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!

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