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Thread: MA For Morocco: Apr to May 2012.

  1. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DitchWater View Post

    I don't know where this place is.
    That, and the picture below, is Moulay Idriss. A very holy place in Morocco housing the tomb of Morocco's most venerated Saint, founder of the first Arab dynasty and the great grandson of the Prophet Mohamed, Moulay Idriss el Akhbar.


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    2008 R1200GSA
    "Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much" Oscar Wilde
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    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius, and a lot of courage, to move in the opposite direction."Albert Einstein

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    More please ...


  4. #20
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    Day 3 24/04/2012: Stand By Marrakech. Incoming!

    It was going to be an relatively easy day today with only modest mileage to cover from The Hotel Chems in Beni Mellal, a visit to some water falls, and a formation ride into Marrakech and a night out on the town.

    It was an early rise on that morning for me, possibly woken up by the dawn chorus again or the regime of making early starts for the long days on the roads. Thankfully they were over now; the long road days that is but not the long days riding our bikes. This left plenty of time for a shave, dhobi, breakfast and even a photograph of nature's alarm clock...


    Sod Off you two.

    And it wasn't just me either because there were reports of activity at the pool.


    Very brave because the mornings are cold and that water doesn't see much sun.


    Go on. Get your hair wet.


    He looks ready to ride a bike.

    Wheels were Rollin' at 08:55hrs, once I'd had my cigar, and we are all full of beans with the promise of a good days riding, a piste to take on, and some twisty's to do on the way to Morocco's highest waterfalls. All that before lunch. We did have to deal with a bit of this though...


    At last we've lost our stalker.

    Heading for the Cascades de Ouzoud we take a diversion for our early morning wake up call and a bit of trail riding but we are all disappointed to find a layer of tarmac has been deposited before our path by the ever keen road building industry which, we have learned, is working hard to improve the lives of the local population, and just as importantly the visiting tourists (but not us if you don't mind). Oh well, never mind, let's get on with it. We only have to ride around the edges of the Western High Atlas National Park and just make sure we enjoy ourselves on the way.

    Stopping occasionally still has it's problems: Being on our own, dealing with prematurely ageing weak bladders, smoking cigars and letting slip the F-Word.


    We found this piste but, if I remember correctly, we had to turn around within village at the other end of the ridge.


    Commenting on the Effing Ridge cost me ten but it was a good ride in the end.

    So, moving on to our destination of the Cascades for our morning mint teas and coffees over the rolling hills we find ourselves in a valley. We are probably quite high up here but never the less we are at the low point of our current position and take the opportunity to have a look around and inspect the bridge.


    Quite a nice layby for a picnic.




    Now that needs a coat of looking at before I ride over it.

    As expected it looked a bit iffy and I was compulsed to test it under foot and check my vertigo pills were working.


    It's okay Chaps, just a bit wobbly here and there.


    What's it like over there?

    Okay Then?



    Everbody took the opportunity to have a walk, stretch their legs, and get some holiday snaps for the album. This was a lovely place to stop and bask in the warm sunshine for a little while whilst getting our bearings, resting our saddle sore arses and simply enjoying being away from it all.






    The river contained alot of silt and if it's like this all the time the rate of errosion further up stream must be astonishing, or it's the top soil being dragged down from the recent rains we'd heard about.

    There was even time for some group pictures, some coupling, and some Moroccan tourists having a look around their own country (or maybe they were Algerian spies?).


    The Undesirables.


    The Klim Squad.












    You my friend need to sort your riding gear out.

    Right. That's enough of under maintained bridges (it doesn't even had an ID plate and telephone number to report any collision damage) and it's onward to the falls on one of the best roads clinging onto a mountain many of us have ever experienced. It was up, up and up, then round to the left and on to the right, back again, up and down with hairpin corners and blind bends to be wary of. There was quite a bit of traffic on this road and it soon became evident that we were in a popular place for both the indigenous population and visitors alike. We stopped for a minute or so to soak up the experience and take an moment to absorb our feelings and have a look at the place we had just come from.











