Short fighter mission #6 – 2nd & 3rd of July 2022

It’s June. It’s hot in Madrid. Very hot. 40ºC outside! The Speedy Marmots are seeking refuge from this early heat wave in our den.

As we work intensively with the blessing of air conditioning, we receive an email from Colin Duggan. Very interesting news! Colin and Carole, with Len Critchlow and his son Bill, are sailing from the UK to Bilbao, in Northern Spain. And in the ferry hold, their superb vintage Morgan 3-Wheelers! A pair of Super Sports. We’ll make a proper presentation of the machines further in this post.

Colin’s (1933) and Len’s (1936) Super Sports.

Their plan is to arrive to Bilbao on June the 28th, and then travel down crossing the Rioja region, stopping at Sigüenza, then to Segovia, and back up to Santander via Lerma. Fantastic trip! And they’ll be so close to Madrid! Sigüenza is just a little more than an hour drive from our house!

In his email, Colin copies also Sergio Romagosa. Sergio is a Spanish owner of another amazing historical 3-Wheeler, totally restored. Sergio and I talk to each other immediately after receiving Colin’s email and agree to join them in Sigüenza with our little rockets.

Sergio is an insurance broker specialized in classic cars. In his web page – – you find a lot more information than just insurance! He is a real enthusiast of vintage and historic cars, and his knowledge and net of friends is impressive. In fact, someone from his wide “spying” net sent him a few days later this picture of Colin’s and Len’s 3-Wheelers parked somewhere near Burgos!

Already in Spain! Picture taken in Burgos area.

Unfortunately, we both can join our UK friends only for the weekend. But we’re excited to meet such experienced adventurers!

We make some calls to arrange our stay, but there is no room in the hotel that Colin, Carole, Len and Bill have booked very close to Sigüenza. We all tried at Sigüenza’s magnificent Parador Nacional, but this is fully booked for months! In fact, all the hotels in the area are busy. The reason is that the early heat waves we suffered this month of June made the lavender fields bloom earlier. The lavender fields use to bloom last week of July or beginning of August. The earlier blooming this year is the reason why this area, normally famous and crowded due to its proximity to Madrid, is unusually crowded this first weekend of July.

Lavender fields are many and famous around Brihuega.

But Ana Maria makes her magic again and sends an email to the Molino de Alcuneza, this fantastic boutique hotel we stayed a couple of years ago (see our Short fighter mission #4), and she manages to get a couple of rooms for the weekend, for Sergio and his wife Susana, and ourselves. Fortunately, being in the travel business helps a lot in these situations!

The Molino de Alcuneza is a little luxurious oasis very close to Sigüenza.

The Molino de Alcuneza is part of the high-end Relais & Chateaux hotel chain. And with its 1 Michelin Star restaurant is probably the best possible choice around Sigüenza. We can’t complain about our stay!

Saturday, July the 2nd

Today we’ll meet! We’re the first ones to arrive to the hotel, around noon. We could have driven our 5-Speeder from home, but the day is too hot, and it’s also the perfect occasion to use our new Land Rover Defender to tow the trailer, for the first time. What a machine! And maneuvering the trailer with all the aids and electronics looks like a kid’s game. We’re in love with that car and its towing capabilities.

Sergio and Susana arrive just half an hour later, also towing their fabulous 3-Wheeler.

Sergio’s 1934 Super Sports, ready to be downloaded from the trailer.

We unload the Morgans and keep them under the shade of the old watermill stone wall. Almost a hundred years of Morgan’s history together!

Susana, standing by (almost) 100 years of Morgan history!

Meanwhile, the UK team is driving past El Burgo de Osma, through Berlanga de Duero, Caltojar, Rello, Barahona, Imon, to finally reach Sigüenza. They expect to be at their hotel around 14h30.

It means we have time to enjoy a nice lunch and the swimming pool!

We created a WhatsApp group for the occasion, and Colin writes they’ve arrived on time, and they are resting too, waiting for the sun and the temperatures to drop down a little more. We agree to meet at their hotel around 17h00.

The “oldies” have arrived!

