Morocco off road Tour: sand, mud, snow... and big bikes

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by jaumev, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. jaumev

    jaumev Long timer

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    Hi!

    I hope you can understand my horrible english... sorry for that.

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    After crossing Spain in all possible directions, two years ago we broke the tradition and crossed Portugal from south to north, surrounded Sardinia last year and now we decided to do an off road trip to Morocco.
    Our philosophy is always the same: big bikes, no assistance and off road the most we can.
    This year we have been 5 riders: Albert with a a KTM 950 SuperEnduro, Enric, Joan and David with BMW GS1200R Adventure and me with my Yamaha Super Ténéré 1200.
    We had all gone to Morocco before but this year part of the track was new and could be surprises. In total 3100 km, most off road:

    Friday: Cars and trailers to Almeria
    Saturday: The ferry arrives to Melilla and we ride to Missour. 500 km
    Sunday: Missour - Merzouga, 350 km
    Monday: Merzouga - M'hamid: 300 km
    Tuesday: M'hamid - Tata: 315 km
    Wednesday: Tata - Boumande Dades: 486 km
    Thursday: B. Dades - Midelt: 309 km
    Friday: Midelt - Melilla (tarmac)
    Saturday: ride from Malaga to Almeria and Almeria to Barcelona by car and trailer

    Preparation:
    I was dying to try the Yam with the 21 "front wheel on the open Morocco tracks, also see if it was better than the GSA I had in the sand.
    After much load and unload the luggage in the Giant Loop bag (great bags!!) it weights about 20kg. I wish they were less but the tools and parts are very heavy. I have to improve this.
    This year we test the Mitas E09 Dakar tires. We can compare it with the Karoo and TKC we use before. The Mitas where better in these hard conditions, not the Metzeler Unicross I had in the front wheel, it came destroyed.
    The Saturday morning we woke up in Melilla.


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    #1
  2. jaumev

    jaumev Long timer

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    Day 1: Melilla, Missour, crossing the Plateau de Rekam

    As always, it was hard to sleep on the boat but at last we arrive to Melilla port with a big delay. Is important to be ready to quit the boat to be the first to arrive to the horrible Melilla border with Morocco.
    Here nothing has changed in the last years: queues, pushing, total chaos ... go from one gate to another ... but eventually got through.
    Finally we ride to Nador where as always we stop at the same bar for breakfast and change euros for dirhams: the adventure begins!
    The bikes are already dirty, it rains (this is the desert?) and the cars send a curtain of water and mud, we can’t see anything since the helmet and glasses are filled with dirt. Driving on wet and dirty asphalt with such hard knob tires is entertaining, the scares are constant .... We started well!
    We are late, we spend lot of time with the ferry delay and the border and there are many miles ahead ... and at the end of the track, before Missour is a hell of stones.
    We finally go to the dirt tracks and we drive quick. Go to 100 km/h or even 120 is easy with these bikes on these tracks so open but at these speeds the unexpected can be fatal, as you know stop these cows from almost 300 kgs loaded is not easy ...
    The Rekam Plateau is a vast flat area, beautiful but treacherous. Is very high and cold. Suddenly the ground changes colour is much darker and the bike starts making strange movements: mud!
    The Rekam is very flat and the clay soil does not drain so the mud is like a sticky butter which makes it very difficult to move forward. I would not want a storm caught me there…. in these conditions, crossing it in bike must be hell ...
    Soon we start to fell, luckily at low speed but the bike lift is really difficult because the boots slip all over the place, some situations are laughable

    (see video) Rekam

    ... but we move very slow. Luckily the mud is over and we can return to run fast.
    The is the first mechanical failure. My front fender had a crack from a previous fall near home (just the first ride with the bike, good start…) and the mud accumulate in the wheel cause it breaks. Is dangerous to ride like this, so we stopped at the first village we found in the middle of nowhere: Matarka. We see a small workshop where some people are repairing an old truck. Just see us and they stop everything to see what they can do, in this country the people are really nice, always willing to help. With a piece of metal they quickly made a bracket that will support the fender all the way. He ask 3 euros for the work, I give him 5 and he was so happy that he invite me to have a tea.
    It has come too late, and is becoming to be dark. Two years ago I did this track with my old GSA, had a puncture and need to do it in the dark… it was horrible, there are a million of rocks.., nobody in the group wants to repeat it and we decided to finish the stage by road. The problem is we need to do a very large return without refuelling.
    We started to run, it gets dark, wet and cold... pass the miles, I have not been able to test before the autonomy of my bike.... No problem for the GSA and KTM with more than 33 litres but with my 23….When I've done 60km in reserve I start worrying... 80km .. the bike starts coughing ... 85km ... it stops!. Just 2 km from a gas station ... damm, it was so close!!
    I can imagine the jokes of my fellows BMW’rs ... but deep down they are good people and bring me some gas to get to the gas station.
    Take this opportunity to clean the bikes, the mud has left them unrecognizable. And finally another joke at my expense: the washing tunnel had very deep drainage channel in the centre, it was dark and I didn’t see it. When I want to get the bike pushing I stuck my foot in, stumble, lose balance and fell on the floor, the bike on top of me .... I can hear the laughs ... bastards…
    We are 60 km to the hotel in Missour, we call it the arachnid.. you can imagine why. It is the worst hotel of the trip but the food is ok and after an hour of leaving the tap water wide open it comes warm water…
    We go to bed tired but happy. Tomorrow we reach Merzouga sand ... begins!

