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Old 04-01-2013, 04:04 AM   #1
pip_muenster OP
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Camels, crashes, injuries and breakdowns in Morocco & Spain

There will be camels. There will be crashes.
There will be injuries.
And there will be breakdowns.

Actually, the trip started 4 months ago and I still have to get home ….

The plan was simple: Loose some weight, get the bikes to southern Spain and have some fun in Morocco. Maddin and I met for the first time on a trip to Iceland 2 years ago (Here’s the story.). Since them we’ve done another short trip into France and decided to join up again in late 2012 to conquer Morocco.




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Reports: Nordkapp - Mt. St. Helen - Black Sea - Iceland - Morocco - Balkan
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:30 AM   #2
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Looking forward to this.

Enjoyed your Iceland RR.

Cheers,

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Old 04-01-2013, 04:31 AM   #3
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Wow ! Can definately smell something yummy coming up - on diet from now.
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by bhuwan View Post
Wow ! Can definately smell something yummy coming up - on diet from now.
I don't wanna spoil anything, but don't expect too much. If you're looking for blood, I can't offer much more than maybe a paper cut.
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:38 AM   #5
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:48 AM   #6
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Getting there ...

Hana of Motoadventours.com offered us a great deal on transporting our bikes to her shop in Malaga, so all we had to do was jump on a plane. I had a few hours in Frankfurt and went to the Lufthansa lounge for breakfast. While I was sipping on my coffee, Lufthansa sent me 3 text messages on gate changes, it seemed they couldn’t make up their minds. I hate that airport. Taxiways are so long it sometimes seems as if taxiing takes longer than the actual flight itself.
With all that confusion it also took a while before Maddin found me.

Once in Malaga Hana and Patrick picked us up from the airport and gave us some tips on Morocco. Their website states: ‘[…] we don' t spoil any fun, and we are nice to look at’. I’d say they’re not lying, but I will not back that up with photos: Book a trip with them and find out yourself!




Here's Maddin loading the bikes

In comparison to Iceland I have lost about 200lbs of weight: most of it on the bike and luggage, little (if any) on myself.

The first kilometers on wet asphalt were exciting as we both had to adjust to the offroad tires. We found traction after reducing the pressure significantly and made it in time for the ferry from Algecira the next morning. Surprisingly we met Hana again at the port, as she was leading a tour into Morocco.


At the ferry terminal

I don't remember much about the border process, but there was some queueing up on the ferry and then in Tangier. With some hints from Hana it was easy.

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Reports: Nordkapp - Mt. St. Helen - Black Sea - Iceland - Morocco - Balkan

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Old 04-01-2013, 06:49 AM   #7
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Tetouan

Right after we passed customs, we were waved to stop again. I wasn’t sure if this was just another step of the entrance procedure, so I obeyed. There was an ATM and a guy offering money exchange, but I had no intentions to do business with them. When we got back on the bikes, another dude stepped forward, demanding a parking fee!
This was a public road and we had only stopped because they had made us. I literally laughed at him, while twisting the throttle, making him jump out of my way. I understand that they depend on tourists to bring money to their country, but they have to give something in exchange and not just bullying everybody.

We found a supermarket and bought water and food. Then it was time to hit the road N2 towards Tetouan. This had all taken quite a while so we arrived just in time to start looking for an accommodation.




I lead into town and stopped to wait for Maddin. He was hesitant to follow, explaining that I had been riding a oneway road against the flow. Well, that happens.
I had only been stationary for 10 seconds before the next guy approached us. He wanted us to leave the bikes in his secure garage, so he could walk us to a nice hotel in the medina (old inner part of the city).
Now I absolutely hate these guys and I also had little intention to carry my luggage an unknown distance through town. Instead we found a nice hotel just outside the medina where we could park the bikes right in front and the night guard would have an eye on them for little money.

