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Old 04-18-2013, 10:37 AM   #16
Don T OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToniBraxton View Post
And some people still wonder why these things are sold by the bucketload
I don't think that many people wonder any more - The V-Strom has by now proved its worth.

If you want a prestigious sophisticated state-of-the-art bike the V-Strom is not for you. If you on the other hand just want a reliable no-bullshit bike that gets the job done the V-Strom is hard to beat.
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:10 AM   #17
Don T OP
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Day 4:
Salamanca (Spain) – Algeciras (Spain) – 660km.

When I looked out the window in the morning I could see that my bike still was parked where I had left it and that it looked to become yet another day with great weather.
Although the weather wasn’t too warm this early in the morning I decided to remove the Goretex liner from my jacket and pants to be prepared for temperatures like the day before – it turned out to be the right call.

As I didn’t want to arrive too late in Algeciras the route this day was primary on highways. The weather was just like the day before with +30 degrees and a blue sky.
I only had a few stops during the day, and when I did the most important thing was to find a place in the shade to park.



As mentioned before I rode without the Goretex liner in my gear and I was impressed with how comfortable it was. With the vents open, it was almost like riding in a T-shirt and a pair of jeans – never before have I ridden in motorcycle clothes that were so well suited for warm weather riding!
Now that we are talking gear I have to mention my Vanucci boots. I had no idea that motorcycle boots could be so comfortable both when riding and walking. Besides excellent fit and function I’m impressed with the boots Sympatex membrane – even in warm weather like this I don’t get warm or damp feet.

After a good days riding (despite the highways) I arrived in Algeciras at 4pm. The night before I had book a hotel close to the harbor. The hotel had looked nice in the pictures, but I was still pleasantly surpriced - It was a really nice hotel only 2 minutes drive from the ferry to Tanger MED.



My room was located in a small garden next to the pool.





When I had moved into my room, I took a walk down to the harbor to buy the ticket for the next day – it’s easier to do when you have plenty of time and don’t walk around in riding gear.

With a ticket for the next morning in my pocket I did some shopping before returning to the hotel to take a swim in the pool and kick back before dinner. When walking around town I was several times offered “Hashi” from guys hanging out on street corners – with so many sellers it must be in high demand..?

After dinner I checked in on my bike that was parked right next to the hotel entrance before calling it a day.



Next... Morocco

Don T screwed with this post 04-29-2013 at 05:24 AM
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:02 PM   #18
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Nice hotel!

....and nice pool too

Happy to hear your gear is working out right, now that I know how much time you put into getting/buying the right one.

Have fun in Africa.
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Old 04-20-2013, 12:16 AM   #19
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Day 5:
Algeciras (Spain) – Meknes (Morocco) – 395km.

I was up early as I had to be at the ferry terminal at 7 am – 1 hour before departure. Normally the hotel didn’t serve breakfast until 7.15, but when I told them that I had to check out before that to catch a boat they opened up the restaurant at 6.15 so that I could get something to eat before leaving – excellent service.

From the hotel it was only a short ride to the harbor, and as I already had my ticket, it didn’t take long before I was parked at the ferry ready to embark.



The crossing went smoothly and the subsequent paperwork at custom in Tanger MED took less than 30 minutes so before long I hit the road in Morocco.

The line at customs on the ferry:



My last look at Europe for some time - The Rock of Gilbraltar disappearing in the morning haze:



I had only ridden a few kilometers in Africa before I hit the first piece of gravel and dirt. According to my map the road should have been sealed, but because of road repair the tarmac had been strip from the first 20 kilometers, and parts of that had been covered in 10-20 centimeters of loose gravel – a very interesting start to the Moroccan part of my journey.

This is a good part of that road:



After that the roads got better but not much.
The smaller roads were a mix of mainly tarmac of varied quality, but often it was replaced with stretches of gravel and all the time you had to look out for potholes – some of them very deep.
The scenery was beautiful and all I all it made for at fantastic day of riding.
Here are some pictures from the day:









In the afternoon I stopped at a roadside BBQ to get something to eat.





With a full stomach I continued south heading for Ifrane. At this point the weather was getting very hot and for the first time on the trip the temperature exceeded 35 degrees.





30 kilometers north of Ifrane I got a text message from Jim (jbar28) another ADV inmate (you can read his RR here). He was staying in Meknes and asked if we should meet up and head south together the next day. At that time I was in the middle of nowhere and when I set the GPS to take the shortest route from there to Meknes, I was in for 45 kilometers of very interesting riding. Most of the roads were gravel and I even had to do a small water crossing – a great end to a great day of riding.

When I arrived in Meknes I found Jim’s bike parked in front of the hotel.



After unpacking the bike and a cold shower it was time for a much needed beer on the terrace with Jim.



