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Old 01-06-2009, 02:16 AM   #1
aurel OP
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Location: Toulouse, France
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Wonders of Morocco, pics, pics, pics

One more boring Morocco Ride Report

I'll skip the first part of the trip, 1600km of road in Spain to catch a ferry for Morocco and start where it gets interesting. Let's go!

According to the GPS we spent 16 days on the trip, 81h on the bike and we did 6322km. But 3200km only to get in Morocco and back

On the boat they told me to put the bike with the trash, want to tell me that my bike looks like crap ?

Then we had to do through the customs and ride south to Fes where the trip would really starts.

Landscape was mostly country side and small mountains.

With some muddy tracks.

Sometime the road was not very good

But we were happy to be in Morocco and impatient to be in the South to enjoy all the wonders we were expecting!

After 350km we were in Fes. Time to put the knobbies on. 2euros on you get the job done so why would I get my hand dirty ?

One that work, two that watche the job being done, one that smoke marijuana... efficient!

The next morning we woke up late with the desire to reach Marrakech to stick to our planning.

Still with some track sections.

The country side is full of small villages.

Track-side lunch to get warmer, it's was not cold but a bit fresh.

In the afternoon we decided to stop in Benni-Melhal and not in Marrakech. The city is not really interesting but it's a useful stop on the way from Fes to Marrakech. We decided to skip Marrakech and drive directly to Ouarzazate more in the South. We'll stop in Marrakech on our way back from desert.

So we had to cross a part of the Atlas moutains throught one of the hightest pass of Morocco. I was a bit concerned by the weather as it's December.

To take the shortest way (not the fastest) we took come tracks.

Not so much traffic here

But it's nice and calm and it's a good training for my gf before the desert.

Here the village are more typicals with houses made of a mix of mud and dry grass.

And the clouds were gone!

Now we're really in the mountains, back on the road.

No more trees at this altitude (more than 2000m) but still not cold.

When we cleared the pass and a mint tea later we started to get down on the south side of the moutains, supposed to be warmer but actually colder...

The way down is long, 100km on a road where trucks go very slowly and have some trouble to cross each others. But we did it to Ouarzazate, just accross the moutains.

On the following day the plan was to drive some twisties It's our last day before the desert even if it looks like we are close from it!

But we went North a bit, landscape was looking more and more to the Morocco I like!

"Vallée du Dades".

Here too there are tracks everywhere so the KTM is happy, slidding and jumping even if riding two-up and loaded

Along the road we buy our food in small shops where you're always welcomed

Here are the "Gorge du Dades".

Still close from the moutains.

At the end of the road in Gorge du Dades we tried to take a 45km long track that reach the Gorge du Todra but some locals told us it was closed because of snow.

So we had to drive 150km to reach our goal by road.

At the entry of the gorge we crossed a small river to park the bike in front of the hotel. If it rain during the night we won't cross it again tomorrow morning to get back on the road as the river will overflow. But we don't care the weather looks good

Now it's time to ride the Gorge du Todra and go South to the desert

Stay tuned, adventure and better pics are coming!
In 20 years you'll only regret what you didn't do.

World Tour finished!
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Old 01-06-2009, 02:26 AM   #2
aurel OP
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On the next morning I woke up early and went outside the hotel to enjoy the sun

My gf, Roxy, went out of the bed too and we get everything back on the bike, ready to ride!

I was still a bit sleeping and almost felt in the river even if it was quite easy. Starting a day wet with a 6 or 7°C water would not be so fun...

Last view of our hotel in the sunset.

Then the Gorge, sometime in the shadow, sometime in the sun.

In some place the river destroyed the road, I was happy to ride a KTM

30km after the hotel we arrived at the end of the Gorge in a small village, perfect for a mint tea under the sun

No we're getting out of the Gorge.

Along the river there are plenty of small village that use the river for their cultures.

Many time the road cross the river

Roxy was contempling my 5 yrs old games in the water...

When the road leaves the river there are no more sign of life, it's too dry.

But the river is never far

The view is awesome.

Track-side lunch. The desert is getting closer and closer !!!

Still 100 or 150km of tracks/road and we'll be in Merzouga, famous city because of its dunes field.

After a short night in Merzouga we woke up very early to get in the dunes and enjoy the sunset but there was too much fog this morning and we saw nothing...