During the afternoon, Sergio calls a friend that works at the Sigüenza’s city hall. He is another classic cars lover, and he tells Sergio that he’ll arrange a “VIP parking” for our machines this evening. We’ll have a chain open by the local police, so we can park our Morgans in the middle of Sigüenza’s main square, just aside the XII century cathedral! Now that’s real VIP parking! Sergio’s network is truly amazing!

At the schedule time, we join Colin, Carole, Len and Bill at their hotel. What a scenery! Four 3-Wheelers, three of them from the 30’s, all together in Spain! That’s really unusual! Ana Maria and I have tried several times to contact other 3-Wheeler owners, but apart a couple of great exceptions (Ralph Jenner in Andalucía – far South – and Simón Martínez in Catalonia – far Northeast) the few 3-Wheelers Spanish owners have not replied our messages yet.

Morgans together!

Now it’s the right time to present the machines of this British-Spanish squadron! Let’s go from elder to youngest.

This is Colin and Carole’s beautiful green 1933 Super Sports. One of the last beetlebacks, a version with interchangeable wheels. With a nice JAP engine. Very few of these remain on the road today.

Colin’s 1933 Supet Sports beetleback.
Nice JAP engine, and classy details.

And here comes Sergio and Susana’s 1934 red and cream Super Sports. Astonishing restoration. Polished metals and neat Matchless engine.

Sergio’s 1934 Super Sports.
Neat and bright! Beautiful shining metals!

This super elegant in this blue duotone color is Len and Bill’s 1936 Super Sports. With another Matchless fantastic engine. A really fast machine for its age.

Len’s 1936 Super Sports
Classic elegance with a sporty touch.

And at least but not last, the Speedy Marmot’s 2020 Morgan Sports Green 5-Speeder, with a much bigger and thirsty S&S engine. The 21st century version!

Speedy Marmot’s 2020 5-Speeder.

At the hotel they’re celebrating a wedding. Loud music and joyful ambience. We have some of the guests being curious around the Morgans, and we even give a ride to some of them.

Enjoying the cars.

So, after the appropriate introductions, anecdotes, jokes, and of course drooling over each other’s cars, we start all engines and drive to Sigüenza. All cars but Sergio and Susana stop at the petrol station to fill up the tanks with fresh and expensive petrol. Petrol prices these days are beating all records!

Sergio and Susana did not follow us to the petrol station as they wanted to make sure that our “VIP parking” was set up. And here we are! At the “VIP parking” in the middle of the main square! The Morgans become immediately the center of attention.

VIP Parking at the main square in Sigüenza!

Soon after we park, we’re surrounded by many people taking pictures and asking questions. These machines are a true magnet to people of all ages.

The Morgans parked aside the XII century cathedral.

Sigüenza is one of the most historic cities in Spain located north of the province of Guadalajara. Undoubtedly, this municipality is marked by its castle, the current Parador National. Construction began in 1123 to serve as a palace-fortress and residence for the bishops who were lords of the city for seven centuries.

In Roman times, it was a site with a lot of trading and many inhabitants, who surely built the tower or watchtower over the valley in what is now the castle-fortress. Visigoths and Arabs inhabited this city.

The machines and their owners. From left to right: Colin, Carole, Ana Maria, Javier, Sergio, Susana, Len and Bill.

The reconquest of Sigüenza took place in the same year of 1123, being its first bishop, Don Bernardo de Agen, who commanded a powerful army and conquered the city from the Arabs who occupied it.

Perfectly aligned.

Since then, the history of Sigüenza and its castle has paralleled that of its bishops. From the XII century, these bishops and other influential people who passed through Sigüenza were raising, expanding, and fortifying the castle, until it became one of the largest and most important in the Iberian Peninsula. In its halls they put chapels, courtrooms, courts and jails. Many soldiers and servants were in the care of the Castle, where the bishops lived for long periods.

Sigüenza’s castle. Today a Parador Nacional.

We walked uphill from the main square to pay a visit to this magnificent and historic fortress. But sadly, we can’t get further than the reception of the Parador Nacional. The excuse is that there is a wedding and the whole building is hired for this private event.

We come back to the main square through some narrow medieval streets, passing in front of a couple of beautiful roman churches, to finally sit down for a few cold beers and have relaxed and interesting conversations.

