Three Amigoes head South

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Postby Tonibe63 » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:08 pm

Noel wrote:So glad you've done a bit more, will it be finished in the near future?


The road is for the journey not the destination :wink:
Open your eyes and you see what is in front of you, open your mind and you see a whole new World.
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Postby b8ppj » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:12 pm

Nice one tony..... 8) 8) 8)
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Postby PaulG » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:56 pm

8) 8) 8) 8) 8)
Of all the things i have lost i miss my mind the most.
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Postby Digga » Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:14 pm

this could last ages yet 8)
i reckon they're only a few days 'in' yet.. :lol:
"The day you become old is the day you're not looking for new experiences anymore."

"Quisque comoedus est."

perspicuus lux lucis , caligo umbra.
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Postby Tonibe63 » Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:37 pm

Digga wrote:this could last ages yet 8)
i reckon they're only a few days 'in' yet.. :lol:


Yep.
3 days left in Morocco, 2 days in Spain and then the ferry back-it'll take a while.
Writing the report is bringing it all back and I'm trimming out some of the lesser bits. It was an epic trip :D :D .
Open your eyes and you see what is in front of you, open your mind and you see a whole new World.
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Postby racer28 » Wed Dec 30, 2009 9:34 pm

Reading this really gets you thinking .... I want to do a trip :)
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Postby PaulG » Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:11 pm

racer28 wrote:Reading this really gets you thinking .... I want to do a trip :)

Same here :D
Of all the things i have lost i miss my mind the most.
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Postby Tonibe63 » Thu Dec 31, 2009 5:50 pm

Friday 6th
Very tired this morning. Not sure if it’s the beer last night, the long days in the saddle or the lack of water that is the cause? Good job we have a fairly easy day ahead-well that was the plan.
After a frantic half hour of Marakech traffic we are finally on the right road heading North East on the N8. We’d glanced at the map after breakfast and thought that as we were only going about 100 miles up the road we could afford to take a few detours so turned right up into the Mountains. The road was initially tarmaced but quite narrow and we had to pull over for oncoming traffic. Within a couple of miles it had turned into gravel and got even narrower which caused a couple of ‘moments’ as speeding taxi’s came round the blind bends. Four or five miles in things were starting to get hot so after stopping for a drink and look at the map we took the decision to turn back to the main road. The thought of another 30 miles of this filled non of us with joy
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After an hour on the main road we turned off on the planned route. It turned out to be a cracking road with good tarmac, wide open bends and a bit cooler as we climbed higher.
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The run off areas tend to concentrate the mind
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The sun is high and hot when we reach our stop off point at the Cascades d’Ouzoud. We park just off the main road outside a cafe and sit down to another great lunch. The place is a bit more touristy but very quiet.
After lunch I take a 2 minute stroll to the top of the falls and saw two guides just sitting on the edge dangling their feet over-f*ckn nuts, it’s 400 feet straight down
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I went back to fetch the others but Fossy was already setting up for a quick nap in the shade next to his bike and didn’t fancy the 2 hour walk. Me and Blue were also kn*ckered but glad we went for it.
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The buildings at the top is where we had lunch
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It was a tough walk but glad we did it. Fossy was still flat out when we got back
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It was about 4pm by now but no worries as it’s about an hours ride maximum to the Kasbah by a lake that Jenny Morgan had recommended.
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Unfortunately it turned out to be popular because it was full, as was the one two miles up the road and the one after that-oh no a familiar feeling unfolds, this could be another long day. As the sun started to drop from the sky we decided to try the next town but again there was nowhere obvious to stay so keep on going until we realise that the town of Kasbah Tadla was to be as far as we could get tonight.
We roll into town and pull up in the main square to get our bearings. Within minutes we are surrounded by about 40 kids all smiling and jabbering away happily but it was getting a bit out of hand so we make a hasty move.
We find a Policeman to ask for directions and he waves his arms giving directions but I can’t understand a word he is saying. Five minutes later we have done a complete circle and are back with the same Policeman, this time his arms wave even faster as he is obviously losing patience with us and the gathering kids. Round and round we go until we find a different Policeman. He points to what appears to be the only hotel in town. It’s down a dark side street with groups of young men hanging around and there appears to be no area for the bikes. No way are we stopping in this town so we head back to the petrol station on the outskirts and fill up with fuel and water for the night. By this time it is dark, our cash is running low and we have nowhere to sleep.
We’d passed what looked like a Motel area about 5 miles back so we decided to get away from the town and try to find shelter. As we pulled in I spotted an official looking guy sitting outside the managers office. In my best French I asked if there were rooms but alas it was just a service area. Things were getting desperate so I asked if we could sleep in the car park at which point the man said we could set up camp next to the swimming pool-what a star. We sat down at the cafe, emptied our last few coins onto the table and scraped enough together for a couple of meals between us before setting up camp. What was supposed to be a short day turned out to be the longest.
Open your eyes and you see what is in front of you, open your mind and you see a whole new World.
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Postby wideload » Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:15 pm

