4x4 Mania

  Like a bit of the Rough Stuff?
Well, join the Club!
OK. I confess. I’m a virgin. Or to be more precise I was a virgin until a couple of months ago. Then I tried it in the snow behind Ontinyent and I was hooked.
I’m one of the people that Tree Huggers (sorry, Greens) love to hate. I own a Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4. It has a 5.2 litre engine and would climb up the side of a house given half a chance. What do I use it for? The school run, shopping, the odd trip to the coast – the very uses that Greens abhor. But I was still an off-road virgin.
If it is any consolation, I do feel physically ill every time I fill up the Old Indian (as Cherokee owners affectionately call their gas-guzzling monsters). I see little change from a 100 euro note.
The garage 4X4 Mania of Mura de Alcoy (see separate advert) is run by folk who really are 4x4 maniacs. They work all day with 4x4´s and then, for their relaxation, hare round the mountains on tracks barely wide enough for two mountain goats to pass. Steve, the owner, told me that he went to the Sahara in his 4x4 for his holiday!
4x4 Mania garage has now started a non-profit making club for off-road fans. This is not an English club. It has French, Spanish and English members but English is the predominant language spoken.
Last Sunday (13th March) saw the second meeting of the club. A total of 7 vehicles formed up at the garage in glorious sunny weather for a foray into the unknown. I won’t give you a detailed route, mainly because for much of the trip I hadn’t got the faintest where we were.
We did stop to view the incredible countryside from a point 983 metres above sea level. We gazed down at the sea of almond blossom, a reservoir and a couple of sizable towns. I learnt that they were Alcoy and Concertaina but if I had been told they were Alicante or Valencia I wouldn’t have argued.
Some 4x4 owners swap stories of how they cracked a rim or knackered a shocker. My car did suffer injury: I bent my radio aerial. It servers me right for listening to the radio whilst fighting my way through a forest.
We now come to one of the best parts of the day. The bar afterwards! We retired to the bar in Almudaina. I didn’t catch the name of it but the entire population of the village is only 109 so there can’t be many bars to choose from. Almudaina is a delightful village south-east of Muro de Alcoy with a stunning backdrop of mountains behind it.
The bar itself is reached by passing through iron gates and going up a steep slope. There is a great play area for the kiddies and a packed bar (all 109 villagers must have been in there!)
We sat outside and got through a considerable amount of wine, beer and tapas whilst discussing our drive.
At the moment, the bar is a bit of a building site. The ladies and gents are temporarily as one with the “ladies” door re-hung upside down! When they are sorted out I’m sure that their Menu of the Day - at 7 euros - will be well worth travelling for. And you don’t have to climb over a mountain in a 4x4 to reach it!
Do you have a 4x4, fancy seeing some stunning Spanish scenery and making some new chums? Well the 4x4Mania Club could be for you. Check out the new website at www.4x4mania.es for details or ring 96 291 2074.

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