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Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by DeeGee, Oct 7, 2012.
Great stuff keep it coming
I think your all be back to Morocco
NIce start Gav.
Patrick already had me convinced to go. Planning for next year..
Anxious for sure.
Beautiful, Gav, both the pics and the story!
And yes, Terry, as long as you interact with the locals and get their consent (verbal or non-verbal), I think it's OK to take pictures of them.
Keep it coming!
Coming along nicely Gav.
Not much to see in Midelt, it just happens to be in the middle of a great riding area. The view from my hotel window at sunset. Nice and handy to the mosque for a wake up call to prayer. I think the birds are egrets please correct me if I'm wrong.
Can't tell you how much I'm enjoying your trip on this side of the pond. I'm sure you guys had a super time and the pix are great,keep'm coming.
Also really cool to see the "GO AZ " tee in the pix I had a big grin on that one
Love your pics of Fez!
Eyup Jeff how's tricks? Glad you like the Tee, favourite riding shirt now the guys asked about it and I had to tell the story of how I got it
Cheers Wildman, I've just stumbled across your thread too, like you say we must have just missed one and other.
So we made it to midelt and we'd had an awesome days riding, roads and pistes, stunning scenery which was ever changing and witnessed some sights on the road. What I haven't mentioned so far was the kids, hundreds of them waving and smiling as we passed through villages. Running barefooted huge smiles on their faces, some trying to high five us, one small girl in particular, she must've been four years old, stunning big brown eyes ran towards us with her small hand held high. I closed the throttle, slowing down and held out my hand and as we high fived her big eyes doubled in size as did her grin, for me this was magical and brought a tear to my eye.
We also saw many school buses with as many children sat on the roof of the bus as there were sat inside. Many trucks were overloaded with hay, vans had horses in them, pick ups had sheep, goats, cows and sheep loaded onto them. An eye opener it was!
Anyway I digress. Midelt!
Once we had parked the bikes and (cold) showered we went to eat. I'm sure the hotel had just (or coming to the end of) been refurbished, everything was new despite no hot water, but we weren't complaining One of the young ladies on the reception offered to take us to a restaurant and we gladly took her up on her offer.
We ate up on the roof
The restaurant owner giving us some recommendations of where to stay further on in our trip.
Once we'd eaten we headed back to the hotel stopping off to get some cash on the way. Rob and Pete resting their feet.
We had taken our jetboil on the trip which turned out to be a good choice as there were no tea and coffee making facilities in any of the places we stayed. Well it is North Africa!
The following morning we'd discovered Rob had been up early with an upset stomach We retrieved the bikes from the underground garage where we found out that a young lad had been payed a few dirhams for watching over them. We got them back to the hotel loaded them up and hit the road.
Our final destination of the trip and our most southern point. Erg Chebbi and the start of the Sahara.
We travelled through Aziz Gorge, which was very similar looking to the Grand Canyon in the US, but on a much smaller scale, it was beautiful though.
On the road again.
We took a diversion and looked for an old French Foreign Legion fort. Leaving the tarmac too
More children waving
Then we saw the old fort.
Back on the road.
We stopped for fuel and a bite to eat and let Rob use the toilets, I was also getting bad stomach cramps We could tell we were getting nearer the desert though as these guys were here
I spoke to one of the test drivers and they were on their way back from the dunes testing for next years Dakar. I told him I'd look out for him and took a shot so I'd remember.
Not far to go now as we passed the last town of Rissani, the last one before the desert. We stopped off to take a few snaps and we were the centre of attention as a load of school kids turned up on their push bikes.
A few seconds later a guy turns up in an old renault says something to the kids who move on a few yards and then the guy props open his boot with a piece of wood and tries to sell us a few fossils, bizarre. We smiled and said no as we pulled on our helmets and made our way onto the road.
We were getting closer, the landscape more baren, the heat was turned up and I felt a bit apprehensive, excited and emotional. We had travelled approximately 2500 miles over the last seven days and we were finally approaching our destination
Terry had a friend back home who had been doing some testing for a WRC Rally team down in Erg Chebbi and he recommended Hotel Yasmina. We saw the sign for it and we had to leave the tarmac once again.
The going was ok as it was quite hard packed, but then we hit hard mud which had been corrugated with rain water followed by baking heat over the years, known as washboard. I tried moving to the side and found it a little easier, but then I was hitting long patches of soft sand and the bike was all over the place. I just kept moving from one to the other, Jack didn't really like it, but the hotel was 15kms away.
Then the hotel came into view and we rode on in.
As we entered and asked if they had any rooms our host Mohammed gave us a very warm welcome and told us not to worry about rooms, about the price or about anything else! I'll bring you tea and cold drinks then we can talk about rooms. We found it difficult to argue as we feasted on the views and conceded. Just go with the flow.
Our view as we drank tea and cokes.
Tomorrow we play!!!
Later guys and once again thanks for the kind comments.
Blimey Gav, those dunes look inviting
You are not making it easy for me not to go there next year
Not jelous one bit
Nice one Gavlar!!!!!!!!
