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Thread: MA For Morocco: Apr to May 2012.

  1. #1
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    MA For Morocco: Apr to May 2012.

    Firstly, if you haven't been to Morocco to ride your bike you should have a look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself to do it. If you like riding on the roads, taking on the trails, being up in the mountains, crossing the rivers, or roosting the sand and rocks you'll find something somewhere which you will enjoy and remember.

    I was away from home for a total of 23 days whilst travelling to and from a fortnights' tour of Moroccan motorcycling adventures and the cultural immersion of NW Africa. I have never been to Africa before and even though Morocco appears to be years away from the sorry sights we see in the news from other countries on the Dark Continent, it was quite an eye opener to be there in person and witnessing the vast disparity in wealth between the visitors, the successful locals and those who are doing their best to provide for themselves and their families.

    With that said, Good Luck Morocco, I'll be back to check out how you're getting on in the very near future and here's your Ride Report.

    There was seven of us in total on the trip. The other protagonists were SkyGod (Lead rider and squad leader), Mr Ifan (Technical support, fixer, linquist and local celebrity), Grezz (Tailend Charlie and International Bearing Trader), Steve Kalahari (Wingman and mint tea analyst), Matt "Windy" Miller (Newbie, newbie, cheese & salad dodger, and newbie), Bill Wilson (KTM Racer, wine taster, and collar bone bender).

    For me it started with a decision to go on the trip, a dilema about whether to take the R1150GSA or get another bike, and if I'd regret the chance to open another ISA account. The choices were made...


    It was very clean then but is very different now after making my chosen modifications.

    That's my Yamaha TT600RE outside ABW just after collecting it from Kent. I chose that bike after thinking hard about what bike to take, with a bit of advice from some around here, and a lot research into performance and capability. It was a gem and proved to be faultless although not yet perfect.

    After several days of worry, a bit of preventative maintenance, and a kit list to manage I was almost at the point of no return...


    Upgrade your trouser size please.

    Here, the bikes are are being loaded onto the trailer for the drive to the ferry port to board a boat to Spain in a few days time...


    We were good at this in the end.

    This was the last bike to be loaded ...


    Come on Jono: Final Drive bearings don't fit themselves you know.

    Just checking...


    Check, check ,check.

    With the single BMW, two KTMs and two Yamahas on the trailer SkyGod, Mr Ifan and I set off on a day's drive to Portsmouth on Tues 17 April, via Old Git Ray's (to pick up a single bike trailer [Thanks Ray we needed that ]), we went to pick up Windy's (New Tosser Alert: now No Fromage on here) F800GS at the ferry port...


    After half an hour in Portsmouth we now have two BMWs, two KTMs, two Yamahas and a new riders evaluation of his new bike's riding postion from No Fromage.

    When we were ready we joined the queue to get on board. Whilst we were waiting we met a few other bikers heading for their own adventures and spent some time with them once we were on our way...


    Warships everywhere.


    Rehydration demo..


    Haircut please.

    It was calm seas and good visibilty upon leaving Portsmouth but a few hours into our voyage the sea state began to change and thoughts of The Shipping Forecast came to mind...


    The Hovercraft at Southsea is allowed out.


    The last of the sunshine for a day or so.


    This is not good for those without any sea legs, of which there were many. SkyGod and I were fine whilst Mr Ifan had to lie down on his bunk

    After a long voyage, in a guesstimated seastate of 5 or 6, we arrived in Santander over two hours late (it's now 20:30hrs ECT Weds 18 Apr) and headed for the south straight away towards our destination of Mijas, near Malaga, over the Picos Mountains. It was decided that we would see how far we could get before fatique set in and where we could find a Hostel which would give us a meal and a bed for the night in good time.

    It turned out that feeding time preceded our bedding requirements for both ourselves and the support vehicle because we were all running out of energy. After a much needed fuel stop to replenish the vapours in the fuel tank we found a truck stop cafe and had a Pot Luck dinner of Menu de Dias. It was Pot Luck because our Spanish is poor and we ended up with three massive Pasta Bolognese starters, a Chorizo & Chips, and a brace of Trout, bacon & salad. Never the less it was all happily consumed and set us on our way to a Hostel, which we found near Duenas, and saw off the day with a couple of glasses of very good wine from a 2.20 Euro bottle.

