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.

Short fighter mission #3 – 4th of July 2020

The original plan for today was a short trip towards north-east Madrid, to explore some roads on the southern skirts of the Sierra de Ayllón.

We spend a couple of days looking at the maps and searching in the Internet the most beautiful roads and villages of this area.

We never planned to cross today the Sierra de Ayllón to the province of Segovia, but some very close friends of us have a nice house in the village of Riaza, on the Segovia side, just across the roads we were planning to drive. And they invited us to share for lunch a fabulous suckling lamb, that will be in the village baker’s oven for some hours waiting for us to arrive, and with a nice wine. Who would say no to such an offer?

Can’t wait to taste this suckling lamb!

So, we remapped our route to stop for lunch at Riaza. It will be longer, for sure, but the weather is excellent, and the roads and lunch offer really appealing. For sure worth an extra mileage driving our 3-Wheeler in beautiful mountain roads under the Spanish summer sun.

It’s 09h00 AM – GMT+2. The 3-Wheeler is full of gas. The GoPro is fixed and secured. We have some fresh water in our thermo. And AM, co-pilot for the first section of the route, has the printed roadmap with all the waypoints and indications to navigate. The Speedy Marmots put their helmets on and ignite the huge V-Twin. Time for fun!

First section – From home base to Puebla de Beleña

73 km and 1 h 00 min estimated driving time.

We leave home and take first the A-1 motorway for 18 km. Nice warm-up for the engine and checking that the Morgan runs smooth and nice as it should.

Then we leave the motorway taking some short roads (M-100, M-111 and M-103) until we get to Talamanca del Jarama. These roads are normally quite busy, as in the villages around, being so close to Madrid, live a lot of people that normally work in offices in the city. But today is Saturday, and early for the Spanish habits, so we see few vehicles and the drive is very pleasant.

In Talamanca del Jarama we take right to the M-120 driving to Valdepiélagos. There we continue north-east on the M-125, that is re-baptized as GU-201 some kilometers later when we enter the Guadalajara province. This is where the interesting roads begin.

Just after Valdepiélagos the road surprises you with unexpected curves and soft ups and downhills to caress a tributary of the Jarama river, the San Benito stream.

Near-by the San Benito stream.

But just after this, the road turns into a different kind. These roads of the Guadalajara province are known for being so straight and the landscape so flat that you can see the church’s bell tower of the next village kilometers away. Aside the road, just vast and flat cereal fields and crops suitable for the hot and arid climate of the Spanish altiplano. It’s a different kind of beauty, that allows an enjoyable relaxed drive.

Straight… nothing but the bell tower in the horizon…

After passing El Cubillo de Uceda we continue the CM-1001 towards Puebla de Beleña, our first big waypoint of the day. This village is where we change direction and drive to the north, up to the southern skirts of the Sierra de Ayllón.

Second section – From Puebla de Beleña to Valverde de los Arroyos

41 km and 43 min estimated driving time.

We leave Puebla de Beleña taking the CM-1004 to Tamajón. The road becomes more and more interesting and we clearly see that we’re going uphill. The peaks of the Sierra de Ayllón look closer as we drive.

We arrive to Tamajón and cross the village, looking for the GU-211. While crossing the village, we are surprised by its beauty. We drive just by its church, a 13th century Romanesque impressive building.

Once on the GU-211, we’re amazed by the beauty of this road. The perfect speed and curves combination for the 3-Wheeler! A real delight. And the landscape is fantastic.

On the GU-211.

As we continue driving uphill, we pass Palancares and the road gets more and more astonishing. Best drive on the Morgan to date!

The villages on this southern side of the Sierra de Ayllón are known as “the black villages”, because their houses are built with dark grey stones and slates, giving a very special dark grey and black colour to the whole village.

We decide to make a first stop at Valverde de los Arroyos, which is one of these famous black villages. We park the 3-Wheeler under the shade of a big tree and have a fantastic refreshment with some “tapas” on the terrace.