Am really loving the write up Tony, thanks for doing it, and keep it coming :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby Tonibe63 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:33 pm

Saturday 7th
Although I’m very tired I wake a few times during the night either because it was cold or there were workers walking passed our tents heading back to their sleeping quarters. One time I’m woken by the haunting sounds of the Imam calling the men to prayers and as I open my eyes I see the daybreak.
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It’s too cold and too early to get up yet so I drift back to sleep with the strangely soothing sound of the Imam fading into the distance.
We finally get up and get our bearings for the place we have stopped
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Can’t remember any service areas like this in Europe.
Time to make use of the facilities while we have the chance but a feeling of panic sets in as I realise that my many stores of toilet paper have been exhausted and it’s time to, in Fossy’s words, “go the full Moroccan”. So with a bucket of cold water in hand I head into the cubicle with the hole in the ground fearing the worst. A shout from Blue in the next door cubicle declares “it’s no good, I just can’t do it”. For me it’s business as usual and the cold water is strangely refreshing, infact I quite enjoyed it.
As we pack up our bikes we are aware of a number of workers hanging around for some money. The Manager the previous night hadn’t mention any charge and we have no money anyway so we ignore the freeloaders, quickly pack up our bikes and hightail it out of there.
We head back into Kasbah Tadla town and eventually find a cash machine. Three different cards later I finally manage to get some money out. A good tip is to always have a range of different credit cards handy because they don’t all work out there. Also make sure you hide a couple somewhere on the bike and in your luggage incase of problems.
Back on the main N8 we take in the cool morning air feeling releaved to be on our way again.
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I think there were local elections going on somewhere becausewe saw lots of vans with people on top shouting and carrying banners.
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At Khenifra we turn right onto a route which will take us high into the mountains recommended by Jenny Morgan and it doesn’t disappoint.
Some rideable dirt atlast
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As we climb high into the Middle Atlas Mountains the temperature starts to drop and the land becomes more fertile with lots of trees and greenery
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Until finally after about an hours ridewe reach The Plains
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And take to the dirt for a play
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We found a rocky mound and I went to explore
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A vision of a newspaper headline “Stupid Englishman eaten by Bear in Morocco” stopped me from going inside for a look. Do they have bears in Morocco????
About a quarter of a mile away I spot a herd of sheep or goats and a lone figure of a man looking our way. Is that a rifle he’s pointing towards us?? As he turns sideways I realise it’s his shepherds crook laid across his shoulders and his arms resting on either end-phew. I raise my arm and wave at the shepherd who waves back before he turns and walks away.
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What an amazing feeling of space and freedom up here on this fertile land without fences or barriers. Carla King had passed this way about 3 weeks previous and it was still covered in snow.
As we start to descend the plains we see Nomad tents in the distance
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We head down into Azrou for fuel. All around is evidence of the economic prosperity that is starting to modernise Morocco.
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As we head North we decide we had been far too cautious about our food so try some ‘street’ food.
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Steak straight off the carcass
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You can even have the ‘best’ part if you’ve got the b*lls
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After lunch we headed towards our overnight stop in the city of Meknes and the ever dependable Ibis Hotel. I tried bartering with the receptionist but a firm “zis IS ze price” soon put paid to that so we unloaded the bikes and went to the rooms for an unusual early bath about 5pm.
Later we were heading out into the car park when we saw a very western looking couple getting out of a 4x4 and they stopped for a chat. They were an American couple in their mid fifties that had started their own charity and spent the last ten years running an orphanage in Meknes. Today however was their last day in the Country as they were heading home for good to be with their now growing grandchildren. It had been a tough decision for them and they fought back the tears whilst telling us their tale. We wished then well before heading off into the City.
Meknes itself had seen massive investment over the last ten years after the old King died and his Son looked to modernise the Country using some of his money and also that of European investors. This was quite obvious as the whole place felt and looked very European which overshadowed it’s Moroccan routes and it had almost lost it’s identity. I’m not sure if it’s the lack of sleep or the dehydration but for a major Moroccan City it had non of the charm we experienced in Marakech or Fes and it left me feeling a bit deflated. So a bite to eat and early bed to catch up on some much needed sleep.
Open your eyes and you see what is in front of you, open your mind and you see a whole new World.
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Postby Noel » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:51 pm

It's definatley not just about riding the bikes is it. Very good reading, something I'm not good at is writing a diary, but definitely inspiring to do so, thanks.
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Postby wideload » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:52 pm

God I REALLY wish I had come with you guys :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby Tonibe63 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:52 pm

Noel wrote:It's definatley not just about riding the bikes is it.


The bikes are just the method of travel.
If I'm honest that's one of the reasons why I've waited for the dust to settle before writing the report. I was so blown away by the whole experience that it could easily have been a load of excited babble that had very little to do with bikes. I left it 6 months and got the same feelings as I read the diary so just got on with it.

Noel wrote:Very good reading, something I'm not good at is writing a diary, but definitely inspiring to do so, thanks.


