Fighters and bombers #4 – The Range Rover

  • Model – Range Rover Vogue SE
  • Year of manufacture – 1988
  • Engine – V8, 3.5 l EFI petrol – 163 bhp / 279 Nm
  • 4-Speed ZF automatic gearbox
  • Performance : 0-100 km/h in 12 s
  • Top speed : 170 km/h

The story of this “bomber” is a nice one! How did we ended up owning a 1988 Range Rover? Well, this car was purchased by a family of friends in 1988. By then, a Range Rover Vogue SE with the V8 3.5 l EFI petrol engine and the 4-Speed automatic ZF gearbox was the summit of the 4×4.

Beautiful 4×4 beast

Ana Maria came to Madrid in 1998 to do a master’s degree. Coming from Guatemala, she was used to drive large 4×4 cars, American style, so when she was offered by these friends to buy their Range Rover in 2001 she thought it was a nice opportunity. It was never used off-road, and as Madrid is such a dry area the car was neat with zero rust. It was in excellent conditions. And driving such a huge 4×4 in the busy city of Madrid – huge for us, remember this is Europe – was comfortable for her.

Few years later we got married, and the Range Rover stayed with us until today. For years, we didn’t use it on a daily basis, but it was always there in the garage, ready to roar every time we needed it.

It was in 2018 that we decided to do something. We couldn’t keep this big car in the garage and just let it get older without some special care. As these classic Range Rovers are more and more appreciated, we took the big decision to restore it. And it was a full restoration. New leather upholstery, body, engine, etc. Look how it shines today!

The interior was totally renewed with excellent Nappa leather.
The wood is a real massive piece!
During the restoration we paid special attention to all details.

This “bomber” is now looking pristine again and runs smoother than ever.

Shining like new! Who would say it has now 32 years?

We love it, and we believe it’s a great value vintage car. However, as we don’t use it that much anymore, we decided to put it for sale. Anyone interested? Don’t hesitate to contact us and ask!

Fighters and bombers #3 – The Jaguar F-Pace

  • Model – Jaguar F-Pace S
  • Year of manufacture – 2016
  • Engine – V6, 3.0 l biturbo diesel – 300 bhp / 700 Nm
  • 8-Speed automatic gearbox
  • Performance : 0-100 km/h in 6,4 s
  • Top speed : 241 km/h

Since June 2016, our day-to-day car is the Jaguar F-Pace. We changed from the classic sedan (the Jaguar XJ) to the SUV concept looking for practicability.

We looked for a car with a large boot, 4×4 if possible, and that could be equipped with a towing ball.

Coming from a Jaguar XJ, and being extremely satisfied with the brand, we thought of the F-Pace as a natural successor for the XJ.

So, the brand-new F-Pace was our choice. In Dark Sapphire Blue and Brogue leather interior with satin Burl Ash wood trim.

We heavily equipped this machine, with 22” rims, sunroof, heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, memory pack, adaptive cruise control, blind spot assist, high-speed emergency braking, 360º surround cameras, park assist, head-up display and all the possible gadgets on the list. The result is a super-fast “bomber” excellent for long distance journeys. And its incredible torque and power makes it an excellent partner for towing the trailer with the 3-Wheeler in it.

Since June 2016 that the F-Pace “bomber” was delivered, until the day we’re writing these lines (August 2020) we never had a single problem with this car. Still extremely satisfied with Jaguar!

Fighters and bombers #2 – The trailer

The Morgan 3-Wheeler is a fantastic vehicle. It’s light, fun, fast, and designed to enjoy driving. However, as we have already pointed out in other posts, it has some particularities to consider if you plan to travel with it.

Limitations such as the luggage space are solved by the 3-Wheeler travelers in one way or another. You also must consider that you are driving an open vehicle, so, like on a motorbike, you’re exposed to the weather conditions. Sun, rain, wind, kamikaze insects smashing your forehead, etc. Having an intercom to talk to your partner is also important. And depending on the distances you will drive, the fuel range is to be studied with care too, to avoid finding yourself in the middle of a desertic road with an empty tank.

The truth is that you can travel as far as you want in your 3-Wheeler, once you assume the above-mentioned characteristics, and plan your trip accordingly.

Then, why buying a trailer for the 3-Wheeler? Ana Maria and I discussed about it and, despite it was an important cost, we decided to buy one for two big reasons.

The first one is that we would like to do some trips with the Morgan that imply exceptionally long road distances. If we want to join our friends for the Jungfrau Treffen in Switzerland, or Le Mans in France, Isle Of Man in the UK, or any other 3-Wheeler event celebrated abroad, we’re talking about many hundreds of kilometers – probably much more than a thousand – from our home base in Madrid. Driving these very long distances, just the two of us in the tiny 3-Wheeler, to join the rest of the gang, can be physical and mentally quite demanding. But if you cover part of this distance sitting comfortably in our SUV, towing the 3-Wheeler in the trailer, and use the 3-Wheeler only the key days, the trip will result globally much more comfortable and feasible.

