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Thread: Thunder's Road - Calum's Road 2010

  1. #33
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    22-1-10

    Tiznit



    Another dawn, another day up and breakfasted we broke in to 2 groups to continue the journey south, Gert, Mikey Gert and myself headed off on the more direct yet supposedly boring route to see where we ended up.







    As usual we stopped off to admire the scenery







    Mike was relieved to find a sheltering bush



    while another of the party was relieved to find Dave's sheltering bike, and even more relieved that Dave was elsewhere topping up his tan.



    which was essential after the head shaving the previous evening



    further up the road we stopped for our morning break,



    coke and choccy biccies, the break of adventurers.



    The mountain roads beckoned











    At the next petrol station we stopped to top up our tanks and grab a bite to eat. I forgot we were in an Islamic country and made the mistake of asking for a ham and cheese omelette

    What we got though was one of the best (and cheapest) meals of the trip so far, local omelette with onions and tomatoes in olive oil, 2 fried eggs on top with fresh crusty bread. Fantastic!





    As we approached did some research for potential accommodation. Talking to one of the locals in a shop he was told the Hotel Izou was good and worth staying at.



    Dave spent the time perfecting his adventure pose.



    The hotel was right in the middle of the town right on the main road, modern, clean and very reasonably priced.



    Staff could'nt have been more helpful, taking our bags to our rooms, storing helmets in the porters office and clearing space in an underground storage are so we could park the bikes securely over night.

    Only thing was it was another bloody four star!!!







    Dave was pleased with the extra soft quilted toilet roll in the rooms.





    We heard from the others that they had stopped in Agidir so adjourned to the bar for some pre-dinner drinks. 3 hours later we had dinner in a little cafe across the road from the hotel before heading for our rooms for a reasonably early night.

    TBC

  2. #34
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    Brill Sort of says it All I rdie a 1200GS well usually Now Where Did I leave it???



    Oh Great and Wise Deity, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

    Courage to change the things I can! And the wisdom to know the difference!

  3. #35
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    23-1-2010

    Laayoune



    We decided to make an early start after breakfast and a sound nights sleep so were on the road just as the sun came up.





    As we left the town we started climbing again on some cracking roads











    and soon dropped down on to a plain where we stopped for our by now obligatory photo stop.





    On the road again we settled down to a gentle bimble and rode on tarmac through fairly barren landscape with the odd town thrown in. It was pretty uninteresting as at no point did we stop for photographs.



    Then just before 2 in the afternoon we crossed a causeway



    and we were stopping all over the place!













    sometimes in the wrong place..............



    but soon sorted.





    The scenery just got better



    with so many contrasts in the colour of the sand which Gert explained to us was down to oxidisation and age. As his fische said he was a mechanic his encyclopedic knowledge of geology just continued to amaze us!

    Yet another stop overlooking the sea found us enjoying yet another view,







    when out of nowhere a local fisherman appeared for a chat, he lived on the beach in a tent, had heard the bikes arriving and came up to see what was going on.



    Gert chatted happily



    Mike practiced his adventure pose



    and Dave answered a call on his experimental sunglasses phone



    The future may be bright, but it ain't orange!

    We continued on and soon arrived in Laayonne a town filled with members of the UN, accommodation was limited but on speaking to a local policeman were directed to a little 2 star hotel on the main road into the town.



    We booked in and were joined later by the others who had seen the bikes parked outside, Andres had as planned headed back to play in Morocco before heading home. So now we were seven.

    TBC

  4. #36
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    24-1-10





    After a good nights sleep and a decent breakfast in the cafe attached to the hotel we packed the bikes and headed off for what would potentially be our last night in Western Sahara.



    Shortly after leaving the town we pulled in for some pictures, Dave was determined to see a camel toe at close quarters.









    while Gert got creative with his helmet



    On the road again Gert, Mike , Dave and myself continued through the next town while the others called in for fuel and coffee. We didn't get that far though as we found yet another photo opportunity.











