Three Amigoes head South

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Postby Tonibe63 » Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:50 pm

Been very busy since getting back so the ride report is taking forever but here is the first bit. Yes I know it's not even about Morocco but it's all part of the journey.

Saturday 31st May
After a brilliant 5 days in Spain the time had come to say goodbye to friends and family as myself, Blue and Fossy were heading South on our much talked about trip to Morocco. The saying goodbye bit was not as easy as I thought and turned out to be a very emotional moment. I knew that if I didn’t set off quickly then second thoughts would start to creep in (again) but by 11.30am we were off.
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Once we had made the break I was in bike riding mode and the sat nav had drawn a route South through Spain and to Algeciras Port. This first part was really the only bit of the Adventure that had been planned, with everything after being left totally open to allow us to go with the flow.
I knew that the first couple of days would really just be a means to an end and within an hour or so the Peage was proving to be as boring as I had imagined. We had passed the Barcelona Ferry port a while ago and although we had snubbed the easy option my arse was now questioning the decision, as was my wallet as the peage machine raided it yet again. By mid afternoon we had stopped for fuel and had made a decision to take to the N roads as the motorways were just mind numbing. Within 5 minutes we were on a crackin road with fast open bends that cut its way across the plateau with mountains on either side. The plateau was about 10 miles wide with large scale agricultural buildings every few miles along the road and on the hillside were small groups of white houses, this was real Spain and in stark contrast to the Tourist ‘Costas’ on the other side of the mountains.
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As early evening approached we could see thick black clouds hugging the mountains ahead and as we fuelled up the cool wind signalled the approaching rain, sure enough within minutes we were diving for cover and reaching for waterproofs. We could have headed for a hotel but time and distance was against us so it was head down and keep going. Thankfully the rain was fairly shortlived and a couple of hours later we were approaching Gaudix where we had planned to stop for the night. By now it was dark, we were knackered and we needed petrol AGAIN so the bright lights of the 24hr fuel station and Motel drew us in like moths to the flame. Blue went inside to ask how much for a room and the look of shock on his face told the story, 90 Euros for a triple room with no breakfast. “I ain’t paying that” he said, “now it’s warm and dry I will sleep under the covered area of the car park next to my bike”, ”and me” say’s Fossy, bloody great I thought excitedly-real adventure. Don’t get me wrong the safe, comfortable family stuff is nice but I’ve had 20 odd years of that and during this trip I was looking forward to pushing the boundaries, sleeping rough and getting into a few scrapes-this is exactly what I was here for. The man on reception was watching us as we sat on our bikes eating what remained of our petrol station bread and ham tea but while his back was turned I went over to survey the intended sleep area. Unbeknown to us the area was covered by CCTV and the man had got wind of our plan, he approached with a piece of paper with 75 Euros written on it, after 12 hours and 450 miles we were at a low point so the deal was done, initially I was a bit disappointed to give up so easily but the feeling soon went once in a comfy bed. Image


Sunday 1st June
What’s that noise?, it’s Fossy snoring his head off, a quick check of the watch and it’s about time to get up (damn that 7 hours went quick), Christ what’s that smell?, it’s us and our damp riding gear-at least nobody will knick our stuff. Quick shower, smelly gear back on and load up the bikes. We’d arrived in darkness but this morning we can see the snow capped Sierra Nevada Mountains bathed in sunlight-I’m feeling tired but ready to head off on the ride down to the ferry. Image
We skip breakfast, feul up the bikes and head off along the fast flowing twisty N roads. The sun is getting hot already but the breeze is fresher this morning and riding without gloves gives a chance for the cool air to get up the arms of the jacket-nice. Blue’s set the sat nav and we turn off the main roads and starting heading up into the Mountains.
Somehow we take a wrong turn and ride through the centre of a small town with flags and bunting strung across the street. We turn the corner and the road comes to a dead end blocked by a bar and stage complete with drunk teenagers who are still partying from last night. Some are getting into their cars with beer bottles still in hand, this is rural Spain with no sign of Police just the local older generation shaking their heads and muttering at the disgrace of it all. A quick photo and were out of there. Image
We manage to pick up the right road and head South up to the Puerto de la Ragua National Park
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The roads are great with long flowing bends and good surface.
Trail signs show legal to ride bikes up here-shame we don’t have the time.
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After a couple of hours we stop for a late breakfast and consult the map, it’s taken us hours to cover a very short distance and we will have to push on if we are to make the ferry port tonight. Image
The roads are getting tighter and the bends very twisty, progress is slow. Image
We stop for a drink of water and an Italian man in a camper walks over to ask where we are heading. He did Morocco in 2008 and starts to real off lots of names of must see places-his accent is very strong and I struggle to understand him half the time but I recognise one or two. This year he has driven from Italy into Spain and he is now on his way to pick his wife up from the airport before they head up through Portugal,Spain & France. She works while he tours around in his camper and then she flys in whenever she can-he’s certainly got life sorted. Next year he has plans for Iran and ‘The Stans’.
Time is now against us and as we press on we realise we have missed the turning North up to the Town of Sierra Nevada, a quick check of the map and time and we realise we can’t turn back-oh well maybe another time. Sat nav set to quickest route to Rhondda and we press on. During my research for the trip I had read on the UKGSer site about the road from Rhondda to Algeciras and one poster said it was the best road he’d ever ridden-it didn’t disappoint. The road is about 30 miles long and is a series of long open bends, that are mainly downhill and which can be ridden at about 70/80mph and just roll on and off the throttle-ideal GS country. It was a classic road and one I would love to ride again in the future-too busy riding for photo’s. Image
Big lads a bit too quick for me here.

