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Old 05-06-2010, 12:04 PM   #1
WIBO OP
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Location: 64800French Pyrénées
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Morocco with DAF 4x4 truck and Honda CRF's....

Funny how things turn out in life....weird really...if you've a spare minute or two....why don't you come on in and pull up a chair beside the fire,there's a breeze coming down from the mountains....put a log on and I'll explain...


I've been to Maroc a few times in my Land Rover with my family and even took the time in the past to take my Gas Gas on the bike rack to play on the trails whilst they lay at the pool or scooted about in the markets buying mish mash....

Have a beer....

As part of my journey to get to Maroc I stay at my cousins apartment in Estepona,Spain. So on a return journey and whilst my GasGas was with me I looked for somewhere to ride whilst the adults bronzed themselves and slotted into being typical tourists,with all the trimmings...pool,food,drink and doing completely nothing....I can only stand that for about 2 days then I hanker for something half interesting....ho hum....



I had remembered a friend of mine a few years before had gone on a ride out in Spain where he just flew into Malaga,was picked up and rode on the company's motos along the mountain trails and had a whale of a time. A quick call and he confirmed he'd gone with a company called Redtread. So a call was placed and they were able to fit me in on my GasGas to ride along with the rental group for two days before I 'blew town' back to France.

I had a great time and enjoyed myself and after a beer at the pool I said that if they ever needed a guide if a member of staff became sick or whatever,to give me a call. I'm sure they hear that sort of guff everyday.

Want some peanuts or something else?

So,fast forward a good few months and without boring you to death contact was made concerning an up and coming venture with regards to running a trail-finding ride-out to Maroc where Ian and Sal were thinking of now starting to run tours alongside the Spanish concern. They needed someone who had been before,somewhat knew the lie of the land and could speak some French...so I fitted the bill...

Next up was why not bring a photographer dude along that they knew to take a few snaps.....why not indeed.


So,without further ado..

I drove over the Pyrenean mountains here via Col du Pourtalet,Zaragoza Madrid and the snow covered roads on the highground and on south to a place called Nerja just along the coast from Malaga.

Pull your chair away from the fire a bit or it'll burn...

I stayed at www.redtread.com overnight and drove on down to Nerja to meet up with Ian and Sal. I parked the Land Rover in front of the truck and had a good blether as to what would be happening and watched as Ian tied a Transalp on beside the CRF's. It would be coming along for the ride to be used as a runaround if need be..

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So the truck was bought in the UK...ex military and is actually classed as a van,due to it's weight and the fact it has 4 single wheels...this 'technical' difference would confuse some locals later on...


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After the obligatory cup of tea Sal arrives too ....

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.....and we head off to pick up the photo dude,Oli Tennent,at Malaga airport where well go directly to Algeciras,buy a ticket and be bound for Tanger.....


Take your shoes off if you want....


Oli gets out of the truck being mindful to watch his pro kit and off we go on deck to get our passports stamped up to date...Oli takes a good few snaps for various moto magzines etc in the UK and if you've any interest you can see what he gets up to at www.olitennent.com Some nice helicopter pix in there too...


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So,we get a ticket head,off over the sea to Tanger and get through customs with a few problems relative to the definition of a van and that of a lorry...if only the customs dudes were trained to know that these things exist...well...I guess they know now that they do...just because it looks like a truck,does'nt mean that it is :)


So...off boat and down to Asilah to stay in a great wee hotel with a bar...usual beer applies....and a chat about the next days traveling arangements,ie,heading to Marrakech then on to Ourzazate

We have an uneventful drive south along great autoroutes complete with people walking on them along with thier coes and goats...maybe this is why the speed limits are heavily enforced by traffic cops...Anyhoooooooo....we pass over the mountains,missing the splendid views,that Ive seen before due to darkness..and arrive at night in Ourzazate...The next day will see the start of the riding and trail finding we've been waiting on after traveling so far.....


Another beer??


So the next morning the weather,predictably,is warm with clear skies...great...load up the truck with our baggage and drive out to find the trails we know are there according to our info and maps...

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Off we drive over more mountains enjoying the scenery...

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Stop and take a few more snaps and as usual you'll find some dude will appear as if by magic....

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We ride off along the road for a good few kms once we unload the motos and get changed...great twisties...bound for the trails that will lead to Zagora.

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So we head off along by the river and palmerie on the start of our recce....

