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Thread: Classic airheads and Norwegians invade Morocco

  1. #17
    Toubab Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    The trip officially started on Sunday, so the plan for the next day (Saturday) involved checking the bikes over, last minute fettling then a few hours trail riding around the hills behind Malaga..Ian and I had been out in the Landcruiser in the previous few days scouting out some nice tracks, and noting down where the fords were way to high and fierce to attempt on a bike

    As it happened, when we got up on Saturday morning, it was tipping it down so hard that nobody wanted to go and play ....horizontal rain, flying trees and small children whistling through the air screaming in Spanish in the violent winds didn't look promising, so we stayed at the hotel, waterproofed the trailer so the luggage wouldn't get wet and enjoyed a full English Brekky, served Spanish Stylee.



    One of the reasons we use the Golf Hotel is that, apart from being a lovely location, a four star hotel and just a nice place to start and finish trips, there is a South African restaurant 5 mins walk up the road....they do great steaks, ribs and wings, cold beer and sometimes, good live music.
    After a day in the rain, during which a few of us went out for an hour just to stave off cabin fever, we headed up to the restaurant and got to know the group better.



    All of them knew at least one other in the group, but none of them knew everyone....most were in the same club, but all were experienced riders and had done a lot of off-roading, some even drove/rode professionally and they we rapidly found that they were all well up for it, keen as hell and it started looking like being a superb trip

    We still had no idea what their names were or how to pronounce them, but with enough beer, a big grin and lots of shouting down the table, it didn't really matter.
    सत्यमेव जयते


  2. #18
    Toubab Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    We left before dawn the next morning, headed down through the hills in the rain and got to the agents that we always use for tickets....As we got on to the Motorway, it started brightening up a little and everyone was in good spirits.



    After a while, as we waited for our specially bought tickets to get back to us, the sun even came out , much to the relief and joy of all



    The ferry journey was a good chance to eat, as we'd had to leave before breakfast was served at the hotel, and we helped the guys fill in their paperwork.
    (We'd made sure that all the temp import forms were done online months before, but we had to get their police forms done)




    We got to Ceuta in 35 minutes and after topping up the Landcruiser on Tax free fuel, headed off on the confusing diversion to the border, as the coast road was closed following storm damage from the previous few days.

    Border formalities took a little while longer than normal, as we coped with the new rules on lists for organised tours, and the customs guy giving me a lot of stick because the Cueta computer doesn't talk to the Tanger computer, so they were insistent that my DR650 was still in the country, having left from Tangers on the previous trip

    A little tip here...ALWAYS take EVERY white copy of the DT16 from any previous trips with you...I found mine after some searching through our paperwork box, and we got through, but if I hadn't have been able to, I would either have been refused entry, or have had to pay a hefty 'local tax' to sort it out, something i hate doing

    Finally, we hit the road with huge grins all round and headed through the damaged and very wet Rif mountains to Chefchaouan, our first stop for the Viking's Moroccan adventure
    सत्यमेव जयते


  3. #19
    Toubab Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Dodging landslides, fallen rocks and often having to ride up the wrong side of the dual carriageway (not even causing the oncoming Moroccan drivers to blink ) we rode past the ever-expanding port-du Tangers, a massive new commercial ferry and transporter ship port that the Moroccans hope will make them into the gateway to Africa, then took shelter in a cafe for lunch just as the heavens opened again.





    We stayed there for half an hour, then set off along a 6 mile piste that we use to assess how people can ride...everyone shot along it as if they were on tarmac, so we knew this trip was going to be special

    A mile or two after the end of the piste, and on a drying twisty road that we were starting to make progress on, I suddenly found that the back of the bike was overtaking the front....after fishtailing quite violently a couple of times, I managed to pull on the the side and was instantly engulfed in a massive cloud of smoke.