We arrived at the Ferry Port at about 8pm and after consulting in Spanglish with the security guard we found the last ferry went at 10pm and we could still make it. We had a bit of a chat and decided that landing in Morocco at 11pm on a Sunday evening, with no money and no idea of where to sleep was not a good idea so we set about looking for somewhere close by to set up camp. Fossy went to ask the gaurd if we could sleep in the terminal but this was a no go so I rode along the concrete promenade in search of a good spot. There was one area that was dry and flat but it had a lot of people walking about so I rode down onto the beach edge and found what I thought was a good spot-but what do I know I’ve never wild camped before. After a quick chat we decided to hang around until dark and then sneak onto the area I’d found on the edge of the beach. Blue decided he was going hardcore by just lying down at the side of his bike but me and Fossy got our tents out to help keep the mozzies off. We’d soon set up and I got my head down safe in the knowledge that ‘they’ would get Blue first. Image
After 350 miles in 14 hours I was shattered and soon out like a light. Sometime in the night I was woken by movement but hadn’t a clue what was happening and then it was gone. “did you see that Tone?” said Fossy, “did I see what?”, “The old Bill just drove up the beach, checked us out with torches and then f*ckd off”. Great I thought, another box ticked. It’s still dark and I’m soon back to sleep.
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Postby bmk » Sun Jun 28, 2009 1:02 pm

Popcorn out and ready for part 2 :lol: 8)
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Postby wideload » Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:06 pm

8) 8) 8)

and

:cry: :cry: :cry: cos I wasn't there :lol:

Good stuff Tony :lol:
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Postby Noel » Sun Jun 28, 2009 4:23 pm

I'm glued, keep it coming!
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Postby Tonibe63 » Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:51 pm