Parked for a short coffee break at Valverde de los Arroyos.

With our bellies satisfied and rehydrated, we hit the road again. Now it’s time to finish this amazing GU-211 road and look for our lunch destination on the other side of the Sierra de Ayllón: Riaza.

Third section – From Valverde de los Arroyos to Galve de Sorbe

30 km and 34 min estimated driving time.

We continue uphill on the GU-211. This road is really the top. And during the whole drive we have just crossed a couple of cars. A real Morgan paradise.

When the GU-211 ends, it connects with the CM-1006, passing Umbralejo, La Huerce, Valdepinillos and taking us to our third big waypoint of the day: the village of Galve de Sorbes. The drive on this CM-1006 is also fantastic.

Arriving to Galve de Sorbes we’re welcome by the silhouette of its castle. A great view as we approach the place!

Arriving to Galve de Sorbe.

We have almost reached the highest point and are about to pass to the other side of the Sierra de Ayllón.

Fourth section – From Galve de Sorbe to Riaza

42 km and 46 min estimated driving time.

To pass the Sierra to the province of Segovia, we leave Galve de Sorbe again on the CM-1006. We drive along some beautiful prairies full of green grass and flowers.

After reaching Villacadima we turn on the CM-110 and leave the province of Guadalajara crossing to the province of Segovia. The passing is done under huge windmills, quite an impressive view from our tiny 3-Wheeler.

The windmills are so close to the road that they make you feel really tiny in the 3-Wheeler!

The last part of the section, on the SG-V-1111, is another beautiful road to drive, as it passes through the “red villages”. Those are made out of ferruginous sandstone, giving a characteristic bright red colour to the houses. Among the most beautiful are Madriguera and Villacorta. We crossed them in our Morgan today, and they’re really special to see.

Madriguera. A true red village.

After almost four hours drive since we left home, we finally arrive to Riaza, our lunch destination, where our friend and the suckling lamb are waiting for us!

The Morgan is a hit, and after lunch we give a short drive to our friends and their children. Nice moments with the best company!

Driving our friends!

Some hours later, with our bellies still full and after some coffee, it’s time to think about our way back. We can choose between taking the motorway and comfortably come back home in one and a half hours or chose the comeback through semi-abandoned mountain passes and probably spend four more hours behind the wheel. Ana Maria proves again she is the best partner ever! She is the one who insists and convinces me to take the long route back home. The 3-Wheeler is definitely made for narrow and curvy roads, and not a motorway! She said.

After Commander AM authorizes the return through the mountain passes and tricky roads, we put our helmets on, refuel, and restart our adventure!

Fifth section – From Riaza to Campillejo

52 km and 1 h 15 min estimated driving time.

This was a totally unexpected road: the SG-112. We thought than finding a better road than the GU-211 in this area would be impossible. And we were wrong… so wrong! My God what a road is this SG-112! Stunning in every possible aspect. Narrow, no traffic at all – as no one in their right mind would take this road to cross the Sierra de Ayllón in anormal car – curvy, the vegetation invading the road, deep valleys and narrow rocky passes, flowers in bloom, tress all over covering the path… Amazing. Check out the video and tell us if we’re wrong!

We start driving along the Riofrío reservoir, climbing uphill through a beautiful beech forest to arrive to the Quesera mountain pass. The views from up there are a plus to the drive.

Views from the Quesera mountain pass.

The tarmac is the only possible problem with this road, as it looks like it’s being abandoned for a while. But the potholes are not a real concern in the 3-Wheeler, as long as the road doesn’t allow you to drive fast.

What a road! True paradise for a 3-Wheeler.

Some of the rocky passes are astonishing! This road is truly a kind of its own. You don’t have any GSM signal, so you better don’t have a real problem or you may walk for a bunch of kilometers to recover the mobile phone signal to call the assistance! But this risky part is what adds spice to the Morgan style!