The second reason is getting the Morgan safely parked inside the protection of the trailer. Because we live in an urbanization with three large apartments’ buildings, and our garage is used by many others. It’s not like we live with vandals in a terrible ghetto, but we are hundreds of people, and statistically you can have few “badge stealing baboons”, or worse. So, keeping the Morgan inside a closed trailer out of sight of these few primates is the best option to avoid displeasures.

With the decision taken, it is time to decide which kind of trailer we want. And this is not a simple task! If you’re planning to tow a trailer with a Morgan 3-Wheeler on it, you have to consider this is no ordinary car. It’s compact, and light. But still weights over 585 kg if you have the Euro4 version. You’ll easily pass the 600 kg with a full fuel tank. If you consider that a good quality trailer, with the characteristics we asked for, weights 725 kg, the sum is way over a ton. A two- axles trailer is, in our opinion, a must.

The 3-Wheeler dimensions (5-Speeder)

So, what’s concerning about the Morgan 3-Wheeler that you can’t simply buy a standard trailer?

First matter: the three wheels

It has three wheels! Oh yes… three wheels. So what? Well, if you check on the Internet, most of the standard trailers for vehicles available have only two narrow ramps for the vehicle to get on the platform! Without a central third ramp, the 3-Wheeler could not be loaded.

So, your trailer needs three ramps. Or, as we chose, a large rear ramp as wide as the trailer. We believe this is the best solution, because a single large ramp that can tilt will act as a door and protection for the back of the trailer.

View of the rear ramp / door.

The second matter: the balance point

The balance point of the 3-Wheeler is very much at the front than in a normal car. The huge S&S V-Twin 2 liters engine is far at the front of the car, followed by the Centa drive, clutch and gearbox just behind it. All this in front of the seats. Behind the seats you only have the bevel box, rear arm and wheel, and the fuel tank, covered with a really light ash wood frame and aluminum body, which do not counterbalance the weight at the front. So, where exactly is the balance point of the 3-Wheeler?

We asked Morgan Motor Company, but unfortunately had no reply. So, it was again our dear colleagues of the Talk Morgan forum who helped us to sort it out. This forum is an inexhaustible source of information, coming from incredibly experienced people. Thanks to them, we can say now that we know exactly where this balance point is!

Oh.. yeah… We know it now!

The location of the balance point on the trailer is absolutely critical. If it’s behind the axles, it can cause the trailer to stray uncontrollably and cause an accident. The following video is a good example of how the weight must be distributed on a trailer.

For this reason, the first thing we consider is to have the Morgan loaded looking forward on the platform. So, the balance point is closer to the tow ball. If we do it the other way round, so loading the 3-Wheeler backwards, and consequently having most of the weight at the end of the trailer, we would need to compensate this by moving backwards the axles. Like it happens when you’re towing a motorboat. It’s feasible, but the axles of your trailer will be far away from your towing ball, and this implies that maneuvering the trailer would be more complicated. The bigger the distance between your trailer axles and the tow ball is, the more space you’ll need while turning; and while reversing, the trailer would be much less reactive. Having the Morgan looking forward is the best technical decision.

Towing the 3-Wheeler looking forward is the best technical option.

Related to the balance point, is the tongue weight on the tow ball. If there is too much weight on the tow ball, the towing car will suffer and behave in an inappropriate way. Too much tongue weight will affect the rear axle and suspensions, the braking, and the steering of the towing car. To avoid excessive tongue weight, we need to place the axles of the trailer in the correct position, so the balance point is between the axles.

Today, most of the four wheeled cars have their balance point really centered. The manufacturers try to position the balance point so the front and rear axles stand each one 50% of the car’s weight. A consequence of this tendency is that the standard trailers offered as vehicle platform have their axle(s) centered in the middle length of the platform. And this is not good if you’re planning to tow a 3-Wheeler! If your axles are in the middle of the platform, and load it looking forward, you’ll have excessive tongue weight on your towing ball. And if you load it looking backwards, you’ll have your trailer swaying uncontrollably.

Considering all the matters mentioned above, we decided to design a specific trailer for the Morgan 3-Wheeler, according to the simple drawing here below.

Knowing that the car’s balance point is well ahead, the ideal position of the axles should be such that the balance point is between them, a little ahead of the center line that separates both axles. With this design, our trailer has a perfect balance. With the 3-Wheeler loaded on it, we can retract the jockey wheel, and the trailer stays perfectly flat. In fact, it’s like a standard trailer, but with the axles moved forward. Not a big challenge for a trailer manufacturer. So, we have a perfect tongue weight and a hyper stable trailer!

