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J68 - Wednesday, December 23: 7km after Antequera – Marker 30.5km on the A335 (9km before Montefrio)

74.09km – 9H59’
Altitude 909m
 Apocalypse No!
We are in a bad mood this morning because of the wind.  Joël is in a daze just thinking about what is waiting for us outside... no need to struggle, the gusts of wind are such that it’s difficult to stand up and walking 3 steps is a feat.  The rain is only a small detail of the sleepless night!
At 7H30 Serge and I agree to postpone departure.  Serge stretches out on the bunk of the camper and waits for daybreak.  8:30 its daylight, the wind is still coming in gusts but not so strong and we reach the departure point 6km further on.  We are sheltered from the wind by the mountain and Serge sets out for a new day.  At km5, René and I leave for a reconnaissance along highway A92, leaving Joêl at the wheel of the van.  After some difficulty at Rio Frio because of the steep road to the village, which  makes trouble for the camper (exchange camper for a Smart!) we reach Loja, then take a small road which is a dotted line on the map and inexistent on the GPS, but it does exist.  It looks like we will be able to write a guide book on alternate roads in all the European countries.
90 minutes later, we join Joël, Serge and Philippe who arrive at Salinas so we are on time for the change of direction and the stress subsides.
At Rio Frio, Serge is fed up, to be polite, with the rough road and the very steep climb.  Fatigue coupled with the morning’s stress, plus very sore buttocks (Serge complained even before he stepped out of bed this morning) = irritation.   He is so mad he kicks stones “can’t you find another itinerary.” Silence……  No, there is no other itinerary and Serge will not be at the end of his effort because to climb and descend mountain passes of 1st or 2nd category, or not categorized at all, is not unusual.  If Spain would produce signs for all the roads that lead to passes, there would be an excessive quantity.  The only solution is to change country because northern Spain will be just the same, if not more mountainous.  
The ever present wind is favorable or comes from the side.  There is permanent grayness and the occasional rain all the way to Tocon, where the rain is heavier.  At km 67 Serge says that he will run 7km more.  He finishes this evening at a pass on the A335 which leads to Montefrio.  He will finish tomorrow morning. René ends the day with Serge while Joël and I go to Montefrio.
The rain becomes even heavier and fog fall on us like the trees that fall on the road and are immediately removed with the help of power saws.  There have been frequent landslides over the past few days.
At 6:30 PM:  René calls me «It’s OK, Serge has arrived so we are leaving »
At 6:50: We are stuck; you have to come tow us
Philippe leave by car with a rope
7:30: Serge arrives, Philippe has brought him back.  The van is still stuck and René doesn’t want to leave it.  So he will stay on the mountain to wait for help.
7:50 the tow truck arrives, with a winch, and it takes 20 minutes to get the van out of this bad spot.
8:35, René is back, all smiles.  All’s well that ends well.
Serge doesn’t take a shower because there is no hot water and he is already too chilled to take a second cold shower.
Concerning routine, we don’t know what the word means.
Before going to bed Serge says “tomorrow I’m leaving early because I don’t want to stop at 7:00 PM on Christmas Eve.”
What will December 24 be like? God only knows but one thing for sure, Serge is getting close to 5000 km.
The route December 24: Montefrio – Alcala la Real – N432 – Baena.

Town : 9 km avant Montefrio (Province de Grenada)

GPS : N°37.28569° W003.98747°