We just notice that Ana Maria’s t-shirt matches with the gay flag shown on the balcony of the City Hall (this is the Gay Parade week in many cities in Spain, therefore this flag on the City Hall balcony).

Enjoying beers and sodas.

After a very nice time in this beautiful medieval square, we decide it’s time to leave for dinner. Sergio and Susana decide to stay and have dinner at the place, while the rest of the group we head back to our respective hotels.

Let’s get ready and rest for tomorrow’s route!

Sunday, July the 3rd

Today’s route is a round trip, from and back to Sigüenza, enjoying the country roads in the area. We plan to stop at Cifuentes for lunch. But before that, we’ll stop by a friend’s house to chill out a little bit, eat some appetizers and drink some wines.

This was our morning itinerary.

First section – From Sigüenza to Cifuentes

78 km and 1 h 45 min estimated driving time.

If you have a keen eye, you may notice that the map indicates 1h08min estimated driving time, and not 1h45min as I wrote. But this is because the Morgans our friends are driving are not 5-Speeders, with a powerful engine and 21st century settings. And consequently, their average speed on these roads is slower, between 45 and 50 km/h (28 to 34 mph).

Driving the old 3-Wheelers is a totally different challenge! Throttle, mechanic brakes through cables, independent brakes front and rear… the differences are many and the difficulty much higher. The skills of the pilot are key for a smooth drive, keeping the engine cool, and avoiding the brakes to fade away at the first downhill.

These are a real challenge to drive! Fearless and experienced drivers!

We planned to meet at 9h45 in front of Sigüenza’s railway station. The day is announced to be hot. Very hot. Hats and UV protective sleeves are a must for us. And of course, the essential sunscreen.

Getting started! UV sleeves and cap on!

Sergio turns the crank of his Matchless engine and it fires immediately. We drive smoothly to the meeting point, with loud pops and bangs while the old Matchless engine warms up and Sergio makes the correct adjustments.

Lovely photo of such an elegant vehicle!

After joining the Brits, we all cross the village and Sergio makes a short stop to fill his tank. Now we’re all ready to go!

We drive towards Alcolea del Pinar. The road is easy, and the old cars run faster than expected, reaching on some occasions the 70 km/h (44 mph). No one wants to drive too fast, as the day is getting hot and Sergio’s engine is still newly restored, with very few miles on it, and he doesn’t want to force it too much.

We’re really enjoying the drive, despite some confusions with the maps and routes to follow at the beginning.

As our 5-Speeder is more agile, we play back and forth taking beautiful videos with the GoPros.

We reach our friend’s house on schedule, at 12h30. Isa and Ricky’s house is beautiful, a pure oasis with water running everywhere, in the middle of the semi-arid region of Guadalajara. It’s a fully restored water mill, with a lot of history, and one of the oldest hydro power plants in Spain. Small size, of course, but surprisingly still generating.

Isn’t this looking fantastic as a pit stop?

Our friends delight us with a delicious Spanish potato tortilla, cold meats, homemade croquettes, and of course excellent wines and soft drinks that we enjoy by the pool. This stop in such a fresh environment is highly appreciated by all of us.

Green oasis in the middle of a very dry region.

The day is very hot, and despite wearing hats and caps, sunscreen and UV protecting sleeves, we could feel that the sun is merciless today, and hitting hard. We do feel the dehydration! The air in this Spanish region is incredibly dry, and you can get easily dehydrated while driving the 3-Wheeler if you’re not careful and drink a lot of water.

Enjoying our friends and their fabulous hospitality.

After a nice hour and a half enjoying our friend’s company, house, and kitchen, we fire the engines and head to the village center. It’s just five minutes’ drive. We’ll have a light lunch at the restaurant La Esquinita. A nice spot with a terrace covered with a large centennial vine.

Parked aside Adam’s beautiful 1931 Alvis.

Arriving there, we have another surprise arranged by Sergio. He called a friend he knows through vintage and historic cars insurance business, and he was waiting for us at the restaurant with a fabulous and pristine 1931 Alvis!