It was getting dark while we sat there drinking and talking and later in the night we took a stroll down into the medina to get some dinner.



My first day of riding in Morocco have been everything I had hoped for I’m really looking forward to the days to come.

Don T screwed with this post 04-29-2013 at 05:25 AM
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Old 04-20-2013, 01:48 PM   #20
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Day 6:
Meknes (Morocco) – Ait-Ourir (Morocco) – 450km.

When the bikes were loaded and breakfast was out of the way the first stop for the day was a gas station around the corner as my V-Strom also needed some food. The last time I had refueled was in Spain 445 kilometers earlier and I was just able to squeeze 16 liters into the tank resulting in an average of close to 29 km/l – the bike was only sipping.

With that out of the way we headed south in the direction of Marrakech taking the inland route via Azrou. The next +200 kilometers was beautiful winding roads on the western outskirts of the Mid Atlas.





At one point Jim and I managed to get separated (?). I thought that I was in front and pulled over to wait for him just after exiting a busy town with a few roundabouts.

Waiting for jbar in the shade.



Morocco had begun to put its imprint on my bike.



5 minutes later when he hadn’t turned up I send him a text message saying where I was and that I would head on and check my phone for messages later. The next time I stopped there was a message from him saying that he had past me without knowing and had stopped to 1 kilometer up the road from where I was now – shortly after we was riding together again.

Halfway to Marrakech we took a break for lunch – there are good roadside restaurants everywhere.



The roads the second half of the day was not nearly as interesting as the ones we had been riding until then and the weather was getting really hot with temperatures close to 40 degrees. Together that made most of the afternoon to something endured rather than enjoyed. During the afternoon we stopped to refuel again and this time my bike had done +30 km/l.

50 kilometers before Marrakech we turn of the main road heading south for the small town of Ait-Ourir where we had hotel rooms waiting for us.



It turned out to be a charming little place. There was a closed yard where we could park the bikes and a swimming pool just outside our rooms.





After a much needed dip in the pool the rest of the evening was spent eating local food, drinking cold beer and just kicking back.

Tomorrow we’ll head east across the Atlas Mountains…

Don T screwed with this post 04-29-2013 at 05:28 AM
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Old 04-20-2013, 03:56 PM   #21
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Well well..

Fandt dig, håber du nyder din shiskebab. Er der noget god hård offroad til min nye 60 kilo 690 med megasystem på?;)
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Old 04-21-2013, 12:39 AM   #22
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Fandt dig, håber du nyder din shiskebab. Er der noget god hård offroad til min nye 60 kilo 690 med megasystem på?;)
Så kunne du altså ikke stå for fristelsen til at anskaffe dig endnu en orange ged til samlingen.
Du har jo selv været i Marokko, så du kender svaret på dit spørgsmål

Maden er ligesom alt andet herned i særklasse - jeg har dog haft svært ved at finde en ordentlig flæskestegssandwich - wonder way..?
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Old 04-21-2013, 03:38 PM   #23
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Day 7:
Ait-Ourir – Boumalne Dades – 295km.

Today we crossed the Atlas Mountains and got the furthest south that I will come on this journey.

It has been a long, exhausting and wonderfull day of riding.
Shortly after we left the hotel in the morning we started to climb the mountains.



First target for the day was the Tizi-n-Tichka pass. The road going up was in pretty good shape and a blast to ride.





Shortly after the pass we turned off the main road to Ouarzazate and took the smaller road going by Telouet and Ait-Benhaddou. This road was a mix of everything from smooth tarmac to very bumpy gravel.









When we got to Ait-benhaddou we parked the bikes and spend some time exploring the ancient fortified town known from movies like Gladiator and Laurence of Arabia.











Next stop was Ouarzazate to get fuel and some money before continuing on to Boumalne Dades where we had booked rooms at what turn out to be a very stylish Kasbah.











Tomorrow we’ll be heading for Sahara and the big dunes…

Don T screwed with this post 04-29-2013 at 05:31 AM
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:38 PM   #24
Gustavo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don T View Post
Day 5:
In the afternoon I stopped at a roadside BBQ to get something to eat.




Something to eat????? That is probably enough food to eat for the rest of the trip... I'm surprised the Wee-Strom managed to carry you after this lunch.

Fantastic trip so far. I'm even hungry now after looking at your lunch and all I have to look forward to is airplane food.

Keep it coming and keep the rubber side down.

Gustavo
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Old 04-22-2013, 02:53 PM   #25
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I haven't got the time and energy to do a real update from today, but I can tell you that it has been one hell of a day with fantastic riding, people trying to shake us down in a back alley and the first crash.

Hope to be able to give you more tomorrow.

