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Old 04-14-2009, 09:34 AM   #61
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Great write-up and photos. Thanks!

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Originally Posted by canadaler
We re-arrange some of the coats and blankets and I lay down and slip in behind Bobby on the ground, trying to use my body heat to warm him.
You started spooning him?
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:29 AM   #62
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Awesome report, cool pics!
Sounds like you had tonnes fun
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Old 04-14-2009, 11:13 AM   #63
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Awesome report, cool pics!
Sounds like you had tonnes fun
Awesome it was, quite the experience.
I was following your preparation for and progress during the Africa Race....congratulations to you on a great finish in that event.

I also want to thank Ken (Bazzer450) for helping me out with the shipping and customs paperwork for our trip based on his previous trip to Morocco. It was invaluable
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Old 04-14-2009, 11:45 AM   #64
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Great reading your side of he story,

I luckaly missed out on all the action by the river being the last one to cross it. It became deeper in waves per 10 seconds or so.

O, and I think I was that other guy with the old gps V from day 3

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Old 04-14-2009, 11:54 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by erwindob
Great reading your side of he story,

I luckaly missed out on all the action by the river being the last one to cross it. It became deeper in waves per 10 seconds or so.

O, and I think I was that other guy with the old gps V from day 3
Yes! Thanks again Erwin... I should have remembered it was you. I did remember what you showed me and had to do the same waypoint editing trick another day as well...

Interestingly enough, some of the early riders that day wondered what the heck "river" we were talking about that night. Roland said when he passed through...probably close to an hour before...he didn't cross any rivers. Such is the nature of a flash flood I guess.
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Old 04-14-2009, 03:21 PM   #66
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Day 6: Merzouga - Missour (Part 2...Drop me in the water.)

Whether it's the beating it has taken in my pocket when I was crashing in the dunes, or the sand or the rain...whatever, my beloved little pocket Kodak takes its last two pictures then dies.





Guess you'll have to put up with just reading for a while until I can tie into Dan's pictures.

Going back to when people first started arriving at the swelling river, some riders head upstream trying to find a place to cross. A handful of them think they've found it, the water is a bit lower a few hundred meters up the shore line and they proceed to cross. In the process at least a couple of them water out. When they all reach the other side, a few of them press on into the desert...or so they think. Once they crest the small sand dune they're on they discover more river They're on an island. A big island, but one which is circled by the flooding river. The water is rising so fast that by the time they head back to where they originally crossed the water is too fast and deep to get back across. So there they sit for a couple of hours, stranded on "Gilligan's Island."

Everyone is now assembled at the ambulance and we're just waiting for the water to go down and guys to get their bikes pumped out so that we can proceed to CP1. In between where we are now and where we've got to go, the sky is an ominous purple.

Our little convoy finally heads out and into the storm, following the ambulance. I don't think I've ever seen rain drops so big in my life. We don't go far and the rain becomes laced with hail. Hail that seems to have the radar-seeking ability to find that little gap between the bottom of your goggles and the top of your mouth guard on your helmet....ouch! I ride along in the slop with my left hand covering my nose and cheeks, my bike slithering along on the verge of dumping it.

The rain is kind of on and off today. It stops by the time we reach CP1 and the sun actually pokes through the clouds for a while. Ah...relief I think, maybe the 280km or so ride on the road to Missour won't be too bad. I'm cautioned by another rider though...in between here and Missour we have to make a crossing of the Atlas mountain range. The weather there is likely to get worse before it gets better.

I just hate these road sections. It seems like every little ache and pain you have shows up when you don't have much riding to concentrate on. Sorry...but frankly it's boring on the road. It doesn't help that I haven't balanced my front tire, so cruising along at 100kph it's bouncing wildly on the pavement as my knobs howl. Besides that I'm still soaked and it rains on and off the whole way.

The Husaberg hasn't missed a beat so far in the event. Admittedly I've been "babying" it on the road sections, keeping it below 110kph. My gearing is actually too low since I re-used the Ironman sprocket that came with the used rear wheel I bought. It's 4 teeth bigger than stock, more suitable for single track than road, but it has also helped me out in some of the gnarlier sections early in the rally. I'm so slow on the road that even Tina blasts by me on her little WR250. Tough little bike I think as she disappears over the next hill.