    The next stop is Mijas, SE Spain, then over to Morocco for our adventures, and a safe return to Spain for all.

















    Back Soon.

  2. #2
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    Welcome back sir, Morocco's addictive isn't it

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul G (BHT) View Post
    Welcome back sir, Morocco's addictive isn't it
    Thank You. It's a bit of a culture shock when trying to settle back into life in the UK: £5.00 for a lunch of sawdust sandwich and a bottle of OJ at a railway station?

    After making such good progress yesterday by driving into the night during our first day in Spain it was decided that we could probably make it to our southern destination before dark and set our minds to a long day on the road. Wheels were rollin' at 09:00hrs with just a coffee, and a cigar for me, to power us on our way with the prospect of breakfast somewhere on the road, when we were ready, to give us a target to aim for.

    The drive was going to be easy and straightforward on the way to Madrid and beyond but, within an hour we recieved a small crack in the windscreen whilst on the A62 and our prepackaged breakfast sandwich from the service station half an hour later was so bad that some couldn't take the second half and binned it. Note to fellow travellers: Try to avoid the coporate chain service stations and use the smaller variants with a Cafe on site.

    By 14:00hrs we were hanging out for a feed after enduring a slightly busier section of Autovias around Madrid so decided to stop at another random restaurant and take some pot luck on a plate for our lunches. It was a relief to bail out of the car and while sucking on a cigar I was asked what I wanted
    to eat: "Anything will do" was my reply. When I arrived at the table I was informed it will be another Menu del Dias but nobody knew what it was going to be because of our defitiency in the Spanish language, and did we get a surprise. Our starters was cooked peas with chopped cured ham and garlic served in a bowel with bread and olives. Never the less we dived in and found it to be tasty and nearly all of the bowls were empty after a few minutes (sorry no pictures). The main was a chicken and garlic, home made chips and a simple salad and after that we were on our way again without a post lunch cigar.

    We had one more coffee stop (they're really good at making coffee over there) in the Sierra Nevadas and then ploughed on to Mijas for our arrival just before 19:30hrs ECT during a warm and sunny mediterranean evening with the sea in sight once again.

    After checking in at our very decent hotel we then spent an hour try to manoeuver the bike trailer and getting parked in the under ground garage after unloading the bikes. With our kitbags over our shoulders we headed for our rooms and planning to get ready for another pot luck menu but when trapsing through the hotel lobby we met this Tosser doing a bad job at negotiating a deal on the room rates...


    Can you see who it is yet?



    That's Bakerman, a well known Tosser and doer of good work, upon his return from a charity hitchhike to Morocco with his mate Ian.

    Once we were all ready Bakerman directed us to his Spanish amigo's (Jose) restaurant for drinks and dinner...


    Everyone else had a steak whilst I took on a Red Snapper. Ian's in shock after Morocco and pleased to be back in Europe, as if you can tell.

    We all had a damn good feed, a large dose of Calvados, and a final beer at Jose's bar just a short walk from his restaurant...


    Jose is the slim and heathly looking geezer in the white shirt.

    The following day was a bonus for us all because we were a day early, it was sunny and warm, and we had landed on our feet with Bakerman's local knowledge and company. The Land Cruiser was taken for a windscreen repair after dropping Steve & Ian off in Fengurola for some sight seeing and we went shopping for Moroccan provisions; read that as water, beer and wine.

    Once that was done we had another feed in Mijas and perpared ourselves for another night out at Jose's before the remaining riders were due to arrive on the following mornings flights into Malaga.


    Lunch in Mijas: Scrambled eggs, asparagus, ham & prawns with crispy toasts is really good.


    Sightseeing in Mijas.


    A view to the Med.


    We were staying there.


    These religious remains dominate the square in Mijas.