    Mikey topped up his tan



    Glen and John stopped to admire the view



    and show us how effective John's crash bars were







    Life was indeed a beach!



    But the road beckoned





    At our next fuel stop we got chatting to guy from Wales who lived in Dahkla and was a regular traveler in Mauritania. He gave us lots of up to date information on the situation.



    The Dahkla peninsula approached





    we stopped again







    Dave went to check the condition of the sand on the left



    Glen was on the right



    Dave headed off on his bike followed by Gert, Mike and John









    well for a while at least















    Glen was also having problems and had dropped his bike in the sand.

    Cold beer and a shower was now the order of the day so we headed into Dahkla to find a hotel.



    As the sun set tans were topped up



    and we settled in for the night to discuss Mauri. Would we wouldn't we? Well you know the answer, but at that point we didn't!

    TBC

  5. #37
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    Thunder,

    Was the chap you bumped into in Dakla called Colin? If so I met him on my trip through. Had a lot of info on crossing into Mauritania.

  6. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edventure View Post
    Thunder,

    Was the chap you bumped into in Dakla called Colin? If so I met him on my trip through. Had a lot of info on crossing into Mauritania.
    I think he was, even gave us his wife's mobile number in case we needed help in Dakhla as he was heading off for a few days. Nice bloke and very helpful

  7. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edventure View Post
    Thunder,

    Was the chap you bumped into in Dakla called Colin? If so I met him on my trip through. Had a lot of info on crossing into Mauritania.

    Yes his name is Colin, he passed on a heap of useful information particularly on the crossing of the minefield



    The sand is deep in the middle: for any future passage planners - stick to the edge!!!! You will find it alot easier!
    old enough to know better, young enough not to care!

  8. #40
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    25-1-10

    Goodbye Western Sahara



    Sun was up and so were we, breakfast over bikes being packed and Mikey was doing a bit of tidying up after those involved had taken the opportunity to remove great chunks of the Sahara which had become lodged on the bikes after yesterday afternoons little excursion,







    On the way back to the main road south (well only road south actually) we admired the scenery and the wobbly box village out on the peninsula.









    We called in at a garage so those who needed to could top up their tanks, we'd learned to top up when we got the chance as some garages only stocked diesel and it was common to arrive and find that the petrol was sold out.





    It was still windy.



    Gert continued to remove compacted and now solidified sahara from his bike





    A land rover with a camel in the back arrived



    Dave was well pleased, he got the picture he'd been looking for.



    Heading off on the final leg of the trip to the border the winds increased and we ended up riding through shifting sand which at times totally obscured the road. John managed to get some pictures holding his camera in his left hand as he rode.













    We arrived at the border in the early afternoon and began processing the paper work to exit the country. Soon we were sitting at the final checkpoint ready to enter no mans land. Photography was forbidden but we managed to sneak a picture just as we were about to leave.



    TBC

  9. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by freeloader View Post


    Unusual airhead spare part to be carrying, Roger?
    So what is it then Roger, looks like a bit of plastic waste pipe?

  10. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whatton View Post
    So what is it then Roger, looks like a bit of plastic waste pipe?
    Ahhh well that's exactly what it is, 100 mm drain pipe with a stop end glued on one end and a push fit adapter on the other. Totally watertight for storage of bits and bobs and a garment I wanted for the trip onyack

  11. #43
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    25-1-10

    No man's land - Mauritanian border

    No going back now, we'd all made the decision to continue the trip and cross in to Mauritania, the barrier at the was raised and we were waived in to no man's land between the disputed Western Sahara and Mauirtania which also happened to be surrounded by a bloody big mine field.

    We'd all read different reports on this bit and were unfortunately aware of the deaths of some German riders the year before who had strayed off the crossing and hit a mine so it's fair to say we were pretty nervous (well I was I can tell you.

    First thing that strikes you is "where the hell do I go?" there are no signs anywhere you just drop off the tarmac on to track and are faced with a number of junctions with local guides pointing directions.