    The oil cooler on the DR , or more exactly, the feed pipe to it, had let go, dumping all of the oil onto the exhaust and rear wheel



    A bit of bodgery pokery later, we'd stemmed the flow and refilled it, so we set off again, me rather tentatively at first until the totally covered rear felt a little more planted...it was an interesting half hour




    A little further on, I chose the left hand fork of what was , 6 months previously, a different way around a reservoir, but after a mile, we found that the fording opportunity was a bit extreme




    without further incident, we go to Chefchaouan, again in the pouring rain, and
    sorted ourselves out at the Hotel Madrid, a seedy but interesting hotel that (unusually for one we stay at), only has on-road parking....It does have an overnight guardian who we know we can trust though, so after grabbing the luggage , everyone headed off to check out their pink-nylon four poster beds, as loved by Garfield on a previous trip

    Absolute class;






    सत्यमेव जयते


  4. #20
    Toubab Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    That evening, we headed up to the 'posh' Hotel at the top of the hill for a beer, and awaited the arrival of Gary (Skygod) who had landed from the UK that morning, picked up his bike and kit from the Gold hotel annd has ridden straight to Chefchaouan to meet up with us, a bit of an epi cin the dark and wet on the twisties leading into the Rif, especially in the dark while raining on an Hp2

    Gary arrived safely though, and we got another chance to listen to the guy's names as they introduced themselves to him over a beer.

    Chechaouan is a lovely town, a nice gentle introduction to Morocco and Africa.....it's more Part Andalucian(buildings, style, colours) ,part Moroccan (souk, culture and people) and part European, but its pretty and just a nice place to chill.





    We eat in the square and unfortunately, my recommendation that the Pastilla was very nice fell flat on its face when the dishes were served up to those who ordered it....a poor version of what is one of the best Moroccan traditional meals indeed, but it became a cliquey joke theme for the rest of the trip

    The menu;Euromoroccan food





    It must be love

    सत्यमेव जयते


  5. #21
    Toubab Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    The plan that Myself, Tim and Ian had come up with was to reverse our normal route which would hopefully leave the pistes that we knew were damaged and still under torrential rain to dry out for a week, but we changed the plan even further that night and agreed with the group that we'd put in a big, long and wet road day to get as far south as we could to escape the terrible weather.

    The Morning saw us leave Chefchaouan in the rain and head south, Past Moulay Idriss and Fes, aiming for the Cascades D'ouzoud and the spectacular gorges there....

    Moulay Idriss in the rain
    (what you cant see here are two very tolerant policemen, who were initially confused when we pulled into the French stylee 'left turn lane' and used it as a layby....The Moroccan cops are, as a rule, extremely nice and polite with tourists, and although you do find a few bent ones, it's surprising how relaxed they can be in some ways)





    Just south of Fes, and we stop at some services, always a good place to grab some good food in a relatively short time, by Moroccan standards



    Don't avoid stopping at a petrol station because of the image...you really do get some top grub, and the through-flow at the bigger ones is so good, it's always fresh and served faster than at most other places

    सत्यमेव जयते


  6. #22
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    Dont Bogart that joint my friend, pass it over to me

  7. #23
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    Ahhh the memories, keep it coming Bill

  8. #24
    Oh Yes.... Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Quote Originally Posted by JALFREZI View Post
    keep it coming Bill

    i do rather like a good report.
    Perfekt ist nicht gut genug.

    UKGSER-A place where I've wasted so much time, learned so much, laughed a lot and cried a few times.

    Every bed of roses has pricks in it!

  9. #25
    Son of Ah Knah Yee Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Type you bastidge, type!

    PUI since 2004


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  10. #26
    Toubab Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    I have to skip back an hour or two here......and comment on the ride through Fes

    Shepherding a dozen bikes through a city like Fes can be a bit of a 'mare...its so easy to lose people in the apparent chaos that is Moroccan big city traffic, get the group split up at lights, roundabouts, junctions....Moroccan drivers ( in particular the lobotomised ones who drive the petits taxis and their psychotic kiffed up relatives who drive the filthy tankers and overladen Mitsubishi trucks) nip in and out of traffic like a ferret intent on slaughter in a rabbit warren and it can get quite hairy unless the group dominates their road-space and have their wits about them

    Tim and I have ridden together for many trips, we know the score and work well together...I knew Gary had led a lot of ride-outs and that he's a solid guy as well but prior to this trip, I think I'd only ridden with Gary the once, if at all...it was a proper pleasure riding with the pair of them through Fes though ...Tim lead and Gary and I sat at the back, and it just sort of gelled perfectly....we were guarding the lines, covering the lanes instinctively so that cars couldn't get in amongst the group and split us all up, and it felt like a fast royal escort ride rather than a chaotic dash through a mad bad city.