Third matter: the dimensions

Another important design characteristic of the trailer is how compact it is. The platform is 3 500 mm long, and, more important, just 2 000 mm wide. Considering that the 3-Weeler is 1 738 mm wide and 3 260 mm long, it is real challenge to build a suitable trailer so compact. We can’t make mistakes and find out that the 3-Wheeler doesn’t fit in once the trailer is manufactured!

About the width – For us it is mandatory that the trailer is not wider than 2 000 mm. We want to park it in our garage, where the parking places are 4,9 x 2,7 m. And our SUV is almost 2 000 mm wide, and we don’t want to tow a trailer wider than the car. The only solution to have a 2 000 mm wide platform and the trailer not being wider than this, is to put the wheels below the platform. But if you use regular size wheels, the platform will be too high. The solution is to use special axles with low diameter wheels: 195/55/10 to be more precise. This size of wheel is not very common, but if your trailer manufacturer is an experienced one, he should be able to offer them. The 10inch rim is the key to success here.

About the length – A 3 500 mm length platform is sufficient for the 3-Wheeler. But obviously the trailer must be longer, as the tongue needs to have a minimum length. The trailer final design has a total length of 4 750 mm, with 3 500 mm of platform. Which is a very reasonable length! And it fits within the garage place.

The trailer fits in perfectly!
Perfect length. The trailer stays inside the limits of the garage place.

Fourth matter: the loading and unloading

As we put the wheels below the platform, and despite the wheels are special small diameter ones, the platform is relatively high, at 600 mm above ground. We could have designed the trailer with a lower platform, but then the wheels would be external to the platform, increasing the width by no less than 400 mm! So, the trailer would have be of 2 400 mm width, which is really a lot, and much wider than a regular SUV with the annoying consequences for driving.

The problem is that the breakover and departure angles of the 3-Wheeler are not particularly good because the car is very low. The approach angle is totally the opposite: the best possible as the front wheels are the very front of the vehicle. So, the 3-Wheeler has simply no front overhang, and the rear one despite being short has the mentioned disadvantage of being extremely low. Then, if we just drop the back door / ramp, the angles of this ramp with the floor and with the platform could be such that the 3-Wheeler would rub its rear end and its belly while being loaded and unloaded from the trailer.

How can we solve this problem? With a tilting platform. Again, if your trailer’s manufacturer is a good one, this will not be a challenge at all. You can see in the following pictures how the platform tilts and makes a smooth loading ramp for the Morgan.

Best solution is a tilting platform.
Here you can see the trailer with the platform flat, and the angles of the rear ramp.
When the platform is tilted, it’s perfectly aligned with the ramp / rear door. So the angles are minimum and the 3-Wheeler doesn’t rub anywhere.

If necessary, the platform can be fully tilted, so the back of the trailer rests on the ground and supports the weight of the Morgan when it gets in and out. However, this is not really necessary if the trailer is hooked to a towing ball (so to the towing car) or, as in our case, to a towing ball screwed to the garage wall. With the trailer fixed to the wall’s towing ball, the whole doesn’t move or tries to tilt at all when we get in and out with the Morgan.

Here is a detail of the front part of the trailer, with the tongue hooked to the wall’s towing ball, the jockey wheel (red handle), the hand brake, the manual winch (blue device) and tilting system (green devide).

Detailed view of the tongue of the trailer with its accessories.

Also, in this same picture you may notice a couple of safety devices included in our trailer. One is mandatory, due to the weight of the load: the overrun brake. It actuates on both axles. The other one is the ball coupling with anti-sway damping. Safety first!

Fifth matter: the hood

We looked at the different choices to convert the platform into a closed trailer. One option is to have a full molded polyester hood. It’s solid and the wind will flow smoother on it than on a classic canvas. This kind of polyester hood is normally fixed at the front to the platform, and then tilts so its rear end opens enough to allow the car loading. As in the next picture.

Polyester rigid hood.

But as you can also see in the above picture, this kind of hood needs a lot of height to be fully open. Unfortunately, our garage is limited to 2,25 m height. So, a rigid hood is not an option for us. We looked at other rigid options, with back doors for example. But the solution was not totally satisfactory for our need. After some exchange of ideas, we decide to go for a classic steel tubes structure with a canvas over it.

Another requirement for us was to limit the height of the trailer to minimize its impact on aerodynamics while being towed. So, the trailer with the structure should not be higher than 1 800 mm. As the platform is at 600 mm height, this let us 1 200 mm height inside the trailer. This is high enough for the 3-Wheeler and leaves the total trailer height below the 1 800 mm limit we decided.

