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Thread: Moto-Morocco September 2007

  1. #17
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    Top notch trip report so far, thanks Mike

  2. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whatton View Post
    Top notch trip report so far, thanks Mike
    Excellent stuff.......I'm really jealous, wish I could have been......er.......






    PS Heard from the Scarborough contingent last night....they arrived in the pub at home two hours before I arrived back in Harwich having dropped off the bikes to the boys on the hill......all safe and well and should be popping up here soon to add their contributions

    PS another 5 stow-aways on the trailer but I'll save that story for a bit later
    सत्यमेव जयते


  3. #19
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    Great write up........great ride/experience etc.......


    Quote Originally Posted by Fanum View Post
    PS Heard from the Scarborough contingent last night....they arrived in the pub at home two hours before I arrived back in Harwich having dropped off the bikes to the boys on the hill......all safe and well and should be popping up here soon to add their contributions

    I know the Scarborough contingent, only too well......used to work with 'em........A right pair of "know nowt, shirt lifters" if ever there was......

    Nice one lads.............

  4. #20
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    Day Twelve.

    Today is a rest day or a please yourself day. Steve D, Tony and Andy set off for the coast. Dean decided to do some fettling on his Africa Twin (still trying to track down a persistent rattle), Diane opted for the pool, Bill, Wayne, Ken and Steve M went for a local ride to look at some pistes.

    Bill and co returned later in the day and reported a must-do piste through a veritable oasis.

    Late afternoon, Bill, Diane and myself set out for the Blue Rocks, accompanied by Deane on his bike. On the way we'd see 'Napoleon's Hat' a rock formation that is said to resemble the little Corsican's preferred titfer.



    Not all the rocks are blue.



    Some are more blue than others.



    Some are a bit weather worn now.

    Apparently a Frenchman who fancied himself as an Avante Gard artist decided that it would be a whizzo idea to paint some rocks.

    Unfortunately for him, he wasn't hailed as the next Matisse or Renoir mainly because his art was difficult to hang on your wall over the fireplace!

    I expect that the colours were much more vibrant when first applied but they are getting more difficult to see at a distance.







    Napoleon's hat (apparently ).



    We had another excellent meal in the hotel and made plans to ride the piste through the palms that Bill and the others had found before our next stage of the trip.

    As Ken had ridden the piste today, I would get a chance to ride the 1100GS before reverting to the Land Rover duties.

    One other thing. This evening another guided group turned-up at the hotel. They were French and all were riding Suzuki 250's (?) supplied by the tour company. They seemed very subdued by the sight of all the UK registered lardy dual-sport machines covered in mud and dust. Their morale took a steeper dive when they asked where our group had been and the answer was "everywhere you have been; and one has a pillion!"

  5. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeP View Post
    One other thing. This evening another guided group turned-up at the hotel. They were French and all were riding Suzuki 250's (?) supplied by the tour company. They seemed very subdued by the sight of all the UK registered lardy dual-sport machines covered in mud and dust. Their morale took a steeper dive when they asked where our group had been and the answer was "everywhere you have been; and one has a pillion!"
    DRZ400's

    They didn't like it did they
    सत्यमेव जयते


  6. #22
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    Tyre Change.

    When Bill and the others returned from their Piste explorations, it was decided that Wayne's rear TKC was in dire need of a change. 2,000 miles had totally shagged it, the blocks were breaking-up and in some places were peeling away from the carcass.

    The same aged tyre on a 1200GSA looked like this after much piste riding.



    Scarred by the stones but still very serviceable.

    Now I'll put my hands-up and admit that I thought breaking the bead was going to be the real issue with a tubeless tyre. Everything I've read on the subject says that it's bloody hard if not nigh-on impossible without decent tools.

    I thought we'd be defeated and end up taking the wheel to a local tyre place.

    After a hunt for a valve insert remover, Steve M produced one from his bike.

    We had a G-clamp but it was only a four-inch jaw and wouldn't go over the tyre (6 or 8 inch would have done).

    We slipped two tyre levers into the rim and pushed them together to compress the tyre enough to get the G-clamp over it, then wound the clamp closed. One bead broke quickly and the other with some persuasion.

    Ken was to the fore with all of this as he does his own tyre changing all the time.

    He also produced a bag of HG rim protectors that were more than useful!

    With the bead broken, the tyre came off the rim quite easily, the new one was liberally given a lube with some cheap shower gel and slipped on a treat.

    Now it was up to the compressor in the Land Rover to do the bead seating bit and this is obviously as tricky as breaking the bead. No need to resort to ratchet straps or any of the other ploys, the compressor was man enough to seat the new tyre.



