EDC in Morocco on a Yamaha XTZ660Z Ténéré....amongst others...
After scooting about here and Spain,on my new to me Yamaha XTZ660Z Ténéré,for almost a year I decided another trip to Maroc was in the offing and had enlisted a small group of friends along the way.
I had worked before with Redtread Morocco as a guide on CRF450's,been there before that in my Land Rover a few times and hankered to return.
The offer was to help anyone to take that first step to visiting Africa with a free guide as it were who can speak French and knows...or think I know...what to expect from the locals!
Some might call us a Motley Crew...(and I suppose by this end of this ride report the majority probably will)..but all this to say they were press ganged into coming with the promise of adventure,stormy high seas(for an hour or two anyway)and the opportunity to loose weight due to dodgy food coupled with long days in the saddle both on and off road...
First and in no particular order.....because they are disorganized and live life in no particular order...is;
1.Phil....on a Triumph Tiger of a certain age....not Phil...the Tiger that is.... He's a mechanic by trade and also runs pyreneesmotorcycletours dot com.
2.Ken...on a KTM 990i Super Moto...yip...that's right..a Katay....."If the locals can ride anywhere on mopeds with road tyres then why can't I?"....OK Ken..you're allowed to go...but you have to behave yourself....He's in construction and can build us a hut to live in if we get lost...or loose ourselves along the way.
3.Christophe...on a Yamaha XTZ750...again of a certain age...nope not the bike this time but Christophe...he's a professional photographer who will be available to document all of our ...ahem... 'failings' on a daily basis but with that pro angle just for better impact.
4.Ricky...on one of the last Africa Twins,a really clean example.....the moto that is...not Ricky...he too is in construction and can help Ken by supervising and drinking tea.
5.Frank and Caro....they'll be in a Land Rover 300tdi 110 CSW and will be carrying a few spares and will have space to recover any moto if anything unforseen occurs...(you'd be surprised as to what moto fits in here later on in the RReport lol)
6.Craig....an Australian living and working ion London...on a Triumph Tiger also......he looks for any way to escape dull and dreary London and the confines of an office.
7. Graham...a Scot who'll dish out banter to anyone that deserves it....he's on a Katay 990i Adventure and has never ridden it off road...he's ridden road Triumphs all his life and this is his first taste of a moto of this style.
8 Adam...a mechanic who'll also be on an XTZ and will dish out banter if and required at leisure ...he'll also be doing some Factory Testing relative to certain bits of equipment fitted to his moto lol
9.Noah...a Merican traveling around Europe on his Katay 690i Enduro...he'd be available to take some great snaps too and assist at the drop of a hat without hesitation...You can see his report here which will include some of Maroc also http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=781893
10. Me...an Ulsterman and retired weirdo who will continually tell the others when they me a question relative to the trip "What are you asking me for...I'm not actually organizing anything...I'm just winging it in a general direction"...or other words to that effect...
I also had put an open offer in the Europe section in ADV to anyone that wanted to come along and experience the ride. From here I enlisted another three strangers who volunteered and showed interest.
(After that open invite the three other new riders to the group would be Craig,Adam and Noah)
After all was said and done this team of top riders would hence be known as the 'EDC'.....on a mission to do some 'Factory Testing'...ho hum.
What may you ask is EDC?..... i.e. 'Équipe des Chevres'....in translation.....'Team of Goats'....
(It would be decided that every time someone would do something...how to say this delicately ..erm... really stupid ....then they would be awarded a string necklace with a washer on it to pass on to the next goat that did something really stupid the next time...and boy it sure was going to be passed around !!)
My moto speedo reads 9701kms the morning I head off.
The EDC pictures will be used in this RR and I pass on my thanks to all who rode and took pictures.
I started with prepping my moto in slow increments a couple of months before leaving to allow for what expectations that would come ahead.
In no particular order I gathered up a few bits and pieces along with my moto without my wife even suspecting what amount I was spending....
First was of course the moto....bought for me by me for Xmas 2011.... a 2008 model with only 3500kms on it!! It came with a pair of Leo Vice end cans(which sound superb) a centre stand and a pair of Acerbis hand guards.