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WIBO screwed with this post 05-07-2010 at 01:34 PM
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Old 05-06-2010, 01:28 PM   #2
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Gonna be watching this...my daughter and I will be in Malaga/Nerja in 3 weeks and may try to checkout Redtread when we are in the area.
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Old 05-06-2010, 02:49 PM   #3
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Looks like a great ride, can't wait for more!
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Old 05-07-2010, 12:54 AM   #4
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Thanks guys...and why not have a wee peep at the Spanish side of things..for me it sure beat being a typical tourist...
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Old 05-07-2010, 01:52 AM   #5
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So.....sit outside in the garden today..the sun is up and the light is bouncing of the last of the snow fall that capped the peaks left the place both looking and feeling fresh...oh aye and the coffee is smelling strong at the pergola...


After a good half days ride we have scouted the trails along by the palmerie and made notes whilst being accompanied by the truck at various times...old yeller...which by the by is doing just fine...not using any oil and with just daily fluid level checks all appears OK...great!!!

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So...we arrive in Zagora...and roll into town looking for the hotel we have researched. Its a bustling stop gap for overlanders threading their way over trails east to Merzouga and on south to find the rest of Africa.....Can't wait to hit those prolonged all day trails after breaking myself in on the road twisties and palmerie ones....

We find the hotel and get stuff sorted for the next days exploring...

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Hotel staff man the car park and keep a wee eye on things...

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Sugar in your coffee??


























.
__________________
The Suit:What would you condsider to be your greatest weakness?
Me: Honesty.
The Suit: Honesty? I don't think honesty could be construed as a weakness.
Me: I don't give a fuck what you think.

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Old 05-07-2010, 05:12 AM   #6
Sandino
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Ready

This is good
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Old 05-07-2010, 05:59 AM   #7
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Thanks for those kind words...

Whilst you're at it why not get another chair and listen in??....I'll get more coffee and a couple of warm croissants,smother them with butter and we're good to go....


So...out of Zagora..a shirt road ride to where we pick up the trails that will see us riding for two full days to Merzouga,along the very same trails that the Dakar ran on when it came to this neck of the woods.....looking froward to getting in the groove and riding,riding and whilst I'm at it...more riding


Turn left here and ride for two days!!!

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Take detailed notes for untmost safety....

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Even the photo dude gets to ride as he is armed with a Canon G11 ...

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Just follow the trail and ride as far as the eye can see to the very right of the picture...


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If the odd local can do it then I certainly can too!!!

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The Suit:What would you condsider to be your greatest weakness?
Me: Honesty.
The Suit: Honesty? I don't think honesty could be construed as a weakness.
Me: I don't give a fuck what you think.

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Old 05-07-2010, 06:13 AM   #8
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Old 05-07-2010, 12:08 PM   #9
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Well.....it's now time to put pizza on and sit back with a bottle of Bordeaux red whilst it cooks.....it's cooler now and the fire needs another log...


So off we ride....

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...and we ride......

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Ian says we're there,just like his customers,to have a good time too....so enjoy yourself....so I did...





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Just off top speed and standing up can be achieved as the trails open out to fairly smooth going.....

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and we stop in silence,no noise at all,to think about where we are and how good it is....excellent


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It's hot too.....

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..then we take a longer rest and wait for the truck to catch up....still not a peep...no noise at all,because there's nothing here!!!

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Truck arrives...

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Get a glass and have some red??







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After riding all day on trails stretching to both sides, criss crossing like a string vest...we arrive here...half way point.......and this is where we see our first sand dunes after all day rocky trails....this gives us a taste of what of what we think Merzouga will be like...little were we to know...





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'
.
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The Suit:What would you condsider to be your greatest weakness?
Me: Honesty.
The Suit: Honesty? I don't think honesty could be construed as a weakness.
Me: I don't give a fuck what you think.

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Old 05-07-2010, 02:45 PM   #10
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Fill your glass up....and whilst you're at it...fire another log on the fire....



We dismount and get ourselves organised ......take a walk out into the dunes to loosen up.....silence ...complete and utter silence.....and the orange tinted setting sunlight spreads a hue across the sand.....we're in the middle of nowhere and the only folk about are the locals who come from afar to work at where we stay...

...the staff light wood under a make shift boiler to get some warm water for a basic shower for us all...first come first served!!!