Merry Christmas in French

We were supposed to see that :

So back to the hostel for the breakfast. Today we have 270km of track, half on sand... at least that what we planned but things are going to turn bad... stay tuned
In 20 years you'll only regret what you didn't do.

World Tour finished!
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Old 01-06-2009, 02:30 AM   #3
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Great stuff mate
Some men like the fish'n,
Some men like the foul'n,
Some men like to hear........
to hear the cannonball a roar'n!
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Old 01-06-2009, 02:43 AM   #4
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Looks awesome, keep it coming...

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Old 01-06-2009, 02:47 AM   #5
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So after the breakfast, 25km on road in direction of Algeria and then 270km of tracks along the border, half in sand. The day is going to be long driving a loaded bike with a passenger in the dunes... I took some more fuel as in sand the consumption increase a bit. Just in case. But now the bike weight a ton...

So we stopped quite often to empty the aux tank in the main tanks so that we could get rid of that aux tank as soon as possible!

As it's winter there is some water so grass is growing in some place, it's strange in the desert!

The track is not very hard but I don't drive as fast as if I was alone without luggage... The rear frame support 2 persons and a lot of luggage so I take it easy...

Our average speed according to the GPS is between 50 or 60km/h with a stop every 20 or 30km because it's shaking a lot.

Are we still on earth ?

There is more and more sand and the front wheel goes everywhere except where I want...

But the track is great

Sometime we cross dry lake were the surface is perfectly plane, perfect place to reach 180km/h

On this pic the ground looks hard but actually there is a fine layer of dry mud on the top and then it's sand, if you slow down or brake the fine layer of dry mud brake and you're in sand...

After 80km the aux tank was almost empty (it was not full when we left, only a few liters inside).

But we reach the main difficulty of the track, a very large river to cross. I've been there two time before and crossed it without trouble but this time it's different, Morocco had a lot of rain the weeks before...

When getting closer from the river there are more trees.

Sand gets deeper.

And after a few kms here is the river, pretty dry but with a lof of mud. Roxy will walk throught it and tell me where it's dry.

While in the middle, in the water, I told myself I should keep accelerating to climb the other side of the river so I didn't wait for roxy to show me a dry way and went hard on the throttle. Bad idea...

280kg stuck in a sticky mud/sand as I never saw before. And the bike is going down little by little... kind of quicksand...

I took out the luggage to make the bike lighter and put some trees under it to stop it going down...

Looks like a poor idea but we're pretty in a hurry and pretty limitated at this moment...

It's impossible to get the bike up, the mud/sand is too sticky. Even the 100hp are not enough to turn the rear wheel.

If the river overflow the bike will be lost. So we tried and tried to get it out during 3h without success...

We went throught a village 10 or 15km before, maybe we should have been to that village by foot immediatly. But what to do ? Go over there alone and leave my gf here ? Go over there together and leave all our stuff here ? And if we get lost (my GPS only works when plugged on the bike) ?

Last hope, the night is coming, we're going to make a fire and wait for someone to see us...

At least we have a tent and sleeping bags...

In 20 years you'll only regret what you didn't do.

World Tour finished!
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Old 01-06-2009, 02:56 AM   #6
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wonderful pics!

Thanks for sharing!

Best greatings from Germany
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Old 01-06-2009, 03:07 AM   #7
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Thank you

You pics bring back memories of when I was there in the late 60s. On an old /2 with knobbies and had a blast.
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Old 01-06-2009, 03:14 AM   #8
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Helo Aurel.

Its a wonderful travel.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-06-2009, 03:25 AM   #9
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building up tension hey? don't keep us waiting too long!
Honestly, have you ever heard of somebody looking back on his life thinking: "Oh, I should have travelled less and mowed the lawn more often"? (Pumpy)

want to save on Smugmug? use this code (VoUO8M1ukmnMY)

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Old 01-06-2009, 03:31 AM   #10
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Wow!! Another excellently boring Morocco report!! Started out beautifully......

then... quicksand!!

Will Aurel save it? Or will he walk back to France.......

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Old 01-06-2009, 04:10 AM   #11
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Aurel - King of the dessert, or "un fennec"

Again a wonderful report
2006 KTM 950 Adventure S ('05)
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:13 AM   #12
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Great report and wonderful pics Aurel

Can't wait to see how you get your bike out of the quicksand

I missed going to Les Marmottes this year, but spent a while thinking of the great time we had last year!
Only ride as fast as your guardian angel can fly!
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:15 AM   #13
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waiting..., I want to know the end of your story , hope you will go through this quiksand !
__________________ take 5 mn to see it

1200 GS 2007
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:39 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Blackbert
don't keep us waiting too long!

