The Moroccan Shakedown

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Colebatch, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. ERIC DN

    ERIC DN Been here awhile

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    The Mamhid Foum Zguid tracks, I think the most awefull track I never done, stones stones.....

    Good report :clap:clap
  2. Johnny55

    Johnny55 Banned

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    Cole, where and how do you find these tracks? I love them! I want a 100,000 mile long track like this......all the way around the world......North, South and East, West!!! Love your RR's!!
  3. KL__07

    KL__07 ride your own way

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    Walter

    following your thread bring back memories. many thanks!
    I got stuck in the sand with the quota 2 up, so i decided not to go on and returned to Mhamid.
    Obviously the right decision. :clap
    Must finish that track in the future with more capable material in the future.

    Attached Files:

  4. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    are these the 2-3-5 metre dunes that I found going on for the first 10-15km from Mhamid?

    It looks like them.
  5. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    Cool tracks make the world go round :)

    I didnt find these ones. Roman did. I was just following.
  6. Deadly99

    Deadly99 Fast and Far

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    Not even a picture of the Italian women.....:rofl


    Keep it coming, the riding looks very fun and challenging :lurk
  7. drmracni

    drmracni Montenegro

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    uh, i have to be subscribed :clap
  8. s_gogos

    s_gogos ...vespaholic!

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  9. Mr Pif

    Mr Pif Adventurer

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    epic!!!
    a report full of front page pictures,
    :lurk
  10. macarron

    macarron Adventurer

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    Walter, didn’t those rocky bumpy tracks worsen your rib problem? I wouldn’t like to ride over those stones in your condition. On the other hand, such temperatures must have been terrible for the whole trip. I was in that area in April last year (pretty cooler) and had the same thought as you: “Neither of us fancied the idea of changing a flat tyre in 43 degree heat”. Of course, I got a flat tire then.
  11. RuckedUp

    RuckedUp Long timer

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    Thanks for the picture of what I may see when I head there in November. Can't wait for these next 30 days to go by.
  12. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    This was our whole route thru Morocco ...

    At the moment in the RR we are midway down the lime green line between Hotel 3 and Hotel 4

    [​IMG]
  13. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    She was tall, long legged and looked pretty decent in a bikini (swimming pool at hotel the night before) ... but the photos I really should have got were the 2 German girls in Merzouga. They were genuinely cute. But they were in a rather stressed state at the time ... asking them to pose for some cute pics while trying to protect them from a crazy Moroccan might have been a bridge too far ...
  14. KL__07

    KL__07 ride your own way

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    yes thats it, coundnt handle them on the quota 2 up. :huh
  15. VikB

    VikB Been here awhile

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    There is a time to take photos of hot girls...:evil and there is a time to help out ladies in distress...:cry. You are a true biker and a gentleman Walter...:clap
  16. tmotten

    tmotten Lefthand ride Dutchy

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    Love seeing the maps. Did you guys run into any logistical issues? I'm imagining that the area close to the Algerian border would be very sparsely populated. 6 litres of water doesn't seem like a lot.
  17. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    We took 8-9 litres for a full days riding.

    For the Mhamid-Foam Zguid piste, we only left at 12:30 ... so it was about 1/2 - 2/3 of a days ride. Thus the reduced water quantity of 5-6 litres. We also had full camel baks when we left base each morning. And we drank as much as stomachs could hold over breakfast each morning. So there was actually more water than that.

    Additionally, there are tiny settlements occasionally popping up along the pistes, and they DO have bottled water and coca cola as a matter of course. We supplemented what we carried with drinks bought in the settlements.

    Biggest logistical problem was carrying all the water. We would start the day typically having to find a space for 3 or 4 1.5 litre bottles somewhere in our limited luggage capacity. We knew the route, the next town with fuel and accommodation ... so that minimised logistical problems. Apart from not being able to get new fork seals for Igor quickly and easily.
  18. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    I dont know if it worsened the problem ... but it certainly didnt assist the healing process.

    But you have to remember I broke the rib on day 1 in Morocco. I realised it was broken the next day. The very first days of a 3 week trip I had been looking forward to. To cancel so early into the trip would have been a huge disappointment.

    I did some thinking, and logically speaking, a rib is nothing like a leg or a collarbone. You cant do anything without a collarbone or a thighbone, but ribs? We have 12 I believe. If one is broken, nothing really changes. You just have pain if you breathe sharply, cough or sneeze. Its not like my chest would be wrapped in plaster or anything even if I did go to a hospital. All that any doctor is going to do is to say "stop riding your bike, and take it easy back to the UK". I didnt really want to hear that. So I didnt go to a hospital or see a doctor. There is always a risk with a more serious broken rib that the broken bone can puncture a lung. I was breathing ok ... so that hadn't happened. But another fall could make that happen, so I was very conscious of that risk and rode accordingly.

    I told Igor and Roman that I cant do any heavy lifting and would need their help if I dropped the bike. They accepted that. But after Merzouga, when I realised it was broken, I never dropped the bike ... cause I knew I couldnt afford to.

    Like anything to do with bikes, its just a calculated risk. If I had broken a wrist or collarbone, or leg .... it would be a different story.
  19. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    Something felt wrong with my rear end … I was feeling too many of the bumps on the times I was sitting. I stopped again to check my wheel bearings …. But they were ok. I rode on. 20 km later I stopped again. Something was definitely not right at the back. I was standing the whole time and didn’t feel it too much, but when I sat down as I came to a stop, I feared a major problem. And sure enough, out here in the middle of a rarely used piste, in 40 degree temperatures, I noticed my 2 top subframe bolts had unscrewed and come out … gone somewhere in the desert. The seat and luggage were being held on by the exhaust system and the fuel tank, incredibly … and had been for over 20 km of rugged piste.

