
– For the food, how does it happen? Do we take freeze-dried food or do we just see what happens?
– (blank for a few seconds) You’re sick, we’re having prime rib and BBQ every night…
– Well, ok, ok…
The foundations are laid. To be honest I don’t believe it for a second, I still take two or three freeze-dried meals, you never know!
I prepare my 88 Africa Twin 650. It’s big, heavy, I haven’t ridden it off road for months but the call to travel is stronger.
We meet in the Monegros desert. The place is rather incredible. The first turns of wheels are timid, I refresh my hand on my anvil, to read the route on the phone…
And then it is gone, it rolls, we mix sections of road and paths. What a pleasure to feel the bike sliding in the curves, eating the dust and meeting in the evening around the fire with a beer.
The first two days go well. Slips, scares, falls and a mini breakdown. Everything is normal. Second bivouac, they bring out the famous beef rib. I bow to them.
Third evening we lose Damien. The strator of the xr decided otherwise for him. It is all the more frustrating that the next day is perfect. To go up a river, to find ourselves on an ochre track in a green meadow… And the evening to rest our wheels in the desert.
This trip will remain one of my best but so frustrated not to have been able to finish it with Damien: we will have to go back. Thank you all, I can’t wait.
“Thirsty for travel and adventure after the first lockdown, I immediately responded to this off-road trip to the Monegros and parts of the Spanish TET that Damien had told me about. Being joined by Ilmo and two other friends on vintage Honda’s that Damien knew from Wheels and Waves was even better. GAAAAAAAS!
After a last night in a fascinating troglodyte hotel on the edge of the Monegros desert, it was time to load the bikes and hit the road.
The die was cast with a certain ritual: first, no efficiency in the morning (lots of coffee), then the first hours of riding, followed by a “light” Spanish sausage for lunch in a local bar. Again driving in the afternoon, then mission of refuelling and finding a place to sleep, to finish the day around a campfire and a good piece of grilled meat, some San Miguel and a bottle of wine…
All the ingredients are there for an off-road roadtrip. From misty desert plains to mountain tops. River crossings, rockier sections, hill climbs, long stretches of dry river beds, losses and unfortunately also a breakdown…
Every second was worth it. I hope we can go on more adventures soon, I’m starting to get hungry again.”
I have taken to making my own this quote from Yvon Chouinard, famous mountaineer and adventurer, which sounds like a slogan that we wish to claim.
If the most beautiful adventures are often the most epic, they sometimes shine by their fluidity and their simplicity.
“Simple” is a word that I also revere, because it has the meaning of the essential, of pure things…
Our adventure began in this way, simply, in the course of a conversation with Damien without asking any more questions, a story of envy after this tormented sequence, and before the next.
Our mind, our desires of travels often push us to go and look elsewhere for what is offered to us there, so close to us at a few tens or hundreds of kilometers, just on the other side of the Pyrenees.
Alternating between these mountainous landscapes slightly whitened by the first snow evoking our dreams of Patagonia or these tracks through the Iberian deserts, deserts more Mexican than the Mexican deserts themselves.
It is in this universe that we found ourselves Ilmo, Marteen, Damien, Julien and myself; a Finn, a flamingo and three Frenchmen, it looks strangely like an ascent, a roped party, an adventure that could have been led by Yvon Chouinard, who knows?
The landscapes and these engraved moments still pass by me, I am impatient to live the next one…
Behind the scenes, follow all our adventures here and stay tuned to learn about the latest news and information from Wheels And Waves.