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Old 04-29-2013, 08:02 PM   #106
Dwreker
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Awesome report thank you for sharing!
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:45 AM   #107
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Back home, but where is Spring?

I woke up this morning in the dark to the sound of water running through a pipe, and thought it was pretty early for someone upstairs to be taking a shower, as it was still totally dark outside. Then I remembered I was on the top floor of the building. Uh oh... a quick look out the window confirmed that it was raining. That wasn't supposed to start until noon, when I'd be plenty clear of Troyes.

I waited until 10am to leave, after shops were open and I could try to find a bottle of wine my wife bought last time we were here and really liked, but they don't carry that wine anymore. I got a bottle of the next closest thing. They guys in the shop looked amused at my rain gear, and wished me a good journey.

I stopped only once for a photo, under the old market stall in Piney. It's a great piece of timber frame carpentry.




An hour and a half of dodging through French villages, watching the speed limits very closely, and getting rained on and I hit the freeway. Gassed up and didn't touch my feet down until I hit home.


After a hot bath and some food, I unpacked and got to work (laundry, putting stuff away).


For those that like to see this kind of thing, here are some numbers from the trip:

6285 miles (10,115 km's for you metric folks).

Average speed 70.5 km/hr.

Travel time 143.5 hours over 21 riding days, an average of 6:50 per day actually moving according to the GPS.

10 border crossings, eight of which hardly count, the two that do were very simple and officials very helpful and courteous on both sides.

Estimated cost (quick look online at my bank) about $3264, but I didn't keep track of gas vs. food vs. hotels, I'm not that organized and don't care to be. Easily could have been more or less frugal, but at least this might help someone planning a trip to have an idea.

And that also is not counting broken bike parts. Tall windscreen, front brake lever, one turn signal. Maybe $300 more, I'd guess. Also could have been a lot worse.

And I lost six pounds. Not that I was trying to. Kind of ashamed to admit I spent all that time in areas with good food and came back missing some.

Probably one more post coming, about gear and stuff, what I'd do differently and what I'd do again. Hopefully this helps someone else doing some planning, or inspires others to get out there and ride, and see the world for yourself. Thanks for reading along, its always nice to have company.

Jim
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:32 AM   #108
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Good to see you home in one piece.

I followed the first part of your RR before we met up, I enjoyed your company in Morocco and it has been interesting to follow your journey after we split up - now knowing more about the man behind the screen.

Now it's time to enjoy being home (I know just how good it feels) - and soon the planning of the next adventure can begin.

Cheers

Tonny
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:59 AM   #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don T View Post
Now it's time to enjoy being home (I know just how good it feels) - and soon the planning of the next adventure can begin.

Cheers

Tonny
Yes, being home is good. Thanks for some good times in Morocco, glad we met up and hope to repeat sometime. Need to do a little clean up and work on the bike, and decided if I really want to ride to Istanbul in July... got some time off this summer and want to go to Asia?
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Old 04-30-2013, 01:19 PM   #110
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Its always good to envision the worst case scenario as you weigh your options.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbar28 View Post
was about to shoot the bike and walk home all 3000 miles
Anyway, I enjoyed your ride report/pictures and it took some entertaining turns that I would have never expected. I suspect that you surprised yourself as well.
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:04 PM   #111
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I was referred to your RR by your brother, whom I work with. Great photos and story. Thanks for posting.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:58 PM   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mobyfubar View Post
I was referred to your RR by your brother, whom I work with. Great photos and story. Thanks for posting.
Thanks. Nice selection of bikes listed in your signature line. One of the things I should have done but did not was stop and have lunch with two Super Ténéré riders with Great Britain plates, the only two of those bikes I saw all nine days in Morocco. Wish I had, bet they had some good stories and I would have been able to understand them (for the most part). But just as I spotted them and was going to slow down, a restaurant owner came out from behind a sign and almost grabbed me trying to get me to stop for lunch at his place. I punched the throttle in fright, got away from him, and then it was too late to stop. Oh well. Hope you're enjoying your Super Ténéré.

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Old 04-30-2013, 09:07 PM   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbar28 View Post

And I lost six pounds. Not that I was trying to. Kind of ashamed to admit I spent all that time in areas with good food and came back missing some.
It happens to me all the time when I travel especially when I go to Morocco or France its very simple back in those countries they use no hormones and preservatives so the food is more clean, pure and sane...you can eat more like I do but I still loose weight because of the quality of the food.
I go riding in Baja and eat three big meals a day which I don't eat normally and after two or three days I am few pounds lighter, it's all about eating healthy food free from hormones and preservatives.
People in morocco might be poor and have less gadgets than we do but they sure eat better quality food most Europe is that way by the way they care more about the quality than the quantity.
Over in those countries it's not about how big your car, house, b00bs but about the quality and the natural status of the above.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:08 PM   #114
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Gladd you are back home safe and sound.
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:29 PM   #115
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Wink

I remember the day I bolted the pannier racks on the V-Strom. I thought I had really made some progress in the direction of being an 'adventure rider', and I probably had. I haven't been that for very long. Here's a picture of my bike loaded up for a road trip in July 2009.


