The slow drive south.

Given the frantic last-minute preparations which led up to our departure date, it was four rather relieved folk who drove the Rover onto the ferry at Plymouth at 1545 last Sunday.  The ten mile journey to the ferryport went without a hitch, which was a good sign as the previous time I’d tried to drive the Rover that far a crack in the radiator had resulted in the temperature gauge getting dangerously close to the red – fortunately, a steel epoxy repair to the crack held.

The 27 hour ferry journey across the Bay of Biscay to Santander was characterized by the predictably passable entertainment and more memorably, the several hundred members of the various Harley Davidson clubs who were also on board – and who entertained us with 2-wheeled banter and free top-ups of whiskey into the early hours.

We cruised off the ferry at lunchtime on Monday, straight into an epic storm.  Lightning and rain surrounded the car as we climbed onto Spain’s central plateau, before easing as we got closer to our day’s destination of Salamanca, 225 miles down the road.  5 hours after leaving Santander, we arrived and spent a relaxing afternoon exploring the ancient university town, before staying the night in a hostel with amazing views over the floodlit central plaza – one of Spain’s finest:

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The big rover completed its first real run since it came back from London without a hitch, using only a little water and no oil, and behaving impeccably throughout – a feat it repeated today, when we covered another 250 miles to the town of Evora, in Portugal.  Tomorrow we should be boarding the ferry to Morocco, where the adventure starts in earnest.  Hopefully, the Rover’s reliability will continue to impress; however with rough roads and temperatures in the mid-30s only a few days away, we won’t be surprised if the trip suddenly begins to get a lot more eventful…

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