Adam is British, and he lives in Cifuentes. And as you can see, he is another enthusiast of vintage and historic cars! Apart this Alvis, he owns an old Seat 600 too, that we missed to see yesterday in Cifuentes as there was a Seat 600 club meeting there!

Alvis’ bunny guarding the vehicles!

We park the Morgans around this beautiful machine and, as usual, we have plenty of curious people asking and taking many photos.

We stay around the cars chatting and enjoying the conversation, but soon we realize that the sun is still up there, cooking everything that’s not under a shade, and we take refugee inside the restaurant. The thick stone walls and some air conditioning make the interior really comfortable compared to the outer inferno! We are reaching the 40ºC right now outside!

The cars outside, under the sun… with 40ºC ambient temperature!

Lunch is again a very pleasant moment of rest, with excellent conversations and fantastic company. After rehydrating as much as possible, and with not too much food to digest in our bellies (hard to say in Spain, generally), we go out again under the sun and restart our route.

Lovely bunny.

We do some videos and take the mandatory pictures after lunch, before saying goodbye to Adam and his daughter.

At Cifuentes, after a nice lunch.

We fire the engines and head now towards Brihuega and its famous lavender fields. With a short stop at the exit of the village to refuel again the old machines.

This was our afternoon itinerary.

Second section – From Cifuentes to Sigüenza

75 km and 1 h 45 min estimated driving time.

We drive at very good rhythm, with the engines staying relatively cool for the heat of the day. Nice average speeds heading to Brihuega through Solanillos del Extremo. Definitely, this Spanish region is really dry.

We do a couple of stops before reaching Brihuega, to enjoy the first lavender fields we see in bloom.

Lavender fields are blooming earlier this year!

There is very little traffic on this road, and we drive easily crossing very few vehicles, and comfortably stopping at will whenever we see a nice sight over the purple fields.

We finally reach Brihuega. And we must climb from the bottom of the canyon on one side to the top of the hill on the other side of town. The road is too demanding for the old engines, and Sergio’s Matchless gives him the overheating alarm and he needs to stop just before the end of the uphill.

Waiting for Sergio’s Matchless engine to cool down.

After a few minutes waiting for the temperature of his cooling system to drop down, he restarts and joins us a few hundred meters further on the plain. There we stop for a good half an hour, drink some water and enjoy the views while the Morgans rest under the shade of the short trees, engines cooling down to reasonable temperatures.

We finally restart with crews and machines refreshed, and drive easy back to Sigüenza, enjoying the landscapes, more lavender fields in blossom, and even spotting few deer on the high grass fields aside the road.

After reaching Sigüenza, Sergio and Susana say goodbye to the British team and head direct to the Molino de Alcuneza, dreaming about the freshwater swimming pool. We can’t blame them, as not only their machine overheated today! Meanwhile, Ana Maria and I follow Colin, Carole, Len and Bill to their hotel, where we spend a really nice time chatting and having some dinner with beers and sodas.

Tomorrow, they drive to Segovia. We talk about the route, and we recommend them some mountain passes around this impressive city.

What a fantastic day! We are really happy we joined our friends. The experience of driving with such skilled drivers and their historic machines is an amazing experience we hope we’ll repeat again!

After a fond farewell, our day and our 3-Wheeler adventure ends with a short drive to the Molino de Alcuneza. Tomorrow, we drive back home with a lot of new great memories!

Short fighter mission #5 – 21st to 23rd of May 2021

Spring is finally here! These months between September 2020 and this spring of 2021 have been quite challenging in many aspects: the Covid19 situation, the travel restrictions in Spain (and worldwide), the worst snowstorm of the past 70 years in Madrid that blocked the whole city for more than a week, more Covid19, etc. But hey! It seems that things are finally getting right!

We left our Morgan 3-Wheeler at the dealer’s workshop end of October, to solve a bevel box oil seal leaking, and the idiotic “check engine” light that, without any real alarm triggered, was always lighted on our dashboard. Because of the travelling restrictions, and the cold winter weather, we were not in a hurry to get it back, so the dealer took the time to properly check everything. They finally decided to remove the ECU and sent it to MMC so they double checked and saw why this “check engine” light was always on, while no alarm was apparently triggered by the program.

