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Thread: Desert Rats - On a Wing and a prayer

  1. #1
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    Desert Rats - On a Wing and a prayer

    Portsmouth - Fes

    Firstly, a huge thanks to Tim and all who post their experiences on here - invaluable support, before we even left!!

    So, six of the mountain rats (www.mountain-rats.co.uk) agree to put bar talk into action and see something a little different.

    Armed with bikes (4 x GS, a 1200GT and a Wing), a Ferry booking, fiches and a planned RV with TWMBO in Marrakech in a weeks time, we m,eet at Pompey docks. Check-in and boarding go smoothly, 1st gear and sidestand and leave it to the man.

    Phil, Pete, Steve, Kevin, Andy and Bob


    The ferry is clean, warm and comfortable - with a bar ( milk or coke it would appear) and regular quizes to keep the grey cells alive.



    The plan from Santander is simple: fast run to Algeciras via the motorways. Salamanca Ibus the first night and Jerez Ibus the second. Salamanca is stunning and would get a revisit but Jerez didn't really impress.







    The Spanish motorways are excellent and apart from a slight faff around Seville, we made excellent time without getting too bored in the seat.

    Arrived at the ferry terminal without a booking and arranged to be on the next ferry for 53 Euros each. All very easy. Temp Inport Forms completed and passports stamped on board. Tanger Med an excellent choice for first timers. No touts, helpful officials and all 6 bikes ready to go in 30 minutes.







    Into Africa, and a target for the night of Fes. Roads excellent, mint tea superb and a really enjoyable run south.




    A couple of moped touts on the run in to the city but, yes, you've guessed it, the Ibus convenient and helpful.



  2. #2
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    Fes - Ar-Rachidia

    Following the obligatory tour of the Medina (stunning) and a tout arranged palace tagine (tasty but expensive) it's time to get the boots cleaned and then off. The plan: N8 to Azrou then N13 to Erfoud.











    Ifrane is stunning, totally unexpected, and very European, almost a Walt Disney set plonked in the middle of the Middle Atlas. From there the scenery just gets better and better. South of Midelt the High Atlas form in front of your eyes but with the day wearing on and temperatures rising to the mid thirties we decide to overnight at Ar-Rachidia. The Riad Hotel agrees to a good deal and the boys cool off.







  3. #3
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    Ar-Rachidia - Tinerhir

    Day 3 in Morocco and the plan is to visit the dunes of the Erg Chebbi and then head North East for the Todra Gorge. An epic day. GS stuck in the sand (don't ask) and the visual shock of seeing the Palmeries of the Tafilalt for the first time. Also managed to buy a fossil from a street vendor - result!










  4. #4
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    Superb , keep it comin

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    Tinerhir - Ouarzazate

    Night 3 is spent in Tinerhir at the Hotel Tomboctou (where else), a restored Kasbah with huge walls and, quoting one of the party, 'bloody small windows'! Don't be put off by first impressions as in true Moroccan style, the staff were friendly, the food was great and there is guarded parking nearby.






    Then, with a good breakfast barely complete, it's back on the road and the gorges. Todra first and the Dades. Scenery, scenery and scenery!















    After the excitement of the gorges the N10 offers little respite from the heat (38 degrees at its peak) but stunning views of the Atlas until you arrive at Ouz. And Yes, an Ibus for the night!!!



  6. #6
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    Great pics, I recon the gold wing would make it a luxury tour.

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    Ouarzazate - Marrakech

    Awake to find a sandstorm blowing but with 6 hot gals inbound its time to mount up and push on to a 4 day stop-over in one of the most stunning cities in the world. First, the emotional disappointment of the realisation that we are now heading North.. and home! Then, the Chicken Tikka! What an experience, great bends, good surface, and HGVs and buses on both sides of the road... and it goes on for bl**dy miles.








    Finally, it's into Marrakech for a bit of a break. Over 1500 miles ridden, a new Continent discovered. No breakdowns, one GS dropped but saved by my foot!! And Morocco so far, fantastic. Friendly, unassuming people who only seem to want to help you enjoy yourself.





