A relaxing drive-free day in Barcelona with my family is just what I needed. As a family, we’ve been to Barcelona many times. Long before flygskam we loved taking the train from Switzerland to our place in southern Spain. Door to door this trip took us a full 24h and was a great way to get into the mood for vacation – including first G&T’s on-board and having a full sleeping compartment reserved just for us. We loved the overnight direct train ‘Pablo Casals‘ from Zurich to Barcelona as it arrived in Barcelona just in time for breakfast. (This train was unfortunately cancelled and put an end to our yearly trip by train).

Back to today’s drive: From today onward, I will no longer be driving alone – my wife will be my co-pilot and we’re both looking forward to traveling together. Due to the extreme heat forecast for the next few days, we decide to leave at 5 am in order to cover some distance without too much heat.

Our distance for today is 410+ km and will – given the topography and the fact that we’re going to be two adults in the TWIKE – be pushing the limits of my pack’s capacity. Curious to see just how much more capacity a 30+°C pack will give me!

Fully charged and ready to go!
Fully charged and ready to go!

 
The subterranean parking garage was much cooler than the temperatures outside – the 3°C more for the battery pack are the result of my slow but full charge.

Perfect battery temperature at departure
Perfect battery temperature at departure

 
As per – an unwritten – tradition, I take a TWIKE pilot’s team picture for today. We’re ready to go!

TWIKE team for today
TWIKE team for today

 
We’re surprised how much traffic is already on the roads at 5 am. Probably it’s not only us trying to beat the heat 🙂

Pre-Dawn over Barcelona
Pre-Dawn over Barcelona

 
We drive across the city to the coast and then just follow the smallest roads available.

Pre-Dawn colors over Barcelona
Pre-Dawn colors over Barcelona

 
Around two hours into our trip, we are ready for some breakfast and stop at one of the many bakeries along the road and decide to get some coffee and pastries. Spain is a very good place for someone with a sweet tooth…like me. Yum Yum!

She was very interested in our TWIKE
She was very interested in our TWIKE

 
As always there is no getting away from a stop just like that – the person behind the counter had many questions as did the guy walking his dog outside and the delivery van person stopping to have a closer look. We’re always sorry to have to say that we need to get back on the road again.

I'd like some Fartó's please...
I’d like some Fartó’s please…

 
Just a few kilometres further down the road we enter a few hills and a nice road winding its way from small fishing village with a port to the next. Traffic is getting heavier, but thankfully not in our direction as we’re heading away from Barcelona.

Windy coastal road
Windy coastal road

 
Our sunrise was special, since it not only bathed the landscape in front of us in golden colors – it also blinded us through our rear-view mirrors.

Sunrise over the coast
Sunrise over the coast

 
The rest of the day will consist of us driving towards some hills, enjoying the bends and gradients and then getting back to a long stretch of flat and straight roads with some hills in the distance. Given the near-perfect road surfaces and the low density of speed-bumps, this turns out to be very enjoyable indeed!

Perfect road surface, looking forward to the hills
Perfect road surface, looking forward to the hills

 
We settle into a very relaxing routine of me handing off the yoke when I want to take a picture and my wife finally also getting into vacation-mode.

Maximum relaxation
Maximum relaxation

 
We stay on smaller roads and munch away at the distance towards Valencia.

Spanish B-road
Spanish B-road

 
And back down to the sea we go
And back down to the sea we go

 
Directly at the sea, the inactive Vandellòs I nuclear power plant has been here in this state since 2003, when it was finally deemed safe and contained by the Spanish nuclear safety council. This plant is just metres away from the sea and visible from both the motorway and train when traveling south from Barcelona.

Still a big thing in Spain
Still a big thing in Spain

 
Just beside the nuclear power plant, we find Alpiq’s Spanish investment – a 400MW gas fired combined cycle gas turbine power plant. Efficient it might be, but we’re still burning fossil fuels here. Given all the wind, sun and barren, non arable land here, I imagine it would be rather easy to up the current ~30% renewable percentage in Spain’s energy mix.