    Wayne decided to put some sort of "gloop" into both tyres and we all sat around congratulating ourselves and especially Ken!



    Looking at the bikes, it seemed that the 1200's are easier on their front tyre than the 1100/1150's. Maybe it's weight distribution or is the geometry different?

    Either way, the 1200's front TKC's did not show anything like the degree of "cupping" that the 11XX's did.

    Perhaps this explains the often reported "less planted feel" of 1200's? It might also explain the reason why the 1200's seem to cope better at the front end with soft sand?

  7. #23
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    Day Thirteen.

    An earlish start for those going on the run to the piste Bill and the others found yesterday. The remainder get a lie-in.

    Bill leads those of us going to the piste off on the 25 km or so road ride to the start: Dean, Andy and Diane, Steve D and Tony.

    This is the start of what becomes a very picturesque ride through dappled shade from many palms and tiny little groups of houses tucked away amongst the vegetation.



    (This photo was taken on the way out).

    I don't have many stills as I stopped here, slung my camcorder around my neck and rode a fair bit filming as I went. It worked much better than I hoped and I have some good footage but it needs a fair bit of editing as some places needed both hands on the bars. Consequently there is some nice close-up shots of a Kalahari yellow 1100GS tank!

    These photo's give a nice impression of how pleasant a ride it was.







    All too soon I met the riders coming back. It's no hardship to have to turn around and retrace your steps along this route.

    Back to the hotel, get out of Bill's spare helmet and load the Land Rover with the bags. We all re-fuel before leaving Tafraoute and head for Taroudant via Irherm.

    The original plan was for an overnight in Taroudant but word of a restored, walled former Pasha's palace in Oulad Berhil, now a hotel, was too good.

    I had a pretty uneventful drive along some great roads (for bikes). The last stretch of the R109 to a short piste along a wadi was arrow straight for 11 km. The piste was along the Oued Sous and it avoided me actually entering Taroudant.

    After the roads I had just travelled, the N10 seemed like a motorway in comparison.

    The instructions in the Lonely Planet Guide, says to turn off halfway through Oulad Berhil and follow the piste for a kilometre to the Hotel Palais Riad Hida.

    If it hadn't been for this instruction, I'd have been convinced that I'd taken a wrong turn as the first hundred metres or so is in a busy market. Pushing through the throngs of people, donkey carts and street vendors it seemed as though the instructions were mistaken. Then the route was through the "industrial" area where all sorts of repairs and street manufacture was conducted, finally a very down-at-heel residential area but suddenly there was the hotel and someone swung open the gates to the car park.

    Five rooms were secured and a trolley to convey the baggage to the rooms appeared.

    Maybe it was the route to the place but it seemed to be a true oasis of peace and perfection. In reality it was, the route to it just emphasised that fact.

    It was the perfect place to spend the last night before returning to Marrakech.

    One of the rooms.



    The pool in the evening light.







    The whole place was a system of little pathways between groves of tall palms or fragrant orange trees.







    Much of it reminded me of the Generaliffe in the Alhambra, Granada.





    Everywhere there was colour.





    Banana palms as well as orange trees.



    The ceiling of the portico outside the dining room.



    The dining room itself.





    It's ceiling was hand painted wooden panels.



    Through the dining room there was a sitting room.



    Beyond that a library.



    All the books were in Norwegian (Steve D can tell the story of the provenance better than I can, my ability to understand what the staff told me is limited).

    I was shown what was once the Norwegian families quarters, now a Drm 2000 per night suite.











    Nice place for a honeymoon I thought (for anyone who has the need for one of course! ).

    (More follows).

  8. #24
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    Day Fourteen.

    Before breakfast, Steve M, Tony and Wayne make use of the pool.



    Here comes Wayne.

    Steady ladies.





    Breakfast under the portico.







    And under the inspection of the resident Peacocks, Peahens and Peachicks (or Chick Peas according to Bill!).







    Some more local fauna.







    And a huge Roach.



    Once again it was load the Landy, get fuel and head off. This time it would be our last collective day on the road, we were heading back to Marrakesh, via the Tizi N Test.

    Diane had been promised goats in the trees and just before the Tizi N Test proper.......









    I have to say that the Tizi N Test, on the way up was not the best place to drive a RHD vehicle. Some of the hairpins were extremely accute and encountering a lorry coming the other way, on a surface barely as wide as the Land Rover was interesting!



    No photographs can really convey the route. Anywhere that you can stop and take pictures is pretty tame.



