A bike addict’s escape from the cold – leaving Denmark, bound for Morocco…

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Don T, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    530
    Location:
    Denmark-Europe.
    After a long and cold winter with no motorcycle riding, I'm suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms and feel the needed for a proper 2 wheel fix.
    To get that fix I've taken 2 weeks off from work and plan to spend the time riding.

    As it’s an unusually cold spring here in Denmark I’m heading south to warmer weather – if everything goes as planed I intend to make it all the way to Morocco.

    I have traveled all over the world since I was 16 and have been exploring Europe on motorcycles the last 20 years, but have never been outside the continent on 2 wheels, so this may well turn out to be something of an adventure.

    I usually travel with my girlfriend and/or with my mates, but this time I'll go alone because I feel the urge to do a long solo ride – it adds another dimension to the adventure when you only have yourself to rely on.

    I'll be riding my 2012 V-Strom which I over the past year have equipped and modified to suit my taste and needs.

    The bike is still sitting in the garage and slowly waking up from hibernation:
    [​IMG]

    The countdown to take off is started and the rest of the week will be spend packing, making the final preparations and getting the last workdays out of the way.

    I plan to keep you updated during the trip when I have the time and Internet access.

    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    57,524
    Location:
    Toronto
    Bring on the Moroccan sunshine and adventure :thumb

    :lurk
    #2
  3. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,313
    Location:
    Sometimes in Hillsburrito
    Alright, finally going on a real ride. I see the V-Strom is nicely equipped, including the obligatory "sport" windscreen. Please review the mods as you get miles on these, I foresee another one of these V-Stroms in my future (a future in which I have a little more time to ride, that is... :stoned ).

    Looking forward to the trip reports and pictures.

    Bon voyage,

    Gustavo
    #3
  4. Viking

    Viking Ækt trønder!!

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Oddometer:
    443
    Location:
    Haliburton County-Canada
    God tur,,,,looking forward to it.
    #4
  5. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    530
    Location:
    Denmark-Europe.
    To those who are interested, here is a list of the Strom's accessories and modifications:

    *2 cm higher OEM seat.
    *OEM heated grips.
    *Scottoiler
    *Akrapovic titanium exhaust.
    *Givi crashbars
    *Touratech skidplate.
    *Touratech radiator guard.
    *Touratech neopren fork protectors.
    *Touratech Zega Pro adonized black 38L top box with accessories.
    *SW Motech center stand.
    *SW Motech side stand foot.
    *MRA Touring "T" screen.
    *Front sprocket changed from 15 to 16 tooth.
    *Touratech crossbar
    *Touratech lockable GPS bracket.
    *GPS: Garmin Zümo 660
    *Handle bar mounted RAM mount for my GoPro camera.
    - and of course some ADVrider decals.

    Besides that I've invested in a new set of riding gear for the trip - HELD Carese jacket, Torno pants and a pair of Vanucci VTB 9 boots.

    When I'm back from the trip I'll review the Strom, the accessories and my riding gear in relation to long distance touring.


    4 days to take off... :norton
    #5
  6. Radzz

    Radzz Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    14
    Location:
    Denmark
    Hi Don T, good luck on your trip my man. Hope you have a good one and suffice to say I wish it was me. I´ve been suffering in the cold Danish winter aswell and my chance to head south has got to wait for another 8 weeks or so when I get to take a trip with my 14 year old daughter to Slovania and Kroatia.
    Look forward to following your adventure....enjoy:lurk
    #6
  7. sturmgewehr

    sturmgewehr Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Olathe, KS
    I'm not much of a "subscriber" but I'm in on this one. A Strom in Morocco is something I really want to see! :clap
    #7
  8. mart´n

    mart´n Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    98
    Location:
    The westcoast of Denmark
    Have a safe one - looking forward hearing about this trip :D

    Cheers
    #8
  9. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    530
    Location:
    Denmark-Europe.
    Day 1:
    Denmark - Vielsalm (Belgium) - 800 km.

    Finally the day for departure arrived.
    I got home from work after a 24 hours shift (I work as a paramedic) at 8 am. As I had only got a couple of hours sleep during the shift, I wanted to get a bit of sleep before taking off, but after breakfast with my girlfriend I was so eager to get going that sleeping was out of the question.
    At 9 am I was dressed up, had kissed my girlfriend goodbye and was ready to hit the road.