    Upon arrival at the Cascades de Ouzoud we met a trio of Continental Tossers crossing our path , two of R1200GS's and one on an well modified F800GS which No Fromage liked alot. We all stopped and had a chat for a few minutes, inspect each others bikes, and explain what was to be found on the roads ahead: They had come from where we were going and visa versa. This was the first time in a couple of days that we had actually bothered to offer any attention to any Europeans we had seen (in Chefchaouen) or encountered so far (nowhere else ) and it felt like they were happy to meet us and spend a bit of time together.


    The two guys on the right are waiting for money.

    Once they were gone it was time to do a eal for parking the bikes and Man Cruiser and haul ourselves up the hilly path to see the falls and get our well earned brews.
    It was a hot and sweaty walk but I was enjoying the goat trail and starting to feel physically better after the thick end of a week away from the dampish air of a north Atlantic island and romped my way through the tourist traps selling cloth, knives, and fossils and onto the vertigious vista of the tallest water falls in Morocco. Before this trip I would not have wanted anything to do with this sort of place but having to Man Up through Southern Spain, and the Rif Mountains, on the bike I was gaining in confidence to attempt to battle my fairly new phobia of high places. I managed to creep my way to within a couple of metersa of the edge and take a few a seconds to glance over the edge without falling over but, couldn't quite take that extra step without a security harness to indulge in the open space below me.


    I couldn't get this shot; I forgot my camera.


    Nor this one.









    ]
    I managed to get here within the safety of the group.

    It was a bit tricky under foot in places and it was discussed that there were probably a couple of unfortunate incidents around this Health & Safety nightmare with the lack of fencing and yellow bibbed Safety Officers . There is a picture somewhere of me crawling to the edge for a momentary look over the edge but I can't find it with what I've been given so far.
    Time for tea, and what a relief, but Mr IFan was disapointed that the monkeys had gone or were simply hiding, so here's some apes going freelance...


    Nice head dress.




    Concentrate!

    After tea we were one our way again with our Marrakech stopover in mind but there was more to do before a beer and a change of clothes came our way. Again Gaz spotted a few minutes fun whilst on the road and because we are now a lot braver and are beginning to think we can do what we want, we go for it.

    "Get youselves down there and back" were the orders, "and go easy when turning up the sandy trail because it gets very narrow and there's a lot of rocks"




    The run is off the road, over to the trail (on the left), down to the river, turn around and go up the dry and rocky stream bed.




    That's the way and avoid the river because it very muddy.

    Keep going...



    ...and don't kill any livestock.




    That's the way.



    Everybody had a go and everybody got out. It was tight at the end of the trail, from where the sheep came, and required a good run around the slopes to avoid the rocks and get back into the sand without dropping your bike. Inevitabely a couple of bikes were dropped but without any dramas, and it was off to Marrakech after one more stop for tea.



    It was nice to arrive in Marrakech at a welcoming hotel, a hot shower, and some time for a look around before dinner.


    We did have to move our bikes so that the Guardian could see them overnight to ensure he was paid in the morning.

    There was much to see in a previous capital city...







    ...including a bit of shopping for bike stickers...



    And then to dinner. Therre's an Indian restaurant located within in a Marrakech hotel somewhere. The staff are mostly daubed in Raj dress, very helpful, and keen to ensure we find our table: It was a maze and it was the onlt time we used a three person, or any person, lift over the weeks we were away from home. The lift too us us to the top floor of a Kasbar type of building which included both hotel rooms and our dining room.



    We sat down down and were served well.







    The food was good, albeit unexpected here in NW Africa, the beer was cold, the wine was expensive but fine, and the veiw to the pool was very inviting.



    Tomorrow is our first Man Test, my first vertigo test, our first serious mechanical problem, and our first missing persons report.






  5. #21
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    Good Effort Abdhul Keep it coming. Looks like we have 4 booked on our September trip already

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    Be Safe............and if you cant be safe..........BE LETHAL.

