We had a return day in Gran Canaria after leaving Tenerife in order to catch the ferry to Fuerteventura (Second largest of the Canary Islands). It was day of riding in mixed weather: 50% clear and sunny, 50% overcast and light rain. During the period of sunshine, we (re)rode the mountain pass of Pico de la Nieves. Our previous trek over the mountain was in heavy rain, dense clouds and high winds. This time was in glorious sunshine, clear skies and the stunning views which had been previously promised. It was so clear that we could see El Teide on the island of Tenerife, a 90 minute ferry ride away.
High winds at the port for the ferry from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria to Morro Jable, Fuerteventura did not bode well for those prone to sea sickness on the 2 hour crossing. It was the roughest crossing we had had to date. An older gentleman, sitting several seats to my left, consumed a large bag of potato chips and a large soda prior to leaving the dock. He got it all back about half way through the journey and twice again prior to docking at our final destination. When we were arriving at the destination port, I went to check on Howard and Martin to see how they had fared on the trip. They had survived the crossing better than expected. I relayed the story of the older gentleman close to me “Ralphing” three times. Howard asked, “Is the Spanish version of ‘Ralphing’ ‘Rauling’?” Whilst I didn’t know the answer to his query, I did snort a little, just a little, when laughing at his joke.
The terrain of Fuerteventura is quite different than either Gran Canaria and Tenerife. Roads are generally flat, straight and wide with only an occasional curve. The scenery is interesting for the first 2 to 3 minutes but then becomes a monotony of desert landscape. This mixture of uninteresting roadway system and landscape did, however, play toward our advantage. We had crosswinds for the entire day’s ride. HIGH CROSSWINDS. I hate riding in cross winds more than riding in the rain. At least with rain, you can see how heavy it is; see where the puddles are and see potential road hazards, such as oil slicks. Wind gusts are invisible, unless there is blowing sand or dirt in the mix. Wind gusts are like the bullies from grade school, just lurking about, waiting to push you over and steal your milk money. Cheeky bastards they are. Speaking of goats, the goat population on Fuerteventura exceeds the human population, except during tourist season when polyester plaid shorts, muffin tops and sunburned white skin exceeds and frightens the goat population.
The island of Lanzarote, a 20 minute ferry ride from the island of Fuerteventura had periods of the same high winds as Fuerteventura but more interesting roads. It also is home to Parque Nacional de Timanfaya on the south west coast of the island. An active volcano whose 1 September 1730 eruption was the largest volcanic cataclysms in recorded history causing panic and general annoyance amongst the local inhabitants. The northern end of the island has somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 kilometers of GREAT motorcycle riding: good sweepers and tight hairpins. The downside of the hairpins on high wind days is that banking (leaning) the motorcycle to the right for a right-hand hairpin turn and being suddenly hit with a 40+ mph crosswind, also blowing to the right, can be a not only sphincter puckering experience but a bladder releasing one as well. Glad I brought a clean pair of riding shorts. Now, I just need to figure out how to ask for “Depends” in Spanish at the local mercado.