    When we were all back together for the evening it was another late night good food & drink with Jose and an expat mate of Steve and Ian's only a short walk from our base in the Hotel Mijas but morning after was Bakerman's & Ian's last day away and they were due to move on to Malaga Aeroport. They managed to make one last hitch to complete their brave journey across Europe and into Africa before being deposited at Southhampton Airport and a the reality check of being home in the UK...


    Steve is holding one of the many, but now discarded, number plate HitchHiking Destination Requests and a bottle of Monkey Juice.


    Show a leg or do some work for this ride please.


    Success. Bakerman's charm does it again.


    Well done Lads and I'll see you in July at the 10th aniversary Hograost.

    When Skygod returns from the airport he should have the rest of the riders on board who should be keen and eager to get themselves ready for a night out in Mijas before the ride to Algerciras, the ferry across the Gibralter Straights, and our first day on Moroccan soil.








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  5. #5
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    well done
    ps he gave me the bike 3 hours before load up ................
    and as i paid for the hp2 i fitted the parts as gaz said it will be right


    ask mr ifan


    its back now just a full strip ,ready for me in marocco

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rudiemoto View Post
    its back now just a full strip ,ready for me in marocco
    See you there BigBoy...

    After Steve & Ian promised Skygod some sexual favours for a lift to the airport I spent a bit of time doing a dhobi, and buying our Espania bike stickers. I then went to the pool to soak up a few rays before the flyers arrived. They turned up later than expected, at around 13:00hrs, because Grezz found himself in a long queue at immigration, or so he claims: We think he recieved a grilling from a Spanish customs officer for looking a bit dusky.

    Upon their arrival we all said Hello, sent them to their rooms to get sorted and arranged to meet in the bar before going for a walk and lunch.


    Get yourselves settled...


    We'll look after you all...


    The view's not too bad in here either...


    Or then again!!! I can't face him now...

    After a wander and a trawl around the local tat shops we stop for a toasted sandwich lunch (you've seen those before so no pic's) and inspect the town square and veiws: The square is largely dominated by coaches of tourists, sad looking donkey & cart rides, the ruined church shown earlier and the views of the Med. It looks like a good defensive position from up here and may have offered some protection from an invading army from across the Straights.


    NFI in what is being said.


    Adventure trousers or what?


    Again, another view of the lowland and easy landing points for foreign invanders from across the sea.


    This guy's house has suffered over the centuries but He still holds his postion here.

    Later in the day we set off on the three minute walk to Jose's for drinks & dinner with the determination of ensuring we had one last good meal before our departure to Morocco. There were several Gambon Pil Pil (Prawns, shallow fried in butter with garic & chili) on the tabl, which were targeted for bread dipping, and all backed up with hearty main courses of half duck, steaks and whole fish on the table. These culinery delights were all topped off with a Duff (desert) and good rations of Calvados.

    To round off our first evening together we had been promised a VIP veiw of Jose's bike collection and set off off as a staggering troup ro an Alladin's cave of motorcycling history which is rarely seen all in one place.

    Jose has around fifty Spanish bikes, and the odd Italian bike knocking around in his garage, all of which are highly desireable to those interested in the memorabiliar of the 50's, 60's and 70's. Jose's collection consists of road bikes, scooters,trials and off road bikes, all of which will start with bit of effort even though some haven't had their three monthy kick start recently.













    Jose gave us all a fantastic finale to our stay in Mijas, and I for one look forward to a return visit, but we had to get our heads down and be fit and ready for the ride in the morning to Alegecrias for the ferry for Morocco and a voyage to the newish port of Tangier Med.
    We thought we were all ready for a previously well prepared entrance into Moroocco and expecting an easy passage across the border but asTosserdom dictates, it became very worrying at time for one of us, .







    and more to follow...








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    I see from the photos above is good to see that there are great white whales alive and kicking in Spain (I need to diet). What a great adventure. Is nice to know I topped and tailed the trip by having the first and last off - no doubt to be documented here as time goes on.