Some parts of the road seem cut into the rocks.

When we arrive to Majaelrayo, the first village after the mountain pass and such a tricky road, we feel indescribably happy.

From there we decide to take a short break in the next village we find with a bar or restaurant. This one happens to be Campillejo, one of the amazing black villages.

This village is a gem, semi-isolated as you can only reach it by a reasonably decent road on its south side. No one comes from north as we did, but few motorbikes and adventurers.

When we park the Morgan in front of the only bar of the village, it becomes the event of the year! The new spreads along the village and all its inhabitants, around twenty people, come to see the striking machine and take pictures of it.

Parked in Campillejo, before the whole village gathered around the Morgan.

During our break, and chatting with the locals, we’re told there is another tricky and semi-abandoned road that we would enjoy for sure: the one that crosses the Chinese Wall Bridge. Just the name sound mystical, and we both rise our eyebrows while we look at each other: deal! We’re taking that road!

Sixth section – From Campillejo to Puebla de la Sierra

53 km and 1h 15 min estimated driving time.

We come back a few kilometers north to take this mysterious road. It’s the GU-194. We follow a local in his van for some kilometers and after he stops by his house, we cross nothing else but cows and, at the famous Chinese Wall Bridge, two motorbikers! This is all for more than 25 km until we arrive to La Hiruela.

The descent to the bottom of the valley is impressive. Despite the semi-abandoned condition of the road, the concrete it’s made off resists really good the hard-cold winters and snowfalls, and there are no real potholes or cracks to be scared of.

Sharp turns by the cliff!

We arrive to a better road at Corralejo. We saw no one and no cars while we crossed this village. Is it abandoned? Who knows… Then we the GU-181 and GU-187 and then the M-137 to La Hiruela, back in Madrid province. The mountain pass of La Hiruela is another beautiful road to drive the Morgan, with no traffic at all.

We deviate to the M-130 to arrive to the next waypoint: Puebla de la Sierra, another beautiful red village.

Puebla de la Sierra.

Seventh section – From Puebla de la Sierra to home base

95 km and 1 h 40 min estimated driving time.

We cross Puebla de la Sierra and continue the M-130 for many kilometers driving along deep cliffs and with really nice views of the down skirts of this side of the Sierra de Ayllón.

Our GoPro has run out of batteries. We need to buy one or two more to make sure we can record all the worthy parts of our routes. Because we still pass breathtaking places before getting on the “normal” roads taking us back home.

Arriving to Robledillo de la Jara we take the M-127 to drive over the dam of El Vilar reservoir, and then along the shore of the Atazar reservoir, one of the largest close by Madrid. And we arrive to El Berrueco, where we still avoid the temptation of taking the motorway and take the M-131 to Torrelaguna.

Driving on this M-127, still with the last moments of daylight, we’re surprised by a superb huge full moon rising over the hills in front of us. What a pity this GoPro battery gone!

Finally, we drive over the Jarama river and through the villages we passed this morning – Talamanca del Jarama, Valdetorres del Jarama, etc – to reach tired but safe and happier than ever after our amazing journey with our Morgan 3-Wheeler!

What a short fighter mission today! We’ve spent more than eight hours behind the wheel!

Short fighter mission #2 – 27th of June 2020

After our first fighter mission a couple of weeks ago, we’re ready for the second one. Again, we’re targeting the Sierra de Guadarrama roads and mountain passes. Its proximity North Madrid make it to be the best scenario for a daily trip.

This time we can cross to Segovia as the Covid19 situation seems now to be under control. So, travelling to near-by provinces is allowed. We plan to repeat the Navacerrada mountain pass, but this time we’ll go downhill on the Segovia’s side, and come back to Madrid via another beautiful mountain pass: the Navafría one.

This time we take off earlier, as we want to avoid the possible busy traffic on the road around noon.