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  6. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by SkyGod View Post
    Good Effort Abdhul Keep it coming. Looks like we have 4 booked on our September trip already
    I have itchy feet for Morocco again now.....oh make sure you take some of your favourite snacks next time
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  7. #23
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    Something else for him to get his mouth round

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  8. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Spout View Post
    Something else for him to get his mouth round




    I wonder if he needed any of this?
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  9. #25
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    You guys have too much time on your hands
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    Be Safe............and if you cant be safe..........BE LETHAL.

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  10. #26
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    new rear tank fitted ready

    DitchWater fitted my in time ............................
    hows your new tank

  11. #27
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    Day 4 25/04/2012: Marrakech is Done. Now For A Man's Test or Two!

    Quote Originally Posted by SkyGod View Post
    Good Effort Abdhul Keep it coming. Looks like we have 4 booked on our September trip already
    Don't forget Me!

    Now, some notes on spending too much time with Skygod:

    1) He changes your name to the feminine or Germanic; me becoming Adbhul, from Paula Abdul I heard, althought it could've been derived from my early summer browning skin and the shocking beard I was growing for the first five days by forgetting my razor.
    Matt became Matilda upon occasion but I reckon this is a poor reflection upon one who has served so well.
    Bill became Wilhelm, although he didn't start any wars.
    Grez was "The Grez Meister" and proved to be the master of all of his own actions.
    I didn't hear any references to Steve Kalahari and I presume his size dictated that it was best left alone.

    2) Wheels Rollin' at XX:XXhrs usually means 10 minutes before the designated time whether a cigar is burning or not. The same is also the case with a five break being reduced to a four break.

    3) It doesn't matter were you are or what you can see, we are never lost because the GPS always gives our longitude & latitude and shows which way north so, if you die now we'll be able to recover your body in a couple of days.

    4) When having completed a Man's Day expect tomorrow to be a tougher Man's Day and if your lucky, you might be ready for the next Man's Day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Timolgra View Post
    I have itchy feet for Morocco again now.....oh make sure you take some of your favourite snacks next time

    Please see attached picture above.
    5) He says that a lot when Jono calls.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spout View Post
    Something else for him to get his mouth round

    Don't tease him: After ten days away in a muslim country he starts to lose that manly persona and his eyes begin to to wander.

    Quote Originally Posted by Timolgra View Post


    I wonder if he needed any of this?

    Again, please see attached picture above.
    He was too far ahead but I could have used a dose of that stuff to get him to move up from the back of the pack for some Go Pro shots.

    Marrakech was graced with our presence for only one night but we diidn't care, and we presume neither did Marrakech.
    It was only the fourth day of the trip but we had ridden a couple of long hard days to get here in the time we did: What has to be borne in mind here is that there are two KTMs, one 450 EXC & one 500 EXC, and my Yamaha TT600RE which are not good at mile munching tarmac roads at the best of times. My saddle was fine for long riding days but the KTM riders, and others occasionally, had been suffering on the endless single carraigeway roads leading to the everchanging horizons of the previousl days' riding and we were owed a rest with a mornings' stand-up riding when we had left Marrakech to its less excitable visitors.

    Within an hour there as a left turn from the main road and we were all on a dusty track going to somewhere which had obviously been planned. We were all stopped after a few meters on this track, by our Leader, to receive the announcement that this was going to be our first Man Test, and were immediately passed by a couple of drifting Moroccan trail bikes on their way to their own dirty morning. Actually we had been told what to expect the day before but the sight of the challenge soon presented to us looked a lot more demanding than we could have imagined.


    "Right Chaps, Get yourselves up there. Don't over do it at the top because there's not a lot of room to stop."

    This unusual feature became know by us as Nipple Hill. We were advised that the line is straight up, to add power over the rocks just before the peak, find somewhere safe to stop, and not go over the other side.


    That's it. Just up there. Follow my finger tip.

