We'd planned to ride 165 miles from Chefchaouen to Fez via the Route de L'Unite, through what "The World's Greatest Motorcycle Journeys" calls, "...the wild, lawless heart of the mountainous Rif region, where kif
(marijuana) covers the surrounding hills...".
The day started well and after filling up with fuel and avoiding the fist-fight taking place in the middle of Chefchaouen high street, we were both enjoying the ride as we covered the miles east to Ketama before turning south and heading down the R509 towards Taounate. We received several offers to buy some Moroccan "chocolate" as we passed but declined and arriving at a small, pleasant looking village 22kms north of Taounate, we decided to stop for a short break.
A combination of short legs, a tall seat and temperamental side-stand meant that I had to help Vincenzo both on and off his Kanguro and having done so, I jumped on and fired up the BMW. The Moto Morini wouldn't start. Uh, oh!
We found the local mechanic, pushed the Kanguro there and took up residence in the local cafe were we became temporary celebrities, everyone wanting to share a the a la menthe and one of my cigarettes. We never got to the bottom of the problem with the bike although Vincenzo was blaming the quality of the fuel. The mechanic from Taounate was brought in, spark plugs were changed and carburetors cleaned. Eventually, after four hours, we left, me giving the mechanic a lift back to Taounate. Vincenzo was unhappy with the way the bike was performing but we decided to press on to Fez, arriving after dark (something we promised ourselves not to do again) and after recruiting a local guide, found our riad, Dar Warda, in the Medina.
I cannot recommend this place enough. Reasonably safe parking at €3 per bike per night, a shared room with en suite and breakfast for €30 and the coolest and most helpful patron.
We decided to spend the next day in Fez, exploring the Medina and trying to get the right spark plugs for the Kanguro.