So, our Morgan stayed at the dealer’s workshop in hibernation mode for many months, and we picked it up in mid-April, after Eastern. With a reflash ECU with an updated program, and the bevel box oil seal properly changed with a much more reliable Viton one, solving the leakage.

It was not before end of May that we could travel across Spain again, when the government finally withdrawn the travel restrictions between regions. And we decided to go visit some good friends in Valencia, on the Mediterranean coast.

Valencia is just 375 km away from Madrid, and you can cover this distance in 3h30min if you take the motorway. But, as usual, this is not the option we chose! The 3-Wheeler is for smaller wild roads!

This was our itinerary.

First section – From home base to Alcocer

130 km and 1 h 50 min estimated driving time

We leave home and take first the A-2 motorway to leave on exit 26. We pass through few roundabouts to reach the M-300 and then the M-213 until we arrive to Pozo de Guadalajara. During this relatively short drive, we can enjoy the early morning light and those typical country roads, with nice landscapes tainted in different tones of greens of the spring. And we even must brake after a curve when a fox surprises us crossing the road in front of us.

Early morning lights on the M-213.

Pozo de Guadalajara is the first stop we make. We fill up the tank as the roads we’re about to take have not so many fuel stations. The Morgan creates a lot of expectation, and all the workers and customers of the gas station take photos with it. If we charged royalties per each photograph or video taken of us in our Morgan, since we got it in January last year, we could retire right now in a private island in the Caribbean!

Then we continue the CM-2027 and the CM-2028 to reach the N-320. This last one is a main national road, so we drive really fast on it until we reach the reservoir of Entrepeñas, one of the largest in Spain, fed by the Tajo River (Tagus River as known in English). The views over the dam from the viewpoint on the road are really spectacular.

View over the dam, at the reservoir of Entrepeñas.

We drive over the dam and some tunnels and continue driving fast on the N-320 to the first important waypoint of the day: the village of Alcocer.

Second section – From Alcocer to Cañamares

43 km and 42 min estimated driving time.

We finally leave the fast and a little bit boring N-320 to enter the natural parc of Sierra de Cuenca. As you may have appreciated in the previous video, we had very little traffic in the N-320, which is supposed to be a relatively busy road. Now we cross no car at all!

Crossing the Guadiela River.

The landscape is getting more and more beautiful. The harvest fields are surrounded by green fresh spring grass and thousands of poppies.

We arrive to Priego, in the center of the “Ruta del Mimbre” (The Wicker Route). These small valleys are specialized in the cultivation of wicker, and in each village we find artisans who make multiple utensils with this material.

Wicker handcrafting.

The fields become red from November to May. We passed few fields still not recollected and we could appreciate their beauty.

Wicker field.

After Priego we enter a stunning part of this road: the “Estrecho de Priego” (could be translated as “Priego’s narrow pass”), that goes along the River Escabas, in a narrow gorge with beautiful stone walls. Pure 3-Wheeler road! We are enjoying so much the drive!

We continue to Cañamares where we make a short coffee break, and visit the “white porcelain room”, just before the best part of today’s route: the CM-210!

The Morgan stays under the sun in the village main square. It’s a typical Castilian village with some old stone houses with their classic charming.

The 3-Wheeler resting before attacking the CM-210.
Ready to hit the road again!

Third section – From Cañamares to Cuervo River Spring

54 km and 51 min estimated driving time.

Rehydrated and with energy recovered after a nice coffee and soda, we jump into the cockpit again and head towards the best part of the route: the CM-210.

This area is known not only because of its amazing nature, but also because the, probably, most famous Spanish spring water is located here: Solán de Cabras. This spring water bottling facilities and the spa are situated close by the village of Puente de Vadillos, over the crystalline waters of the Cuervo River, and are known since the Roman times, in the 2nd century BC.

Spain’s most famous spring water: Solán de Cabras.

Just after Puente de Vadillos begins the Beteta Sickle. This amazing road section welcomes you through its stone arc.

Entrance to the Beteta Sickle.