We’re also testing a couple of new accessorizes on our GoPro camera. The first accessorize is a foam windslayer to cancel, or at least reduce as much as possible, the annoying wind noise you get when you record with the camera “naked”. The second is a Lift-The-Dot lanyard we’ve tailor-made to secure the camera.

The GoPro with the windslayer on, and the Lift-The-Dot lanyard.

The appearance of the camera with these accessories is quite positive. Let’s see how it works!

It looks nice. Let’s see how it works today!

First section – From home base to Navacerrada mountain pass

61 km and 48 min estimated driving time.

This first section runs on the nice and fast road towards the Sierra de Guadarrama, the M-607. This is almost a motorway, with two lanes on each side, and perfect smooth tarmac. But it’s limited to 100 km/h in its fastest parts, with some restrictions to 80 km/h in a couple of curvy zones. The first waypoint this time is directly the Navacerrada mountain pass. In this occasion we’re not deviating to Manzanares El Real as in our previous mission but we continue on the M-607 until we reach Cerceda.

We climb again the M-601 without traffic and reach the first waypoint: the Navacerrada mountain pass at 1880 m altitude. Today we don’t do any video on this section, as we have done it in the previous mission.

Navacerrada mountain pass. 1880 m altitude.

Second section – From Navacerrada mountain pass to San Ildefonso

17 km and 20 min estimated driving time.

The road downhill from Navacerrada mountain pass on the Segovia’s side is the CL-601. This road has a mythical section, called “Las siete revueltas” which are seven 180º curves that became famous since the road was constructed, as they are considered quite dangerous. This is because the road is very demanding on the brakes and steering, and also the engine if you drive uphill, and decades ago the cars were not as reliable as they are now. So, overheating the engine uphill, or losing the brakes downhill was frequent, and unexperienced drivers used to “fly off the road” at these famous seven curves.

The mythical “Siete revueltas”.

The 3-Wheeler roars downhill, and we have to say that we are extremely satisfied with its handling. It really sticks to the tarmac and the speed on the curves is much higher than you can expect when you have your first sight at the vehicle. It’s pure driving delight.

The Morgan lives up to its reputation as a sports car. The driving from the top of the mountain pass to San Ildefonso is a fantastic experience behind the wheel of the 3-Wheeler.

The only problem when you drive such a fast car in a mountain road as this one, is that you can’t pass the cars in front of you but in very few places, so you normally get stuck behind the “snails”, as it happened to us this day.

We finally arrive to San Ildefonso, which is a beautiful village with an fabulous royal palace.

The Royal Palace at San Ildefonso.

This royal palace was constructed by Phillip V, king of Spain and also Duc D’Anjou as he was grandchild of Louis XIV. So, he wanted to do a smaller summer palace inspired in the French one of Versailles. The result is a magnificent building with large gardens and astonishing fountains. It really worth a visit.

We park inside the fences of the old village area and head for a nice breakfast in a terrace under the shade of the centennial trees. In the video you can see the terrace, on the left side just before passing the fences.

The first and second section of today’s mission are accomplished!

Third section – From San Ildefonso to Navafría

32 km and 26 min estimated driving time.

After the succulent breakfast in the fantastic frame of San Ildefonso, we head towards the village of Navafría, our next waypoint.

On our way we cross the small village of Torrecaballeros, famous for its roasting ovens, and the delicious suckling lambs and pigs that come out of them. On another occasion we will make a stop for lunch here, but today the objective of the mission is to travel the route as soon as possible to avoid traffic.

Next time… we’ll stop for lunch!

We quickly get to Navafría following the N-110. This road is excellent and fast.

Navafría city hall.

We cross the village to start the best section of today’s route: the Navafría mountain pass.

Fourth section – From Navafría to Rascafría

32 km and 40min estimated driving time.

We leave the village of Navafría and take the SG-612. This is the road that heads to the Navafría mountain pass. In our honest opinion this is the most beautiful mountain road of the area. The lushness of the pine and beech forest and the play of light and shadow of its curves is spectacular. In addition, in general it does not usually have a lot of traffic, so this Saturday we barely come across few cars. A luxury road to drive a Morgan 3-Wheeler.

