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  #1  
Old 10-14-2009, 01:51 PM
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Another long trip report

I haven't posted here for a while, but as you know, I like to use my SL for long trips. I feel that's what it was intended for.

Last week I took it from my home in north Northumberland (Great Britain) to southern Spain and back.

I went by way of the Millau Viaduct (worth a big detour for sure) then along the Mediterranean coast to Valencia, inland to an 8th century castle in Alarcon and then south through the Sierra Nevada to the southern coast of Spain. While there I had a side trip to the most southerly point in Europe, Tarifa. From there Africa is within swimming distance and certainly within sight. I was tempted to hop on the car ferry to Tangiers and spin down to Marrakech but I had not insured the car for Africa and didn't have much time anyway. I settled for a bit of British soil at Gibralta, paying in pounds for my tax-free petrol while I was at it.

On the return leg I blasted north through Madrid to Burgos and then San Sebastian where I paused long enough only for a glass of Rioja and some meat. My overnight was the French resort town of Biarritz before heading north again to Normandy and finally home.

Some of the roads were amazing. The A75 from Clemont Ferrand to Beziers is an astounding feat of civil engineering. Not only does it feature the Millau Viaduct but also the descent (or ascent if you happen to be northbound) down the Gorges du Herault, the road going through about 750m height in 10km in a sinuous cliff-face course. This is a 3 lane motorway with an entirely necessary 50kmh speed limit. Likewise the Desfiladero de Despenaperros at the entrance to Andalusia. Amazingly the Spanish are building a second, high-level motorway to supplement the mountain pass motorway.

There is obviously no shortage of Euro-cash for Spanish infrastructure. The new A44 between Granada and Motril through the high peaks of the Sierra Nevada is like something out of an Alpine fantasy, as is the new AP1 between Vitoria Gasteiz and San Sebastian. It is all super smooth, super wide, curvacious, ascending and descending, viaduct across valley then tunnel through mountain. And best of all, these toll roads are traffic free: one can use the whole road to carry speed.

No record breaking as I was motoring by myself and did not want to lose the car. However, on Saturday I was able to leave our holiday house very near to Comares in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada at 7.15am and arrive in San Sebastian by 2.45pm with at least 45minutes off for fuel and lunch: a very little under 1,000km (625miles) in 7h30, only 6h45 on the road.

I undoubtedly drove the finest miles of my motoring life on one particular Spanish route. Heading north from junction 142 of the A7, the A377 to Gaucin then the A369 to Ronda, then the A397 back down to Marbella made an amazing route. Barely any traffic. Eating and drinking opportunities at the delightful towns of Gaucin, Algatocin and Ronda. And just perfect tarmac. You must drive this route before you die!

My round trip mileage was 4,046. I have no idea how much petrol I used: a lot, although on the outbound leg I was getting 26mpg.

I hope this wasn't too boring for you all.

The usual pictures follow below.

The Viaduct at Millau:








The descent of the Gorges de Herault:


My 8th century hotel in Alarcon:


Desfiladero de Despenaperros:




The A-class hire car (do you have these in America?) an ideal supplementary vehicle for when 2 seats are insufficient:


A meat wagon, ha ha ha:


Africa:


Mountain roads, Gibralta in the background in the first:




Heading home, dawn over the Sierra Nevada:
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Old 10-14-2009, 03:10 PM
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Excellent photos. That was some trip indeed. Thanks very much for sharing this with us.
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  #3  
Old 10-14-2009, 05:38 PM
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Excellent, thanks for the write-up, and great to hear from you again.

