I invariably sleep badly when I know I need to wake early, and our night at the Travelodge was no exception. We rose at 05:00 and walked to the airport through the chilly early morning air, frost on the ground as dawn broke. We landed just before 11:00 local time, collected our bikes, re-assembled them, packed the CTC bags in our luggage and rode off into the pleasantly warm Spanish morning. We were on the right side of town for Cabo de Gata and were soon away along a quiet road. We bought bread and cheese and stopped to eat our picnic on the seafront at the newly and tastefully developed Retamar, amidst the families enjoying their Sunday. This became a sandy and stony track.
We had no detailed maps, and the track split a few times so we had to make decisions as to which fork to take. After Torregarcia it was covered with deep sand in places, forcing us to dismount and push. The track took us away from the coast and the sandy episodes became more frequent, the temperature rose and we were getting tired. The birdlife was fascinating, including possibly a purple heron. After several dead ends where we had to retrace our route and try another fork, sheer chance brought us out right by the campsite where we’d booked a bungalow for two nights. I was too tired for a swim but Christine and Rowan went for a dip in the campsite pool before we all rode off to the village, pausing to watch the avocets in the salinas (salt pans). We stopped for a drink at a bar by the beach and shopped for food before returning to cook, eat and sleep.