It comes standard with Metzeler Tourances which actually work very well for the mountain twisties here (and gravel trails in Spain) Next thing was a moto cross front mudguard.
Soon after I had it for a few kms I changed the standard Yamaha handgrips as I found them too hard for me...easily changed over for a pair of softer motocross ones
Over the next few months I fitted rear panniers. These are from www.ardcases.co.uk and are made from welded alluminium and are powder coated along with sealed lids meaning they're waterproof. I opted for the 38litre ones as I prefer to travel light when I can....the more space the more chance I'll fill it with something I don't really need!!!
They're narrow enough for town traffic too.
Due to a time delay in delivery they threw in a fuel can to say sorry...this would be used later on in Maroc to good effect when I came across a lost quad rider.
I ordered a water bottle holder later on also and cut my number plate down to avoid it breaking in case of a tip over...
Speaking of bottles....this was the single most important addition one could ever fit to a moto ...
With about 8500kms on the moto I changed the tyres to Mitas EO7's. There was about 2mm left on the originals. I chose these tyres as they were €30 less than Scouts and that any reviews I read on Adv rated them well for a mixed tyre.
I changed the tyres over using the tools that I will carry for Maroc...3x 9 inch tyre levers were used with no problem breaking the bead. An alloy sump guard was also bought to replace the standard plastic one which is not too bad considering.
A rudimentary water pump guard was also bought as at least some sort of protection and a secondary bit of water pipe to wrap around the existing.
A few weeks later I had to buy a brake pedal extension as I was finding my boot slipping off when riding the twisties here...
A few zip tys to hold any spokes from flailing about that may happen to snap...
The usual Tippex on nuts to give a quick indicator if anything is starting to loosen off...this is the EDC after all!!!
XTZ's suffer from wind buffering so this was puchased to help improve things....It's adjustable so I ended up with it tilted forward in the end...It works just fine..
The standard clutch lever actually rubs a bit on the inside of the hand guards so a pair of shorty adjustable levers were bought and the standards kept as spares.
Cheap cruise control was fitted to help with stretching the throttle wrist whilst on autoroutes....
A couple fo spare split links attached to a cable will always be a handy addition.....again the clip is Tippex'ed so as when they fall on the ground ready to be lost...I can find them again..
Later...a waterproof handlebar bag for stashing such things as visor cleaner and change for toll booths(delivered all in for about €18).....oh and cross bar foam for when ever I go over the bars....
Where the ridiculous standard Yamaha tool kit was(in the tank) I stash a tie down in case of needing to tow another moto.
The general route will be,in the time given(2 weeks)
Tanger Med -Asilah
Ouarzazate-Zagora(off road;1xday rocky/quarry dust type trails)
M'hamid-Merzouga(off road;rocky/quarry dust type trails/sand a& feche-feche(2 or 3 kms)....cement dust consistency 2xdays)
Merzouga-Imilchil(via Todra Gorge)
Imilchil(via Cirque de Jaffar)-Midelt(on & off road ...53kms greenlanes/rocky mountain trails)
Midelt (via Volubilis Roman City)-Chefhaouen
Seville (via Caceres/Madrid)Asson (free autoorute)et voila!!
We left home at about 0800hrs in the rain...bound for Manzanares in Spain,a total of about 700kms. We need to just cover ground and get to the ferry in Algeciras so a two day ride autoroute ride was planned..this mundane route (after leaving the great mountain twisties)would allow us enough time to take the ferry and get caught in customs in Tanger Med the way one always does when traveling to Maroc!!!...(On that budget for a day lost going and a day lost returning when making a journey like this)
So wel meet at my house and whilst waiting for daylight the Land Rover bimbles along at its own speed knowing the route.....nobody does anything stupid even after a 45min wait before we leave....can't believe it!...although some start to cry because it's all wet and dark and there might be trolls in the mountains.