    Gaz went first, to test the gravity field, and was soon followed by Steve, roosting up the track, then Bill, then me (who got ten for using the F-Word at the top) and finally Matt. There was a short delay at the top whilst waiting for Matt to join us but, considering his bike license still smelt of a Swansea governmental office block we had the time to wait for him and his new bike.


    Matt, for obvious reasons, got ten as well.






    The view behind us is where we are going next.


    That's Mr IFan and Grez (who didn't want to hurt his spine) all the way down there.

    Once back down again, which was just as much of a challenge as getting up there, the opportunity for ten still presented itself.


    Go on. All the way down!

    We even met some interested locals whilst we were there...



    Once the local Geezer was advised about the benefits of crash helmets and riding kit for his baby it was a tough hour's of trail riding...





    The trails we took were good practise for what was come over the next ten days and provided a chance to get some sand and dust in our teeth. These tracks were the first time we had had the chance to slide our bikes over many miles of dust, stone and sand for a couple of hours to build up some strength the rest of the tour. We were on on our way to Oulad Berhil and even though not too far away from Marrakech, and Nipple Hill, we made a fist of finding an interesting route with interesting places to pass through.



    The villages were again quite run down, from a Westerner's point of view, and it seemed the right thing to do to get to the outer walls before stopping for a break. Stopping around villages, and towns, was probably the right to do incase there were any problems which needed discussing but sometimes it felt like we were invading the privacy of others. However, it soon became clear that we were mostly welcome wherever we stopped and those who cast an eye upon us were only curious.







    After the last stop (above) and driving on to Oulad Berhil it was becoming apparent to me that it was time take the Vertigo Pills again. All I could see was mountains ahead and I had to get my head around the fact that we were going over them. Well, there's no turning back now and all I had to do was ride the Tizi-n-Test over the Atlas Mountains and like it!

    Fortunately for me we took our lunch break of Berber omelette and mint tea before the mountain run to provide me with some energy for what was to come. This however did not help Grez who's rear wheel bearings were failing. His rear wheel was wobbling like me on a cliff and gave him an afternoon nap in the passenger seat of the support vehicle.


    There were interesting places to stop: This place was accessed by a tight and twisty downhill gravel track giving plenty of opportunity for a lie down.




    The Yonderman Cafe Sticker

    Pressing on we get back to get this...


    Grez's broken bike.

    Then more of this...


    Push 'em out!


    And rest...

    That's enough messing around, let's get on with it...


    Up here please!


    This'll do for now...


    Keep up!


    And breath...

    We'll soon be at the summit...

  12. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by rudiemoto View Post

    new rear tank fitted ready

    DitchWater fitted my in time ............................
    hows your new tank
    Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. You're four months ahead of schedule with that bike. I'll come and show you mine this week.

    I'll bring some food so don't eat too much on your day off.

  13. #29
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    Day 4 25/04/2012 Continued: Riding The Tizi-n-Test Pass and Work to Do!

    My ealier report of the demise of Grez's bike were a bit premature having reviewed what was posted last night. I have noticed that he was occupying his position in the group as Tail End Charlie. Sorry about Old Chap. You don't survive for long though.

    Here he is, with his bike, waiting for me get going and ensuring I stay in front of him.



    I suspect we had stopped for a five break and I took the chance to take another picture of my new bike with a spectacular view behind it...



    We had come from that place behind the bike and even though there is tarmac on the pass there are also plenty of stretches of graded trails to be found on the way there. The next few shots were taken before we started up the pass. (Apologies for the chronological error but it was a late one last night, and this is taking ages when wading through the picture files.)


    Were not lost. Skygod has just been on a recce on Bills bike looking for another piste.

    We seem to have found a river bed or what appears to be the way the rains or melting snow goes...






    Don't ride too close behind Bill.


    Hopefully staying out of the dust.

    So onwards and upwards there was plenty of opportunities to get rid of your chicken strips...



    ...have a picture with your bike...


    Bill and the new KTM 5000EXC. (Reordered timescale)

    ...and have a rest from your last ten.