    [​IMG]

    After one hour of riding I got to the ferry to Germany.

    [​IMG]

    The crossing time is only 50 minutes so before long I was cruising down the "autobahn" at 150 km/h. Normally I try to avoid the highways when riding motorcycles, but I wanted to get south to warmer weather and after 5 months with no riding even riding the highway felt great. On big parts of the German highways (autobahn) there is no speed limit, which allowed me to ride as fast as I wanted without having to check the clock all the time.

    I had no fixed plan on how far I would go before calling it a day. The weather was perfect with blue sky, not too much wind and the temperature just kept rising - when I hit Hamburg around noon the temperature had already reached 26 degrees.

    2 times during the day I got slowed down by traffic jams (stau in German) on the autobahn coursed by accidents. When hitting a stau it was great riding a bike and be able to split lanes. The first stau was 10 km long but only slowed me down 10 minutes. The second was twice that and took a bit longer, because people had been stuck for so long, that many had left their cars and was walking around between the lanes which makes lane splitting a bit more tricky.
    Here I got to the front of the first stau just 2 minutes before they had cleaned up and opened 1 lane to let the traffic pass.

    [​IMG]

    I was doing good time and late in the afternoon I was nearing the border to Belgium. As I was still feeling surprisingly fresh, I decided to ride on to "Baton Rouge" a motorcycle-inn located in the Ardennes in the south of Belgium. I've stayed there several times before and Ben and Hetty who owns and run the place have become more like friends than just hosts. It's still early in the season and I wasn't sure if they were open for guests, so I shot Hetty a text message asking if they had a bed available for me - she answered that of cause they did and they would love to see me.

    I soon got off the autobahn and the rest of the days driving was on bountiful small roads through the Ardennes.

    [​IMG]

    I arrived at Baton Rouge just in time for dinner, and as always Hetty's cooking was a real treat. The rest of the evening was spend in good company with a beer in my hand.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    When I finally got to bed my sleep deprivation caught up to me, and the second my head hit the pillow I was out cold.

    #9
  10. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    530
    Location:
    Denmark-Europe.
    Day 2:
    Vielsalm (Belgium) - Angouleme (France) - 860km.

    After a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast I said goodbye to Ben and Hetty and continued my journey south.

    The view in the morning from the terrace outside my room:
    [​IMG]

    Today was a mix of highways and smaller roads. The roads and the riding was nothing special, but I really enjoyed being in the saddle heading for new adventures. The experience was only helped by the fact that the weather was perfect and there were increasing signs of spring in the landscape around me the further south I got.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Early in the evening I started to look for a place to stay. It turned out that most places was fully booked, but finally I found a place to stay at a F1 in Angouleme in the south west of France.

    [​IMG]

    When I arrived at the hotel I was greeted with a cold beer by 2 other guests who enjoyed an evening beer and a cigarette in front of the entrance - just what I needed after a long day's journey.

    My room at the F1:

    [​IMG]

    #10
  11. ToniBraxton

    ToniBraxton Weeeee

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    68
    Location:
    The Lowlands
    And some people still wonder why these things are sold by the bucketload :clap
    #11
  12. Radzz

    Radzz Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    14
    Location:
    Denmark
    Nice to see your on your way and travelling light I see:evil. The bike looks nice and clean,but i bet it won´t by the time you´ve hit Morocco. Those are some serious kms you´re doing each day, remember to enjoy the trip and take your time...enjoy:lurk,I´m staying tuned.
    #12
  13. mart´n

    mart´n Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    98
    Location:
    The westcoast of Denmark
    Don T: You are the touring king of Denmark! :D

    Can´t wait to see your next update - drive safe.
    #13
  14. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    530
    Location:
    Denmark-Europe.
    Day 3:
    Angouleme (France) - Salamanca (Spain) - 850km.

    I got up early and left the hotel at dawn. When I took off it was still a bit chilly - only about 10 degrees - but soon the temperatures started to rise in earnest. At noon when I arrived at the Atlantic coast just north of the border to Spain the temperature exceeded 30 degrees.

    [​IMG]

    Besides warm weather and a blue sky, the route made this day the best so far. The scenery was beautiful and much of the route went along winding roads that inspired spirited riding.