Don't be a stranger, and say hello to my long lost relatives in Devon.
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:07 AM
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Awesome, but one problem -- you did not invite me! (lol)
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:29 AM
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Enjoyed the report and pictures very much. For those of us with 107s, the gas for that trip would have cost twice as much
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:38 AM
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Wow!!!!!!
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjrodger View Post
I hope this wasn't too boring for you all.
Yeah, reaallly boring Beautiful pictures; I'd love to do that drive sometime. Unfortunately my wife has sworn to never fly on planes again, so it will be quite a while before I have enough time to set aside and take the "slow boat" across the pond. We normally rent a car when we go overseas but I never inquired about taking a car outside of the country we rented it in. I'm guessing you would have to pay extra or perhaps not possible to do? Guess I'll have to buy a car there and bring it back with us
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vwkess View Post
...Unfortunately my wife has sworn to never fly on planes again...
Well I ain't gettin on no airplane, fool (or whatever Mr T says). That's why I drive 2,000miles over 3days for a week's holiday then drive all the way back when you can do the same journey on a budget airline for $50. Plus the fact that I like driving.

I think crossing borders in an hire car is pretty OK in Europe: you may have to stump up a bit more, but the reality is that the borders hardly exist any more in practice, at least between Schengen (sp?) countries (i.e. most mainland EU countries).
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:54 PM
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Lol, yes, I'd imagine that is something he would say. I don't mind planes and I know they say it is safer than driving, but I guess it is the lack of control and finality of it all that can be distressing. My wife hates dealing with the delays and missing connecting flights and after our last experience with that I don't blame her! Also with how the airlines are doing financially she worries about how well the planes are really being kept up.
I like driving myself and have no problem doing 1200 miles in a day (used to drive from N.W. Arkansas to S. New Jersey in one shot, just fuel stops). My wife however is really done after 600 miles.... and even 300 ain't easy As a result it can take a long time to cover a long trip. I think I will have to be retired before we go back to doing any long distance vacations.
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Old 10-15-2009, 05:48 PM
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Wonderful writeup and pic's. I'm just wondering. Is there in fact a better vehicle than a Mercedes, of any kind let alone an SL, to do this kind of trip in?. I can't think of one.

- Peter.
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Old 10-15-2009, 06:39 PM
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Thanks JJR,,, I always enjoy your stories and pictures,,,, great !!
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Old 10-16-2009, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by pj67coll View Post
Wonderful writeup and pic's. I'm just wondering. Is there in fact a better vehicle than a Mercedes, of any kind let alone an SL, to do this kind of trip in?. I can't think of one.

- Peter.
I would say Rolls Royce Phantom Coupe, but it is too big and showy. If Porsche still made a 928, that might do the job better, but they don't. A Ferrari 575M is too fragile and costly to run for my liking.

That leaves a Bristol Fighter S, about the only car I would willingly swap for.
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Old 10-20-2009, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jjrodger View Post
I would say Rolls Royce Phantom Coupe, but it is too big and showy. If Porsche still made a 928, that might do the job better, but they don't. A Ferrari 575M is too fragile and costly to run for my liking.

That leaves a Bristol Fighter S, about the only car I would willingly swap for.
Comfort? The Rolls probably would be as good but the Porsche?

- Peter.
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2000 GMC Sonoma
Formerly...
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1981 240D 4spd stick. 389000 miles. Deceased Jan 08
1984 123 200
1979 116 280S
1972 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1971 108 280S
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  #14  
Old 10-20-2009, 04:49 PM
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well I have a nice 65 Rolls Royce - Silver Cloud I'd be willing to sell.
Quite a machine,
http://www.peachparts.com/shopforum/attachments/vintage-mercedes-forum/46975d1186972697-car-transport-suggestions-sv300066.jpg

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2011 Porsche Cayman - Bond,James Bond
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62 220b - Dolly - Finally my Finny!
72 450SL, Pearl-SOLD
16 F350 6.7 Diesel -THOR
07 Lexus RX 350 - Lexi
14 38HP John Deere 3038E Tractor -Mean Green
84 300SD, Benjamin -SOLD
71 220 - W115-Libby ( my first love) -SOLD
73 280 - W114 "Organspende" Rest in Peace
81 380 SL - Rest in Peace
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  #15  
Old 10-20-2009, 08:03 PM
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lovely pictures - thanks - just love the viaduct
cheers
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