We finally came out with the following design drawing.

Trailer’s hood design.

Here you have some pictures of how the structure looks like, so with the trailer without the canvas on.

Before installing the canvas.
On this side you can appreciate the sliding door structure.

We’re happy to say that the 1 200 mm inside height is perfect! I am 1,82 m tall, and I can drive the 3-Wheeler inside the trailer without hitting my forehead with the structure. So good enough! But what happens when the driver is inside the trailer, and needs to get in or out the Morgan? This can be really uncomfortable! To solve this problem, we designed a sliding door on the trailer’s pilot side. This is a part of the steel structure that slides forward, and a driver’s side hood door with zippers is provided covering the side and half the width of the roof so that the driver can enter and exit the vehicle by standing up. The driver’s area starts at about 1 300 mm from the nose of the 3-Wheeler and is about 1 100 mm long, so we completed the design drawing with this other one for the trailer’s manufacturer.

Perfect door / opening location.

This is how it looks like. The result is excellent!

With the canvas closed.
With the canvas open and the sliding door too.
The access top the pilot side of the 3-Wheeler is perfect.

Here are different pictures of the view you have when you’re loading the 3-Wheeler into the trailer.

Ready to get in!
And inside!

To help the maneuver we have installed six LED lamps inside. They’re powered with standard AAA batteries and have a motion sensor, so they switch on when you’re in.

We put six LED lights with motion sensor inside.

We can finally have our 3-Wheeler parked inside the trailer, totally protected against dirt and the famous “badge stealing baboons”! Plus having it hooked to the towing ball screwed to the concrete wall, and with the coupling lock, it’s impossible to move it.

Fixed and secured!

As a résumé, the main characteristics of the trailer are as follows:

Materials:

  • Chassis, structure, and canvas frame: hot dipped galvanized steel
  • Floor and back ramp / door: flat hole plated

Dimensions:

  • Platform length 3 500 mm
  • Platform width 2 000 mm
  • Platform height from ground 600 mm
  • Back door ramp / door 2 000 mm x 1 100 mm
  • Total trailer length 4 750 mm
  • Canvas structure height / height inside the trailer 1 200 mm
  • Total trailer height with canvas 1 800 mm

Axles:

  • Two 900 kg axles with 195/55/10” special wheels
  • Wheels below platform
  • Hand brake on both axles
  • Overrun brake on both axles

Others:

  • Safety coupling
  • Safety lock for coupling
  • Anti-sway damping device
  • Safety cable
  • Semi-automatic jockey wheel
  • 13-pin electric connector
  • LED lights
  • Adjustable wheel stops
  • Manual cable winch
  • Manual platform tilting device
  • Tools box with key lock

If anyone wants more information about the design and manufacture of our trailer, feel free to ask!

Fighters and bombers #1 – The Morgan 3-Wheeler

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the “fighter” this blog is based on. An amazing handcrafted machine, made in Pickersleigh Road, Malvern, United Kingdom, by the Morgan Motor Company.

Our 2020 Morgan 3-Wheeler

The Morgan Motor Company was founded in 1909 by Henry Fredrick Stanley Morgan. The success of the MMC was based on the manufacture of three wheelers. It was not until 1936 that the first four wheeled 4/4 Morgan was presented. MMC ended the production of three wheelers in 1952.

If you want to know more details about the history of the company, this is the link you have to click on: https://www.morgan-motor.com/history/

And if you want to know more details about the Morgan 3-Wheelers history, there is not a better place than the Morgan Three Wheeler Club web page: https://www.mtwc.co.uk/a-short-history-of-the-models/

It was in 2011, 60 years after stopping the production of their three wheelers, that Morgan Motor Company presented a new version of their iconic 3-Wheeler: the so called 5-Speeder. And what a vehicle! The new modern 3-Wheeler has a S&S V-Twin 2 liters engine, coupled to a Mazda MX5 five speeds gearbox (that’s why it’s named the “5-Speeder”).

The latest version EU4 which is the one that Ana María and I bought, gives you “only” 68 bhp. But this power combined with the amazing torque of the massive V-Twin and a light weight of 585 kg converts this vehicle into a real little rocket, claiming a performance of 7 s for the 0-100 km/h and a top speed of 185 km/h. Little modifications make it even faster! Just imagine what the EU3 models with 82 bhp and the early ones with more than 100 bhp can do!

The car is quite compact, with just 3 260 mm length, 1 738 mm width and 1 012 mm height.

Morgan 3-Wheeler dimensions (5-Speeder)

Our model is one of the latest as we write these lines:  a 2020 model delivered January the 30th this year.

