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!

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