We ride to the Spanish border at Col du Pourtalet and on over past the ski station of El Formigal......when the going levels out we stop for our first fuel stop to top up and to have a coffee/cereal bar etc. It's still somewhat 'fresh and cool' weather ways. At least the rain has ceased.
Kens soft luggage is rubbing on his exhaust somewhat so it's adjusted and fettled with...of course we make goat bleating noises to indicate that he is now President of the Team of Goats...lol...(well until the next President is elected due to their ridiculous actions...)
I topped up with 12.67litres of petrol after having covered 251.5kms (about 150kms from a previous ride)and with a cost of €19.06 (€1.504/Ltr) and 5Litres/100km.
We arrive in Manzanares at approx 1900hrs after an uneventful autoroute ride just to cover distance.....we even navigated Madrid's busy exterior route with relative ease. The arrangements were to meet up at the railway station with the UK branch of the EDC every hour on the hour until all lost souls turned up. We all rode to the station just to see what's what...Here we met Craig oh his black Tiger....and one of the group spray painted a rude drawing on the newly painted white station wall.....
After a couple of hours I was able to locate the rest of the UK branch of the EDC and guide them back to the hotel. The hotel is on the outskirts of the town and there's a fuel station opposite. I had used this hotel before and was able to save money by eating breakfast in the fuel station rather than the rip off price of the hotel. It's called the Hotel Parador and was €75 per room...so divided by two meant €37.50 each.
By coincidence it was Kens birthday and Phil had smuggled a cake in the Land Rover for that evening..so a party was held in due EDC fashion....
Here is Ken modeling the cake box...as you do...
Up early the next morning in more rain and off to the fuel station for breakfast and a top up. Everyone is in good spirits...
Up until now I had a previous two fuel top ups to get to Manzanares, i.e.
One at 169kms with 9.37litres and €14.06. and with petrol priced at €1.50/Ltr and the other at 297.3kms using 16.93litres with a price of €25.48 (petrol at €1.505/ltr)
Total distance from home to Manzanares works out at 731.9kms...not too bad for a days riding covering two mountain ranges and autoroute.
Today I fill up with 11.07ltrs at 180.1kms and costing €15.76 (fuel at €1.424/ltr) and we wait until daylight arrives before setting off in the direction of Jaen.....where we get more fuel. You have to come off the autoroute for about 2 or 3 kms to get fuel in Jaen...
We fill up and this is now where Noah gets the Presidents award for being the first of the group to fall off his moto on our trip to Morocco...(he won't be the last)...riding in he promptly drops the moto right there on the wet polished surface of the petrol station....You can see how slippy it looks.... staff go over to help him lift the moto up.....bbaaaaaaa (He's OK and uninjured )
.....about five minutes after some dude drives off in his car with the fuel hose still in the car to a resounding clatter on breaking plastic and bent tin...must have a curse that fuel station so all beware .... lol
Next fuel stop is south of Grenada 265.4kms,€22.61 and 14.66litres (€1.542/ltrs)
Nice glamor shots of the bike :thumb
Now let's ride!! :clap
It'll come GB...lol
So...we head on down south to Algeciras(at about 1600hrs),where we park up and buy our tickets(only tolls paid were from Malaga to Algeciras €7.40 and well worth beating the busy coast road traffic) For reference just arrive and buy a ticket for the next ferry...the same you do for a bus elsewhere....really no need to book anything...in true EDC fashion...just wing it!!!
Park up in the tailor made parking bay and dander over and buy the tickets... €82 return for one person and one moto....ferry was leaving in an hour at 1700hrs
I'm happy that a boat will leave within the hour...
Ken jumps for joy that we're even in the queue(it's a wonder he didn't fall after the pic)...
It's great that they take moto's on first ....
Good luck guys......just remember,give a Moroccan driver 1",he'll have it.......stay wide left in your lane,or you'll have a car pushing you into something kerbside........unbelievably impatient!
For sure!!!...really need to watch out when riding....
Once on the boat fill out an entry form with your details..for where you're going just write Hotel Fès Fès,then go directly to passport control where they stamp your passport with a number. This number is then noted on the computers in the port on exit. Basically it's your registration number for having been to Morocco.