    Well done to all the lads for a superb effort and excellent support, organisation and, er navigation. I would strongly reccommend this trip to anybody, no matter what skill level you have off road you will thoroughly enjoy this.

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    Just like to say Jose and I go back years, was this a good idear

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    When i came on this trip i had less than two weeks riding to my name and was worried how i would get on and if i,d made the right decision going for the 800GS instead of the KTM 690. As far as the bike goes all the advice was bang on the money, especially the crash bars ! (cheers Gaz) and the riding was an absolute dream, a complete range different of pistes my favourite being the dry river bed were i learnt that no matter how bad it looks as long as your GPS has a Lat and Long you are not lost you are just taking the scenic route. The support was amazing, the food and accommodation was above and beyond my wildest expectations. It was an absolute pleasure to be take part in this adventure with a great bunch of blokes and i look forward to seeing more photographs (preferably with Grez fully clothed !) and reading the report of the day Steve and Bill parked out side of that school and had an error of judgement !
    Keep it coming Paul !

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BAKERMAN View Post
    Just like to say Jose and I go back years, was this a good idear
    You're safe for now because we didn't wreck ourselves in his town. We'll be seeing him again in October, and maybe me before then to smooth out the forthcoming onslaught in Mijas.

    Quote Originally Posted by grez View Post
    I see from the photos above is good to see that there are great white whales alive and kicking in Spain (I need to diet). What a great adventure. Is nice to know I topped and tailed the trip by having the first and last off - no doubt to be documented here as time goes on.

    Well done to all the lads for a superb effort and excellent support, organisation and, er navigation. I would strongly reccommend this trip to anybody, no matter what skill level you have off road you will thoroughly enjoy this.
    Quote Originally Posted by No Fromage View Post
    When i came on this trip i had less than two weeks riding to my name and was worried how i would get on and if i,d made the right decision going for the 800GS instead of the KTM 690. As far as the bike goes all the advice was bang on the money, especially the crash bars ! (cheers Gaz) and the riding was an absolute dream, a complete range different of pistes my favourite being the dry river bed were i learnt that no matter how bad it looks as long as your GPS has a Lat and Long you are not lost you are just taking the scenic route. The support was amazing, the food and accommodation was above and beyond my wildest expectations. It was an absolute pleasure to be take part in this adventure with a great bunch of blokes and i look forward to seeing more photographs (preferably with Grez fully clothed !) and reading the report of the day Steve and Bill parked out side of that school and had an error of judgement !
    Keep it coming Paul !
    I've just arrived home from a dinner of guess what? A Tagine. It was a rubbish Ainsley Harriot powdery sauce mix and I told the chef what he should be doing. At least I didn't have cook for anyone tonight and I did get a drink out of it.

    With that said I'm in no position to scribe a narrative this evening for our straight forward ride to Algeciras and a supposedly well prepared landing on African soil and an easy transition through immigration and customs.

    Instead, I'll lob in a few pictures from the future.
    (PS. You guys can add to the posts for which you were present, i.e. your arrival in Mijas, with your comments and pictures.)









    Time for Bed.

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    cracking start
    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!

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    Day 1 22/04/2012: Adios Espania y Bonjour Morocco; What a Day!

    Today's the first day of our trip proper. We're due to leave Mijas at 09:00hrs, take the Autovia to Algeciras for the ferry to Tangier Med, and ride on to Chefchaouen for our first night without the comfort which our EU passports provide when on The Continent. This was going to be a completely new experience for some of us even though there are many well travelled members of the team but for others, we did not know what to expect. I for one had read the advice given by our own Tim Cullis and was well prepared with everything required to smooth my passing into Morocco including all the documentation, a charming smile and bribe money tucked up my sleeve.

    After another late night with Jose it was notable that nearly all of us were with our bikes just before our designated departure time except for Grez. Steve, his room partner (sharer I should say!) said he was up and about and was on his way down but we waited, and waited, and eventually he showed up 20 minutes late saying "I was waiting to hand in my room key" behind someone trying to organise a round of golf. Neverless, he was told to put the key on the desk in future, walk away and wave his British Passport if anyone starts asking questions. At least I had a chance for a small cigar.