Good night from Sahara
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Old 04-22-2013, 04:17 PM   #26
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nice ride and pics..........there can't be 2 Tonny's from Denmark (both paramedics)....and ex Versys riders......(with a WR)
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:25 PM   #27
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Something to eat????? That is probably enough food to eat for the rest of the trip... I'm surprised the Wee-Strom managed to carry you after this lunch.

Fantastic trip so far. I'm even hungry now after looking at your lunch and all I have to look forward to is airplane food.

Keep it coming and keep the rubber side down.

Gustavo
Thanks Gustavo.

If I have to be honest I couldn't eat up and had to leave some of the meat on my plate
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:28 PM   #28
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nice ride and pics..........there can't be 2 Tonny's from Denmark (both paramedics)....and ex Versys riders......(with a WR)
Hello Wal,

You are absolutely right - I'm the same Tonny that haunted the Versys forum a few years back
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:54 PM   #29
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Day 8:
Boumalne Dades – Erg Chebbi – 350km.

The day started great riding the Dades gorge – the next on the list was the Todra gorge.
Here are some pictures from the morning at the kasbah, the gorges and the ride between them:

















What are they selling...?


It was still before noon when we continued east towards Erg Chebbi and the big dunes.



Halfway there we got pulled over at a police checkpoint at a junction. They told us the road we wanted to take was blocked up ahead and that we had to take a detour to get to Erg Chebbi. As the detour was twice as long as the route we had intended, we asked the officers if it in anyway was possible o get past the road block on bikes. Their answer was a bit vague, and just at that point 2 bikes came from the road that was supposed to be block. They told us that the road block was only demonstration activities and that it was possible to circumvent it. At that point the officers gave up and told us we could go which way we wanted – as long as we got going.
We decided to give it a try and continued on the blocked road.



After about 60 kilometers we arrived at the demonstration and was stopped by yet another cop who told us the road was blocked and we had to turn around. As he was telling us that another guy came up and indicated that it was possible to get by, using the side alleys trough town. We follow his instruction and started to wind our way through town using alleys sometimes not much wider than the handle bars.
Suddenly we hit a roadblock made by a larger group of boys’ (age 6-15) who wouldn’t let us pass unless we paid a toll. They were pretty aggressive and determined to get some money – pulling at us and throwing themselves in front of the bikes if we tried to move.
In the end another group of boys showed up and dragged the first group out of the way and removed some of the stones and bricks that made up the roadblock so that we could pass.

A picture from the demonstration that caused it all:



A short while later we left the tarmac for this day, as we headed for Hotel Yasmina that is located in the middle of the desert just north of the big dunes of Erg Chebbi.
Because of a small navigation error we ended up doing a bit more gravel/off road riding than planned.



The roads/tracks we were riding was often in pretty bad shape, and not ideal for a loaded V-Strom with street tires. The worst part was a several kilometer long section of washboard combined with drifts of loose sand. Only a few hundred meters from Yasmina one of those drifts got the better of Jim.







Besides a broken windscreen and a bent bracket for one of the panniers both Jim and the bike was fine. The pannier was still attached to the bike and shortly after when we arrived at Yasmina we were able to fix the bracket.





While we were working on the bike (Jim worked - I mostly just pointed and gave good advice) a sand storm kicked up. We were happy to be behind protecting walls and not still riding. It got so bad, that the hotel had to shut down the generator leaving the place without electricity.

The Stroms after a good days work:



When the bracket was fixed it was time for a dip in the pool - sand storm or not – before going to the restaurant for the mandatory mint tea follow by a 3 course dinner.



It had been yet another interesting day I Morocco.

Don T screwed with this post 04-29-2013 at 05:32 AM
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:24 PM   #30
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Day 9:
Erg Chebbi – Dait-Erroumi - 530km.

After breakfast Jim and I said goodbye to each other and I headed north alone. The day started with 1½ hours of tracks and off road as I tried alternative route back to the tarmac recommended by the portiere at Yasmina. It was slightly easier than the route we took the day before, but twice as long.



When I finally hit the tarmac I headed into the Atlas Mountains via Midelt and Ifrane. It was superb riding surrounded by fantastic scenery all day.









Late in the afternoon I arrived in Khemisset looking for a hotel I had booked the night before. I had a hard time finding the hotel and stopped in town to ask for directions. I found a young man in a shop who spoke English and he explained that the hotel I was looking for was located 15 kilometers outside the town. He then got a friend with a scooter to guide me out of town in the right direction.
When we had reached the outskirts of town and the friend stopped and waved me on, I stopped and wanted to give him a few Dirhams for fuel and his time, but he just smiled, refused to take the money and gave me another wave before turning around and headed back into town.

Soon after I found the hotel – it was a very fancy resort- kind-of-place right next to a lake.

The view from my room:



Tomorrow I’ll start early heading for Tanger MED and a ferry back to Europe.

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