    For the Vikings, it meant a stress free and interesting ride through the bustle of Fes, with no dangerous intrusions or hassle from pushy taxis or fume-belching trucks, and for me, it meant a much less stressful shepherding ride, so to the pair of them

    That may sound a bit odd, but if you've ever lead or 'backmarkered' a ride in difficult circumstances, it will make total sense
    सत्यमेव जयते


  11. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanum View Post
    I have to skip back an hour or two here......and comment on the ride through Fes

    Shepherding a dozen bikes through a city like Fes can be a bit of a 'mare...its so easy to lose people in the apparent chaos that is Moroccan big city traffic, get the group split up at lights, roundabouts, junctions....Moroccan drivers ( in particular the lobotomised ones who drive the petits taxis and their psychotic kiffed up relatives who drive the filthy tankers and overladen Mitsubishi trucks) nip in and out of traffic like a ferret intent on slaughter in a rabbit warren and it can get quite hairy unless the group dominates their road-space and have their wits about them

    Tim and I have ridden together for many trips, we know the score and work well together...I knew Gary had led a lot of ride-outs and that he's a solid guy as well but prior to this trip, I think I'd only ridden with Gary the once, if at all...it was a proper pleasure riding with the pair of them through Fes though ...Tim lead and Gary and I sat at the back, and it just sort of gelled perfectly....we were guarding the lines, covering the lanes instinctively so that cars couldn't get in amongst the group and split us all up, and it felt like a fast royal escort ride rather than a chaotic dash through a mad bad city.

    For the Vikings, it meant a stress free and interesting ride through the bustle of Fes, with no dangerous intrusions or hassle from pushy taxis or fume-belching trucks, and for me, it meant a much less stressful shepherding ride, so to the pair of them

    That may sound a bit odd, but if you've ever lead or 'backmarkered' a ride in difficult circumstances, it will make total sense

    made sense to me

    note to self design anti truck and taxi machine gun mounts for all models of of moto morroco machines
    Dont Bogart that joint my friend, pass it over to me

  12. #28
    Toubab Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    By the time we got to the turn off for the road to Ouzoud from the N8, it was dusk...anyone who has been up that road knows it's a twisty, nadgery bit of tarmac with some pretty serious drop-offs up the gorge, and it's a good hour's ride in the light, let alone in the dark.

    We had pretty much sorted ourselves out as a riding group though, quite surprising for a bunch of guys who had only been on the road for 2 days (it usualy takes 4-5 days before things fall into place) and a credit to everyone on the trip.

    Riders sorted themselves out quite naturally into pairs or small bunches, tiptoeing at various speeds around the hairpins and sharing the light from a hugely differing Lumen outputs ranging from 'FEKK ME!.... MY EYEBALLS!!!' On fully HID'd up 1200GSA's down to 'hmm, the candle in your headlamp appears to have sooted up your lens sir' from the dimly glimmering airhead front lamps (in fairness, i have to say that wasn't the case with all of them.......)

    Moto-Morocco trips have never stayed at Ouzoud before- we often go there, but it's half a day out of Marrakech and doesnt fit with our normal, natural schedule as a stop-over place, but with this group, spurred on by the need to get out of the weather and bolstered by their ability and pace, it made a lot of sense to be there...

    It did however mean that we were staying at a place that we'd not even tried before, but aided by the rough guide, some previous reports and word of mouth, we headed for the Hotel Paris alongside the river....after a false stop where (and we should have known better) we were lured into the yard of a completely different hotel....'Yes, Hotel Paris, here my friend, you come, we make you special deal my friend, very nice, lovely jubbly' we dismounted in a pleasant courtyard of the pukka 'hotel Paris' and the negotiations commenced
    सत्यमेव जयते


  13. #29
    Toubab Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    The Hotel Paris is dry
    We though, carry beer in the Landcruiser

    So after a moderate meal, a cold shower and lots of beer and cheap Spanish table wine, (we wont be using that place again if we can help it ) and a lot of sitting around talking Bollocks as usual, we had a fairly early night after the briefing about the next day's plans.

