Motorcycle trip between Spain and Portugal, departing from the south of Italy.

Desert of Castejón de Monegros on Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle

Fabio, Pablo and Robi are three Italian friends from Puglia. They met through social media thanks to their passion for motorcycles. Among the interests they have in common, two wheels isn’t the only one, there is also the love of adventure.

The trip was born with the idea of joining Robi on his move from Italy to Lagos in Portugal, and to do it, they decided to use their old school motorcycles: two Harley-Davidson Sportsters and a Triumph Bonneville. Their travel risked losing one of the three bikers even before starting, Fabio tested positive for Covid-19 up until a few days before the departure, luckily his bout with Covid was over just before the start of their trip!


On April 1, 2022, the sky did not look like one of the best, it seemed ready to dump a lot of water on the three, but the guys were full of adrenaline and didn’t care that much. Robi was told that due to Covid they would have left without Fabio, but in the morning, surprisingly, the team was all hands on deck, meeting on a highway service station in Campania. Rain gear on, full tanks and ready to go towards Rome!

After 450 km riding continuously in the rain, the three friends reach the Italian capital, where their friend Lorenzo is waiting for them, ready to offer them some refreshments with a typical and succulent Roman dinner. With full stomachs they go to a camping site, where they were able to stay overnight, take their time to plan the itinerary for the next day, and learn about the ten-hour delay of the ferry from Civitavecchia (Rome) to Barcelona. The option of continuing the journey by land through France emerges, in order to avoid the enormous delay.

Second rainy day.

Once in Civitavecchia the weather conditions get worse and worse, making it difficult to ride their bikes without skidding. The weather forecasts do not give good news: in the following days bad weather is expected all the way up to France. The ferry is therefore the safest option. To none of their respite, even a simple operation such as boarding the ferry proved not to be relaxing. The boat ramp is steep and slippery, so much so that the motorcycles skidded during the entire climb. But in the end the three bikers were all on board, ready for the 22 hours of sailing between Civitavecchia and Barcelona (which ended up becoming 30 hours due to the rough seas!).

The bad weather grants a respite.

The ferry arrives at its destination in the late afternoon. Once on the ground the three riders decide not to waste any more time. Back on their bikes they head towards Castejón de Monegros, south of Zaragoza, in order to reach their destination before sunset. Full tanks again and their mounts ready to travel 200 km against the clock. In the desert of Castejón de Monegros it would have been total darkness if they did not reach their destination before sunset. A slice of sun is convenient to choose the best place to camp.

Halfway the landscape begins to change. It is exciting to enjoy the road seeing how its surroundings change kilometer after kilometer. As the guys approach the desert, the scenery is more and more reminiscent of that of Arizona. Up to the horizon you can only see a rocky expanse of red tones with promontories reminiscent of those of Monument Valley. Most of the spaghetti westerns were shot there, and no one has ever noticed the difference with those famous parts of the United States.

There are 50 km to go and the sun begins to set, hunger calls and the answer is a gas station hidden in the desert dunes. All fueled up and cheeseburgers to take away! Who said that it is not possible to live in the States in Europe?!

Soon after the paved road gives way to the dirt roads; narrow and fascinating. The three friends are just a few kilometers from the arrival of their temporary destination and the only noise comes from the engines of their motorcycles. The sun is cut in half by the horizon.

“We have never seen such a red sun and beautiful sunset. We spotted an old abandoned church and decided to camp next to it. The walls of the building would protect us from the cold night wind.”
The lack of light makes it difficult to set up the curtains. The motorcycle headlights are the only lighting available, but somehow the adventurers succeed in the enterprise. The cold begins to be felt and all it takes to enjoy beers and cheeseburgers, is a nice fire. The western hemisphere is now at the highest level. It is pitch dark and in the sky and you can even make out the constellations. The emotions that moment was giving them were worth the whole rainy journey.

Spaghetti western.