The mountain pass is at 1773 m altitude, and we cross less than ten vehicles on our way up. A fantastic experience.

While passing the mountain pass, the SG-613 is rebaptized as M-637 as we’re back into the Madrid’s province. This M-637 ends in Lozoya, another nice village just by another reservoir in the Sierra de Guadarrama: the reservoir of Pinilla. We drive along the reservoir on the M-604 until Rascafría, that welcomes us again with his beautiful main street and the monastery of Santa María de El Paular.

Fifth section – From Rascafría back to home base

70 km and 1 h 10 min estimated driving time.

From Rascafría we repeat the M-611, through the Morcuera mountain pass, and cross Miraflores de la Sierra and Soto del Real to finally reconnect with the nice double laned M-607 and get back home.

We did not make any video today of the Morcuera mountain pass, as we did it just a couple of weeks ago. And because this time it was a little busier than the occasion before, mostly because of cyclists. We passed and crossed dozens of them.

This mission finalized safe at home, with no incidents and a big smile on our faces.

Second short fighter mission accomplished!

Short fighter mission #1 – 6th of June 2020

During the first weeks since we got our Morgan 3-Wheeler, delivered January the 30th this year, we couldn’t take it to the open roads as we desired. We just could make some short drives in the city of Madrid.

Just after having our little rocket in our garage, the weather conditions and our professional obligations unfortunately kept the Morgan parked in the garage properly protected with its indoor cover.

You may ask yourself how this can be possible… how is that we couldn’t drive it further than the city limits until June. But remember we’re in 2020 and the terms “Covid19” and “quarantine” may give you some clues…

When finally spring showed up, and the weather in Madrid started being more gentle, the coronavirus Worldwide situation hit all of us hard. Our country declared a total lockdown in March the 14th. And we were forced to stay home under a terribly long quarantine for months. In Madrid we were not allowed to leave the house, but for very precise authorized matters, until May the 25th.

So, it wasn’t before June the 6th that we finally made our first “short fighter mission”.

This is our mission report.

First section – From home base to Manzanares El Real

47 km and 35 min estimated driving time.

This first section runs on a nice fast road towards the Sierra de Guadarrama, the M-607. Our first waypoint is the beautiful village of Manzanares El Real.

We reach Manzanares El Real via the M-608, driving along the shore of its reservoir, named as the village.

View of Manzanares El Real from the other side of its reservoir.

The village is famous for its beautiful castle. It’s the most emblematic and best preserved in the Madrid region. Construction began by the first Duke of Infantado, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, in the 15th century, and was completed by his son, Íñigo López de Mendoza who incorporated the architect Juan Guas, one of the greatest representatives of the late Gothic in Castile and architect of the Catholic Kings.

Castle of Manzanares El Real.

The monumental town welcomes us with its characteristic stork nests in the towers of its churches and stately buildings.

Driving by the castle.
Storkes in their big nests.

After a short coffee break, we take the route to the second waypoint of the day: the iconic mountain pass of Navacerrada.

Second section – From Manzanares El Real to Navacerrada mountain pass

24 km and 25 min estimated driving time.

We reconnect with the M-607 in Cerceda and continue to connect with the M-601, the Madrid’s side mountain pass road. The last section of the route from the south, at the intersection of the M-601 and M-607, begins at an altitude of approximately 1300 m and rises 580 meters to the top of the mountain pass in about 7 km, with an average slope of 8%.

The road is in excellent conditions and we don’t find too much traffic uphill. This mountain pass is the highest in the Sierra de Guadarrama and one of the highest in Spain. The highest point of the road is at 1880 m altitude.

Driving uphill to Navacerrada mountain pass.