    It rained all night

    We were a little despondent about that, as we'd put in a massive day's riding that day to escape the rain, but in the morning, it was still raining

    Never mind, we were all there to ride and so we reconvened over breakfast to see what we could do with the day, with the objective of making Marrakech that night.

    Some of the guys were tired, or wanted to see Marrakech with as much time to spare as possible, so several bikes were going to follow Ian in the support truck, while the rest of us planned to do a piste that, checking with the locals and even adding on three hours for hiccups, fag breaks and punctures, should get us into Marrakech for 5 pm that afternoon, 6 at the latest.







    What came next was the most epic, arduous and yet most satisfying and exhilarating 48 hours that we've yet had on one of our trips.............................................
    सत्यमेव जयते


  14. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Fanum View Post


    What came next was the most epic, arduous and yet most satisfying and exhilarating 48 hours that we've yet had on one of our trips.............................................
    Never mind you having a long crap behind a rock, get on with the trip
    KEA

  15. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timolgra View Post
    Never mind you having a long crap behind a rock, get on with the trip
    oh god get that image out of my head
    Dont Bogart that joint my friend, pass it over to me

  16. #32
    Toubab Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    One of the good things about staying in a different town is that we get to try some different routes, or timings along them, and there is a lovely and long piste that goes past the 'Cathedral rock' near Azilal.

    Neither myself nor Tim had done this piste, but we'd read Tim Cullis' reports from the area and were keen to go and explore it.....

    A pic pinched from Tim C on his Advrider/UKGser thread 'A piste too far' classic

    The Cathedral rock



    And the piste we were aiming to ride;



    The only person in the Moto-Morocco team who had done it was Ian, but he'd done it in a 4x4, so with his description, a good bit of plotting on the laptop and some time spent with the maps, we had the route we wanted nailed down....the plan saw us getting to Marrakech at between 3 and 5 depending on conditions

    The area is quite high up to start with, and the piste goes even higher, so we also checked with multiple locals to make sure it was open and not snowed in.....Multiples. because a Moroccan will never ever tell you he doesn't know, he'll just guess the answer, not out of dishonesty but out of a genuine desire to help.

    This means if you ask the directions to somewhere, you'll always get pointed on a route, whether that be in the right direction or simply their 'best guess', often hopelessly incorrect.

    The same with 'is it open' or 'is there snow on the piste' type queries...if they don't know, but it's sunny locally, 'No my friend, is open, no snow, no problem'

    Check and recheck, if it's critical....and even then, be prepared for the unexpected.

    Having established that it seemed likely that the route WAS open, and obtaining estimates of how long the section we where unsure would take ranging from 90 minutes to 2 days, we had breakfast and discussed the day with the team.


    Several of the guys decided to head straight for Marrakech to take in as much as possible there, and would follow Ian in the support truck/trailer.

    Before we got suited up and ready to go, the falls were a must....

    Now, remember i mentioned that it was wet?

    This is what the falls normally look like;



    You can walk quite safely ( in the Moroccan , rather relative definition of 'safety ) across the top area of the falls, scampering over the eroded rocks to get a good view of the falls.

    Neil in 2006;



    or if scampering isn't your thing, you can normally crawl timidly to the edge and at least peek over.........



    Today though, the El Abid River (The Ouzoud part is actually just Arabic for 'olives', because the area if covered in Olive trees) was showing us its full might







    Tim wasn't impressed though, so he put on his most stupid hat and sulked



    Time for the off....gentlemen, start your engines (full wet weather gear on still )



    It's usual to ignore these signs, as they are placed at every place that has basically ever had a bit of water running across the road, ever.

    Sometimes though, they should be taken seriously

    सत्यमेव जयते


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