Five in the morning, the three wake up at dawn. As soon as Fabio’s awake, he doesn’t fully realize yet that the temperature outside the tent is -2 degrees until he notices the presence of ice. Fortunately, the heavy sleeping bag had protected him during the night. Pablo and Robi instead had the feeling of being frozen. For them, leaving the tents turned out to be a tragedy. To help them get back up again they focus on the desire to enjoy the sunrise in the desert, a spectacle that soon makes them forget all about the cold.

After using the last remaining twigs to light a new fire and folding up the frozen curtains, it’s time to get back on the saddle. But Robi’s Bonnie doesn’t want to start. The battery is grounded due to the cold, the bike does not even start when pushed. If that wasn’t enough, Pablo’s 883 also has a problem: the pipe is about to come off due to a broken pin.

The three bikers are in the middle of the desert and the nearest inhabited center is 80 km away. Three people and one fully functional motorcycle. Fabio decides to go in search of a farm present in the neighboring fields, with the hope of finding a battery cable, so as to be able to restart the Triumph. Pablo, after having tied the collector with wire, heads towards Zaragoza, 150 km from the desert, where the mechanics of a Harley-Davidson dealership would have repaired the collector. Robi is forced to wait alone in the desert.

Fabio is the first to complete his mission: he manages to find a farmer who follows him by car to the camp. The Bonnie is rumbling again, but the schedule has been further delayed. To no avail, Robi and Fabio join Pablo at the Harley dealership near Zaragoza, where bad news awaits them: the workshop is closed. The expedition then undergoes a new detour towards Madrid, 350 km at full throttle accompanied by a breathtaking landscape. The Harley-Davidson workshop in the Spanish capital repaired Pablo’s Sportster without hesitation, giving it priority, to the detriment of the other bikes already on the motorcycle lift.

After a night spent in the cold and all those kilometers on the bike, the three friends share the sole desire for a nice hot shower and a comfortable bed on which to rest their butts. A hotel in Toledo, not far from Madrid, is for them. At the time of leaving, Fabio feels his back is pleasantly light, but the good feeling ends as soon as he realizes that his backpack is no longer there: he had just been robbed! Fabio, as a good adventurer, sees the glass half full: there were no documents inside, and he will travel lighter.

Biker life.

Wake up early, no more time is to be wasted. It’s raining cats and dogs and there are 700 km to go, to get to Lagos, Portugal.

The rain is really heavy and to reach Badajoz, a town on the border with Portugal, the guys opt for the highway, so as to make the ten-hour ride in the rain more accessible. But after 150 km the cold comes to keep them company along with the rain. It is 5 degrees celsius on the highway, but so they perceive it as a lot less. The adverse weather conditions force the bikers, with their fingers almost hypothermic, to stop at a service station. After warming up and refreshing, they wrap their socks in plastic bags, as their boots are now like water-soaked sponges.

After five stops, seven interminable hours in the rain, and their rain suits practically torn, the bikers reach the border. They are in Portugal! The adrenaline recharges them, the emotions are positive, as well as the vibrations of their twin cylinders, above all this is biker life.

It is time to leave the highway and the rain, the temperature is getting warmer and the route to Lagos is pure pleasure. The road descends along the coast, meanders through the forests and the curves provide the typical fun that makes you thank yourself for being a biker.
“The landscape was beautiful, with the red earth crossed by windy rivers. We passed through characteristic villages made up of colorful houses and windmills, a relaxing atmosphere. After covering almost 200 km, the Atlantic Ocean finally presented itself before our eyes. The desire to reach it rose more and more, the air became more and more lukewarm and riding was pure pleasure.”

After skirting the ocean at sunset, the three friends arrive in Lagos, at Robi’s house. As guests of Robi’s family, the family was ready to feed the guys at the Italian restaurant they own. The typical Apulian cuisine puts them back in full shape!

The next day Fabio and Pablo said goodbye to Robi, and headed back to Italy, forever carrying the memory of that exciting adventure with them.

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