1981 Kawasaki 750LTD with a chrome luggage rack. My hiking day pack, duffle bag with a trash bag inside for rain protection. I'm wearing an Eddie Bauer rain jacket, jeans, and hiking boots. And a Shoei RF-200 helmet I bought new in about 1992, 17 years earlier. I took about 13 of those years off riding, so it wasn't worn out, but still 17 years old.

A few months later and another bike, I've gotten a bit more advanced.


Still not 'adventure' riding ready, but at least no trash bags! Indeed I have made progress since then. At least I'm wearing real protective gear. My hard luggage is adapted to the Givi rack with a plate I made in the garage, but it works and it's waterproof. This is my fourth motorcycle road trip and each time I get a little better. My part time riding buddy in Morocco Tonny has been on around 30 motorcycle road trips, he estimates, and he does things a bit different. I'd be a fool not to see how he does things and evaluate what makes sense to me.

Two different approaches to getting geared up. Tonny likes to have things that work well so he doesn't have to think or worry about them. I generally like to have things that work 'well enough' and cost less. I even get a bit of a kick out of making things work, not having to have the best. My friend Pete likes to give me grief for this, and I give him some grief for wasting money on really expensive stuff.

There are consequences, of course. Tonny and I get to a lunch stop and he leaves his Garmin Zumo 660 on the bike, where as I take my Garmin Nuvi off and stick it in my $10 locking top box. His Touratech GPS mount locks and he can just walk away. My Ram mount doesn't lock. And my Nuvi isn't waterproof, so I'm carrying a small Pelican case I adapted to hold the Nuvi for riding in the rain. One problem with that is I can't touch it through the clear box lid, so I can't change anything once I get going unless I stop under a bridge, wipe off the rain, open the box, change what I want, close it up, and ride on. I had to do this a couple of times on the third day of my ride, and it only takes a few minutes (once you find a place to do it), but it's kind of a pain. I also had some issues of the power cord vibrating in the socket and the unit wanting to power off a few times. The Zumo doesn't have this problem, either. My Nuvi, with the mount and Pelican box cost about $180, most of which was the Nuvi itself which I bought for car use. Tonny's Zumo with locking mount is about $700 from Touratech, but problem free and works in the rain. Is it worth it? Maybe. But it's worth looking at things like this and evaluating what works.

Another thing is luggage. I'm packing side cases that are pretty close to full. Everyone does on an adventure ride, right? Part of the reason they're full is that I had a week of non-biking vacation with my wife in the middle of my ride, and I didn't want to wear the same clothes EVERY day that week. Tony doesn't have side cases or a rack for them. He packs light. The man doesn't even bring a comb! When we get to our hotel each night, he unstraps his duffle bag from the seat behind him, takes the Touratech liner our of the $600 Touratech top box, and is ready to go. I have to make two trips. First trip is helmet and tank bag, second trip is side cases, which get heavy by the end of a long day of riding and are a bit unwieldy to lug up a narrow flight of stairs in a Riad in Fes. But, when we park at lunch, all my clothes and gear except the tank bag are locked, and I don't mind walking away for half an hour. Tonny isn't so keen on being out of sight of his bike, with most of his clothes in a water proof bag held on with a bungee cord. Anything he would be totally stuck without, like a helmet or jacket, he takes with him.

One consequence of having side cases it the width it creates.

Does my butt look big in this?

Several times in heavy city traffic I wished I could have gone into some narrower spaces, but I couldn't do it. And again in the trees when I got lost in the river. So do I really need or want side cases? I've never even thought about that, of course I did. But maybe not. Maybe I should learn to pack lighter.


My Firstgear Jaunt T2 jacket ($180) was pretty good, but not great. Venting for warm weather was good even up to 100 degrees. Cold weather was a bit harder, as it doesn't seal out wind as well as I would like. And on the last day riding in rain with no windscreen, rain got past my Frogg Toggs, past the Jaunt T2, and into my under layer on my chest. Made for a very chilly last hour, riding 70 mph at 45 degrees with some wet clothes. Tonny was trying out some new Held jacket and pants, and from his review it seems he was happy with them. The Goretex liners kept him dry, although he had much less rain riding than I did. You can buy them in the US for $750 for the jacket and $500 for the pants.