Navacerrada’s mountain pass is also famous for its ski station, and the proximity of the highest peaks of the Sierra de Guadarrama.

After we reach the top of the mountain pass, due to the Covid-19 situation, we were not allowed to cross to Segovia province, so we took right to the third waypoint of the day: Rascafría.

Third section – From Navacerrada mountain pass to Rascafría

23 km and 28 min estimated driving time.

This section of the mission was the most beautiful one, as we drove through the dense forest, full of pine trees. The first part of the road is named SG-615 until it reaches the Cotos mountain pass, as it goes along the border of Madrid and Segovia provinces, and finally goes downhill named M-604 to the village of Rascafría, in Madrid’s side.

Pine trees along the road.

Before reaching the Cotos ski station, we made a short stop to enjoy the views and the fresh air.

The 3-Wheeler is a striking machine!

The 3-Wheeler looked beautiful on the side of the road. We have to say that almost every motorbiker we crossed cheered the Morgan and gave us their salute or a big smile with a thumbs up. Is it because of the big V-Twin at the front, or because we wear our helmets? Or maybe because of both reasons? Who knows! But we feel really good with the vibes the 3-Wheller provokes on the other drivers.

Beautiful spots along the road.

Despite a few menacing clouds over our heads while crossing the Navacerrada mountain pass until we reached the Cotos’ one, the sun came back and we had an amazing drive with nice greens and yellows, and contrasts between the shades of the pine trees and the prairies where the sun was bathing the grass and flowers.

The clouds are gone!

Arriving to Rascafría is a beautiful scenario. The village is at the beginning of the Lozoya valley, and apart the beautiful landscape you’re welcome by the Royal Monastery of Santa María de El Paular, founded in 1390. Originally a Carthusian monastery, in 1954 it began operating as a Benedictine priory.

Monastery of Santa María del Paular.

Fourth section – From Rascafría to Miraflores de la Sierra

25 km and 35 min estimated driving time.

We leave Rascafría taking the M-611 to our fourth waypoint of the day: Miraflores de la Sierra.

This M-611 is also known as the Morcuera mountain pass. It’s a true twisted and narrow road. And the drive is really fun behind the wheel of the 3-Wheeler.

We continue saluting all the motorbikers we cross. The 3-Wheeler definitely is a striking vehicle.

We first climb uphill again to the top of this mountain pass, at 1796 m altitude, and then drive downhill with breathtaking views over the valley, with the Pedrezuela reservoir in the background, and the Madrid’s skyline at the horizon.

The views donwhill are outstanding.

We finally reach the village of Miraflores de la Sierra. It’s crowded. Too crowded in fact. The time of the morning, around noon, is already the rush hour of motorbikers looking for a nice mountain pass ride, and plenty of families planning their trekking day. We decide to leave as fast as possible to the fifth waypoint: Canencia.

Fifth section – From Miraflores de la Sierra to Canencia

17 km and 25 min estimated driving time.

The fifth waypoint is the village of Canencia. The road that takes us from Miraflores de la Sierra to Canencia, the M-629, also known as the Canencia mountain pass. It’s the most famous amongst motorbikers for its nice tarmac and nice curves.

We leave Miraflores de la Sierra to check this mythical road. It’s true it’s a nice twisted road, but we’re a little bit disappointed as there are too many motorbikers, cars and cyclists. Probably it’s because it’s late morning and a Saturday. Any other day and time, the road is truly a fantastic drive.

But few kilometers after leaving Miraflores de la Sierra, we start to feel something is wrong with the 3-Wheeler. It doesn’t push properly between 3500 and 4000 rpm and within this range it seems to suffer some misfire.

We decide to pull over on a nice prairie and enjoy our picnic lunch and let the engine cool down a while.

The Morgan looks really nice under the June sun.

Nice sandwiches and pies in a beautiful landscape. We took also fresh water in our thermos. We’re really enjoying our break under the shade of the trees.

Nice spot for a picnic.