    We're off. We wind our way down the mountain and before we know it there's a motorway ride to the port which, as it turns out wasn't too bad. The roads are clear, well engineered with bridges and tunnels which go up and down and they are taking us to sun and clearer skies. It was a tad misty at times and we couldn't see the North African coast from our veiw from Mijas but the weather seemed to come to us once we were on the southern coast of Spain.

    It seemed like a geological age had passed us by when getting through Customs at Algeciras for whatever reason, and everyone had to show their passports to the first Gardia but by the time we were due to board the formalities were reduced to the first two or three riders because of the time taken to access our documents.


    Waiting.


    Still Waiting.

    All that time gave us something to thing about though: Matt (No Fromage) announced that he couldn't find the V5 for his bike. It was immediately apparent that this could be a problem because, for those who know, it is a requirement for entrance in Morocco with a vehicle that you can prove that you are the owner of and that you are not trying to import it via the back door. It was decided that he should go for it and deal with the consequences over there or simply be sent back to Spain, have the V5 sent over and meet up with somewhere down the line.

    Once on board we secured a corner of the Cafe...


    What will Matt do?


    Make that call Matt...


    We're on our way.


    Skygod doesn't care but maybe wondering what's going to happen with his squad at Moroccan Customs & Immigration.


    The Rock.

    In the mean time, Matt was trying to direct his IT illiterate family to get over to his house and was trying to guide them around a Mac to scan and save an image of his V5, then attach it to a email and send it to his phone in a bid to have something to offer to the customs officers in Morocco.


    Now click on that icon...


    It's all too much for Grez.


    Honestly. It's not that difficult.


    Keep trying...


    Too late Matt, we're there now...


    Time too see what we're in for.

    After all the effort Matt failed to get what he wanted because he lost his phone's connection as we left the Spanish coast behind. Now it was a matter of luck that we all should cross the boarder into Morocco as a group and not have to leave someone behind.

    After being guided to the Customs & Immigration lanes we again waited for an hour or so to be processed. One by one we were directed to Immigration to show our passports, with CIN number, and our temporary importation documents for our bikes. Next it was a face showing exercise with the police and their recording of our details onto a computer system which then gave us the relief of a short ride to aquire the personal liability insurance we would require to be allowed to ride in Morocco: This is where Matt could become unstuck because even though he'd managed to jump through the last two hoops without offering his V5 (others did including me) this is the place where everything needs to be in order just like at home.

    Well guess who needs an interview? That's right it was Bill, and Matt. Bill was in the office because his bike was new and only had a temporary V5 type document and, I've no idea what happened with Matt but it all seemed to go well and everybody ended up with a months' worth of third party liability insurance. In the mean time we changed money, went to le toilette, and one by one went to see the final Gendarme to be released from the port and prepare for the journey to Chefchauoen.

    Hang on, it's not over yet. Matt is the last to issued insurance and get some dibdabs in his wallet so I go for a comfort break and wait for him so that we can enter Morocco together and ensure that nobody gets left behind after all we've been through. I come back from the lav' and am surprised to find Matt is not quite ready to go (he's already had his swamp break) and he seems to be looking for something.

    "What's up" I ask.

    "I can't find my key" He says.

    The jacket is off and I pad him down and still no key. He explains it should be in the wrist pocket and doesn't think he left it on the bike but the key is missing. We strip his jacket down, I search his trousers (strategically) and boots, we look over the bike and search the path. He goes to the insurance office and asks for a look around whilst I check out the bogs and the tarmac in between. We both take it it turns to check each others searches and after over half an hour on our own we come to the conclusion that the key has been lifted from his bike or dropped and picked up by someone else as a shiney piece of bling: We all had shiney tour dogtags issued and Matt's was on his keyring.
    Somehow Skygod gets permission to re-enter the port and asks what's going on. He repeats our searches, Matt strips down for another kit padding down session and all three of are baffled but conclude that the key is gone. What Now? What would have been nice is that we pull out the spare key for the bike (which we've all been told to hand over to our Leader before we left) and used that but we were informed four days ago, and already on our way, that the key was still in the posession of the original owner of the bike and the key you have is his for new bike. So, Skygod pushes the bike across the tarmac and through the final customs office and Matt & I are waived through without any documents being shown.