This is how it looked when we configured it the MMC car creator.

COLOR

  • Morgan Sport Green (solid)

EXTERIOR – DESIGN FEATURES AND FINISHES

  • Decals – danger afterburn sticker in white
  • Decals – RAF inspired MOG logo
  • Decals – centre stripe detail lines in white
  • Mohair tonneau (mid brown colour)
  • Union Jack bonnet badges, coloured

INTERIOR – DESIGN FEATURES AND FINISHES

  • Quilted leather stitching
  • Leather storage pockets
  • New dashboard design (aka “heritage dashboard”) with TAWNY wooden panels
  • XT waterproof leather (mid brown colour)
  • Heated seats

FACTORY SERVICES AND ACCESSORIES

  • Rear mudguard

AERO RACING OPTIONS

  • Under bonnet storage box
  • Headlight mesh
  • EU3 appearance pack (Ride height lowering kit + replacement of light tidy & mirrors kit + removal of intake piping kit)
  • Luggage rack

And this is the result when it arrived at the dealer’s showroom in Madrid.

Our M3W days before getting its plates on.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, this is the “fighter” we base our blog on. We will describe the modifications and works done on the vehicle in our “Hangar works” section, and tell you about our trips, being the short ones our “Short fighter missions” and the long journeys far away from our home base the “Long range campaigns”.

Delivery moment! January 30th 2020.

We really hope you will enjoy the blog!

Short fighter mission #4 – 16th & 17th of July 2020

The Speedy Marmots are celebrating! We got married on July the 16th 2005, so this is 15 years ago!

We decided to do a two-day short fighter mission to celebrate and relax, spending a night out in a really nice area, at the far east side of the Guadalajara province.

This area is relatively close from our home base in Madrid, and it is full of history and beautiful villages. Magnificent castles, cathedral, churches, and palaces from the XII to the XVII century are present by dozens in this central Spain region. All worth a visit, and some of them are restored and even hold hotels, such as the Parador Nacional de Sigüenza, a fabulous hotel in a XII century huge castle on the top of the village.

Apart the ancient historic buildings, this region offers amazing landscapes too. Close by Sigüenza, our destination for the night, you have several rivers, reservoirs and natural parcs, gathered with wildlife.

Once we chose the hotel for the night, we planned the route to it as usual, looking for isolated tiny and twisted roads and avoiding as much as possible motorways and main roads with traffic.

This was our itinerary.

First section – From home base to Patones

56 km and 48 min estimated driving time.

We leave home and take first the A-1 motorway again for 18 km, to leave on exit 23.

We repeat known short roads (M-100, M-111, M-103 and N-320) until we get to Torrelaguna. This time of the day, around 11: AM, these roads were not too busy and the drive is very pleasant.

We cross Torrelaguna and take the M-102 to Patones. Originally Patones was not intended to be the first waypoint of our route, but Patones de Arriba, which is another small village few kilometers away from Patones and considered one of the most beautiful villages of the Sierra de Ayllón.

Patones de Arriba.

The plan was to do a short coffee break and walk the village for half an hour. Unfortunately, the road to Patones de Arriba is now cut to traffic some hundreds of meters before the entrance to the village. And there is not too much parking space where the road is cut. When we arrived there we could see too many cars parked on the side of the road and we didn’t feel comfortable leaving the 3-Wheeler incorrectly parked on the side of a tiny road with many other cars around that have to maneuver in a narrow space to leave the place. So, we withdraw our intention to visit Patones de Arriba and drive back to Patones for the coffee break.

Second section – From Patones to Puebla de Valles

29 km and 37 min estimated driving time.

After our coffee break, we continue driving on the skirts of the Sierra de Ayllón on the M-102, and then follow the Jarama river using the CM-123 and GU-1065. These roads are the kind we like, with nice tarmac, no traffic at all, and with nice curves but not too much demanding for the pilot. Smooth and relaxed drive!

We could choose an easier road to get to our next waypoint, but we decided – as adventurers we are – to take a special very tiny and twisty road that connects the GU-1065 with the GU-195. This road has no official identification and looks more like a maintenance service path than a real open traffic road. But it’s signalized, so open to traffic, and continues along the Jarama river through beautiful small valleys. It was the greatest surprise of the day.

A short stop to admire the ravines we’re driving through.

The first impression was a little bit scary, as the tarmac seemed to be in very poor conditions. In fact, we hit the bottom of the 3-Wheeler twice. We were driving very slowly and there was no damage at all. Despite this first unpleasant sensation of hitting the bottom of the car in a pothole, the road was really worthy to drive! We followed the beautiful narrow valleys with changing landscapes.

