Morocco and beyond 2012
Finally underway,it was supposed to be a trip to St Petersburg,Russia,but it's too late
in the year now,so a trip south was the only option!As some may know about our Argentinian
debacle which has failed to launch so far due to one of the girls having a bad accident in her
home New Zealand and i being stuck back home in Scotland after getting my jaw broken at
the Dentist while extracting a tooth!
Started the trip by van as i've got a friends car to repair in middle England,so i thought i'd leave
from a relatives house in Derby,England.Quite glad as the temp. was below 0 C at Shap on the
M6 the other evening.Was numb to the bone on the first leg from Derby to Reigate in Surrey where
i was dropping a friend off to buy a van.Currently 2 hours from Bilbao,Spain on the boat which is 2 hours
behind schedule due to a force 9 gale-the other side of 'Sandy' that hit NY,USA.Corossong's not been too
bad,bit of motion on the ocean,the stomach stayed down though! :)
Have a good trip.will be keeping an eye on this rr
Aye,thanks......off to a good start,ran out of fuel,but as luck would have it,there was a Cepsa
station within view(must happen a lot,a big hole in the chainlink fence!).I knew i was short,but
i now know there's nothing at the Bilbao Port.Got going,heavy drizzle,and i was driving down a
tramline,and a didn't see the raised step between it and the road,the front just slid away,2 heavy
stamps into the tar to keep hold of it.....lesson learn.One of the English guys behind did the exact
same.....the vision's so difficult! At least i had the foresight to book a hostel from Scotland,the other
3 couldn't get in.......hopefully find them tomorrow!
Time to hit the Black Bush(Irish whiskey)! :)
you'll love that country :o) gl&hf
Got lost in Spain today,but think i found the best 'supermoto road' ever,A220 from Ciudad Rodrigo to Bejam
100km canyon road,and i only saw 2 cars the full distance of it,what a blast.......hardly even on the centre of
the tyre.Anyone who doesn't understand big single cylinder bikes need to try roads like these,i've got a grin
from ear to ear!!!
Should be in Seville tonight,but i'm still about 3 hours north,but having done that today,who cares,these are
the special biking days,the ones that stick in your mind! It was like a blast through Royal Deeside in Scotland
but warm.Being Autumn the colours are amazing,as the scenery(a Spanish National Park).
Had a slow take off this morning,had to do the tourist thing......always wanted a good look at the Guggenheim
Museum,a weird building......
......swear the bike was smiling too,ha ha!
Good posts, I'm interested in this adventure, always fancied heading Morocco. Ride safe:clap
Welcome to the chaos that is Nth Africa.......mental driving has begun.......and i'm just off the boat!
Small 'typo' from yesterday,it's "Bejar",not "Bejam".......see what happens typing eating dry bread,ha ha!
Found out roughly where i was last night,Hostal Mirabel,near,yes,you've guessed it.......Mirabel!
32 Euros for a decent room(with a bath-yee!),steak and chips and a couple of Fanta orange drinks,good
Mostly uneventful,mostly motorway day apart from a 'bump' from a 4x4 as i stopped to let a lady cross the road at a crossing.
This idiot was pulling out a parking space looking over his left shoulder not realising i'd stopped(i've only the
loudest exhaust in Spain fitted,a modified FMF can off a Yamaha WR450!).Some people!!! Straight down to
Algeciras,ticket,straight onto ferry,no waiting!
Now 'shacked up' in Ceuta,it was 19.00hrs on arrival,wet,so sleeping quarters was first priority.In at the first
place i came to,worried about no off street parking for the bike,other than that,this Arabic family couldn't be more
Couldn't resist,ha ha!
Bugger bull fighting that.......you win.......i'm off home! :p
Had to get the tourist shot done!
Finally in Morocco,what a story to tell........
Awoke Tuesday morning at what i now know was 06.30hrs(phone's wrong-auto change!),heard cars
outside running through puddles,"wet!",roll over,back to sleep!Finally got going at 10.30hrs,trundle
through Ceuta in the rain to the Moroccan Border to be met by the Amsterdam - Dakar Rallye,a
charity event just like the real Paris - Dakar apart from using old,cheap vehicles(late '80's Honda
Dominators being the weapon of choice in the bike catagory!).Once in Dakar all the vehicles get
auctioned off,and the monies go to a Gambian childrens charity,a worthy cause!