...thanks to this Swiss company
…thanks to this Swiss company

 
Midday is close and we are getting hungry. We pop into a shop, buy some Spanish essentials and continue driving until we find a perfect spot for our pic-nic.

Let's stop here!
Let’s stop here!

 
Just moments later we find the perfect spot.

Parking spot for our lunch break
Parking spot for our lunch break

 
With some Chorizo, Manchego cheese, Jamon serano, bread and water, we’re set to enjoy a thoroughly Spanish meal. The light breeze at the beach keeps the temperatures at a bearable level.

Our lunch at the beach
Our lunch at the beach

 
Slightly over an hour later we’re back on the road. Temperatures are still rising – we drive along at over 37°C and sweat heavily. The roads themselves are still near-perfect with just the odd speed bump.
Endless straight roads
Endless straight roads

 
By around 3 pm our battery’s charge is nearing its end. Thanks to the higher temperatures during the day, the charge is slightly better than expected, but it’s still cutting things finely and I really want to avoid setting up a recharge at the last minute, adding another 30-45 minutes to our already very long day.

At least, we are still more or less on a 0-km-left target zone for today. (using my normal battery capacity model)

Valencia, here we come!
Valencia, here we come!

 
Valencia’s welcome sign is very timely as we’re running out of juice fast.

Hills - would normally be a welcome break
Hills – would normally be a welcome break

 
We’ve decided to stay in an old small town just outside of Valencia called Liria – it has a direct metro line to Valencia and the town itself looked interesting when I was researching our stay. (which it is!)

Approaching Valencia, I was starting to worry that we would need to drive up the hills towards Liria, as I knew it was a town located at a hill…which we thankfully didn’t have to. The town itself, however, was indeed on a very steep hill, a rock protruding from the otherwise flat landscape around Liria. And our place for the night was nearly at the top of this hill.

We meet up with our daughters who have been waiting for us at a petrol station and drive to the house together.

Liria, old town, tight roads
Liria, old town, tight roads

 
All is good: we make it on one charge…thanks to the batteries having about ~400 Wh more energy due to them being around 36°C during the day.

Warm batteries
Warm batteries

 
As always: here come the stats for today…

Consumption still OK, even with 2 adults in the TWIKE
Consumption still OK, even with 2 adults in the TWIKE

 
Still happy with our consumption for today – and the 16km bonus we realized thanks to the heat! 0% charge left according to the Wh-model.

Pushing the limits, again.
Pushing the limits, again.

 
411 km is far when sitting in a TWIKE!

Not too much left anymore.
Not too much left anymore.

 
According to the Ah-model we’ve still got about 3% left – which is probably slightly over what is really available. Overall, we’re at 15873 Wh for today and I assume we could still get about 200-400 Wh from this charge before we hit 300V OCV.

TDE2019 Stats:
day 1: _180.5 km / _9729 Wh / 53.9 Wh/km / 00.00 CHF
day 2: _417.5 km / 14669 Wh / 35.1 Wh/km / 00.00 CHF
day 3: _393.5 km / 13528 Wh / 34.4 Wh/km / 00.00 CHF
day 4: _383.2 km / 14019 Wh / 36.6 Wh/km / 00.00 CHF
day 5: _411.9 km / 15873 Wh / 38.5 Wh/km / 00.00 CHF
Total: 1786.6 km / 67818 Wh / 38.0 Wh/km / 00.00 CHF

Tomorrow will be another drive-free day. We’re going to visit Liria and Valencia before embarking on our last leg to our apartment in San Juan.

TW560s parking spot for the next 2 days
TW560s parking spot for the next 2 days

 
Thank you for reading – I hope you enjoy these entries and are motivated by them to start traveling with your own TWIKE.

TDE2019 - Day 5 GPS track
TDE2019 – Day 5 GPS track

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