    [​IMG]

    At one point during the afternoon, I had a pit stop at an old roadside spring. It was a lovely place with shade and cold potable water - I can just imagine travelers in the old days taking a break at this location.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A short time later my riding style caused some unwanted attention.
    As I was going through a village, I was overtaken by a motorcycle cop and when I looked in the mirror I could see another one behind me. The cop in front then turn on the blue lights and signaled me to pull over.
    To begin with the officers were a bit gruff as they had been chasing me for nearly 10 kilometers before they caught up with me after I had overtaken a number of cars ignoring a yellow line.
    Their mood improved when we started talking and they found out that I was not a criminal running from the law. In the end I got a 50% reduction on the fine, and it didn't mentioned anything about speed violation, only crossing a yellow line when overtaking.

    The Strom in good (bad?) company:
    [​IMG]

    A story richer and a few euros poorer, I soon after arrived in Salamanca where I found a hotel facing a park located only 5 minutes walk from the city center.

    The view from my room:
    [​IMG]

    When I had unpacked the bike, I changed into something more comfortable and walked downtown to find a good place to get something to eat. I ended up at a sidewalk cafe that served tapas and cold beer.

    [​IMG]

    Relaxed and with a full stomach I then took a stroll around town before returning to my hotel.

    #14
  15. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    530
    Location:
    Denmark-Europe.
    I don't think that many people wonder any more - The V-Strom has by now proved its worth.

    If you want a prestigious sophisticated state-of-the-art bike the V-Strom is not for you. If you on the other hand just want a reliable no-bullshit bike that gets the job done the V-Strom is hard to beat.
    #15
  16. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    530
    Location:
    Denmark-Europe.
    Day 4:
    Salamanca (Spain) - Algeciras (Spain) - 660km.

    When I looked out the window in the morning I could see that my bike still was parked where I had left it and that it looked to become yet another day with great weather.
    Although the weather wasn't too warm this early in the morning I decided to remove the Goretex liner from my jacket and pants to be prepared for temperatures like the day before - it turned out to be the right call.

    As I didn't want to arrive too late in Algeciras the route this day was primary on highways. The weather was just like the day before with +30 degrees and a blue sky.
    I only had a few stops during the day, and when I did the most important thing was to find a place in the shade to park.

    [​IMG]

    As mentioned before I rode without the Goretex liner in my gear and I was impressed with how comfortable it was. With the vents open, it was almost like riding in a T-shirt and a pair of jeans. Never before have I ridden in motorcycle clothes that were so well suited for warm weather riding!
    Now that we are talking gear I have to mention my Vanucci boots. I had no idea that motorcycle boots could be so comfortable both when riding and walking. Besides excellent fit and function I'm impressed with the boots Sympatex membrane - even in warm weather like this I don't get warm or damp feet.

    After a good days riding (despite the highways) I arrived in Algeciras at 4pm. The night before I had book a hotel close to the harbor. The hotel had looked nice in the pictures, but I was still pleasantly surpriced - It was a really nice hotel only 2 minutes drive from the ferry to Tanger MED.

    [​IMG]

    My room was located in a small garden next to the pool.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    When I had moved into my room, I took a walk down to the harbor to buy the ticket for the next day - it's easier to do when you have plenty of time and don't walk around in riding gear.

    With a ticket for the next morning in my pocket I did some shopping before returning to the hotel to take a swim in the pool and kick back before dinner. When walking around town I was several times offered "Hashi" from guys hanging out on street corners - with so many sellers it must be in high demand..?

    After dinner I checked in on my bike that was parked right next to the hotel entrance before calling it a day.

    [​IMG]

    Next... Morocco :clap

    #16
  17. mart´n

    mart´n Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    98
    Location:
    The westcoast of Denmark
    ....and nice pool too:D

    Happy to hear your gear is working out right, now that I know how much time you put into getting/buying the right one.

    Have fun in Africa.
    #17
  18. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    530
    Location:
    Denmark-Europe.
    Day 5:
    Algeciras (Spain) - Meknes (Morocco) - 395km.

    I was up early as I had to be at the ferry terminal at 7 am - 1 hour before departure. Normally the hotel didn't serve breakfast until 7.15, but when I told them that I had to check out before that to catch a boat they opened up the restaurant at 6.15 so that I could get something to eat before leaving - excellent service.