And about that helmet. There's a reason most desert enduro riders don't wear modular helmets! Sand gets everywhere and things quit working. Time for a new helmet, my Nolan N103 is worn out. It's 5 years old and about due anyway. This is something I'm not going to cheap out on, I'm getting a Shoei GT Air.

I was using a new (to me) dry lube spray for the chain, and I'll just say it didn't work well at all. On my last trip to Spain I had all kinds of sand and gritty material sticking to my chain, so I thought a dry spray might work better, but it didn't. Chain started to rust and I had to adjust it twice in 6000 miles. Not good. I'm going to seriously look at the Scottoiler, but even more interested in this Dutch product, the Osco oiler. It's a manual system, which I like, but shouldn't a manual system cost less than an automatic? Osco is 139 Euro, Scottoiler about 75 Euro here. Anyway, it looks well made, and flushing the chain after a dirty or rainy ride would just mean pulling the plunger twice.

http://www.osco-chainoiler.com/en/

I ended up doing a lot more off-road riding this trip than I ever meant to. I need to look at what I want to do in the future and equip the bike to do it. Prepared and lucky is better than just lucky. It's been good to torture test the gear and see what works and what doesn't. And to ride with a more experienced rider and see how he does it. It all helps get ready for the next time.

jbar28 screwed with this post 05-01-2013 at 12:56 AM
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:35 PM   #116
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Great Ride report!

Glad you made it home... I really enjoyed your detailed report, I look forward to the next one.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:30 AM   #117
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Maps and getting lost...

I mentioned earlier that I used an open source GPS map, because I didn't want to buy the Garmin map for $119. Tonny did the same thing, and both worked out fine. But the GPS became so necessary (pretty much right away) that I would have downloaded and installed the map at almost any price had the free map not worked.

The day I got really lost and ended up riding off road, I was following a combination of my map and the GPS. At some point I realized that they didn't agree, and with the GPS map being a free open source download, I chose to follow the paper map, printed by Marco Polo. Wrong choice. Here's what the paper map shows.


The orange marked line is my actual route. I went from Ouarzazate to Skoura and then north on the main road, thinking I was on the yellow road R307 that goes NW from town. But here's what that area looks like on Google Maps.


The R307 doesn't connect at Skoura, and the road going NW is so small I missed it, and ended up going straight north. On Michelin's web site, it's different yet again. The R307 doesn't connect at either place.


The Michelin 742 map that most people take along is more correct than my paper map, and might have saved me from going the way I did. I got the one I did because it was slightly more detailed.

When I got to Tatrarate, I thought I was near Toundoute. I asked directions to Assemro and got pointed to Amezri. And Tam-ez-rit is not Tam-ze-rit.

I'm not saying all this to make excuses of why I made navigational and judgment errors that got me in trouble, I knew something was wrong in plenty of time to turn around and go all the way back to the main road, and I should have. Rather, my point is that getting lost in Morocco is easier than I thought if you get off the National routes. I've never been anywhere with fewer signs. Any road smaller than a National Route will not have a sign, and few small towns do. You have to consider that many adults in this area of the world have never been somewhere as far as 20 or 30 km's away, and many have no experience with a paper map let alone a GPS. And not speaking French or Tamazight makes it harder to ask. So take a GPS, and take a map. And pay attention. And if they don't agree, double check them both until you know which is correct and where you are.

By the way, I've discovered the village I've been calling 'at the end of the road' has a name. Talat n Tazart. On Google maps you can view by satellite the road coming in from the east and no road out to the west (it's in the river!)

Safe travels.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:15 PM   #118
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Awesome!
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:42 PM   #119
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Aawesome report! Thank you for virtually taking us along.
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:51 PM   #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drisschoufa View Post
It happens to me all the time when I travel especially when I go to Morocco or France its very simple back in those countries they use no hormones and preservatives so the food is more clean, pure and sane...you can eat more like I do but I still loose weight because of the quality of the food.
I go riding in Baja and eat three big meals a day which I don't eat normally and after two or three days I am few pounds lighter, it's all about eating healthy food free from hormones and preservatives.
People in morocco might be poor and have less gadgets than we do but they sure eat better quality food most Europe is that way by the way they care more about the quality than the quantity.
Over in those countries it's not about how big your car, house, b00bs but about the quality and the natural status of the above.
+1
Our food we eat here is full on preservs, has no taste, and making us fat.
No wonder they don't buy our chickens in Europe.

True they don't have big cars and houses, but they don't need it. In fact they don't care to be closed on their day off instead of working 24/7 american way. Europeans know how to enjoy life.
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