    Wash you mouth out. (Reordered timescale)

    Further up Mr IFan found this place and decided to stop for a nose around (probably looking for scrap metal).




    Leave it. It's very nice and you'll never get it back through customs.

    For some reason or other there seems to villages located in what would be the most inhospitable places during winter in Morocco. Again, I have no idea what the people who reside here could possibly be doing to sustain themselves. As Spike Milligan once said "Everybody has to be somewhere" so I presume they are all fans of The Goon Show.



    Anyway at least Grez is still going but, from what was said later, by now he may have been wondering if he had a puncture or there was sand on the road.

    So we did it. We have ridden to the summit of the Tizi-n-Test, or at least to the place where the building of the pass is marked with a commemorative plaque.



    Everybody gets a picture in front of the plaque...


    Bill.


    No Fromage.


    Steve Kalahari.


    Me.


    Skygod.


    Grez. Where's your bike Grez.

    We took another few pictures here but didn't hang around for too long after Grez's bike was loaded onto the trailer because the cafe was further UP the road. Yes, there was still a bit of hill climbing to do and
    having had a grab of Gez's KTM rear wheel, just check it for myself, it was out with the trailer.




    Never mind Grez. You can come again and do the ride down when you've sorted your bike out.




    Gaz's ABW sticker has been applied to the souvenier shop window.


    We were not alone.

    And on for a minute's ride to the cafe for another mint tea and a swamp break and a few more shots of the veiws...










    A proudly dominant national symbol displayed within the cafe.


    More tea vicar...

    Whilst having our teas MrIFan and Grez had set of early to see if they could source some bearings and seals for the KTM in Oulad Berhil.

    On the way into Oulad Berhil there was a bit of confusion amongst the riders and Matt & I missed the turning for the path to the hotel and went straight through the town by a couple of miles. I was in front, and even though the road ahead appeared to be valid there was no sight of the other riders ahead. We stopped after the third rounabout, pulled a u-turn and headed back into town were we found Gary searching for us. He led us to our hotel where he had left the rest of the team although some of them were not in the best of shape. Bill and Steve had apparently stopped at a turn waiting for us and were mobbed by a gang of school children who had just been released from their classes. They were hounded, ever increasingly, for gifts, money and attention and soon had to make their own descision to leave the scene before anyone got hurt. It sounded like it was starting to get a touch physical when the older boys arrived.

    It was a relief to arrive at the hotel and take a swamp break (emptying you camel back every day takes it toll), and get a beer in your hand but, there was something slightly odd about my new surroundings.
    Upon arrival I first saw Grez standing over his rear wheel with a Geezer working on it, which I ignored because of the need to relieve my bladder, but upon my return I noticed a couple of massive 4 x 4's and thought "they are interesting". A few moments later when heading for the mechanics I saw Lucy and surprisingy just said "Hello Lucy. What are you doing here?". She was just watching Paul G (BHT) working on Grez's wheel and again, it was just "Hello Paul. What's going on?" They were away for a driving holiday in the Land Cruiser, with a couple if friends in a Land Rover, and just happened to be in the same place as us at the same time for a night in Oulad Berhil and what a nice surprise.







    We shared some beer with them, sorted the bearings in Grez's rear wheel (but no seals), checked on the conditions in the Cedar Forest, and then went to our rooms to sort ourselves out for our evening meal.

    The hotel was secluded and with the bikes well guarded behind steel plated gates we were comfortable for the evening...











    Dinner was the Legume Soup, Beef Tagines and Fruit Salad accompanied with the bread and olives which adorn every table we have sat at.

    The destination for tomorrow is due to give us some fun, or so we are informed, but did we have to work for it to get there.








  14. #30
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    Excellent pics and narrative.....looks like fun was had by all.....
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  15. #31
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    I hated it Keith, They where a bunch of clowns. It was like herding cats!

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    Be Safe............and if you cant be safe..........BE LETHAL.

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    Looks like the klim klux klan had a good touch there Gaz eh
    Is that the official tour uniform anyway looks like you all had a great time ..


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