So we're stuck in this river, the night has came and we did a fire hoping someone will saw us. Not a lot of pics in this moment as I was a bit worried for my gf and my bike.

No sign of life, no sound, only sand and the stars as we never saw it.

And then suddently, far from us, we hear someone crying without understanding what he cry. So we cry back and I start walking in that direction with a head lamp.

Feelings are confuse at this moment:
roxy: 10% of happyness and 90% of fear
me: 90% of happyness and 10% of fear

Who am I going to meet over there ?

Two nomads with 9 dromadery (dromaderies ?)! One is younger than me, around 20, one is older, around 30 (I'm 26).

The youngest one speak some French and tells me they saw the bike. Actually they were watching at us from the top of a moutain for the whole afternoon.

After a short discussion (100m from roxy so she have no idea what's going on, my mistake...) the two nomads and I go to the bike. We tried to get the bike up without success...

One of the nomad walk away to get back to their dromaderies. The other one who speak French come with me back to the fire where roxy is waiting.

When we arrive at the fire (500m away from the bike) I saw another man with roxy, he's riding a bicycle. He saw the fire while he was going back home in the village and it looks like he's use to rescue tourists in trouble in this river.

He tells me one of the man in the village has a powerful 4WD that could get my bike out of the river. Let's go for it dude!

But... this man will ask money for the rescue. Ok... how much I ask to the man ? He answer me that he doesn't know. Some tourists were stuck with a 4WD by day and they paid hundreds of euros to get rescued by this man...

He tells me "make me an offer, I'll go to the village, talk with the man about your offer and if it's enough for him we'll come back with the 4WD."

"And if it's not enough ?" I asked.

"Well, you'll not see me coming back, that's too far"

After a quick look at our money (we had 150euros in cash) I said to this man to go to the village and offer 60euros to the 4WD owner. That's quite a lot of money for someone that live in the middle of nowhere.

The youngest nomad take my head lamp and the bicycle and start driving in the dark in direction of the village, 15km away. While he's gone roxy, the man that came from the village and I move together to the bike to light a fire so that the 4WD could saw us.

1h... more... we keep talking with the man from the village, very nice btw.

And then, far in the distance, a diesel sound! He's coming! 60euros were enough!

In 20min the bike is out of the river, back on the track (in the sand actually)

The 4WD driver ask us the 60euros and drive back to the village with his friend.

So we're on the track with the young nomad. He offers us to spend the night with him, his older friend and the dromaderies. Okay...

We spend the night drinking tea with them and enjoying their food. I offer him my head light as a present, it's not a lot but he was really happy.

After 3L of tea and a good meal we install our tent and go to sleep while the 2 nomads sleep in the cold sand with blankets.

On the next morning I wake up early and get out of the tent to see the sun set. One of the nomad is already awake and he's warming himself close to the fire.

I take a look at my bike... mud everywhere... "get it dirty" as we said but now that's too much! I'll have to clean it.

Poor chain kit...

The closest gas station where I could clean the bike is 150km away so I'll have to wait. I should better take some shot of the place.

Our "camp" from the top of a dune.

Roxy went out of the tent also and we moved close to the fire. One mint tea later we said goodbye to our new friends and started to drive in the sand. Still 180km left...

We drove for 25km in a sand sea with some rocks.

But I knew I've been in that place before and I knew there was a hostels somewhere close from here in the desert.

After our night in the desert a fresh coke and a cigarette tasted like heaven.

They have fuel also! Good as I lost a lot of fuel while the bike was leaning on its side.

Ok, time to move on! Still 155km to go.

The track goes from dry lake, sand, bumps, big rocks, etc...

The last 60kms are on rocks, exhausting for roxy. We stop for a break every 20km.

But landscape is awesome while the sun is going down.

One in Zagora, a big city, I left roxy in a good hotel so that she could have a shower and some rest and then I went to a garage to clean my bike.

It was rude but it was worth it!
In 20 years you'll only regret what you didn't do.

World Tour finished!
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:44 AM   #15
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Wow! This is a great adventure. Thank you.
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