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    #2
  3. Chriz

    Chriz n00b

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    Nice Ride Report! :thumb
    And i know the fun at Ferry´s we thought we travel with a stone crusher.
    #3
  4. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    #4
  5. Dr LC8

    Dr LC8 ...soon or later

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    Well we want more pics :deal

    Nic
    #5
  6. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    We all know Jaumev from the Tenere threads. I have to say it is just
    short of insane where he will take a bike that size.:clap
    #6
  7. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Bring on the insanity! :thumb

    :lurk
    #7
  8. Sandino

    Sandino Been here awhile

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    Fantastico!!!
    I am in!
    #8
  9. MadM

    MadM Dreamer

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    Great another daily fix :clap:clap

    IN all the way to the end :freaky
    #9
  10. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    Hey Jaumev. Do you always leave the room after a little foreplay???

    Get back here and finish the job you started.:ddog







    Okay, pretty please.:wink::D
    #10
  11. Anticyclone

    Anticyclone Ride more worry less

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    Looking forward to hearing about riding that big bike in Pluric's nemesis, sand.:lol3
    #11
  12. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    There is a reason......


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  13. Burgo650

    Burgo650 Adventurer

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    G,day mate. Looks like a bloody awesome trip

    Cheers :clap
    #13
  14. MeinMotorrad

    MeinMotorrad Long timer

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    :lurk
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  15. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    :snore:snore

    Oh, did Jaumev come back yet? No? Okay.

    :snore:snore
    #15
  16. jaumev

    jaumev Long timer

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    Ok guys I see... you are masochist :lol3

    2nd day: Missour - Merzouga

    The alarm goes off at 7. Ouch.. I feel all my muscles ans bones…, yesterday I did more miles than in the last three months together ...
    At 7.30 we’re having breakfast. To do the planned stages we must be on the bike at 8 o clock and stop as little as possible, otherwise the night we made up. Our meals in the next 8 days will be energy bars and the few things we can stole from the breakfast buffets in the hotels ... what a way to spend the holidays ... So a good dinner and breakfast are essential.
    The problem is there is no way to shorten the stages, the hotels (and villages) are where they are and the only way to get there before is by road and that it is not in our plans, we have allergy to the tarmac.
    I like more today's stage than yesterday, is more varied and I love the end with arrival to Merzouga and Erg Chebbi dunes.
    The day starts fresh, we start at fast tracks, then mountain areas with lots of stones ... in this broken tracks is where I appreciate the improved suspension and 21 " front wheel with respect to the GSA, the ride is more comfortable on the Yamaha.
    As the day goes on I feel much better riding the bike and increasingly enjoy more, while at some point begin the typical "sprints" with the other guys. In one of them I am shooting at 130 km/h behind Albert and his KTM ... we must calm down, a crash here is much more serious than at home ... but is difficult not to open throttle ... these tracks are great, so different than at home, smooth, open… the Beast is in its habitat!! ... The BM/Mambatec suspensions swallow it all, standing driving position is perfect with the wind fairing protection ... the miles pass without noticing, I enjoy!, GASSS! great!!
    Suddenly some sandbanks appear when you least expect it and there are the first falls with no consequences but is hard to lift this loaded big bikes….
    We arrived to a beautiful little canyon, is like a labyrinth, at the end of it there is a rise and at the top the scenery is amazing, endless plains ... it seems impossible to get where it covers our view. I love the vastness of these landscapes, so different from where I live.
    After a while I realize two bikes are missing, the two in the front do not realize it and still pulling, suddenly I fell in a sandbank. Nothing happened, I could reduce speed when I saw the sand and have fallen almost stopped but the bike is in a bad position with the wheels up the hill. I try to lift it but there is more than 260 kilos with luggage. When it looks like I have it above my feet sink, slide in the sand and falls back. It makes sense to wait for help but if you ride a fat motorcycle you must have balls to lift it, right?. I’m pulling it, lifted a bit, then a little more, at some point slipped and is about to fall again, I had to take all the energy that I have, and finally I did it…. But I am exhaust. Later I’m going to realise that it was a mistake to make this effort, is going to be the track harder part and I’m going to miss the energy I’ve used….
    I start to ride again and meet the two in the front that have stopped, they ask about why I was back…. I didn’t want to explain my “adventure”… I said I was waiting the other two… no clues to the enemy… lol..
    After a while the other two arrived, they had to stop to fix a small damage resulting from a drop in the sand ...
    We reached the first oasis full of sand, rivers of sand, roads full of sand, sand and more sand ... how I miss my DRZ!! ... with the Suzuki this track was fun but with the cow is a nightmare and I'm tired... David and Albert suffer as well in the sand, but Joan and Enric with their GSA are flying in the sand, they have fun… the bastards! They are use to go to Morocco and they have a fine technique in the sand.
    When arrived at the hotel in Merzouga in the dark, a good shower, a good dinner, and we are going to be fine (or almost).
    Tomorrow we are going to have beautiful stage to M'Hamid but with the terrible Ramlia in the middle and its 3km of fes-fes and deep soft sand…

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    #16
  17. muddysoles

    muddysoles The cubicle traveler

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    :clap

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  18. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    WOW!

    Very nice photos.:clap

    I don't mean to sound like your mother, but I told you to take the DR.:deal
    Damn kids never listen.

    Thanks for the update.
    #18
  19. KTM 950S

    KTM 950S Been here awhile

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    Really nice story and photo!!!!!!!!!!
    (to be honest i never liked the Tenere 1200 but u did it unbelieveble good looking!!!!!!!!)
    #19
  20. jaumev

    jaumev Long timer

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    I know... is impossible you don't like this beauty:

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    #20