......we have a few beers,the staff play Moroccan music in front of a camp fire and we look at the stars and find we've never seen them as clear as we do now...ever...

......later we'll have a more cool beer along with food and chat about the days ride out....one thing in common....all of us are relaxed and content......superb....this is what it's all about......can't get any better than this...no??...

.....little was I to know that the next day would excel.......

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Good to see Land Rovers actually at work...















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Check how clear the sky is....


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So...we eat and have a few beers whilst looking at all the various stickers from all who pass this crossover point on their travels and work....we all feel proud that we too can add our mark and provide a Redtread leaflet which gets stuck up onto the wall alongside the others....

We ask what the pistes are like further on along to Merzouga and Erg-Chebbi and the locals tell us there's dried up lake bed then feche-feche(fine powder sand just like cement dust)
They say it goes on for about 3 or 4 kms meandering through clumps of trees and bushes. They say this might be the only place where we could get stuck. I look forward to getting there then

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After a good full day we all retire for the night in a simple room each .....a great day was had by all.....

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That bottle of red is finished so it's time for me to retire....there's more wine on the rack...let yourselves out when you're ready.




















.
__________________
The Suit:What would you condsider to be your greatest weakness?
Me: Honesty.
The Suit: Honesty? I don't think honesty could be construed as a weakness.
Me: I don't give a fuck what you think.

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Old 05-08-2010, 01:25 AM   #11
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So...outside for breakfast in the pergola as the sun heats the day up....strong coffee and contemplate....


So...we wake up to another beautiful morning...the enduro's have been given a look over to find no problems with anything...that'll be Honda for you then.

I take a walk around the auberge and see what it's like in another light...yip...we're still in the middle of nowhere!!

We're all happy that if the tours start then clients can stay here...right where the Dakar passed by in 2007

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What's left of last nights great campfire music....(NB A female from a passing 4x4 left her handbag there all night.....nothing was stolen...just say'in like)

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Coffee for you...croissants are hot with melting butter....


So....after crewing we ride off.....the sun is starting to rise nicely and it promises to be another typically great day.....


Almost at once we arrive at a dried up lake bed...flat hard pack and very fast .....after we slow down to a cruise after what seems an age we just take in the scenery and glance over at each other to confirm that we're still together...200m separates us and it looks good to see a moto out on it's own doing what we're doing...it's going to be a great day I feel...

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__________________
The Suit:What would you condsider to be your greatest weakness?
Me: Honesty.
The Suit: Honesty? I don't think honesty could be construed as a weakness.
Me: I don't give a fuck what you think.

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Old 05-08-2010, 01:39 AM   #12
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Excellent WIBO! Amazing pictures and a very cool truck.
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Old 05-08-2010, 02:29 AM   #13
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Ah...I thought you'd have a wee peep in this thread once you saw it.....you don't miss much ...


Oli takes the snaps...I just ride lol.....

.....Spain sunny and warm today??
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The Suit:What would you condsider to be your greatest weakness?
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The Suit: Honesty? I don't think honesty could be construed as a weakness.
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Old 05-08-2010, 02:21 PM   #14
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So we see a few others passing by...

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After a long while we pick up a puncture....I ask for the kit to fix it and Ian volunteers to repair it instead...well....who am I to protest!!!

So I prop up the moto instead....


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The Suit:What would you condsider to be your greatest weakness?
Me: Honesty.
The Suit: Honesty? I don't think honesty could be construed as a weakness.
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Old 05-08-2010, 02:59 PM   #15
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So...time now for another glass of wine after food...the fire is burning and full of logs...


Off we go and marvel at how the landscape can change from sandy going to rocky going all within a few kilometres ...

We stop and wait on the truck as matter of course...as usual from a few settlements out come the kids...great to see...some have no shoes and yet can run at break neck speed over the stones to see us...in the middle of nowhere kids are all the same...easy pleased and happy to see us....it humbles me everytime..I have so much from a material view and they are still as happy as kids can be with nothing...makes you think and be thankful for what I and my family have...thats one of the main reasons I take my kids to Maroc on holiday...so they can see and feel the same...to be thankful for what they have and not to want...want...want...


It works...


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__________________
The Suit:What would you condsider to be your greatest weakness?
Me: Honesty.
The Suit: Honesty? I don't think honesty could be construed as a weakness.
Me: I don't give a fuck what you think.

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