    We met up again at the cafe with the "van" near the top of the pass.





    There was some patter from this bloke who claimed to be a local but I think he was a 'ringer' and was really from the Portobello Road.





    Much haggling was under way when lunch stopped play.



    More Berber omelettes but what a great place to eat!





    He looks pleased with himself but he hasn't tried to use his bartered jumper pack at this stage!



    Great views but sadly we had to drag ourselves away and press on down the other side of the mountains for Marrakech.





    I'd been after this next photo for two weeks. It sums-up Morocco in some ways; mud dwellings with satellite dishes on the roof.









    While I was on a fairly gentle down section, a hired Toyota 4X4 came up the hill. The driver's knuckles were white with his death like grip on the wheel while his passengers eyes were on stalks. I chuckled to myself and thought, "If you think this is bad missus, wait 'till you see what awaits on the other side!"

    All too soon Marrakech hove into sight. I picked my way through the anarchy that is Marrakech rush-hour with Wagner's Valkerie blaring out of the open windows.

    No-one took the slightest notice!

    Back at 'base' I found the others in "wind-down" mode.





    All that was left to do was to unload the baggage for the last time, get showered and changed and follow Bill on a mystery tour to that night's restaurant for a last supper together (great place, good food, nice dancers but poor service).

    Sunset over Marrakech and our two week tour.



    Good times, great places and excellent company.

    Here are some of the ingredients that made it so good.......











































    Thanks everyone, it was a hoot!

  9. #25
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    Mike, that was a fantastic write up! Looks like a cracking time was had by all... Can't wait 'till my turn.


  10. #26
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    It was a great trip

    Nice write up Mike.Glad to be home but can't wait to go back.

  11. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by xrv View Post
    Nice write up Mike.Glad to be home but can't wait to go back.
    Good to see you here Dean. I think I can hear a GS with your name on calling you?

  12. #28
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    Thanks so much for that awesome writeup... I'm going in November, so you can imagine how much I paid attention...

    Some questions if I may...

    Did the tyre fitters in Marrakech balance the tyres? (I'm trying to decide on getting Heidenaus up here, or riding my Tourances out and fitting TKC's down there... I'd have to ride home 3000 km on whatever I get fitted down there....)

    Did you feel you were always having to be careful to keep sand out of the camera, or did you just keep it out and handy in general?

    Thanks again

    Al...

  13. #29
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    the sand gets everywhere

    Did you feel you were always having to be careful to keep sand out of the camera, or did you just keep it out and handy in general?
    Thanks again

    The sand got into my camera...mind you i was on top of the Landy taking snaps of bikes riding across the dunes and there was a fair wind blowing.That has been binned now but i did get some great pics of Steve D on his GSA 1200 and Tony on his TT 600 yamaha.

  14. #30
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    Not sure 'bout that yet Mike

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeP View Post
    Good to see you here Dean. I think I can hear a GS with your name on calling you?
    My Africa Twin has got plenty of life left in her yet........and i was well impressed with her all round capabilities(no comments on my all round capabilities thank you).........maybe i will cross to the "dark side" one day but not just yet........the xrv is the bike for me.

  15. #31
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    Now that's a holiday to remember.

    And to think I had to cancel mine this year.

  16. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by araspitfire View Post
    Some questions if I may...

    Did the tyre fitters in Marrakech balance the tyres? (I'm trying to decide on getting Heidenaus up here, or riding my Tourances out and fitting TKC's down there... I'd have to ride home 3000 km on whatever I get fitted down there....)
    Al, Keep your Tourances on for the trip down if they have plenty of life in them.

    The Marrakech tyre fitters are safe and do a good job for a lot less than you'd pay someone else to fit the TKC's.

    On the balancing front. TBH it isn't that important given the pistes are bumpy enough not to be able to travel at a speed that tyre balance is noticeable, the state of the pistes will be more likely to work the bike than any tyre imbalance and the roads again are pretty rough, enough to not notice any imbalance. (Some people also reckon that TKC's are not worth balancing anyway. They do wear quickly enough to alter the balance in any case).
    Did you feel you were always having to be careful to keep sand out of the camera, or did you just keep it out and handy in general?
    Bills camera did cave-in to sand but then he probably dropped it as often as he did his bike!

    In the past, I have had a camera fail due to use on my bike. It's usually the mechanism that pushes the lens out that's most susceptible to sand and dirt.

    Do a search on Aquapack on the web. They do air-tight plastic bags that you put your camera inside and then operate it while it's still sealed. I keep meaning to buy one. I have used some of their stuff when diving and they work.

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