After adapting our driving to the road conditions, and with most of the road having a decent tarmac, driving in such abandoned isolated road was a superb experience! Instead of going along the river, it suddenly climbed to the top of a hill to come back down the other side showing a spectacular deep valley where we could see the twisted road going downhill.

Breathtaking views.

While we made a short stop to take some pictures, we realized how hot the day was. Central Spain and mid-July… best combination for a 40ºC day! We fortunately were wearing technical shirts, much breathable than classic cotton ones.

Sweating marmots… it’s 40ºC out there!

We finished this beautiful road and connected with the GU-195 towards Puebla de Valles.

End of the difficult but beautiful road!

This GU-195 is another fantastic road, through red and green hills, no traffic and ups and downs to small valleys by the Jarama river. We finally arrive to our second waypoint of the day: Puebla de Valles, where we connect with the CM-1004.

Third section – From Puebla de Valles to Cogolludo

25 km and 22 min estimated driving time.

Once on the CM-1004, our intention was to deviate to a smaller and more interesting road: the GU-189, passing through the village of La Mierla, then the GU-185 over the dam of the Beleña reservoir, and finally through the villages of Beleña de Sorbe and Aleas to reconnect with the CM-1001 to Cogolludo.

But as you can see in the next video, the pass over the dam of the Beleña reservoir was cut to traffic, so we had to drive back to the CM-1004 and get to Cogolludo on “less fancy” roads.

So, we drive on the CM-1004 and take the CM-1001 looking for the next waypoint and a place to have lunch.

These roads are fast and really nice and easy to drive, with a smooth tarmac, allowing the S&S V-Twin to cool down properly in fourth and fifth gear with a nice airflow passing through its fins.

We finally arrive to Cogolludo. Before looking for a restaurant for lunch we do the mandatory pictures of the 3-Wheeler in front of the Palace of the Dukes Of Medinaceli, a beautiful building built in the XV century.

The Palace of the Duques of Medinaceli.

Apart the mentioned palace, in Cogolludo you can see the ruins of the XII century castle on the top of the hill, and a couple of beautiful Romanesque churches, being the Santa Maria De Los Remedios the biggest one, and a large monastery. The village is really worth a visit.

The remains of the XII castle of Cogolludo.
Santa Maria de los Remedios, at Cogolludo.
Ruins of a monastery, in Cogolludo.

We decide to have lunch here and refresh. We really need to stop and hide from the afternoon summer sun!

Fourth section – From Cogolludo to Sigüenza

75 km and 1 h 10 min estimated driving time.

After a nice and relatively light lunch, and completely rehydrated, we jump back into the cockpit. Ana María will be the pilot for this section.

We continue on the CM-1001 driving towards the reservoir of Alcorlo. The road has no traffic. Very few cars indeed. And this time of the year the sunflowers’ fields are starting to bloom!

The Speedy Marmot in action.

This CM1001 takes us to Atienza, which is another of the most beautiful villages of the region, crowned with its XII century famous castle. This fortress is one of the oldest in Spain. The location was first used by the Celtiberians during their fight against the Roman invaders. When the Romans finally conquered the region, they put their watchtower here. Later on, came the Arabs who built the first stone fortress, which was taken back by the Christians during the Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula, and built in the XII century the castle which remains can still be visited today. A lot of history behind these walls!

Atienza’s castle.

Under the shade of the powerful Atienza’s castle, we take the CM-110 to Sigüenza, our final waypoint of the day.

What can we tell you about Sigüenza? If the previous villages we have crossed are full of history, Sigüenza is the rockstar of the region! Located on the hill of Villavieja, around the 5th century B.C. it was one of the most important cities in Celtiberia. Carthaginian penetration of the third century BC.(prior to the Second Punic War) took Hannibal and then Hasdrubal to haunt her.

Then came the Romans and during the Celtiberian wars (153-133 B.C.) submission to the Roman Republic occurred. The Roman occupation established a military zone that was separated from the residential zone. In Roman times the city maintained some importance for being located on the Henares road that was part of the road that connected Mérida (Emerita Augusta) with Zaragoza (Caesar Augusta).

Then its importance declined for few centuries until the arrival of the Muslims, that rebuilt the site because of its military importance to control the region and the important commercial routes.

It was reconquered in 1123 by the Christians, who immediately reinforced the fortress as we can see it today and started the construction of the cathedral. The city suffered during many years the wars between the Muslims and Christians. But remained under Christian domination until the total defeat of the Muslim kingdoms.

Sigüenza and its impressive castle.

We decided to check-in at the hotel, situated in the small village of Alcuneza, just few kilometers north-east of Sigüenza. We needed to have a shower and rest for a while before visiting Sigüenza.

