Subject: Spain Route Numbers
Hello Fellow Travelers:

Jan and I just returned from a Paradore tour in Spain which we had mapped out ourselves. We started and ended in Altea, but our route took us west of Madrid to Avila and south to Almeria with stops which included Arcos de la Frontera and Jaen. We love the roads less traveled and as a result took mostly back roads until the passengers in back complained about being whipped around by the winding roads or some event compelled us to take the red roads or dual carriageways.

Nevertheless, we did discover something fascinating to us (those who really don't mind being lost). Spain is renumbering a good number of its roads. We had three maps from Michelin of varying detail and all relatively new. There were significant points at which they did not agree. The 316 on the maps turned out to be the 7214 (my numbers are not exact and are stated only to be illustrative). The 401 which I as driver had agreed to follow at one point became the 411 (same road) and while the directional signs indicated it was now the 411 (without saying what it was before), the mile markers had the old route numbers. At one point my navigator told me not to take the 397, but to take the 394. Little did we know that they are now the same road. Thankfully the exit numbers did not change and we soon figured out that they were the same road. In the beginning it was the source of some angst and aggravation among our band, e.g., "I told you we would be taking the 411, but no you decided the 401 was the better road." We found roads which were numbered on the maps, but had no numbers on the ground. We found roads on the ground which were not on the maps. Spain is pouring a good deal of money into upgrading its infrastructure and it is doing it well, but if you go off as we did following the road less traveled, be prepared. One map is not enough and three will get you really lost. So take plenty of wine, bread and cheese and if you are really lost, stop and picnic. That usually worked with us.

Tom in Carlisle working off the jet lag.