    A few minutes go by with us all trying to get our heads around another bomb hole preventing us from getting on our way and come to the conclusion that the bike, an F800GS bought from Kendo of this parish only weeks earlier, will have to be transported to BMW Marrakech for a new key.
    With preparations almost under way to assemble the trailer our Leader offers one last gamble with the offering of the wrong key and suggests that it's worth a go. It works! Straight in the lock, ingnition on and it starts on the button. What a relief to us all and Kendo's name is mud for a minute or so for bowling us as googly with his reports of a despatch error last week. I hope it's all clear which keys are for which bike now Geeezer.

    Now to Chefchauoen. Straight onto the roads out of Tangier Med and looking forward to a short trail to get our eye in for the forthcoming two weeks. In no time at all we seem to be on our first unpaved road, or piste as they are referred to here. It was fairly simple but nice to be doing what we came here for and satisfying for everyone to test their tyres and suspension.













    All too quickly we were back on the road to Chefchauoen and quickly learning how to look after ourselves within the traffic with no rules. What we found was that it was very clear that we needed to look after oursevles and each other from time to time. Overtaking needed to be well planned and you needed to check that you weren't being overtaken when attempting a manoeuver. We even witnessed a scooter crashing, with pillion, who had been showing off as we passed through his village. aWe stopped to view the consequences and offer first aid but fortunately there were no broken bones but the was a lot of skin left of the road and gravelly ditch into which they crashed. Careful from now on then.

    We stopped somewhere for our first mint tea and afterwards looked to make good time to our hotel.



    We arrived at our Hotel and parked some bikes in a convenient place for collection the following morning...



    It was quite a decent place to stay and we were only offered hash six or seven times...



    Chefchauoen is quite a lively place and definetly worth a visit for a few days if you want to explore north eastern Morocco...







    Roaming our way through the markets in Chefchauoen gave us an early insight in what to expect throughout Morocco but never the less we all had a good evening and after a feed and a couple of beers it was time for bed, and a bit of time to think about our current location and wondering what was to come tomorrow.


    This will become a common feature within this report.


    A good choice when on the road.

  13. #13
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    The full Moroccan

    What no mention of the adventure bike warehouse special !

    You order in your french delivered in the style of the policeman from ello ello: some ham cheese and chocolate spread sandwiches
    And you receive: a round of sandwiches each containing all of the above ingredients

    Personaly i,d rather chew dog shit that consume cheese but apparently they were quite nice !

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    Quote Originally Posted by No Fromage View Post
    What no mention of the adventure bike warehouse special !

    You order in your french delivered in the style of the policeman from ello ello: some ham cheese and chocolate spread sandwiches
    And you receive: a round of sandwiches each containing all of the above ingredients

    Personaly i,d rather chew dog shit that consume cheese but apparently they were quite nice !
    You don't know what you're missing out on A strange sounding, but surprisingly tasty combination. However it does seem to loose something when tried at home rather than in a Moroccan roadside cafe when you know it could be all you get to eat before tea time

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    Day 2 23/04/2012: Au Revoir For Now Chefchaouen. We'll be Back.

    Being keen to head south and find the trails and mountain passes we had come to Morocco for it was an early breakfast before starting our engines at 08:00hrs. With a long day to Beni Mellal in mind breakfast was taken by all, albeit not the standard British fair most would choose from a ranging menu to power themselves for the first part of the day on a motorcycle: The table of bread, olives (both green & black), boiled eggs, cheese, jams and honey was never the less attacked with fevour. The coffee was very good and the orange juice freshly squeezed but, only one per person.


    Good Bye to you Hotel Parador. See you in two weeks, hopefully!


    It's a lot quieter in the morning in Chefchaouen at the time Bill gets out of bed.