Monday 2nd June

The Real Adventure Begins.
I was woken by the alarm which I had set for 6.30am in an effort to catch the first ferry across at 8.
Picture quality is poor but the view from the tent was great
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The tent was a bit damp but it hadn’t rained and we soon had the bikes loaded up and heading for the port entrance. When planning the trip we had decided to book nothing to allow us to go with the flow and explore without having to stick to other peoples schedules-it was a very wise move. As we entered the port the signs had changed from Spanish to French and I saw the sign for tickets off to the left. We rode past a group of Policemen and was then beckoned to turn right by a chap dressed in civilian clothes, I was a bit suspicious but when he shouted “tickets this way” I followed his directions, after all he was standing with the Police.
“You park motos here and walk with me” he ordered,
“Where is the ticket office?” I asked whilst still on the bike.
“You park motos here and come with me” he insisted.
At this point a Police car pulls up behind us and starts giving the man a bit of lip.
“English?” enquired the driver,
“yes” I replied, “The ticket office is on the left, not down here” he ordered.
At this point I was getting a bit p*ssed off so we turned the bikes around and rode the wrong way through the port and back to the ticket office. Bloody fixers-that was a close one. Blue vowes to b*tch slap him If he sees him again.
We went to the office and asked for open returns tickets to Cueta which came out at 113 Euros each, a good result as they were 146 Euros each on t’internet in the UK. Tickets in hand we rode back passed the group of Police where the fixer with a poor memory asked “Tickets?”. Mindful of Blues earlier promise and keen to catch the ferry now I’d paid for it, I give him the two fingered salute and we rode straight passed. Within minutes we are on the 8am Ferry bound for Morocco :D .
Less than an hour later we arrived in Cueta, which is still under Spanish control and well organised so we were off the boat and out the port in minutes. Once out of the Port you can’t fail to notice that although the Police are Spanish the people are definitely different, probably Moroccan/Algerians-can’t put my finger on what it is but the place is buzzin, alive with people, in fact it’s a crazy place. Our progress through the port was in fact so quick we ended being spewed out into a main road passed the port with lots of old vans and cars darting from all directions in organised chaos. Being keen to stay in one piece we turned into a side road into the docks area where lots of eyes followed our every move, yes we were lost already but Blues natural sense of direction soon picked up the coast road heading South to the Moroccan border. The first thing I noticed was the amount of building work going on with holiday complexes on the inland side of the road and palm tree lined promenade on the shoreline-very much like any modern European resort and a bit disappointing.
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The big difference was that a lot of the roadside landscaping work was being done by groups of labourers, both men and women, using all manor of hand tools and where diggers were being used they just stuck out into the carriageway with no warning signs or roadcones, just a case of keep your eyes open or it’s your tough luck.
After about 15 miles we approached the Border with loads of people, cars and vans queing to get through. Being on bikes of course we rode down the outside and as we got to the main gates a man told us to park over to the right and to get out our passports. I noticed this guy was not wearing a Police uniform, so mindful of our earlier escapades I told him to “f*ck off” to which he looked a bit shocked leant forward and said “pardon?”, “f*ck off” I replied even louder. This time he got a bit stroppy and starting waving around an identity badge strung around his neck and said “no f*ck off, me an OFFICIAL”. My mind was working overtime, I’m sure this is another fixer but he seems to know the Police so we decide to comply with his request to avoid being locked up without ever getting into Morocco. The 'official' turned out to be quite useful as we had to blag the fact that we had no insurance and the 'official' explained that were going to buy it in the next town. After 15 minutes, 4 offices, a number of different officials ohh and a ‘Flu detector test’ the guy and his mate returned all our paperwork and said “now you can go through the border guards and now you give me some money”-I thought so. With my papers in my tankbag I said “sorry mate but I’ve got no money, you will have to see the big guy at the back” and rode off. Great I thought but not so fast, we were stopped another 3 times within 50 yards to have our papers checked before finally escaping out of the frying pan ................... and into the fire. It turns out Blue gave the fixer 5 Euros which he wasn’t at all happy with and we think he gave the nod to the border guards to hassle us. Finally I exited the border and pulled up just passed a big taxi rank outside the border to wait for the others. Relieved I took my first view of Morocco and instantly noticed hoards of people coming over the hill to my right like the battle scene out of Zulu. Within seconds a scruffy bloke with toes poking out of his shoes appeared, smiling with half his teeth missing and his hand outstretched, “you can definitely f*ck off” I said. Equally quickly a Policeman appeared and waved the beggar away for which I thanked him in my schoolboy French, the Policeman nodded and I rode about 50 yards further on to wait for the others. When they finally arrived we stopped for a photo and soon had a couple of beggars nearby, Blue issued the international 2 fingered salute and we decided to get out of there before we lost it.
Morocco at last.
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An hour later we approached the town of Tetouan and decided we needed some Moroccan Money before we could buy petrol or Insurance. Image

Eventually we found a bank but totaly forgot about insurance as it was getting very hot and we were attracting a bit of attention from the local kids, nothing sinister just the usual hand out stuff so we set off South for Chefchaouen. I had been warned that this road was bordering the third largest cannabis growing area in the World and to be on our gaurd. As it turned out we did see young lads at the side of the road selling bags of ‘something’ and as we rode along the warm air changed from smelling of ovile trees to the unmistakable smell of kif but there was nothing to worry about, although I wouldn’t like to be here alone at night. Further down the road we enter a small town made up of half built houses and ramshackle workshops doing all manner of mechanical repairs. As we exit the town we spot Police up ahead stopping cars and vans-“ohh sh*t, we have no insurance”. As we approach, the Policeman looks straight at us as we try to slow down to the speed limit, he then steps back a pace, nods his head and waves us through-“sh*t, that was close”. This routine was to happen a further 4 times during the first day and each time we were waved through-result.
Lunchtime and it’s very hot so we stop for our first meal of the day at a restaraunt that has a crackin view.
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We headed onto Ouzzane via the N13 and then took the minor roads heading for Fes. Mid afternoon and the temperature is too hot so we have to stop for more water. We meet a friendly cafe owner and with my bit of French and his bit of English we have a bit of a chat and he introduces his children. He tells us that today is very hot and is now 46 degrees-jesus no wonder the road has pools of molten tar on the corners and we are sweating our nads off in full bike gear. After all the hassle with fixers and beggars earlier this has really restored my faith for meeting some decent people and it feels good. Image Image