One hour after stopping the V-Twin at this nice spot for the picnic, we prepare to hit the road again, but… bad news! The Morgan refuses to start and gives us a concerning rattling noise instead of the engine roaring. The battery reads good voltage, and the car is new, so… what could it be? We check as much as we can, under the midday Spanish June sun, but can’t see a clear cause for this rattling.

Still under the sun… because it refuses to start!

Instead of getting disappointed, we realize we’ve just being baptized as true Morgan 3-Wheeler owners! You’re not one until you need to be towed one day. And this was our day! Ana María was laughing under the tree while I was calling the assistance. I really have the best possible wife ever!

Looking at the bright side of life.

The assistance arrives 40 minutes after the call, and a taxi to take us home. The Morgan was loaded on the platform, and our first fighter mission was over.

Loaded on the platform, on its way to the garage.

This same afternoon and the Sunday we were discussing with our friends in the Talk Morgan forum about the reason of the break down. As we always look at the bright side of life, we even did a contest to see who got the right reason for the 3-Wheeler refusing to start again and take us back home. On Monday we went to the dealer’s garage with the vehicle to check. And guess what… it was as simple as a loose bolt. An earthing bolt for the starter / regulator earthing wires. We saw it immediately after trying to start it again, as in the shade of the garage we could clearly see some sparks I couldn’t see under the bright sun on the ide of the road. So, it was a simple loose bolt what “shot us down” during our first “short fighter mission”.

This #@$%& loose bolt… LOL!

After few minutes tightening this bolt again, and filling some papers for the garage, I was driving the Morgan back home again. The machine is funny in every aspect you can imagine, even when it breaks down!

Hangar works #14 – The video camera

A few weeks after buying the Morgan 3-Wheeler, we just had our first action camera: a really nice and compact GoPro Hero 7 Black.

Our GoPro Hero 7 Black

We bought it because we thought it was a nice idea to finally have one, so we can take videos on our mountain bikes, while diving, and of course while driving the new 3-Wheeler.

We premiered it for the first time on our Christmas holidays diving in Roatan – Honduras, and we were surprised by the quality that such small cameras have today.

Diving in Roatan – Honduras

The first thing we noticed is that the GoPro is way better doing videos than just taking pictures. I guess they’re designed that way and we’re ok with it.

Video taken diving with our GoPro – Roatan – Honduras

Once back home in Madrid, and with the Morgan finally delivered and safely parked in our garage, the first idea was to use the GoPro with a stick and be used by the co-pilot to take video during our drives together.

Having it fixed to the 3-Wheeler was not the original idea then, but looking at many videos on the Internet, taken with the camera fixed to the roll hoop or with a suction cup, showed that the GoPro could be of better use if fixed. And also, it could be used by the pilot during a solitaire drive.

Our only doubt was about the result of our GoPro Hero 7 Black recording with the tremendous vibrations provoked by the massive X-Wedge S&S V-Twin engine. Would the stabilization software of the GoPro counterbalance it properly? According to what we could see from other users in the Internet, it should! So, we gave it a chance and ordered the GoPro suction cup.

The GoPro suction cup set and its bag

The GoPro suction cup comes in a very nice bag, with plenty of accessories that allow you to fix the GoPro almost anywhere around the car. And the characteristics announced by GoPro declare that it can be used up to speeds of 150mph / 240 km/h, well above what the 3-Wheeler is capable of.

The position we like the most for the camera is just over the dashboard, between the two small windshields.

We choose to locate the camera between the two small windshields

This position gives you a nice sensation in the video like being just at driver’s position with a nice look at the bonnet and the two tires under the fenders, which we really like. The frame is, in our honest opinion, the very best.

Nice panoramic camera vision from this position

Some other 3-Wheler drivers prefer to fix the video camera to the roll hoop, in a center position. It’s a nice option too, giving you an upper vision of the road and the front of the car, including the dashboard and part of the steering wheel. And I say part, because depending on your size, this camera position between the roll hoops implies that part of the vision is hidden by the driver’s and copilot’s shoulders and heads, and in some cases a lot.