Later in the evening we walked into the medina to have dinner. Again, we were soon hassled by some guy and Maddin agreed to follow him. I pretended not to understand ANY languages (he spoke English, French and maybe even a little German), so the guy ended up constantly talking to Maddin, while rushing through the Medina to his restaurant. There was no time to stop and look, so though although it seemed we had run all across the medina we hadn’t seen anything of it. I know why I don’t like them.
He lead us to the same hotel, guy #1 had wanted us to go to, and the restaurant was completely empty. While waiting for the food, we joked that they first had to go and buy it somewhere else, when another dude with plastic bags came in …

To be fair, the food was good.



View from the hotel
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:18 AM   #8
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Driouch

The next day saw us riding east along the Mediterranean coast. The road was twisty, the sun was shining and there was little traffic. This looked much less like a tourist trap and I finally had the feeling that the Morocco trip was becoming a vacation.
Around lunch time we agreed to stop at the next booth stimulating our noses. That turned out to be a small hut between the road and the beach, offering tasty grilled fish.





We continued along the coast and had some more excitement on wet roads through the outskirts of the Rif moutains. Even in 3rd gear at half throttle, my rear tire was constantly sliding all over the place ...



Around dusk we started looking for a hotel. In the first town we were told that they had a hotel, but that we wouldn't want to stay there. We had a look, agreed and continued. It got dark. In the next town, Driouch, we were again told that though there was a hotel, we should still continue to Nador. This time, we decided to stay.

The hotel was small and simple, but clean - and that was everything we were asking for. I woke up early and went downstairs to search for coffee. The night guard had brought out the carpet from the entrance to cover our bikes and hide them from praying eyes ... I tipped him well.


Sleeping bikes ...
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:30 AM   #9
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Missour

Our goal for today was to reach the real stuff and get some dirt under our tires. We headed south, avoiding the main road wherever possible. The day started sunny with the morning mist beautifully filling the valleys, but than it got foggy and cold.





Anyway, even that ended somewhere and after we climbed up some hairpins we reached a wide plain where we also found the first dirt roads.


(photo: maddin)

Unfortunately, it didn't take long before we hit asphalt again. The road turned west, so we were heading towards the snow covered Atlas mountains on the horizon.



At one point, I asked Maddin to wait and take a picture of me. I rode up to the edge and looked down. What I saw was a crack in the ground to my left side, so I was standing between the cliff and the crack - not good. I quickly changed position to get on the 'save' side of the crack ...


(photo: maddin)

By the end of the day we reached Missour and checked into a guesthouse. The entrance was covered in stickers from other groups and expeditions. Later in the evening, maddin asked a policeman for a good restaurant. He simply left the gate he was guarding and lead us to a place which looked like a butcher, with half a lamb in the window. Inside there were tables, and we had some good pork chops for dinner.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:22 PM   #10
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Going to Morocco in May with Hana from adventours.com and 7 of my riding buddies. Looking forward to seeing the rest of your photos. Are you sure you ate "pork chops" in Morocco?
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:33 PM   #11
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Are you sure you ate "pork chops" in Morocco?
Probably not.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnydarock View Post
Going to Morocco in May with Hana from adventours.com and 7 of my riding buddies. Looking forward to seeing the rest of your photos. Are you sure you ate "pork chops" in Morocco?
you can in the big cities but not in small town in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 04-10-2013, 12:11 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by jaumev View Post
I like to see pictures from places I've just visited few weeks ago!!
[...]
Yeah, I had the same thoughts and tried to recognize some of the locations you were showing in post 37 which is oddly difficult in an area without any landmarks we're used to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drisschoufa View Post
I am a Moroccan that is always scarred to hit a moped or a car without rear light while traveling there. that is the only thing that freaks me out and for them its another day on the road. [...]
Agree. I get around a bit and have seen strange behaviors: Some countries they just don't care about lights, some they leave them off until they see you, and some they switch from low- to highbeam if they see oncoming traffic ...
Then there are the obstacles as wild donkeys (south America), kangaroos (Australia), camels (Middle East) - or speed bumbs and deer (just about everywere else). And without trees and stones in the dessert it can also become difficult to judge distances and 'read the road' at night.
That night, we were riding slow enough to stop for obstacles and could be seen for kilometers. It should have been easy for other traffic to avoid us since you could literally drive whereever you wanted - but we still wanted to get off the bikes as soon as possible.