    More next weekend - Marrakech to home. Fast run to Tanger and then 3 nights through the centre of Spain.

  8. #8
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    Great report about a fantastic place, brings back memories from 2009 and reminds me what's to come next year.
    We got similar feelings when we started to head back up North especially once you cross the Atlas Mountains and the European influence starts to creep in-nothing bad but just different.
    Thanks for taking the time to post it up and keep it coming.

  9. #9
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    Great report, looks an amazing place, definitely one on my list. Now, if only I could get my girlfriend to agree to go back to Morrocco, she's sworn never to set foot in the country again

  10. #10
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    Great report, keep it coming
    I was there 2 months ago but without the GS, def taking it the next time.

  11. #11
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    I was one of the lucky six on this trip - the young good looking one - and it really was as good as is described - Sofasleeper's report (how apt is that nickname!) really captures the excellent time that we had and I assure you that there is some really good stuff to come as we get back into Spain and start heading North.

    Loads more pictures & video on our own website www.mountain-rats.co.uk along with details of the other trips that we have put togther over the past 7 or 8 years. Sofasleepers photos will be uploaded by the middle of next week and the video from the trip soon after - it was a bit shaky due to an untried mount for the camera on my new GS but you will get the general idea I am sure!

    Finally, I would like to echo Sofasleeper's thanks to Tim for the outstanding database of info on getting to and riding in Morocco and to all who contributed updates - it made thetrip much easier - better the devil you know! Can't recommend Morocco enough - superb country and can't wait to return!

  12. #12
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    Marrakech

    Four nights with the old girls in a fantastic city.......or should that be with the fantastic girls in the old city.... oh well, it was great anyway. We had decided to stay in one of the Western style hotels in the Hivernage in view of the size of the party. Clean, friendly and well equipped, the hotel didn't disappoint and was well within walking distance of the Medina. The city never fails to fascinate me (about my sixth visit and I can't wait to go back again) with its heady mix of Europe/Africa and the Middle East all rolled into a pungent and vibrant circus of colour. We did all the usual things and I found the souk much more user friendly than my last visit a couple of years ago. Oh and the girls did some shopping!!




















  13. #13
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    Marrakech - Tanger - Spain

    With a few days rest behind us it was time to bid farewell to the girls and head north on the start of the return journey. Having blasted through Spain on the autoroutes with a slower run through Morocco, we decided to reverse this on the way back. So leaving Marrakech we made for the motorway with the intention of overnighting in Larache. However, the empty roads meant we could continue on and late afternoon found us settling in at the poolside bar of the Tanger Ibis, where else! The following morning we bought tickets for the fast ferry to Tarifa at Tanger port and with very few delays made our way across the Straits to Europe.








  14. #14
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    Tarifa - Estepa

    With a rough plan of 'Cordoba - Avila/Segovia - Burgos' we set off to ride the excellent roads around Ronda. The A405 and A369 are 2 of the best roads you will find anywhere, bliss! We toyed with the idea of an early night-stop at Ronda but the large number of grockles around put us off and so we pushed on. Late afternoon found us in olive oil country and the quaint little town of Estepa. Very friendly hotel which allowed us to park the bikes in the cellar - brilliant.
















  15. #15
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    Estepa - Avila

    One of those biking days that will remain in the memory for a long long time. A quick burst of autoroute around Cordoba to pick up the N502 then bends, bends and more bends. Throw in the Puerto del Picos through the Sierra de Gredos and you have the boys arriving in Avila in the late afternoon with smiles from ear to ear! The hotel was also a bit of a looker and we checked the price 5 times to make sure we weren't mistaking the per room price for the per person price!! Avila is beautiful and well worth a visit on its own - maybe next time.


















  16. #16
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    Avila - Potes

    Our last full day of riding and a brilliant plan to ride into the Picos to a hotel known well by one our group. Once again, one of those small discussions that leads to much bigger things - we will be back!! Hotel was superb; food out of this world and the brandies, well!!!!!!
























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