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TDE2012 – day 6: hello catalunya! andorra la veilla > mas de barberans

a new day awaits us and we are looking forward to driving towards northern spain today.

big black clouds are pushing over the mountain tops and are getting cought in andorra’s valley – best to be on our way, before the rain starts to fall!

first view from hotel room in andorra - thick, gray clouds

first view from hotel room in andorra – thick, gray clouds

we keep rolling down Andorra valley towards spain and keep on coming past one petrol station and shopping place after another. it’s getting boring and we ought to get out of here on those grounds, too!

again, rather unceremoniously, we leave Andorra and enter spain where, after just a few hundred meters, TW231 takes a very hard hit, after I failed to notice a rather big gap at a bridge construction site over which we went at about 60km/h.

two big bangs – front and back – later, a piece of TWIKE fell off and we had to stop to collect it. the front mudguard got pushed up too far by the impact and subsequently broke off. lucky us it wasn’t any suspension related part that broke right there!

just arrived from andorra

just arrived from andorra

in spain we continue our descent towards a low-lying plateau and indeed, quite quickly, we leave the mountains behind us. we are greeted by spain’s grain producing area where the combine harvesters have finished their work and have left behind golden patches of land between dark green olive trees or forrest.

golden patches and rolling hills.

golden patches and rolling hills.

we rather like this part of the trip: no hard work with the joystick (my right arm will definitely have more circumference than the left one after this trip is over) because the roads are mostly straight – no fighting up and down steep hills, just cruise control engaged and off we go. we make up good “blue line”-distance since many times, our road is more or less parallel to the blue line.

with our battery power dwindling towards zero around midday, we start looking our for somewhere to charge. it’s not like in Switzerland, where you can just look around virtually anywhere and find a house or even a free plug. no. here, you might drive for 20kms *without any infrastructure at all*.

heading up from the northern spanish lowlands

heading up from the northern spanish lowlands

whilst we were looking out for a suitable place, we came across a solar/biomass power plant in its last phases of preparation for full production.

on the one side a pretty standard biomass reactor and on the other side a full multi-hectar oil-heating collector array which then transports the super-heated oil towards a heat exchanger in order to create steam with which in turn electricity is produced. excess heat is then used to power the biomass reactor. lucky us that we found some engineers on-site who were able to explain the whole setup! (but didn’t have any electricity…)

we then on our last Wh climbed towards a very small village called casteldans and were able to charge there using the plugs from an old workshop that looked like it hadn’t been updated since the late 50’s. but there was tri-phased electricity and who are we to complain in such a case?

one way to beat the heat!

one way to beat the heat!

an ufo has landed in spanish backwaters!

an ufo has landed in spanish backwaters!

jc part of the local gang

jc part of the local gang

the afternoon took us up, way up onto a plateau with virtually no vegetation and our first taste of spain’s heat.

northern spain

northern spain

tiny roads took us every 30 minutes or so from (wind-)farm to (wind-)farm.

dozens of windparks, but no mobile reception!

dozens of windparks, but no mobile reception!

after descending towards tortosa, we only have a few percent charge left but don’t want to stay there. i find a “casa rural” in a very small village just 12 kms along the road – we have 19kms to go, so we should be fine.

no-one said 250m climbing was involved!!

no-one said a 250m climb was involved!!

no-one told us, that there was a 250m climb involved to this small village clinging to the mountain side! we arrived there with virtually no energy left just to find the place closed!

our village slowly comes into sight

our village slowly comes into sight

we asked some neighbours – they then got in touch with the person running the place and he then was with us within 20 minutes or so – directly from some field nearby! business has been so bad lately, that even in high season, he didn’t bother being around because there were no customers at all!

he was very happy to have us and made a big fuss telling us all about the 250 inhabitants and showing us the different villages that were visible thanks to the great view here.

we then headed to the only bar in the village and unsurprisingly, people already knew that we were the strange people with the even stranger electric car…

even with the climb at the end - we've had an efficient day!

even with the climb at the end – we’ve had an efficient day!