My GPS doesn't have road details, so I call up Missour and just get an arrow heading. I ride and ride and ride and the "distance to" on my GPS hardly changes as I follow the winding road. Heading up the switchbacks into the mountains I'm getting cold...damn cold...in my soaking riding gear. What idiot didn't bring the rain lining......oh...that would be me. Then it occurs to me...tonight is a "tent night"...great...I'll arrive cold and wet and have to sleep on some clammy mattress in a wet tent. In general I'm feeling pretty miserable and low as I ride along.

It's raining again and I'm tucked down with my left elbow on the tank, doing 100kph and trying to duck out of the wind...without much success. I slow down coming into a little village and here in the cold and rain people are going about their daily lives. In what must be soaking wet Arabian garb there are people gathering vegetation at the side of the road, leading donkey's with goods, I see a woman on her knees in the muck beside her mud and straw home tugging on a rope to draw water from a well. All these things going on as I ride by on my $10,000 bike, in gear that must make me look to them like I'm from Mars...all for "fun." My self-pity turns to shame and I just pass through the village, get back up to cruising speed and shut up. We are such a spoiled lot in "the west."

At the peak of the mountain range we're greeted by snow. Just a dusting on the ground, not enough to stick to the roads, but it's there non the less. The larger two lane road eventually gives way to a small single lane paved road with two way traffic. I quickly learn the rules of the road here...mass always has the right of way. Cars pull to the side for trucks, bikes pull to the side for cars...might makes right as the larger vehicle always prevails.

I eventually roll into Missour about 6:30. It's been a long, cold, wet and adventure filled day. Dan, Alex and Volker are there at the hotel where the CPF is located. Dan is estatic...he had a great day on the road, sightseeing, stopping for mint and whiskey tea, enjoying the sights. I think he's probably had a few brewski's at the hotel too which have lightened his spirits. Then the best news of all...Alex has snagged us a hotel room! Well, actually everybody gets to sleep indoors tonight. With all the rain the tents are useless and the hotel has put mattresses in every room, hall and area they can to accommodate the riders.

I tell the boys about the adventure at the river and how it seems like the only thing we didn't get today was the plague of locusts. I'm looking forward to a hot shower, hot dinner and a clean bed. Dan has arranged an extra special pillow for me tonight...



Dinner tonight was the best yet...maybe it was so great just because we were all dry and the food was hot...who cares? Some of us who were at the river together chat about the experience. I meet up with Tina...she blew her Yamaha motor up 60km before making it to Missour. It's loaded on a truck now and her ride is over.

Tomorrow we'll be heading back to Nador and departing Morocco on the ferry. This is all going by too fast now.
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Old 04-16-2009, 06:32 AM   #67
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Day 7: Missour - Nador

The poor hotel is showing signs of the overcrowding last night. Overflowed toilets, flooded bathrooms, stuff strewn everywhere as riders stacked their wet and smelly gear in the hallways next to their mattresses. Still...it sure beat sleeping outside in a tent. The good news is my gear has dried out quickly and I don't get the "wet bathing suit" syndrome I had expected when dressing.

The weather is cool today and it rains a bit on and off, but generally conditions aren't too bad.

Yesterday Dan and Alex tell me they had a great time on the roads, really enjoyed it. Stopping in little villages and at sights along the way. They're going to do the same today and ask me if I want to join them. Today will be our last day in Morocco, which saddens me. As much as I want to ride the route today I relent and decide that today I'm going to be a tourist, not a rallye rider. I think that my experience back at the river yesterday has put me in the "relax and enjoy some time with your friends" mode. I'm currently in sixty-something place and the penalties I incur from skipping today's route drop me down to an ultimate finish in the rally at 77th place...not that it matters much to me at this point in time.

We get all our gear assembled and the boxes back on the truck then go pick up our start cards. In addition to the horizontal slash across them today the lady writes "strabe" across the top. I joke with the boys that translated into English it means "loser" (actually it means "street.")

Our tour guide for the day...Alex:


We're heading to the port in Nador today, not as long a ride as yesterday was. There's aren't a lot of choices you can make when it comes to which road to take...because there just aren't that many to choose from.



We make a few stops along the way today to sightsee and have a snack or two.









Alex has brought some goodies to eat...including the famous Shinkelwurst in a can.......and suggests we find a spot to have a "picnic." We spot what must be a cell phone or radio tower high on top of one of the hills, with a crooked little road leading up to it. Looks good.

We make a run up the hillside and first to reach the top I'm greeted by a large dog barking madly at me. There is a little mud and straw hut at the base of the tower which you couldn't see from the road. Out of it come two guys who I guess are the operators. Inside the fenced area around the base of the tower is a diesel generator chugging away and I guess these guys maintain it. It's a bit of an uncomfortable situation...obviously we're not supposed to be up here. Using my hands to make a little box in front of my face while I wave my index finger up and down, we coax the operator to pose for an impromtu photo with Alex and I. He looks real happy to be there eh?