Anyway,an hour of faffing around,by the use of the obigitory 'helper',the D16 form and Police chit
filled out,stamped and on my way(10 Euros lighter to the helper,as i had no change,but he was
around 70yrs old and he probably doesn't have a pension,so who cares!).I set off following 2 Dutch
and a Belgian who are on the Rallye and heading to Fes too,and as you can see,i couldn't.I was
thinking to myself,"What are you doing?",you stick to the coastal roads in fog,and cross the mountains
later......apart from that,i only had half a tank of fuel and no local currency.So i u-turned 3 miles out of town!
So,a trip to the supermarket,1 Michelin Map,a currency exchange a 'top up',a spag/bol at Pizza Hut
(taking it slow on the local food stuff :p ),of we go again on N2 heading towards Chefchaouen and
straight from the off your realise you are no longer in the affluent West.People living out of a landfill
site,roads,though the surface aint bad,it oozes slime! In the main uneventful,just getting used to my surroundings
and being a professional driver,having to keep all your wits about yourself.I'm an expert at reading other
motorists,but Moroccans can do things you wouldn't even think about-crazy!
First stop,to get out of the waterproof suit is at Derdara,where the N2 & N13 split.Did i not meet 'Care in
the Community',a guy who was obviously a few teeth short of a sprocket......"Get me outa here!",trying to
get my boots out my suit!Once escaped i began to realise how much dope is around here,all these Berber Tribesmen flashing big 'dods' at me,and a signal to ask if i smoke......i aint starting now,let's see how CO/WA,
USA gets on there! I was looking for the R419 to Ourtzarh but somehow missed it,which was no biggie,as the
road i was on wasn't great,and the town streets horrendous........1 foot deep holes are commonplace.....mud,
The Moroccan scenery was coming into its own though,and if you look you'll see a landslip that has went right
through that village.......bet people were killed in that,huge rocks!
I love that colour of the hills near Bab-Berret,that brownie green.......
As i headed to where the road splits for Fes at Ketama,i'm riding up high on the mountain,lined with
evergreen tree,spruce probably,i come across an opening,and the sight of the never ending cloud below
took my breathe away-stunning!
Even up there,in the middle of nowhere,you are still getting pestered by people,they are hanging about
everywhere.In Norway in similar circumstances,you can stop and enjoy the silence in such beauty,that
doesn't happen here,it's full on constantly.I would stop and take far more photos,but it's best to keep
moving at times!
Arrive Ketama,into the usual melee that is a Moroccan town,slime,huge holes dirty,harassment,this
one guy greats me in English.So after a little chat,i turn off the bike,and he invites me in for some
mint tea.It's movie night in the cafe,stuffed full!He asks where i am heading,"Fes",i say......"You come
stay with my family tonight,Fes is too far!"(160km,and it's only 17.00hrs,but the sun is getting low!).
So in the craziest thing i've ever done,i agree.As 7 Arabs pile into a 1980's Mercedes Benz,i start
to quiz my wisedom...."You follow!",he shouts,as we drive out of town onto a forestry track!Five mile
later and i'm thinking,"Can my bike and my past moto x experience beat that Merc. outa here?"
We finally arrive at a small village,i've never been so happy to see a throng of children,it was reassuring
in a way!(i've seen too many American Redneck,getting lost in the backwoods movies,ha ha!). This is
real 3rd World living,though there is power,a portable TV which the local female come to watch Arab 'soaps'
on(woman the same,the World ower!).So after i'm introduced to his wife and 3yr old daughter,i'm far more
relaxed.Mint tea was duly served,followed by a fish dinner,lovely it was too!
Then,from nowhere i look up to an outstretched hand,"Fatima"! I'm guessing she was around 13yrs old,
her father is asking me if i want a Moroccan wife.After a month of Jimmy Savile(an ex-BBC Radio1 DJ who is now dead!) stories that blew up in the press after his things were auctioned off,the Murdoch press empire were using this guy to beat up on the BBC after News Internationals phone hacking scandal,before some greedy Lawyer out there realised there's a 4.3 million GBP estate lying there that should be going to charity,and everyone's in on it now
.I'm thinking,i'll be getting beheaded,and not from the neck up,ha ha,for getting that suggested to me!Savile seemingly missed a trick!