Our hotel: El Molino de Alcuneza. Relais & Chateaux superb place.

The place chosen by Ana María was superb: the Molino De Alcuneza. It’s an old water mill, totally restored and converted into an amazing hotel member of the Relais & Chateaux.

What a peaceful place…
No stress at all for any of the inhabitants of the place.

Visit to Sigüenza

After a well-deserved shower and short rest, we jump back into the cockpit and do the short drive to Sigüenza. This time the distance is short, and we leave the helmets at the hotel to enjoy the fresh air on our face.

We park the Morgan just by one of the back entrances through the city walls, very close to the City Hall square and the cathedral.

Parked in a peaceful spot, by the ancient city walls of Sigüenza.

When we get to the main square, we’re surprised by a temporary exhibition of the Prado Museum, showing many reproductions of its most famous paintings. A peculiar scenario.

Sigüenza’s City Hall.

The cathedral of Santa María is a beautiful example of the Romanesque to Gothic evolution of such temples. Its construction didn’t end until the XVIII century.

The cathedral as best possible background for the the Prado Museum street exhibition.
The view before walking up the main street to the castle.

We walk the main old street to reach the castle, discovering many charming corners and narrow medieval streets on the way uphill.

Many medieval doors are still functional on restored buildings.
The Speedy Marmots and the castle in the background.
The Santiago’s Church, under restoration.
Beautiful narrow medieval streets.

At the end of the street we reach the castle. What an impressive building! Today, the castle of Sigüenza is one of the best Paradores Nacionales de Turismo, the Spanish national hotels’ chain.

Sigüenza’s Castle. Today a Parador Nacional (hotel).

We walked back down through different narrow streets, discovering more beautiful hidden spots of the city.

Another inhabitant of Sigüenza.
Nice walk through the ol town of Sigüenza.

Our walk ended in front of the cathedral’s main entrance. The late evening light over the façade was fantastic.

The front fence of the cathedral, Sigüenza.
Beautiful sunset light over the cathedral’s façade.
Walking by the cathedral.

Before leaving town, we decided to drive the 3-Wheeler up to the castle to take a few shots.

The Morgan at the Sigüenza’s Castle entrance.

In the parking in front of the entrance we spotted a nice vintage car: a 60’s Mercedes-Benz 190SL.

A restored beauty: a Mercedes Benz 190SL from the 60’s.

Couldn’t resist to photograph the two beauties side by side.

Beauties side by side.

We finally leave Sigüenza for a nice celebration dinner at the hotel’s restaurant.

Celebration dinner at the Molino De Alcuneza

This is what this short fighter mission was really about: to celebrate sharing 15 years of marriage. The best years of our lives and getting better. Now with a new passion: being member of the Morgan 3-Wheeler family and driving and travelling together in this incredible machine!

Best possible celebration dinner. Happy 15th anniversary!

The restaurant at the Molino De Alcuneza has one Michelin Star. And it really deserves it, if not a second one! Every dish was so nice and tasty. Impossible to choose a specific one as the best of the night!

The wine we had was an excellent choice from a close-by regional vineyard and cellar: Finca Rio Negro! If you can find a bottle, do not hesitate; it’s an excellent vine for a very reasonable price!

Finca Rio Negro. Excellent local wine!

Fifth section – From Sigüenza to Cifuentes

56 km and 1 h 15 min estimated driving time.

Friday morning, we relax for a while at the hotel and finally leave around noon. We cross Sigüenza and take the GU-118 direction Pelegrina. This road crosses the National Parc of the Rio Dulce Ravine. It’s a spectacular road coming up and down the ravine with beautiful sights to stop and watch the nature and the vultures flying over the rock walls using the summer thermal currents.

After crossing this national park, we head to the southern side of Guadalajara’s province, where more amazing landscapes and roads are awaiting. After crossing below the big A-2 motorway, we enter another zone with perfect roads for the 3-Wheeler.

We drive on the GU-928 passing by La Torresaviñán, La Fuensaviñán, Laranueva and finally Renales. Romanesque churches, ruins of ancient castles on the top of the hills, short valleys with tall trees,… the road a pure pleasure to drive.

A castle on the hill.
Fantastic road. No traffic. Morgan dream.

In Renales we take left to drive on the GU-913 towards Torrecuadrada, then we take an unidentified road towards El Sotillo. No traffic at all, beautiful landscapes, really nice road…. The Morgan driver’s dream continues!

At El Sotillo we take the GU-922 for few kilometers and before turning turning left at the first crossroads on another unidentified road. We’re looking for the reservoir of La Tejera, and this is the road that leads us to it.