    Leaving Chefchaouen takes only 10 minutes this early in the morning and we are getting our heads into gear on the twisty hilly roads of the Rif with one last glance of the towns' white or blue painted buildings.

    As the sun gets warmer and the tarmac heats up we start pushing on with more confidence. The group riding is thoroughly enjoyable with Skygod leading and Grez running as tail end charlie. It all seems so easy.






    On a straight road we can easily accomplish a group overtake.

    Stopping for fuel is going to be common task throughout the trip, especially for me with my 10L tank. I did order a 20L Acerbis tank before I left but it didn't arrive in time even though the Italians promised it would. It wasn't just my problem either, Skygod's HP2 has only 13L capacity and the two KTM's are running off 12L. Steve's XTZ660 and Matt's F800GS are not remotely concerned about all the fuss regarding tank range.


    Steve's XT doesn't care what day it is let alone how much fuel it's carrying.


    What colour is a 50 DibDab note lads?

    Even though the riding was superb we frequently we stopped for a five minute break, allowing those with weak bladders and those with cigars to relieve themselves. The trouble with stopping is that it induces conversation and the occasional lapse in concentration for the three of us who agreed to play "the forfeit game". It was agreed between Skygod, Matt and I that it would be 10 press-ups for using the F-word for our duration on Moroccan soil. Some were better at this that others...


    Stopping here seemed reasonable for a five stop.


    Reasonable for those who can control themselves. Gotcha! Push 'em out and get right down.

    Press-ups aside the regular stops allowed the riders with razor blade seats, or those without windscreens, a few minutes respite from the newly found physical agony of riding their trail bikes on the roads for so many miles. My TT600RE had a perfect saddle but the lack of a GSA's windscreen was a problem at times (I'd have even taken the turbulance).


    I don't know what we're doing here but we are definately on our own.


    You could max out your Hayabusa here without any worries about getting nicked.


    The bikes are looking good and still clean.


    The local flora is a bit different to the verges on a British country lane although I'm sure I saw Dandylions.

    "30 seconds! Let's go Men" and were off again doing whatever we seem to want to, including taking corners on the wrong side of the road against what is I presume a Stop sign...


    Not too much dust near the front.


    See what you get Grez for hanging back.


    Told You...

    On our way to Beni Mellal we passed through several small towns, some being better looking than others, and Meknes. Meknes is a city of sorts, and former capital of Morocco (I have read) but what goes on there I have no idea except that it's probably housing employees for some local industry.


    I don't know where this place is.


    We all went in and we all came out.

    Somewhere on the route we spotted an opportunity for a bit of a play in the dust, sand and rocks all within a short half mile trail seen from our road.
    There's a little run up and down the trail and an odd lokking construction which looks like a ramp to launch fighters off an aircraft carrier.







    Gary goes first and is followed by Matt...






    It's very odd indeed and just looks like the start of a bridge but then they gave up when it had nowhere to go.

    That town pictured above could have been almost any place in which we stopped for lunch but it's difficult to recall where it was at times because of our pace to get to the places we wanted to be. This meal was going to be easy to identify and without any of the surprises of Gary's ham, cheese and nutella rolls from yesterday. All that was required was a bit of pointing and indicating the number required by using the fingers of one hand.


    I'm guessing it's going to be Tagines for lunch...


    I'm sure lamb (or goat) kebabs could have been on offer as well.


    Come on Chap. We're starving. : drool


    You've got to be quick with your eating irons when the Tagine has been revealed otherwise it's a fight with the bread and mopping up the sauces.

    After the battle at the lunch table it was back onto these...



    ...and pressing on to our hotel for the night. The day was starting to pass us by and we needed to make progress to ensure we weren't chasing the sun and end up with a late arrival, shower and dinner before bed. We were on the first of a couple of long road days to get to Marrakech from where we could start to take on the Man Tests.
    It was likely that it had already been a two-fuel-stop day up to lunch (as if I could remember) and today was going to be a three-fuel-stop before a top up in the evening for the following day. We simply needed to knock out the miles to be sure of a few hours relaxing in the evening and continue to bond as a newish group: We all knew each other but we were now thrown together and had to find out who was who and sort ourselves into room sharing compatriates.