    We headed off playing follow the leader, soon it became apparent we were going the wrong way as we came over the brow of a hill and found Glenn had had an off in deep sand.

    Looking across to the right we could see a truck and cars crossing on a rock piste and rather decided to retrace our route out of the sand and follow their route (which was the recommendation of the local guides who were following us close by) applying the logic of " you can't plant mines on rock, sands another thing!"

    Mike had a drop as well on the way out of the sand but once on the rock track we actually started to enjoy the experience, hence loads of pictures.

    Here's a few.
































    We arrived at the Mauri border, joined the queue and passed the time talking bollox, people watching, taking pictures and sweating in the sun! Well some of us did.









    We took the mandatory me and my bike in a mine field pictures









    and admired some of the traffic coming the other way





    As we approached the police check point we put cameras and valuables out of site, apparently officials were prone to asking for such things as a gift.

    It was a long process, African time at it's best and we were starting to be concerned about where we would spend the night as we had just cleared the police checks still had to change money and sort insurance before we could even approach customs ( even with the help of a local fixer this was not going to be fast ).

    We spotted some tents behind the money changers office and went to investigate, turned out you could rent a tent for up to seven people, they did food and water, would lock the gates at night to secure the bikes, were cheap and would save us an 80 mile round trip down to our intended accommodation. Happy day!



    We would be sleeping beside the police station but not through customs and with the situation in Mauri felt pretty secure, it also meant we could park the bikes and ditch the gear while we sorted out our paperwork. Brilliant.















    Food arrived



    Food disappeared



    As it was a dry camp and we had no booze we had an early night. I fell asleep to the scratching of pens in journals, it was like detention at school with the sound of lines being written.

    TBC

  12. #44
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    Lovin' the pictures in no-mans land

    Did you take shed loads of piccies or are these all from the 'collective'?

    Andres
    Doris doesn't give a fuck...be more like Doris!



  13. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outtomunch View Post
    Lovin' the pictures in no-mans land

    Did you take shed loads of piccies or are these all from the 'collective'?

    Andres
    I took shed loads of piccies but for this report I'm using pictures from some members of the collective as well, with their permission of course. mind you not all of the pictures taken, although it's tempting, these are only a small proportion

    General tip, if I'm in it I did'nt take it cause I'm not familiar with using a timer

  14. #46
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    26-1-10

    Nouakchott



    Waking about 6 in the morning some of us ended up enjoying a light pollution free sky after a comfortable nights sleep and a decent meal supplied by our hosts.







    Bikes were all safe and secure behind the locked gates and right beside our tent.



    The sun came up, which was nice.





    and with it our host appeared to open the gates so we could push the bikes out on to the road.







    About 8am the customs guy appeared out of his office and opened the barrier for the day, as we'd been cleared through customs the previous night we were able to ride straight through and head south.



    Our unexpected stay at the border had saved us a 40 odd mile ride in the dark ( not recommended at the best of times) down the peninsula to Nouadhibou and another 40 miles back to the main road so we were well ahead on the time front even at the expense of not having breakfast which was not available.



    With the FCO "do not travel" directive in place we were conscious that until we reached the capital we were riding with no travel insurance so had decided to ride with minimum stops, mainly for fuel and food where available.

    There was not much to see on the road, apart from some tent and the odd camel, but we still stopped for pictures.











    before heading off to do the food and petrol bit





    At the point we had our first meeting with the locals (excluding the officials and people at the border of course ) and did not know what to expect as we had heard and read so many negative reports. We need not have worried, friendly, polite and curious to what we were doing there. One moment that stays with me is walking back from the shop to the cafe with Mike. A woman in her 50's approached him (it's his boyish charm that attracts the ladies ) welcomed him to her country and thanked him for visiting it. Made us think about things I can tell you.

    Tanks and stomachs filled we headed off again on the final leg to the capital, well apart from the obligatory picture stop of course.







    Mike posed for a sponsors shot



    Gert photographed his helmet



    and Dave was relieved to stop



    earlier he'd passed water into John's helmet!