    By the time Grom had noticed I was no longer following and turned around and returned, we had a visitor. A guy in military uniform and on a Yamaha scooter rode out of nowhere. We reckoned he was a border patrolman. Our track today had several times crossed the unofficial Morocco / Algeria border. He stopped to watch and help us as we raided Grom’s spare bolts tin for a couple of short M8 bolts.

    [​IMG]

    The bolts screw into an alloy part of the frame in the centre of the bike … the alloy threaded holes were showing clear damage that would have been caused by the bolts as they came out. The entrances to the bolt holes were now very large and worn. We would try and rebolt it temporarily. A permanent fix was obvious. Drill out the M8 threaded holes all the way through, then put in a single long bolt through the lot, thus eliminating the unreliable “thread in alloy” that has been a consistent problem theme in my time with this bike. Over time many of the threaded alloy connections have been drilled through and replaced with a steel bolt and steel nut solution, that has proved perfectly reliable in the most extreme conditions. But for now, out here, we would need to effect a bodge repair. Get 2 short M8 bolts to somehow take, in damaged threaded alloy holes. One bolt took OK. The other seemed to be cross threaded and could not be fully tightened. It would have to do. The border patrolman scooted off. He was the only vehicle we would see moving on the piste all day.

    We rode on for 10 more kilometres when something clicked in my little brain, and I killed the engine and ground to a slow halt. If the exhaust system had bravely taken the weight of the full subframe, fuel tank and luggage, then it would have moved lower, as the subframe was not correctly aligned when I found the fault. If the exhaust had moved lower then there was a real risk the 650 C exhaust header was touching a coolant hose, that normally has barely 5mm of clearance from the exhaust. I looked down with fear. And yes, the exhaust was touching the water hose, had burned part of it away but had not burned through it yet. We headed 100 yards away to a cluster of palm trees and I explained the problem to Grom. He realised it will take time to fix it, as the exhaust had to cool down before I could grab it and start moving it around. I told him to make himself comfortable. We will be here for a while.

    [​IMG]

    In the shade of the palm trees, with breeze, and out of hot and heavy riding gear and boots, we were actually quite comfortable. I reluctantly picked myself up after 20 minutes to squirt a small amount of our water on the exhaust. While I waited for it to cool, I checked my bodgy subframe repair. It seemed to be holding. I grabbed a fresh water bottle from my luggage and was pleasantly surprised. It had been a block of ice when we bought it 3 hours ago. It was still 30% ice … and the water inside was just above freezing. It was incredibly refreshing in that desert heat.

    With the exhaust now touchable, I loosened the header bolts at the engine, rotated the pipe so that I had clearance from the coolant hose and retightened the exhaust. I flexed the coolant hose. It was definitely softer and weaker and more flexible where it was burnt half through, but it still had some thickness and stiffness to it. I felt lucky. I think it will hold for the remainder of the trip. I lay down under the palm trees to relax. I felt exhausted and stressed. Breaking down here would be terrible. We were roughly in the middle of the piste between Mhamid and Foam Zguid. A rescue job here would mean spending a lot of time waiting here in the middle of the desert while Grom rode off solo (itself unwise) to get help.

    [​IMG]

    It was 5pm by the time we both could summon the energy to get up from under the palms. We still had 90 km to go and 90 minutes of daylight left. Both now relaxed and refreshed, we hit the piste hard. It was a boneshaker. Very rocky but still punctuated with sandy stretches.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Incredibly we pulled into Foam Zguid about 6:45 pm, just as the 15 minutes of twilight was fading. Our timing could not have been tighter.

    [​IMG]

    By the light of our headlights we rode through town and pulled in at the fuel station, where we were shocked to see other western bikers. It was 3 Austrians, one on a stock X-Challenge, one on a XT660R and one on a 750 Elefant. The bikes looked spotless. Next to them was a huge support truck, also Austrian. I yelled out to one of the bikers, but they took one look at us and rode off. The Austrian support truck driver looked amazed at our bikes and was yelling and pointing at our bikes to the other three, but they continued riding off. We thought about getting fuel and asked the fuel station guy about a hotel with swimming pool, while the support truck driver gave our bikes a thorough looking over. He kept giving us the thumbs up with a big grin on his face.

    We followed the advice of the fuel guy and rode 5 km north where we found a luxury hotel (Hotel 4 on the map). The empty car park was a sign of the season. It’s still too hot and too early for tourists. Main season is the European winter. We would be the only guests. That gave us a lot of bargaining power. We looked at a room that would normally cost 100 EUR each including breakfast and dinner, and told the manager we will pay 30 each. Take it or leave it. There was another hotel 500 yards away if he left it. He called the owner and the deal was done. We had scored another luxury hotel and meals for a pittance. We had done the same in Mhamid, where our luxury hotel was 70 EUR each for a single room each, but we had then also offered 30 EUR each, take it or leave it. That place had barely 10% occupancy, so they also had taken the deal.

    The meal here, by the swimming pool in Foam Zguid, turned out to be the best of the whole trip.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    snail73 likes this.
  20. Marco Moto

    Marco Moto Voyager

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