Thanks for your kind words!
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:35 PM   #14
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Around Merzouga

As usual I woke up early the next morning, so I sneaked out of the room and went outside. There was a nice patio with a great view onto a pile of sand which we hadn't noticed the night before. We had reached the Erg Chebbi.


(photo: maddin)

I guess some of you may recognize that view as we were staying at the hotel Yasmina - which seems to be mentioned in about every Morocco report I read here on ADV in the last months. Here's a better view of the hotel:



About the time I ordered my second coffee Maddin showed up and we had a great breakfast. Then it was time for some maintenance on the bikes and fixing some loose bolts and nuts. I think Maddin was still suffering from sleep depriviation, as he was mainly pretending to check his engine guard.



We started late, planning on just a short daytrip north, so we took nothing but a small bag with tools, water and some food each. Maddin lead and immediately started distributing his tools across the dessert. As you can see the hotel was still within sight when we stopped to collect them. Note: On flat ground you can see a shiny new Victorinox multitool glaring in the sunlight from hundred meters away.



The first obstacle was a tractor blocking the track, so we had to go around through the bushes. I'm not sure if the locals were actual helping here, trying to guide Maddin. It was much easier for me as I had been leading and got through before they started to stand in the way ... Nevertheless, it was entertaining to watch and I stopped with the camera in hand - just in case he'd fell.



He didn't.

So no crash yet, but we did saw some camels.



Maddin and his first camel:



[ x ] camels
[ ] crashes
[ ] injuries
[ ] breakdowns

We followed the track through some smaller mountains and back to the highway to Erfoud.



When I saw these guys, I thought it might be worth stopping for a photo. But in retrospect I guess it takes more than a flag and some guys for a memorable picture ...

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Old 04-14-2013, 12:13 PM   #15
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Maddin_camel

a+

Quote:
Originally Posted by pip_muenster View Post
As usual I woke up early the next morning, so I sneaked out of the room and went outside. There was a nice patio with a great view onto a pile of sand which we hadn't noticed the night before. We had reached the Erg Chebbi.


(photo: maddin)

I guess some of you may recognize that view as we were staying at the hotel Yasmina - which seems to be mentioned in about every Morocco report I read here on ADV in the last months. Here's a better view of the hotel:



About the time I ordered my second coffee Maddin showed up and we had a great breakfast. Then it was time for some maintenance on the bikes and fixing some loose bolts and nuts. I think Maddin was still suffering from sleep depriviation, as he was mainly pretending to check his engine guard.



We started late, planning on just a short daytrip north, so we took nothing but a small bag with tools, water and some food each. Maddin lead and immediately started distributing his tools across the dessert. As you can see the hotel was still within sight when we stopped to collect them. Note: On flat ground you can see a shiny new Victorinox multitool glaring in the sunlight from hundred meters away.



The first obstacle was a tractor blocking the track, so we had to go around through the bushes. I'm not sure if the locals were actual helping here, trying to guide Maddin. It was much easier for me as I had been leading and got through before they started to stand in the way ... Nevertheless, it was entertaining to watch and I stopped with the camera in hand - just in case he'd fell.



He didn't.

So no crash yet, but we did saw some camels.



Maddin and his first camel:



There's something about this picture that I really like. Front page image?


[ x ] camels
[ ] crashes
[ ] injuries
[ ] breakdowns

We followed the track through some smaller mountains and back to the highway to Erfoud.



When I saw these guys, I thought it might be worth stopping for a photo. But in retrospect I guess it takes more than a flag and some guys for a memorable picture ...

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