Finally get ready for bed,comfy,cannot complain,i awake with Love & Rockets tune "I'm alive" going through
my head.So it's up out to the sludge,just wanting to get going again,but then we are called to breakfast(something
i never bother with much at home!).The conversation turns to what this guy does for a living."Oh i farm too!",came the reply after him seeing my phone which has a John Deere tractor and baler on it....."What do do farm?",thinking animals or crops,"I grow plant for hashish!".......bejeezus,not only does he want me to marry his 13yr old daughter,
he's the poorer Moroccan Pablo Escobar!!!
Makes you appreciate where you stay!
That is the 'Freewind' under a cover.Some local kid thought he'd have my GPS cable,not a hope of pulling
that off my bike!
So,after thanking everyone,a photo(Fatima hiding relieved she's not be palmed off to some foreign land,ha ha!),
i finally slithered my way back to the main highway,a 3rd World experience to behold!
Off to Fes.......
Finally get out onto the R509,and head back for fuel at Ketama......
U-turn around and head for Fes,finally heating up,been frozen since i arrived,mainly due
to elevation!Nice sunny ride,and apart from a guy cutting a corner and a couple of slippy
wet bits on the road-i stopped to see if i had a soft tyre at one point,uneventful!Arrived in
Ain-Aicha to see over 200 Mitsubishi & Renault tipper trucks parked up.....i have no idea
As this photo shows the craziness of Morocco.......people and a HORSE in the rear,and a truck overtaking
on a 'solid' white line(not to mention a Scotsman getting his camera out his pocket at 40mph :p ).
Sorry about the quality.......a Go-Pro camera is on my 'wish list'!
Finally arrive Fes to be accosted by a guy i wish i'd rather not met,best described as a pest.He lied about the
hotel,but i couldn't have found better,very quite,but expensive(45 Euros per night),and he set up a guide i did not
want,150DH! Obviously on commision,yet he is looking for me to pay him,yeah right!!!
Food is excellent,4 course meal was 180DM,not cheap,but i'm on one meal per day,and it's worth paying for!
Fes city walls!
Nice to have a day off the bike,this hotel,the Riad Khouloud Guest House,a 300yr old building,within
ancient Fes is the quietest place so far in Morocco,with free internet,nice to chill out in!
Well i haven't got far,too much here to see.....3rd day in the same hotel,but as you see,i'm in no rush
to leave-beautiful place!(the main living hall!).
Simply astounding place,the amount of crafts around,metal workers,wood workers,weavers,you name it,it's here!
The leather tannery.......no chemicals used,all natural!
Headed down to Meknes today........hit the supermarket during prayer time,bliss!
Didn't think it was worth moving hotel only being around 60km away,so i thought i'd hit the hill roads,and a wee bit offroading!
Moulay-Idriss built of a rock formation!
Then i was back to Fes again,time to see the sights without a guide!(didn't want one to start with!).
Come to the conclusion,the Atlas Mountains will be as far as i'll get this trip,but there's no point in rushing.
As the bike is getting left in Denia,Spain,Morocco is only 9hrs away(1hr road,8hrs on a ferry!),so a return
trip looks likely sometime!
Having a quiet evening sharing a bottle of 'Black Bus' Irish whiskey with 4 Spaniards at the hotel-keeping it discreet!
Heading south towards Sefrou tomorrow,no plans,see where it takes me!
Nice one Mac, enjoying this one :clap
Better update this and let you know (vaguely) what happened!
I had to make a run for Spain Saturday due to "diarr-events"........sure you get the picture!
I'm pretty seriously ill,about to lie down on the floor for the night in Barcelona Airport for a flight home tomorrow.
"Skitzin' " badly since last Friday,the "Curse of Ronald" of all things!The only thing i had to eat was a McChicken
sandwich,and went crook as the Aussies say very soon afterwards.Be enjoying the local scran,not a problem,
and on my way in from Meknes i happened to spot the Golden Arches.........the pain that night!!!
Arrived Denia,Spain at a mates place 2pm Sunday,shaking,didn't get any drugs until Monday,and like Elvis,i thought
my days were numbered on the throne.
As there's a General Strike today,i've had to ride up here for this flight(no public transport),and strangely enough,
sitting on a big thumper seems to stop the 'contractions'.My urines orange,though drinking constantly,the fluids are flowing through me.........straight to hospital on arrival in the UK!