The dog soon quiets down and after a few more photos we head back down the hill. In doing so the accessory gas tank Alex has mounted on the rear of his BMW falls off. A few straps and ties later we're back on the road.



When we stop for gas I'm still hungry having passed on the Shinkenwurst mystery meat earlier. Fresh squeezed orange juice and a cheese sandwich...much better.



As we head north the changes in the terrain and vegetation are noticeable. We have the last of the Middle Atlas mountain range to cross and the southern desert rock and sand soon gives way to green landscapes, farming and trees.

Coming into the outskirts of Nador there are cops at each major intersection. Whether they're always there, or directing traffic for us I don't know, but most of the time they stop traffic to wave us through and point us in the right direction. VIP treatment I don't get at home!

It's early afternoon when we get into Nador, plenty of time left before we have to check in at the port. At one of the road-side cafe's we spot a bunch of riders and see Robbert's Gas Gas parked out front. The BBQ grilling out front on the sidewalk is too good to resist anyhow...so we joint the Dutch crew in a feed of fresh grilled beef, lamb and good old fashioned fries. They even have ketchup! We are truly back in civilization now.



We talk about the rallye, our upcoming trips home and nothing in particular. It's like we've known these guys for years instead of a few days. Meeting people has been the best part of the rallye for both Dan and I. I guess we all share a common interest and now a common bond.

The way the weather has been a few guys are anticipating that the ferry crossing tonight is going to be rough. Wouldn't you know it but my Gravol is packed away in my rally box...smart thinking!

With police at most every intersection in Nador we wind our way to the port on the far side of town. Mass confusion regarding export paperwork for our bikes in the port. We're told to stand in line to get our papers checked and stamped by officials then...seemingly in Moroccan fashion...when the line backs up the guy stops taking any paperwork. After a brief pow-wow the officials now say they want all 250 or so documents from everyone delivered to them all at once by ORGA. I guess they're really going to give them extra scrutiny...well, not really I think they just gather them up and we never see or hear of them again. As long as we make it onto the ferry...who cares?

Roland sees us in the port and has some local anti-sea sickness pills he's picked up on his way into port. He offers me one and although I don't ususally have a problem on ships I gladly take one. Everyone gets loaded on the ferry (literally and figuratively) and we set sail for Almeria. The crossing turns out to be uneventful, not any worse than the trip over.

We have one day left in the rallye. It's more a formality than anything else, basically a trip up the Spanish coast to the resort town of Mojarca ("Mo-hawk-a") and the wrap up party. I'm having really mixed feelings at this point. Glad to have finished but somehow still wanting more.
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Old 04-17-2009, 06:15 AM   #68
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Day 8: Almeria - Mojacar

Well...this is it. The final day of the rally. We depart from the ferry in Almeria and will head out on the highway to get us out of town.

I run into Danny, David's navigator in one of the Desert Warriors, he's heading to the airport now and we say our goodbyes. He gives me an update on Bobby who is still in hospital healing up a bit more before they'll discharge him and he can go home.



Roland meets up with us before we head out of the port. He's going to join us today for our leisurely ride to Mojacar. Seems like something he ate has got the best of him and we don't mind having to make a few extra stops along the way...if you know what I mean.



Today everybody gets the same time to complete the stage. Nobody is going to be moving up or down in the standings, we're just going to ride to the outskirts of Mojacar then everyone will assemble and stage on the beach prior to the "parade" ride into town.

The highlight of the day is the "Supermoto road" which winds its way up into the coastal mountains of southern Spain. It is a single lane paved road...or perhaps more aptly...path...which is simply the best piece of pavement I have ever ridden.



The views along the way are as astounding as the ride itself. Here's a shot from one of the switch-backs, over looking at the road itself.



If you are ever in the south of Spain on two wheels you must ride this!













The little ribbon of pavement ultimately leads to a small village at the top of the mountain, with typical white brick houses. When we stop on the way there we discover that wild herbs, rosemary and thyme are growing. You can smell them long before you spot them.

We head down the other side of the mountain towards the coast. The pavement ends and we're back on a stony one lane road which weaves its way back and forth towards sea level. When we reach the bottom of the mountain we enter another village and find a small cafe where several riders have congregated. There is plenty of time to make Majocar, we are less than 20km from the assembly point on the beach now. We order drinks and sandwiches...Spanish omelet on a bun...good stuff...then relax at our table outside in the sunshine.