    Back on the road we covered the final leg of the day into the Mauri capital, now this was an experience it was like no capital most of us had seen before, we ended up entering it from the south side and riding through areas were the tarmac just disappeared under deep sand at the junctions making turning a nightmare. Dave had an off turning left at one such junction with traffic bearing down on him. He managed to get the bike upright by himself safely though, amazing what a dose of adrenaline can do!



    As it became more apparent we were lost we reverted to our adventure routes and got a taxi to lead us to a hotel. Hardcore or what?



    We checked out the options for accommodation at this hotel and others nearby. Western hotels are limited and this one had security guards on duty 24/7 in the car park and locked gates unlike others where we would have had to park the bikes on the street. We negotiated a discount on the initial rate we were given, it was pricey but secure and in the circumstances we decided to go with it. Only real downside, it was dry, no bar!



    Checked in and changed we started checking on the bikes, Those who cleaned their air filters found we had picked up some sand from the ride through the desert, in one case about half a pound of the stuff.





    As the fettling continued we were approached by a guy in UK Police uniform with some pips on the shoulder (those with guilty consciences made ready to leg it ) who looked me straight in the eye (well through his sunglasses), grinned and said " How's it going? Didn't expect to see you!"

    Now as he talked I was franticly trying to work out where he knew me from, and using the conversation to look for clues rather than flat out asking " Who are you?"

    He told us he was on secondment from the UK working for the King of Morocco's office as a security liaison and attending a conference in the city and gave us his opinion of the situation and lots of advice on what we should do. Basically get out asap, tust no one and don't give any details of our itinerary to any one. We took his advice and told him nothing!

    I'd come to the point of realising I did not know him personally and coe to the conclusion he knew us from UKGSER so asked the question, "are you a Tosser?" look on his face made it clear he nothing about the site so I hastily explained what I meant and why I had asked. Thankfully he saw the funny side of the situation, wished us well with a firm and hearty handshake and finished off by recommending us to a nearby restaurant ("cross the road, 50 meters down on the right there's a tatty looking wooden door you'd normally walk straight past, go through that" ) which was secure for tourists had great food and most important of all, a bar!!!

    Someone up there was definitely looking after us.

    Fettling finished we hit the pool and checked the time with one of the staff who told us we were an hour ahead of our watches. Oh well another timezone, watches set we talked bollox before heading for our rooms to have a nap and get ready for the evening meal. Yup hardcore!



    TBC

  15. #47
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    We met in the hotel reception at 8 and headed off to find the tatty wooden door that our new police chum had recommended. Easy to find being exactly where he had told us, pretty low key with basic signs outside to indicate what it was.

    Inside was a covered area with a sand floor and a reed roof which lead to a solid metal gate. There was a sign on the wall indicating it was a restaurant and the opening hours (8 till late) so we knocked on the door for a while until someone came t let us in.

    The restaurant itself was pretty special, a sand floor under a tented area with a bar in the middle, surrounding tables, large windows so you could see the kitchen, we were impressed. Well apart from the fact it was deserted and even the staff seemed unprepared for customers.

    We settled into a corner and a waitress took our drinks order, then another drinks order, and another. Food it seemed would take a while.





    We sat and talked bollox, it was a hard life but someone had to do it!



    I played with Andres's imaginary Stylophone which he'd left on the table in Algeceris.





    When the menu arrived we made our choices, everyone found something they liked, we had an excellent meal and the drink continued to flow.



    The restaurant had been livening up as the night progressed with customers arriving regularly. The owner arrived and came over to check we were ok and offer us a complimentary drink which was nice. He was a French guy and passed on his business card for future reference.

    After a final night cap we staggered back to the hotel and got our heads down for the night, a stressful day finished in as a very relaxed one, which was nice!


  16. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunder View Post
    One moment that stays with me is walking back from the shop to the cafe with Mike a woman in her 50's approached him... welcomed him to her country and thanked him for visiting it. Made us think about things I can tell you.

    It's great to hear stories like that

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