This road crosses over the dam, and clearly the other side is not used as the main access to it, because the tarmac immediately degrades and starts showing some potholes. But this road on the other side of the dam takes us directly to Cifuentes, our next waypoint, so we just stop for a few nice pictures and continue on it despite its conditions.

La Tejera reservoir.
Commander anf his fighter.
And another very hot day.

We drive slowly so we can see in advance the potholes in the tarmac, and we need to stop from time to time to take out the grasshoppers jumping into the cockpit. We laugh as the situation is really funny; we never imagined we would have a car and drive such roads, so we need to stop to catch grasshoppers and other insects inside the cockpit!

Cifuentes is another interesting village. It has the really nice Romanesque church of El Salvador.

Church of El Salvador, Cifuentes.

Also, the ruins of its big XIV century castle can be visited, and the El Remedio Hermitage and the spring of the river inside the town are very interesting points too.

Cifuentes is worth a short visit.

Sixth section – From Cifuentes to Brihuega

46 km and 52 min estimated driving time.

We leave Cifuentes via the N-204, but the take direction to Sacedón and Cuenca. We want to drive aside the National Parc of the Alto Tajo down the valley to the beginning of the Entrepeñas reservoir, and there take the GU-927 up to Solanillos Del Extremo, passing through Gualda and Henche, as this road happens to be one of the most beautiful ones of this area.

The truth is that the detour has been worth it, because indeed the road is beautiful.

Once we arrive to Solanillos Del Extremo, we take left to Brihuega, driving on the GU-925, where we see the first lavender fields of the day.

Lavender fields in bloom.

You will surely know the fame of the blooming lavender fields of the Provence region in France. But, did you know that very close to Madrid, here in Brihuega, you can see lavender fields as beautiful as the French?

We stop to take some pictures.

It was about 30 years ago when a farmer in the area discovered the lavender fields of Provence and saw that it was an ideal production for the fields that surrounded his town, whose agricultural activity was in full decline. Since then, a thousand hectares of lavender have been planted in the Brihuega area and a treatment and production plant for these perfumes has been established.

Morgan 3-Wheeler in lavender fields.

Thus, at present, this town of Guadalajara has become one of the World’s largest producers of the essence of lavender, with 10 percent of total production.

And another sunny and hot day. So happy together!

Precisely it’s by end of July and beginning of August that the lavender fields are in bloom. We’re here at the best possible moment! The scenery is perfect for a photoshoot: “Morgan 3-Wheeler in lavender fields”. Regardless of how cheesy it may sound, the reality is that the landscapes are wonderful and you can take some great photos with the Morgan very close to the lavender plants.

Beautiful cockpit and beautiful background.

We finally take off again and drive to Brihuega continuing this nice GU-925 road. It connects with the CM-2005 just at the skirts of the village of Brihuega, where we’ll stop for lunch.

We park the Morgan just in front of the City Hall, under the shade of a magnolia tree, hoping the sun won’t hit direct on it and turn it into an oven for our come-back.

Nice spot under a magnolia tree.

And we do a short walk in the shade, looking for a place to have lunch, and waiting for the sun to come down a bit so the heat is not so terrible. As it’s the time the lavender is in bloom, the village is dressed up for the occasion.

Lavender Festival time!
Brihuega is a calm and fresh town.
More decoration for the Lavender Festival.

Seventh section – From Brihuega to friends’ house in Cifuentes

31 km and 28 min estimated driving time.

We leave Brihuega taking the CM-2005 on its upper part, as we’re told it’s where the most beautiful lavender fields are. It happens that there are different kinds of lavender, and the ones on the CM-2005 are of a deep purple colour.

Beautiful deep purple lavender fields.

And they truly are the most beautiful! Large extensions that you can’t really appreciate from the road, but there were parts of the country that looked like a huge violet sea.

Miles and miles of hills covered with lavender in bloom.

We decide to stop again by the lavender fields and take some pictures. There are only a couple of cars doing a pic-nic. The place is quiet and the views are beautiful.

The machine.
The deep purple colour of this kind of lavender is so unique.

We hit the road again back to Cifuentes, where some good friends have a beautiful house with a nice swimming pool. The very best place for a coffee break such a hot day!

Best views driving.

We head to their place crossing more and more lavender fields, and we find ourselves into the swimming pool with a fresh wine in our hand half an hour after leaving Brihuega.

Eighth section – From friends’ house in Cifuentes to home base

131 km and 1 h 15 min estimated driving time.

In our friends’ nice company and with the swimming pool freshness, the coffee break takes much longer than expected.

So, we decide to abort the last section of our short fighter mission that was supposed to takes us down again to the Entrepeñas reservoir on the kind of roads we like.

We decide, being late in our original schedule and tired, to drive back home using the A-2 and R-2 motorways to make sure we’ll be back home before night.