It was -6C when we left the Parador this morning. Bright, clear and very cold. Cathy and I are the only ones wearing electric clothes. With boot liners, pants, jackets and gloves electrified by two different thermostats, we were toasty warm. Our friends, not so comfortable. Less than three miles later we were on a two lane road in a river canyon following a small river. The sun was bright, but hadn’t made it into the valley yet. Frost covered the trees and grasses. Road surface was clear but had residual salt from previous days. Utility lines, when they existed, consisted of skinny wooden poles with two glass insulators. The valley opened up and it was now sunny, but still in the low twenties. We rode sixty-three wonderful miles and stopped for gas. We had to share the two pumps with and old Ford tractor and a kid with a gas can on the floor of his scooter, between his legs. Many folks put on rain suits for another layer of warmth.
Near Motilla it opened into a plain and a large solar array was 2 miles from a huge wind farm. Spain is big in alternative energy. Their economy is like the rest of the world. We saw many empty stores in the small villages we passed. Empty car dealerships were everywhere. Peugot seemed to be the hardest hit. Road construction seemed to be the busiest industry.
We went through the high plains of La Mancha and saw many images of Don Quixote. Flat like Colorado with the mountains in the distance. Now, we were in olive country. The roads were wonderful and the scenery was spectacular. Hillsides as far as the eye could see were dotted with olive trees in neat little rows. It was a pointillism landscape in shades of green. Our guides found a ridge road above the city of Jaen which provided fabulous views of the city and surrounding hillsides covered with olive groves.
Skies began to darken as ce closed in on Granada. It was Friday afternoon rush hour traffic and the rain began to fall. Our guides had provided a turn- by-turn map to the hotel, a ten minute walk from Alhambra. We were riding the route when we spotted Richard ahead, waving us down. Turns out construction had closed our access and a one-way street now headed the other dirction. He led us to our hotel and the 2-bike elevator that lowered us into the private parking garage.
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