Keep it coming lad
Kin ell, its like pulling teeth, I leave it for a couple of days, come back to get and update and Robs wearing sandles and socks (or has he just bleached his feet?:huh) loving Petes suit, looks better all the time.
keep it coming
So we made it to Erg Chebbi. I couldn't get the Michelin map to route to our destiantion as we had to ride off the tarmac to reach it, but the next town down was Merzouga and that's the point I put on the map to give you guys who asked for maps an idea where we were. Where we stayed is approximately 10-12 miles north west of the finish flag on the map.
This was the track we had to take to get to the hotel.
Jack and I on the way down.
When we had finished our drinks we came to the conclusion that this was our final goal/destination of our trip and we all agreed that we would stay here no matter what the cost. The views were kinda surreal as we soaked up the vast sea of sand, I couldn't believe we were actually here!
We were shown our rooms and then once we were showered and changed I had to go back and look at the dunes, camel trains were setting off from all around us making their way into the heart of the dunes for a night under the stars.
As the sun began to set the colours on the landscape changed.
We ate a mixture of tagine and kebabs that evening Rob and I still not feeling 100% and Jack had started to get stomach ache by this time too
The next day we all had breakfast, I was feeling a bit better as was Jack, but Rob was still under the weather, but he braved on and got kitted up ready to go and play in the dunes. Jack was happy to have a day off the bike and was content with sitting by the pool and soaking up the sun.
To be honest it was pretty difficult on the big bikes, we were all just skirting round the edges on the flat surface looking at the tantalising dunes building up the courage to have a real go. The first small dune I went over I came down the other side and it was much steeper than I thought, I had my first experience of the fesh fesh and as the front wheel disappeared in the soft sand I went over the bars. Luckily I wasn't going very fast and the sand provided a soft landing
I wasn't giving up that easily and got a bit more confidence and ventured further into the sand. I'd had a few good runs, then went even further and got buried in more fesh fesh!
No side stand required!
Luckily Pete was on hand while Terry carried on taking the photos.
And it wasn't just me having the odd lay down just look at these in the sequence they're in
The "money shot"
It was my turn to repay the favour this time, with the help of one of the locals.
I think you'll agree it was awesome camera work by Terry
Pete bought a few trinkets from the local guy who helped him.
He was very happy to have made a sale.
A few stills taken from my helmet camera.
Different angle........ :huh
These guys made it look so easy.
Pete making it look......... erm
Boy it was so hot riding and picking the bikes up was hard work. After a couple of hours we decided to call it a day and we headed back to the hotel, parked up, got changed and jumped in the pool.
We soaked up the sun and chilled by the pool the rest of the day and when late afternoon arrived it was time for us to jump on a camel and have our own trek out into the desert for a night under the stars.
We arrived at our bivouac after one and a half hours, team photo.
We drank local tea, ate well (meat tagine), danced and played the drums and climbed the dunes in the dark to gaze up at the night sky, no light pollution made awesome viewing of the stars.
We were up very early the next morning as we all wanted to see the sunrise over the dunes, wake up call was at 5.30.
Rob feeling better nothing to do with him sitting between two lovely Chinese girls
The colours were amazing.
Back at the hotel in time for breakfast
Pete amused himself with a do-nut
Once breakfast was over Terry, Pete and I got kitted up for another blast in the sand, Rob was feeling badly again so he gave it a miss. We also headed down to Merzouga via a piste we'd been told about by an Italian guy who was also staying at the hotel on his KTM 640.
We went to Merzouga on the piste and it was simply amazing riding, nothing too technical, we just had a blast. When we arrived in the town it turned out that there was no cash machine, Terry went back on the piste to return to the hotel and Pete and I rode the road to Risanni where we knew there was a cashpoint.
Terry had a spot of bother on the way to Merzouga, legs not long enough
Risanni again, it was busy as there was a market on today.
On the way back we were riding the road, I was looking at the scenery we were engulfed in and I guess Pete was doing exactly the same, I pulled up alongside him and motioned us to slow down. When we stopped we both said at the same time "why are we riding on the road when there's all that land either side of us?" We both laughed and made our way off the road, no sooner had we left it we had to cross a dry river bed and I found some fesh fesh again!
I'd had a fair bit of experience with getting burried now and it was a simple fix of pushing the bike over on it's side, filling the hole with sand where the wheel had been and then gas it out on the throttle.
We got going again in no time and the landscape was again simply breathtaking, the riding was superb, no boundries and just Pete and I, sun, sky and a long horizon.
To try and give you an idea here's Pete, I took a shot of him and his bike to the left of the shot and one to the right, vast doesn't come close.
Once we neared the hotel we bumped into Terry talking to one of the locals.
Back to the hotel for another shower and a dip in the pool!
Bloody hell Gav, sat here in cold wet blighty I can't believe we were riding in that a few short weeks ago.
Did we really go?
Did we really get to ride there?
Is it all a dream?
WHEN WE GOING BACK!!!!!
I know man! I think I've defo got "unfinished business" over there!
Now I know why we had a bad couple of days of rain the other week, Pete landing his 'bomb' in the pool
Cracking write up Gav, gets better and better
Great pics, great write up. I'm looking forward to going there next year. Would you advise taking spare fuel baring in mind ill be on a 950 adventure. I'm guessing the answer is yes :huh