    From the hotel it was only a short ride to the harbor, and as I already had my ticket, it didn't take long before I was parked at the ferry ready to embark.

    [​IMG]

    The crossing went smoothly and the subsequent paperwork at custom in Tanger MED took less than 30 minutes so before long I hit the road in Morocco.

    The line at customs on the ferry:
    [​IMG]

    My last look at Europe for some time - The Rock of Gilbraltar disappearing in the morning haze:
    [​IMG]

    I had only ridden a few kilometers in Africa before I hit the first piece of gravel and dirt. According to my map the road should have been sealed, but because of road repair the tarmac had been strip from the first 20 kilometers, and parts of that had been covered in 10-20 centimeters of loose gravel - a very interesting start to the Moroccan part of my journey.

    This is a good part of that road:

    [​IMG]

    After that the roads got better but not much.
    The smaller roads were a mix of mainly tarmac of varied quality, but often it was replaced with stretches of gravel and all the time you had to look out for potholes - some of them very deep.
    The scenery was beautiful and all I all it made for at fantastic day of riding.
    Here are some pictures from the day:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In the afternoon I stopped at a roadside BBQ to get something to eat.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    With a full stomach I continued south heading for Ifrane. At this point the weather was getting very hot and for the first time on the trip the temperature exceeded 35 degrees.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    30 kilometers north of Ifrane I got a text message from Jim (jbar28) another ADV inmate (you can read his RR here). He was staying in Meknes and asked if we should meet up and head south together the next day. At that time I was in the middle of nowhere and when I set the GPS to take the shortest route from there to Meknes, I was in for 45 kilometers of very interesting riding. Most of the roads were gravel and I even had to do a small water crossing - a great end to a great day of riding.

    When I arrived in Meknes I found Jim's bike parked in front of the hotel.

    [​IMG]

    After unpacking the bike and a cold shower it was time for a much needed beer on the terrace with Jim.

    [​IMG]

    It was getting dark while we sat there drinking and talking and later in the night we took a stroll down into the medina to get some dinner.

    [​IMG]

    My first day of riding in Morocco have been everything I had hoped for I'm really looking forward to the days to come.

    #18
  19. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    530
    Location:
    Denmark-Europe.
    Day 6:
    Meknes (Morocco) - Ait-Ourir (Morocco) - 450km.

    When the bikes were loaded and breakfast was out of the way the first stop for the day was a gas station around the corner as my V-Strom also needed some food. The last time I had refueled was in Spain 445 kilometers earlier and I was just able to squeeze 16 liters into the tank resulting in an average of close to 29 km/l – the bike was only sipping.

    With that out of the way we headed south in the direction of Marrakech taking the inland route via Azrou. The next +200 kilometers was beautiful winding roads on the western outskirts of the Mid Atlas.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    At one point Jim and I managed to get separated (?). I thought that I was in front and pulled over to wait for him just after exiting a busy town with a few roundabouts.

    Waiting for jbar in the shade.

    [​IMG]

    Morocco had begun to put its imprint on my bike.

    [​IMG]

    5 minutes later when he hadn't turned up I send him a text message saying where I was and that I would head on and check my phone for messages later. The next time I stopped there was a message from him saying that he had past me without knowing and had stopped to 1 kilometer up the road from where I was now - shortly after we was riding together again.

    Halfway to Marrakech we took a break for lunch - there are good roadside restaurants everywhere.

    [​IMG]

    The roads the second half of the day was not nearly as interesting as the ones we had been riding until then and the weather was getting really hot with temperatures close to 40 degrees. Together that made most of the afternoon to something endured rather than enjoyed. During the afternoon we stopped to refuel again and this time my bike had done +30 km/l.

    50 kilometers before Marrakech we turn of the main road heading south for the small town of Ait-Ourir where we had hotel rooms waiting for us.

    [​IMG]

    It turned out to be a charming little place. There was a closed yard where we could park the bikes and a swimming pool just outside our rooms.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After a much needed dip in the pool the rest of the evening was spent eating local food, drinking cold beer and just kicking back.

    Tomorrow we'll head east across the Atlas Mountains.

    #19
  20. DonLogan

    DonLogan n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1
    Location:
    Denmark
    Fandt dig, håber du nyder din shiskebab. Er der noget god hård offroad til min nye 60 kilo 690 med megasystem på?;)
    #20