At this point we got lost and ended up heading for Fes via the N13 which is a bit like our A5 ie.a major trunk road. The road was only a single vehicle width of tarmac with a 6 foot strip of hardpacked dirt on each side for when two vehicles need to overtake.
We enter Fes and head for the Hotel Batha as recommended on the UKGSer site. When we get there we find that there is a 4 day music festival on and the place is rammed with people. We take a lot of wrong turns despite asking several Police for directions and we end up riding through the middle of the market within the old walled city.
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The place is heaving with people, police blowing whistles to keep people and the taxis moving, animals and children running across the street, as we crawl through the sea of people part just enough for us to pass -this is crazy, brilliant, it feels so alive. Finally we find the Hotel and park out front, within seconds a Policeman is whistling at us to move but I gesture that we are going to the Hotel and he seems ok about it. After I checked the prices and secure parking for the bikes we decide to look elsewhere and a local fixer offers to show us ‘his brothers hotel’ within the Medina. Blue and Fossy stand gaurd with the bikes and I am lead into the walled city. The passages went left, right, down, up infact within half a minute my head was in a whirl and I didn’t like the feeling off the increasingly darkened alleyways. I felt like Harry Potter visiting Diagon Alley and decide it is too far and I want to get back. The young man protests but I say I am going and turn round, then I realise I haven’t a clue where I am. I could feel the sweat pouring down the inside of my bike jacket wether it was heat or panic I’m not sure but I’m sure the mental image of being mugged didn’t help. Thankfully true to his word the man lead me back to the bikes-phew that was close. We decide to head for the safety of the Ibis Hotel and after a few wrong turns we finally find it and book in. After three days of riding in the same gear we all stank like a weightlifters crutch and we made good use of the shower to get cleaned up before heading out for something to eat. By now it is dark and as we walk towards the town centre we could see a man routing around in a large bin, as we passed he took something out and ate it. Further up the road were a few more beggars but non seemed outwardly to be disabled or unable to work and I started to feel a bit cynical towards them. Further on we passed fixers offering to take us on tours but we were too tired to even despatch the 2 fingered salute and we just walk on. After a safe meal of Pizza and chips we headed back to bed.
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Blue had a strange fascination for a go in a Taxi but not tonight
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WOW what an amazing first day- brilliant, can it get any better?
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Postby wideload » Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:44 pm

8) 8) 8)
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Postby Noel » Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:06 pm

Can't beleive Fossy A: Snores, I hope you told him! B: he tried to hide behind a 8x2 post.
I'm loving it 8)
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Postby BLUE(UK) » Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:18 pm

Noel wrote:Can't beleive Fossy A: Snores, I hope you told him! B: he tried to hide behind a 8x2 post.
I'm loving it 8)


A, it was probably me and Tonibe is being kind. :lol: :lol:

B, The foz is hiding behind that post cos i made him.....he was wearing lycra ffs!! :? :shock: :lol: :lol: (time and time again he had to be warned!!) :lol: :lol: :lol:
Then there's the guy who emails 50 questions about a 10 quid product, all of which could be answered by googling. So you answer and try to help, he emails again with more and you reply again. After the 5th email its obvious he doesnt actually want it and is basically wasting your time so you reply slower. Then he puts a post on a forum about how you're a twat because you're slow to reply so that whole process just costs you time and reputation, all because the bloke is a massive """"..
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Postby chazzy » Mon Jun 29, 2009 6:36 pm

sounds like fun. but slightly freaky with all the robbers and random people about
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Postby bmk » Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:06 pm

chazza wrote:sounds like fun. but slightly freaky with all the robbers and random people about


That's bogus miss :lol: :wink:
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Postby Tonibe63 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:40 pm

bmk wrote:
chazza wrote:sounds like fun. but slightly freaky with all the robbers and random people about


That's bogus miss :lol: :wink:


No, that's the generation gap :wink: :lol: :lol:
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Postby bmk » Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:56 pm

Tonibe63 wrote:
bmk wrote:
chazza wrote:sounds like fun. but slightly freaky with all the robbers and random people about


That's bogus miss :lol: :wink:


No, that's the generation gap :wink: :lol: :lol:


She knows who Kevin Green is :lol: :wink:
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Postby chazzy » Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:32 pm

Dad, why do you ALWAYS have to bring up that quote when I say RANDOM. Oooh scary word! :lol: :D :lol: :D
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Postby skunkyd » Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:40 pm

Thank goodness my little fellas only nine and a half months, I'm sure he has an opinion about a lot of things.....just can't tell me........yet :lol:
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Postby Digga » Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:39 pm

skunkyd wrote:Thank goodness my little fellas only nine and a half months, I'm sure he has an opinion about a lot of things.....just can't tell me........yet :lol:


You'll be finding out soon enough mate.

I can remember my 2 little angels at less than a year old :D .... the amount of times i wish they were still less than a year old. Once they can walk you've had it mate.... and THAT is no joke at all..

One upside for you i suppose... 'he' is male.. mine are both of the other variety and by God do i know it :cry: :cry:
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