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Old 10-28-2013, 10:43 AM   #91
skibrighton
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love the writing style, love the balls it takes to undertake an adventure like this especially at an age when people are settling...
good luck, and keep posting.
so subsrcibed
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:19 AM   #92
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thanks a bunch guys. its not without it's challenges, but somebody has to give it a go, right ?!

wave shots on the way, promise.
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:21 AM   #93
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Ride the Kasbar



The temperature climbed steadily as we motored downward into the town of Ouarzazate, which serves as a gateway for expeditions to the Sahara desert. Crossing the Atlas Mountains had taken far longer than either Jonathan or I had anticipated and we were now tired from two long days of riding. We checked into a hotel with our two favorite qualities: dirt cheap and indoor bike parking. We drove the bikes in the front door, through the lobby, and tucked them in to sleep right in front of our room, nearly close enough to cuddle. An unnatural degree of attachment to our machines is developing.




The next morning we set off for some desert riding,blasting along on tracks and cross-country over the desert pavement that makes it pretty easy to just point your bike wherever you want to go and roll on the gas. We came across some strange sights in the desert:





Morocco has a long history in the film industry with lots of movies and television shows filmed near Ouarzazate including as Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, and part of the Game of Thrones television series. We came across several relics of films gone by and sets for others currently in production. Since there was no one around to tell us otherwise, we helped ourselves to a tour aboard our bikes while trying to guess the films and shows that we were riding through.







Jonathan was keen to stick around the desert for awhile for some dune riding on the KTM and I had a swell to catch in Safi. So while he tried his best to keep his clutch in tact and axles above ground in the sand, I motored westward over another mountain pass back towards the coast.





I took the long way out of Ouarzazate along a beautiful twisting single lane asphalt road where I found the fortified city or ksar of At Benhaddou and the first of the kasbahs: fantastical looking buildings often hewn straight from the red cliff faces that flanked them. The Berber people who historically inhabited this area and still do are responsible for construction of these earthen high walled structures, the oldest of which are believed to date from the 17th century. Ksar At Benhaddou (top image) has even been designated a UNESCO world heritage site. While most people now live in the adjacent village, apparently 8 families still live within the walls of the ksar. Historically, almost all cities in this region had a kasbah, as it was a sign of power and wealth for the city and a necessity to survive an attack from the outside. I must have passed a dozen ksars and kasbahs as I rode up the Ounila River valley.









My zen attitude about motoring in Moroccan traffic evaporated climbing the mountain pass headed back to Marrakech. Even with a line of ten cars bumper to bumper ahead of me while climbing the twisty grade, no driver could stand being behind a motorbike and they would just creep up beside me, half in the oncoming lane, and then shove me over to the crumbling shoulder. Ironically enough, I was surely the fastest thing on the road. Eventually I became so frustrated with this behavior that I somewhat dangerously blew by the entire line of cars in one go. It was very satisfying to leave everyone behind that seemed so willing to put my life at risk for no reason whatsoever. I could feel adrenaline flowing and told myself to calm down and not to do that again. If my luck is good and the wave at Safi is all that its cracked up to be, there would be plenty of excitement off the road.
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:25 PM   #94
pkrip
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I'm so in. Fellow surfer. Can't wait to see the spots! Best of luck.
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Old 10-28-2013, 04:51 PM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garnaro View Post

Looks like a perfect beer spot. Tell me you got up in that thing...

Sweet report!
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:07 PM   #96
stoke
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Been working my balls off, resisted clicking on the links in the instant email updates since I posted last, waited and devoted this evening to re-reading the entire thread to catch back up and get into the vibe. While having a few organic margaritas, solo in my office at 9pm local. Naturally.

Wow.

Good on ya for your writing skills. Evocative, subtly humorous, to the point.

The last few pages brought back so many memories of the Atlas Mountains, the market (do they still have the boxing kids?), and the drivers.

Having rented motorbikes in several crazy countries, I never understood the blatant disregard for motorcycle pilot's lives that car drivers often have in these locales. Bigger is better wins I guess.

Someone asked me the other day if I was worried about the "insane Southern California Drivers" while riding my motorcycle around as a car replacement. The answer, after riding in India, Vietnam and Morocco, is no. They might not see me, but they don't SEE me and then try to run me off the road because they're bigger. Never understood that one.

Also, the overland traveler guys: such a different mentality than minimalist two wheel travel I don't even know where to start. There is a website for these guys that sells camping gear. Most of the cookware is straight up cast iron-no size difference from what you would use in your home.

It's cool though, different strokes for different folks. It's like the old quote about jazz, if you have to ask, you ain't ever gonna know. You're either into it or not.

Bottom line is we motorcycle guys get a visceral experience when we travel, or hell, just ride, living "life near the bone is where it is sweetest". Thoreau had it right.

Driving a big box around staring through a window doesn't compare.

Finally, the travel partner stuff. No matter if you're backpacking, surf traveling (by plane), moto traveling or whatever, you always pick someone up for a bit. Sometimes short, sometimes long. Usually it's great, but it always ends and in the back of your mind it's always nice when it does. You set out alone, and you're good to go alone. Sigh of relief when they/you take off.

Keep the posts coming, I know how much work it is to actually source internet, host pics, and write while you're abroad.
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Old 10-28-2013, 10:44 PM   #97
RACINGTHESUN
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Game of Thrones

I recognize one of the gated entrances from the series Game of Thrones. That is so cool that you are there seeing what you are! Thank you so much for posting this RR. It is most excellent.
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Old 10-29-2013, 07:49 AM   #98
jbsurf
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Awesome tale unfolding...... two of my all time greatest loves; Surfing and riding enduro type bikes!!

I may have missed how youre able to update from these remote areas, are you using satellite phone or something?

Thanx and Blessings!!! ;0))
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:34 AM   #99
hillstmikey
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Epic trip I'm signing up to see how this plays out
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:32 PM   #100
garnaro OP
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I won't say thanks again, because you all know I appreciate it. Reading reports here is part of what finally got e off of my arse to go, so I'm just paying it forward

So far wireless access has been pretty good - even at campsites some places, but it is declining as I move south, so expecting less frequent connectivity.

On the driving attitude issue - it really is mind boggling riding in a car with a Moroccan friend and watching him literally ride the rear wheel of a moped, just like everyone else does. At least on the big bike I have some power to get out of the way, all the little scooters and mopeds are just at the mercy of this behavior. Makes me wonder how often someone actually gets hurt.

Quote:
Bottom line is we motorcycle guys get a visceral experience when we travel, or hell, just ride, living "life near the bone is where it is sweetest". Thoreau had it right.
May have to steal that.


Quote:
The last few pages brought back so many memories of the Atlas Mountains
I had no idea it would be like that. I was totally blown away.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:37 PM   #101
garnaro OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RACINGTHESUN View Post
I recognize one of the gated entrances from the series Game of Thrones. That is so cool that you are there seeing what you are! Thank you so much for posting this RR. It is most excellent.
I'm a massive fan of the show/novels as well
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:40 PM   #102
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Very Nice!
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Old 10-30-2013, 01:40 PM   #103
arjones
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Eek

And how about those waves?
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Old 10-30-2013, 01:48 PM   #104
ata
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in!!!!!!!!!

This is the craziest story I've read about motorcycles

and indeed, the Atlantic coast of Morocco has a bunch of heavens for wave junkies
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Old 10-30-2013, 01:48 PM   #105
Hokem Malarky
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I don't know how I missed this one. Subscribed
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