More stunning stone walls surround this narrow road. The lower part, by the Guadiela River, has a beautiful hiking. And on the upper part of these walls is one of the most important vultures’ nesting area of Spain. We could see those magnificent big birds flying over our heads.

After this stunning section of the road, we leave the CM-210 and take the CM-2201 and CM-2206 driving on the top of the plateau, until we get to the Cuervo River Spring. This road is beautiful, with a bright green color grass and plenty of pine trees. The best time of the year to drive here!

The Cuervo River Spring

The Cuervo River Spring is situated is one of the most famous attractions of the Sierra de Cuenca natural parc. The river is born from underground caverns below the Muela de San Felipe, at about 1469 meters of altitude. It empties into the Guadiela, a tributary of the Tajo River (or Tagus, as known in English), next to the town of Puente de Vadillos, after passing through the well-known Solán de Cabras spa and mineral water bottling plant.

The crystal-clear waters of the Cuervo River create amazing natural pools.

It was declared a natural monument in 1991 and occupies an area of ​​1709 hectares. In this place, the water gushes from a travertine spring and runs through huge stalactites of calcareous rock covered with moss, forming long streams that freeze in winter, offering a beautiful picture photographed thousands of times every year.

In springtime, the fresh water runs over the moss.

Some people prefer to visit it in winter, precisely for the frozen cascades. But in our opinion, it’s the springtime – between April and June – the best moment to visit the place. The greens and the crystal-clear waters and the natural pools are stunning under the clear skies and sun of the season.

Beautiful moss covering the rocks.

As it is a Friday, and not any holyday, we are almost alone. We cross very few people in the parc. The visit, at a reasonable walking rhythm, takes about one hour and a half. This is a very well spent time. A worthy visit you should not miss if you are in the area.

Fourth section – From Cuervo River Spring to Carboneras de Guadazón

87 km and 1 h 30 min estimated driving time.

After the fantastic walk in the Cuervo River Spring we hit the road again, driving on the CM-2106 and CM-2105 to the Southern part of the natural parc of the Sierra de Cuenca. The road is still amazing, and we cross pine trees’ forests, prairies with green grass and poppies, and with no traffic at all.

Nice tarmac and beautiful landscape for the first part of this section…

Then we deviate to take a smaller road, the CU-9112, taking us to a tiny village called Beamud. This smaller road looks promising: narrow, without traffic, and curving between pine trees as we go down and up hills in a very thick forest. A true 3-Wheeler paradise.

But when we arrive to the village, we can’t find the exit. The road is supposed to cross it and continue until the next village, Valdemoro Sierra, but we turn in circles in the little village as we can’t clearly see which way to go.

We navigate the old fashion way. I mean we create a roadmap with indications and pictures and AM works as a wonderful copilot reading the roadmap on each turn and deviation. But here, we are really lost… What’s going on? We always get to the same point at the end of the village. Look at the picture and be sincere! If you’re supposed to follow a normal tarmac road, which option would you choose? 1, 2 or 3?

The obvious seems to be option 1, isn’t it? Wrong!

Option 1 seems to be the obvious choice, but it turns uphill around the village and takes you back to the entrance.

Option 2 then seems to be the right one, after option 1… Wrong again! Cul-de-sac!

Then… option 3? Really? It’s a dirt road. Really a dirt road. No tarmac, at least for the hundred meters we can see from here… But our smartphone and Google maps say this is the right way! OK let’s go and check! The Speedy Marmots have driven in worse dirt roads than this one! We drive very carefully because it appears to be made of gravel and has a lot of potholes where the Morgan could graze the belly. In some sections we can see that in the past, under the gravel, there was asphalt. The road is really a rural road with little or no maintenance at all. We even have to cross a stream!

Crossing a small stream. This is definetely not a regular road!

Despite the conditions of the road, we really enjoy the drive. We cross a beautiful forest, and the nature is as wild as it can be in such isolated paths.

Apart the risk of hitting the bottom of the Morgan, which we avoid driving very slow and carefully, the other con is that what we expected to drive in one and a half hours became almost three hours!