All the competitors assemble at what looks to be an old lighthouse on the beach just south-east of Majocar.



Some of the bikes are pretty beat up from their journey the last week. Several are having problems starting. Some leaking oil from around their base gaskets, some bent and wonky rims from rocks. Really, we've been quite fortunate that we have no real damage to our bikes. They have performed flawlessly throughout the event. Aside from changing oil and filters each day the only other maintenance I do is to adjust the chain...once. Not bad for 2500km of some pretty nasty stuff.





After about an hour everyone is assembled on the beach and we organize our procession into town. Some bikes are pushed to get them going, the guy in front of Dan and I has a rear wheel that is so out of round on his KTM it looks like he's riding on a merry-go-round horse.

There are no massive crowds, no cheering spectators, this is a tourist town and it isn't tourist season yet. Still, the little bit of pageantry is a nice touch and fitting end to the rallye. I'm riding along with mixed feelings. Happy to have completed it, thinking about lost opportunities and mistakes I've made riding, thinking of all the cool people we've met, the sights we've seen, the things we've experienced...it really has been an adventure in every sense of the word.

Arriving at the finish line and hotel people cut loose. There is a big stack of beer piled up on a table and four rallye boxes have been assembled into a make shift podium where the winners are introduced.



They've got a couple of boards set up for people to do burn outs on. Not a lot do, but they're fun to watch. My rear Dunlop rallye tire hardly shows any sign of wear on it...might as well save it to sell to somebody rather than trash it now...



Dan and I congratulate each other...and several other people we've met along the journey. We get a chance to meet up with Thorsten Kaiser the rallye winner on a pretty much bone stock KTM 690. You'll never meet a nicer guy. I ask him what sort of racing he does back home and am surprised to hear his answer that he doesn't. "No time" he says, he just decided to ride the Tuareg a couple of days before the start. Mind you, he's won the event more than anybody else in it's history so he knows what he's doing.

He might have won the rallye, but he still looks up to Dan:



Hey...isn't that the famous TV star Robert Conrad under those shades? Star of "Wild Wild West" and "Ba Ba Blacksheep?" Why no! It's non-other than Robbert Coenraads guest star of Dutch TV's "Top Speed."



We check into our rooms, get cleaned up and enjoy a dinner feast and wrap up party at this huge resort hotel. Quite a change from our accommodations the last week. The party goes on late into the night, but we spend the last few hours sitting in the restaurant talking with Volker.

Tomorrow morning we've got another hectic day...get all of our stuff out of the rallye boxes and packed away, then jam them into a taxi along with Alex who needs a lift back to Almeria. We'll ride the bikes back to Almeria with Alex in tow then rent a car there and get all of our stuff back to P&M to be crated up for the trip home.

We drop Alex off at the airport and he heads back to Germany armed with his favorite new English language phrase..."my way or the highway."

Dan and I stick around Almeria for another two days waiting for our flights home and soon enough we're back to the "daily grind" at work. Back to reality after having lived what at times has been an unreal adventure overseas.

So that's my story. As you might guess I highly recommend the Tuareg for those of you who want a real taste of rallye life. I recommend even more that you chase your dreams whatever they are.

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Old 04-17-2009, 06:30 AM   #69
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A most excellent adventure, thanks for sharing, hope theirs a new one in the works. Again, congrats on completing your first desert Rally
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Old 04-17-2009, 06:59 AM   #70
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Nice report. Thanks for sharing it with us!
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Old 04-17-2009, 08:08 AM   #71
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Absolutely well done boys !! and a great adventure.

So Canadaler, will you go for another rally, if so which one???

Again, Well done.
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Old 04-17-2009, 08:35 AM   #72
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So Canadaler, will you go for another rally, if so which one???


If I ever get the opportunity to do another it would be a really tough choice. I would love the chance to meet up again with some of the great people we met on the Tuareg.

On the other hand...I've long had this site bookmarked in my "favorites."
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Old 04-17-2009, 09:49 AM   #73
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Epic ride!
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Old 04-17-2009, 02:08 PM   #74
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Beautiful report! Thanks so much for sharing!
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Old 04-17-2009, 04:51 PM   #75
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great stuff

how about a few more in rallye mode photos over on the Berg rallye thread

do you have any photos of the '09 450 berg ?? be keen to see how he set it up

you could add the Safari to your list of should do rallyes
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