Fixing the camera to a roll hoop is another common position, but not our choice

Being as I am a relatively tall man (I’m 1,82 m / 5ft11in), and with wide shoulders, and also considering that we chose to use helmets while we drive on open roads and motorways, a roll hoop camera stand is definitely not the best option for us.

So, we keep the chosen camera’s position between the windshields as the best for now.

The camera positioned there is at hand for both the driver and the copilot

Another advantage of having the camera there, is that both the driver and the copilot can manage the device. Pushing the record button is really easy, and at the same time you’re looking at it, so you know it’s there and it can’t fall off the car without noticing it.

The camera is always at sight of the passengers

But still, despite the GoPro declares its suction cup is good for speeds up to 150 mph / 240 km/h, the 3-Wheeler is no ordinary car, and its vibrations are a concern. Not only because the stabilized video image, but more because of the reliability of the suction cup when subjected to so much vibration.

For this reason, we looked for a safety solution, just in case the suction cup fails. Again, there are different solutions taken by other drivers, most of them consisting of a rope attached to the camera and knotted somewhere to the car. And ours is not much different, but we looked for something as simple as the rope concept, but without having a rope or long lanyard hanging around in front of the dashboard and flapping with the wind.

Thinking about the possible solutions, I realized that the male Lift-The-Dot fastener just between the two windshields was there, asking to be used for more than just attaching the tonneau cover when the car is parked. It’s clearly the best possible anchor point for this purpose.

This male Lift-The-Dot fastener between the windshields will be useful!

So, we came up with a simple solution.

We first attached a classic nylon cord lanyard with a female small plastic side-release buckle to the GoPro frame.

The GoPro Frame with its Nylon cord and the female side-release plastic buckle part

And then me made a short lanyard with a Lift-The-Dot fastener at one end, and the male small plastic side-release buckle for the Nylon cord of the GoPro frame on the other one.

Here’s a view of the short lanyard set

We made this short lanyard using the scraps of the dark brown leather that our upholsterer used to handcraft our luggage set, the back cushion for AM and the steering wheel bag.

For the link between the Nylon cord and the lanyard, we chose to use a side-release small plastic buckle. We believe it’s a better choice than a metallic carabiner or something similar, as it’s lighter, safe enough, and will not cause any metallic clinking.

Classic side-release small plastic buckle

So, the lanyard is made out of the same leather we have in the 3-Wheeler trim and upholstery. A perfect match. And it elegantly clips on the Lift-The-Dot fastener between the two windshields, securing the camera in case the suction cup fails.

Image of the camera in position with the lanyard anchored to the Lift-The-Dot fastener

Regarding the suction cup, we use the base – logically – and the shortest device allowing the camera to look upfront. The result is quite a compact set, and not too high that does not disturb our road visibility.

The GoPro suction cup with its shortest and simplest device

As you can see in the above pictures, we put on our GoPro a foam windslayer. A very simple accessorize that can be bought in Amazon for very little money, being the best quality (high foam density and good cut) less than 15 €.

The windslayer for the GoPro

It is amazing what such a simple accessorize can make to cancel the wind noise! Check out the wind noise difference between these two next videos!

Video without the windslayer
Video with the windslayer

The only negative point of the foam windslayer is that you need to remove it every time you have to replace the GoPro battery. And you need to do it with love to avoid tearing the foam.

Regarding the settings we use for the GoPro video, we set it to 4K / 60 fps resolution, wide view and of course the stabilization ON, as main parameters. It’s a personal choice and some others may use different settings. But those work perfect for us and they give us pretty nice stable videos, as long as there is enough light, because the stabilization software of the GoPro is quite terrible with low light and at night. Which seems logical, as the camera is a very compact one with a small lens and sensor.

Hope you enjoyed this post!