    Throttles were opened, corners slayed and brake fluid boiled on the now busy winding strips of single carriageway highways to Beni Mellal. With warm tyres and brake discs it seemed it was now the right time to start giving it some and get the job done. Skygod was pressing on but we became stuck behind a wagon for miles upon miles without a safe opportunity to make an overtake but Gary had a go on the stoney verge when he saw a chance to go for it. I followed straight away and I'm sure someone came with me but there was a price to pay for this action a minute later. Whilst behind Gaz on a right hand bend I saw his rear tyre let go, and he felt it and slowed down a tad but, not enough (I think) to realise he had a mechanical problem. I overtook him and pointed to the verge but by this time he had already got the message from the handling of his bike.

    We could do without this but it was our first challenge to sort out a faulty bike of the road...


    What's going on here then?


    It's definitely flat.




    Nearly there.

    Fortunately it was on a bike with a single sided swinging arm and all we had to do for now was to replace the tube although a block on the tyre had been partially ripped from the carcass and the tyre would ultimately need replacing.

    As a warning to those travelling in Morocco be aware that you can be involved in road traffic accidents not of your own making: Whilst we, I mean they (I'd done my tyre & tube changes before leaving and didn't need the lesson), were working on Gaz's bike I was watching the road and had to alert the group with a "Look Out!!!". The tube replacement was being done about 60m beyond the bend from where I first spotted the problem, and to be honest it now seems clear that this was not a good place to be hanging around. Because the road was busy and some vehicles are a lot faster that others (read that as worn out 1960's French cars) there was a lot of eager drivers looking for the right moment to make a pass.
    There was a bus, a bus with passengers, travelling from my right on the wrong side of the road trying to overtake another vehicle and rapidly approaching the now blind left hand bend on the edge with an escarpment to the right. The bus driver took his life, his passengers lives, our lives and the lives of the occupiers of the five or six other vehicles on the road at that time during that manoeuver and that little lot doesn't include the wagon driver coming the other way. The reaction skills of the guy driving the tip up wagon (the type that moves minerals, earth and rock) was very welcome because he had very little time avoid a catastrophic crash with that bus: To avoid the head on collision he had to swerve onto the verge, that's our tube replacement verge, at whatever speed he was doing and with a couple of meters to spare he missed the bus. That didn't help us though because we were now in his way with the distance between us reducing at a notable rate. Everybody was alert to this with my warning call but I for one was wondering what to do if the dust and gravel from the wheels starting coming my way. Fortunately the wagon driver managed to find a slot within the traffic and drag his vehicle back onto the road and avoid us and taking us, or at the least the bikes, out for good. There was talk from some about leaping the nearby fence for safety although that wire fence wouldn't have provided any protection from the oncoming carnage which could have come our way. Relieved to be alive the tyre was inflated and we agreed, again, to be alert and take it easy.

    When on our way again somebody noticed this nice veiw...



    ...before we arrived here at the Hotel Chems in Beni Mellal at around 18:00hrs and 280 miles later.



    Once again we had a beer in the bar, went to our shared rooms and sorted ourselves out to be ready for dinner. The Hotel Chems offerred a few choices on the menu and we all made our choices, after trying to work out what was written, and waited to see what we would receive.


    We waited patiently...


    ...to see what we'd be given.


    We all had a good laugh that night...


    But some more than others.

    My meal was better than expected because I was given Bills fish dish whilst he took my chicken escalop: They both looked the same and we both dived in and I didn't know any better until Bill realised that MY chicken was a very unusual fish and he couldn't identify it and accused it of being "a bit chewy".

    Heh Ho. It's another day tomorrow and the run to Marrakech and some relief from the road riding which we've done to avoid some poor weather back up north (I forgot to mention that we changed our route to avoid the wet and cold mountains and give time to allow the Cedar Forest to dry out).








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