We arrive into Tanger Med Port in heavy rain after about a 2 hr crossing.
Fill out another form to import your moto where you'll get it from customs.I filled my forms and since I already have a serial number on my passport I was allowed to go straight through but the new dudes that hadn't been before had to wait longer with customs and police whilst they were registered on the system.
By the by,the copy they leave you with should not be lost...this allows you to bring out your moto when you're finished visiting.
Also,it's not required to have your driving licence registered to the home address that is listed on your moto registration.....so no need to worry about that.
We get food in the new terminal and at the same time we see two Polish riders each on Honda Transalps.
After about 2 hours we left Tanger Med bound for an hotel I know in Asilah. It's still raining and another fuel stop is needed. I fill with 10.65litres after 174.2kms and with a cost of 129.93Dirhams (12.24Dhms/Liter)
The motos are parked up outside the hotel where a guardian watches them overnight for a few Euros.
We had a beer and bedded down thereafter.
Next morning we awake to find the rain had ceased...great!!
I fill up again with petrol at Asilah..... 328.1kms with 17.22litres and costing 213Dhms (12.37Dhms/Litr).
The room was 840Dhms (divided by 4 therefore equalled 200Dhms each...($23))
We head for Marrakech.
Next morning after a hearty breakfast we still need to cover ground to get to the good off road going. So...bearing that in mind we head to a camp site I know on the outskirts of Marrakech which is up to European standards.....all by autoroute.
Another fuel stop is required in amongst seeing people and animals sauntering on the autoroute I stop and put in 10.02 litres after 163kms with a cost of 122.74 Dhms (12.25Dhms/Liter)
Again another at Settat after 174.2kms with 10.65litres costing129.93Dhms(12.24Dhms/Liter) and finally another today at 182.5kms with 10.88litres and 134.20Dhms (12.33Dhms/litre)
We rent their permanent tents for one night which does not include breakfast They're clean with comfortable beds and tiled floors along with an attached shower/toilet and have plenty of storage for overlanders. Phil wins todays EDC Presidency due to the fact he walks into a tent to find a family of four gawping at him and wondering what he's doing there....our tent was next door...ho hum...baaaaaaaa...
You always see plenty of these when in Maroc...(one of the group is jealous so he lets all of their tyres down)
Even a 4x4 Mercedes van is suitable....
I head off into Marrakech to meet an old friend and the rest all head to the Medina in Marrakech town centre to do the tourist thing.
We head off the next day in sunshine bound for Ouarzazate and for lunch in a good restaurant I know. We ride over the High Atlas mountains. This road is a great road and introduces you to small village life and splendid views. As always take care and ride as normal at the white line as you'll come across lots of potholes and missing tarmac on the RHS of your lane. People will also step out without looking at will and you'll even also find the odd boulder resting here just to keep you on your toes!!!....
We skirt around the centre of Marrakech and take a route I have taken several times.
Whilst riding by one of the group gets out a pea shooter and pings the donkey causing it to pull a wheelie and run off.......you have to have eyes in the back of your head....
We by-pass the first tea stops and park up at a tea house I know.....a smaller than normal one that will not have the same amount of tourists in it...just us as tourists lol
We ride on up to the summit of Tizi-n-Tichka(2545m alt)and take a few snaps after racing buses and taxis.....
We arrive at the 3 Thés to eat in the afternoon...good food here and it's in the town centre.
We then discuss where to stay...I'd emailed Peter at Bikershome a few days before where he said he should have enough places. If this was not so then we could certainly find other places to stay in Ouarzazate.
So off we go and it works out we can stay there with no problems. This would leave the next day ready to get to Zagora for our first off road ride out.
Who's carrying spares for the Landy?
I'm looking forward to hearing how the SM gets on.
lol..the Landy had it's own spares on board lol...
The Supermoto went every where we went...until......(later for that one lol)
Cracking report fella :clap
Good to hear from you...it's been a while!!!
This is great. Im looking forward to more.
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