Finally, we connect with the CUV-9142 in Valdemoro Sierra. When we appear in this small village from this dirt road with the Morgan, the locals, sitting at the bar, stare at us and clearly thinking we are crazy… A man jumps in front of the car, blocking our passage, and asks us if he can take some pictures. Surrealistic situation in an isolated village deep in the rural Spain. Well… that’s also part of the joy of driving the 3-Wheeler through such isolated areas!

When we manage to escape the mob of the village, we are back on a decent and really pretty road. The CUV-9142 takes us out of the natural park of the Sierra de Cuenca, but not before passing by a spectacular place called the Lagunas de Cañada del Hoyo. This set of small mineral water pools has a peculiar beauty. And even more when, only in few occasions and due to specific subterranean temperature conditions, in one of them – Lagunillo de las Tortugas – the waters turn a shade of pink and red. The scientific explanation is that, motivated by thermal stratification that is broken by the action of the atmospheric agents and the anaerobic zone dominated by purple sulfur bacteria that rises in the water column and is seen on the surface, the water turns red.

Picture of two of the pools, with the Lagunillo de las Tortugas water turned red, late January 2020.

We continue driving and connect with the N-420, which in a few minutes takes us to Carboneras de Guadazón, final destination of this section.

Fifth section – From Carboneras de Guadazón to Utiel

83 km and 1 h 10 min estimated driving time.

We take the CM-2109 heading towards Utiel. This road runs along the original Madrid-Valencia railway, and we can enjoy some of the old railway bridges on our way.

Sorry for the pink spot in the top right of the video. A kamikaze bug had a good aim with the GoPro lens protector!

Sight of an old railway bridge.

We leave behind the Sierra de Cuenca, so the landscape becomes progressively flatter as we approach Utiel. We enjoy again nice empty roads over green prairies with thousands of poppies.

Beautiful green prairies with poppies.

A short stop in Camporrobles to refuel, and we get to Utiel, where we stop for a late lunch in a very nice restaurant.

Sixth section – From Utiel to Valencia

81 km and 1 h estimated driving time.

After a really nice lunch, we pretend to arrive to Valencia as soon as possible. We left Madrid at 7h45 in the morning, and it’s already 16h30 in the afternoon! So, we take the motorway to speed and get to our destination much faster.

It’s just one hour drive, this time with classic motorway traffic, which, while you’re driving a Morgan 3-Wheeler, means you have many cars keeping your same speed aside you to give time to the occupants to take pictures, videos and cheer up with the sight of the little rocket. Smile! And a little of hand waiving make our spectators really happy. The funniest is to pass a bus and see dozens of hands and faces on the windows. I don’t know how much a sudden change of mass to one side of the bus can surprise its driver!

No videos taken in this section, as the motorway and its traffic aren’t worthy.

We finally arrive to Valencia, and our friends receive us in style with a nice plateau of cold Spanish meats and cheese. It’s being a very long driving journey. But as always, we’re happy and more in love with the Morgan.

The nicest possible welcome!

Visiting Valencia

Our destination for this weekend is the city of Valencia. Situated in the Spanish Mediterranean coast of Spain. Today, with 800.000 inhabitants, it is a nice modern city and its port is one of the busiest of the Mediterranean Sea.

A little bit of history: Valencia was founded by the Romans in 138 BC. Later, in the year 711, the Muslims arrived in Valencia. After a time of splendor, and with the construction of the Arab wall by Abd al-Aziz, a certain instability appeared in Valencia. El Cid Campeador took advantage of the occasion and drove the Arabs out of the city. This did not last long. In 1102 Valencia returned to Arab hands. But during the War of Reconquest, it was finally recovered by King Jaume the 1st, in 1238.

The night we arrive, we walked the historic city center. It is a large pedestrian area with excellent ambience and plenty of restaurants with terraces and historic buildings.

Front view of the cathedral, from the Queen’s Square, with the Micalet tower on the left side.
Rear-left view of the cathedral, from the Virgin’s Square.

The historic city center preserves majestic buildings such as the cathedral or the church of Santa Catalina Mártir.

Bell tower of the church of Santa Catalina Mártir.

We have a very nice dinner at an Italian restaurant. A nice home-made pasta and wine help us to recover the energy!