What i've been trying to avoid in the 3rd World came courtesy of the Western one,the irony!
The boat to Almeria had to be the worst i've experience,pish,puke and shit on the floors,and i'm fragile already!
So an experience that was going so well,finishing quickly with a bad ending,not only this,but that aforementioned
Dickhead was awaiting my departure demanding money for his "services".Apart from showing where that nice old
hotel was.......worth a 5 Euro tip,but it should be the hotel,parking,guide(that i said twice i did not want!) that should
be paying him commision.So as the bike was loaded,i passed him 150DH(15 Euro) as something as a goodwill gesture
only for him to start ranting and eventually throw it on the floor.I thought,"F*ck it!",i'm on a 650cc,you've got a 50cc,and
just rode off without looking back,a sad parting for the hotel staff who came out to see me off,though i think one of them was in cahouts with this guy!
All i'll say,is approaching the Medina of Fes from the north,avoid a guy in usually wearing green anorak riding a 1980's Suzuki AP50!(no tail lamp on it!).
I'll upload more photos and reports later,once sorted out.......Adios!
Love Morocco. Carthage was great. Looking forward to the rest of your RR.
Well,that came to an abrupt end........
Currently back in England recovering at a cousins after a week from hell!
I got back to my friends in Denia,Spain around 2PM Sunday,shaking,partly from cold,mostly from food poisoning.
Got everything 'hooked up'(it's a holiday villa),and straight into a hot bath as my core was way to cold.Being a
Sunday,i'd to wait until Monday for medicine,so it was heater on,and straight to bed.Well,i was out of bed at least
once an hour with the 'runs'.For the best part of a week i've been pissin' through my ass,not holding fluids at all!
One thing i've learned living in the Arizona desert is about watching the colour of your urine,an indicator on body
hydration.I was onto level orange,and even through i was drinking plenty,i was really needing on a drip!
Monday.Down town to a chemist,got the essentials,started popping pills and drinking some sort of recuperation
cola they gave me.Rain had now come on,for what was to be torrential for the next 48hrs,but being stuck in bed
it didn't matter.
Wednesday.Time to be the bike into the villa and travel to Barcelona for Thursdays flight.Thought i'd better say hello
to the elderly Dutch neighbours,only to be told Spain was shut down on General Strike! So there was no way of getting
north,so taking the bike was the only option(i noted during a major strike,i swines on the peage toll booths dont walk out,
typical......FORTY FUCKING EUROS between Valencia and Barcelona,more than the total cost of fuel......rip off!!!!
So,now at a city where a riot is happening,no toilet cleaners at work,equals no toilet rolls,so i camp out at a McDonalds
at a mall until late,then back to the terminal.Find a safe(ish) place to leave my bike,strip it down(all the stealable stuff!),undo
the battery and head in to sleep on the terminal floor for the night.Seemingly you are not allowed to sleep there,but after having an argument with a complete prick of a security guard,he walked away and left me.The country in in lock down,riots
in the city centre,what are you supposed to do?(the airport is well guarded!).Anyway,4AM,this prick arrived back only to kick me in the ribs to wake me up.......i've never come as close to seriously assaulting someone!There was no need,Easyjet
doesn't open until 6AM,and my flight wasn't until 11.30AM! Some people really are in the wrong job,and Spain running at 25%
unemployment,that guy is needing fired,there will be plenty takers for his job!
Half eleven came and went,plane delayed due to French industrial action(this is why all these countries are going bust,controlled by a bunch of Socialist arseholes!).Eventually land in Luton,England for to discover the final insult,Easyjet
had left my luggage in Spain.I wasn't even angry,i sort of guessed it would happen,i was even joking with the cute little Spanish Vet i was talking to.As Easyjet offer 25GBP a day for "essentuals",i though,i going to rip the piss right out of this
new underwear,razor blades,socks,bath towel.......bought 50 Quids worth of stuff.......the receipts are on the way to them!
So,who can explain how a week can so well,only to be followed by the 'week from Hell'!Certainly made me think about my Argentina trip a lot more.
Aprt from a run down of everything,that this trip over for now,but as it was "Morocco and Beyond",the next stage will be
updated when it happens,i'll post it when it does.
To be continued............
Even though seriously ill,and trying to get back to the ferry to Spain from Melilla,i still had to stop and take in this great road,the road straight north from Taza(mislaid my map for the road #).
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