Our hosts here are Paulina and Daniela, daughters of one of our best friends. The two girls live here in Valencia as students, in a beautiful causy centric appartment. And they proved to be the best guides!

The Speedy Marmots with our nice friends and hosts, Paulina and Daniela.

You want to know more about Valencia? Today Valencia is also famous for the City of Arts and Sciences, with futuristic structures such as the planetarium, the oceanarium, and an interactive museum, designed by the famous Spanish architects Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela.

The Palace of the Arts Queen Sofia in the back, and the Hemispheric in front.
The Hemispheric in front plane, followed by the Science and Arts Museum, the Bridge l’Assut de l’Or and then dark blue Ágora in the back.

The buildings are stunning. If you like modern architecture, this is probably one of the best places in Spain, and, why not, in the World.

Detail of the side walkway.
The Botanical Garden.

We visit this area on Saturday, before enjoying one of the best paellas we ever had. Yes! Valencia is the capital of the paella! Here this typical Spanish dish is meant to be the best of the best! The restaurant we chose – El Racó de Lluis – is reputed to have one of the best paellas in town. And we have to say, it is absolutely true!

Paella at El Racó de LLuis, simply amazing!

Valencia also has several beaches, including some within the nearby Parque de la Albufera, a wetland reserve with a lake and trails, that can be visited doing a short cruise in traditional charming wooden boats.

La Albufera, 10 km South from the city, can be visited by boat.

We go to the Malvarosa Beach in the night for a nice lighter dinner. A beautiful spot plenty of restaurants with beach-side terraces. Very touristic, but worth a visit.

Malvarosa Beach.

On our way back to the apartment, we have some light rain. We were supposed to have a full sunny weekend! So, we checked the latest weather forecast and, surprise! For tomorrow, Sunday, that we’re driving back to Madrid, scattered showers and even some hard rains are announced. Not good news while you’re driving a 3-Wheeler! We decide we’ll leave Valencia early in the morning, when the chances of rain are lower, and get back home using the motorway, so we take much less time behind the wheel.

Returning to home base – From Valencia to Madrid

360 km and 3 h 40 min estimated driving time.

The way back home this Sunday was the toughest test we had in our 3-Wheeler… We leave Valencia with just few raindrops falling over the City. Equipped with our nice quality raincoats and of course our helmets, we leave town and take the main motorway A-3 to Madrid.

Then, after 70 km driving fast under a dark grey sky, the rain starts. We have driven the 3-Wheeler under light rain before, with no issues of course, but now it’s not light rain what we’re talking about, and we’re almost at 300 km from home, in a fast motorway!

We keep driving fast. And we’re surprised that, with the helmet, the raincoats, ad the speed of the car, we’re not getting wet. How is it possible? It’s really heavy rain!

And at a certain point, after 150 km drive, it’s not rain anymore but a real shower. All cars must slow down radically and with the fog and warning lights we drive slow for few kilometers with extremely poor visibility. It’s then when we decide to stop to refuel and take a little bit of cover, while really black clouds pass over our heads.

This is harder than a Navy Seals training! Or at least it looks like for a couple of our age! But we are still surprised that we’re not wet!

When the rain comes back to normal, then no more like Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls, we jump back into the cockpit. This time we add our nice Morgan scarf for the neck, and our green fleece blanket over our legs, for extra protection against the low temperatures.

We keep driving under the rain for another 100 km. With the neck scarf and the fleece blanket, combined with the heated seats – oh yes! Now we’re happy to have added this option! -, we drive warm and surprisingly dry. But the best part is to feel the 3-Wheeler under such weather conditions: perfect! I never felt uncomfortable with the car, and we were driving at good speed of 120 km/h!

Just 70 km before our destination, it stopped raining, then had some sun peeking through the clouds, and finally ended with a superb sunny weather while arriving home!

Once in our garage, we check everything, and we happily confirm that the car is not flooded and we’re really dry. It was a hard but very learning and satisfactory experience!

The Speedy Marmots are not scared anymore about driving the 3-Wheeler under the rain!

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, cathedrals, 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 right 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 Tajera, 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 Tajera reservoir.
The Commander and 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 we 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 definetely 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!