Thanks Noel :D .
English grammar was my second worst subject at school and as you've probably noticed I don't bother with a spell checker :oops: .
My worst subject was English Literature-it was all a 'loada b*llocks' to me. Hence the reason why each days report takes over 2 hours to do :roll: . A series of notes that you can tie up with photos is the key :wink: .
Open your eyes and you see what is in front of you, open your mind and you see a whole new World.
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Postby Tonibe63 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:32 pm

Sunday 8th
We got up early ready for the journey back to Spain and fill up on the help yourself breakfast. I woke up with mixed feelings. I was sad that we would soon be leaving this great Country even though the best part was further South but also looking forward to getting one day closer to home even though I knew the long ride up through Europe would be an anticlimax.
We head North on the N13 bound for Oazzane.
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The familiar smell of olives baking in the sun soon greets us as does the occasional smell of Kiff as we push on towards Chefchaouen.
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We even got chased by a Kiff seller on a pushbike eager to make a sale. Lunchtime we stop at the cafe we’d found on the way down.
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After lunch we push on through Tetouan and stop at Cabo Negro just before the Border to sort out the paperwork.
We also had some Moroccan money left over which we thought was not allowed to be taken out of the Country so we set about trying to spend it all on McDonalds. After the second Milkshake we were bloated like new born lambs and realised we couldn’t possibly eat it all so hid it in various places around the bikes before heading into the border. As soon as we drew up to the frontier we were accosted by a fixer who we tried to get rid of by saying we had no money left. He didn’t believe us and called our bluff by saying it didn’t matter he would help us. I’ll give him his due we were through the border without much hassle in about 10 minutes and then of course his hand came out for a fee. We gave him the last of our change in our pockets which he wasn’t pleased with but that’s all he was getting and we hightailed it out of there before he got chance to cause any trouble.
Back in the Spanish owned Northern tip of Morocco and things became more touristy
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Times getting on so we head for Ceuta and the port. We’ve missed the ferry so have an hour or so to wait so catch up on some sleep, our bellies still full of milkshake.
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We board the ferry and say goodbye to Africa. Half an hour later we land back in Europe at Algeciras. The previous day we had looked at the forecast for the week ahead and it didn’t look good with heavy rain forecast for the leg up through France-ohh joy. So during the crossing Blue had been in contact with a ‘friend’ back home to find out options for a Ferry from Northern Spain. Santandar ferry was due to leave in about 24 hours but it was over 700 miles away so was out of the question. Bilboa had a ferry leaving in 36 hours so we could make that one if they had space, if not we need to go that way anyway.
It’s late afternoon and we decide to get some miles under our belt so wrap up for a long stretch of boring Motorway and dual carriageway. A couple of hours later we fuel up, grab a sandwich and then it’s off again. It’s dark now and I’m feeling absolutely exhausted-we need to find a bed for the night so we call into a truckstop/ service area. They have 1 room but want 100 Euros which doesn’t include breakfast-f*ck that, we’ve been getting bed, breakfast and evening meal for £14 each so we’ll rough it. We pull off the motorway and start searching for a place to camp. Blue spots somewhere but when we check it out it’s no good. Blue turns round and heads off into the dark but is on the wrong side of the road. He hadn’t realised because it took me nearly a mile of twisty roads to catch him up-we are knackered and this is getting dangerous. Eventually I spotted a small strip of tarmac just off the main road but it was down a dip with no obvious way to it. It’s no good we just ride across the verge, feet up hoping there isn’t a ditch at the bottom. Safely onto the tarmac we throw up the tents and within minutes I’m fast asleep.
Open your eyes and you see what is in front of you, open your mind and you see a whole new World.
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Postby Tonibe63 » Sun Jan 10, 2010 2:03 pm

Monday 9th
I woke up during the night and it was absolutely freezing so put on a few more layers and drifted back to sleep. The next time I looked at the clock it was about 6am and it was daylight outside. Fossy had been up for a couple of hours after being woken by the lorries thundering passed on the main road while Blue was still fast asleep.
Packing up. That tarmac was bloody uncomfortable to sleep on.
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We were somewhere North of Seville with another big day ahead so we decided to do a couple of hours of dual carriageway and then cut off onto the old Silver Road that runs parallel to the new road to wake ourselves up for a bit. Once off the dual carriageway the roads were brilliant with great tarmac, great views and great bends. By midday we are getting hungry so stop in a small town, grab an excellent meal and even tried a bit of ‘Spanglish’ on the locals in the bar.
A couple of hours of twisty roads and Fossy’s lack of sleep was starting to tell so at the next opportunity we synchronised the GPS to our intended overnight stop and Fossy took to the Dual Carraigeway while me and Blue carried on up into the mountains.
The weather started to worsen as we climbed higher and higher
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As the roads got wetter my confidence started to fade and soon the big lad was miles ahead of me. He even stopped to take a photo and then overtook me again
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Once we’d got over the top and started heading down again the weather started to ease.
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Once it had dried up my confidence came back and I was soon reeling him in. Then we came to a series of hairpin bends with short straights between and I got passed him. There was very little on the roads as half an hour of cat and mousse ensued as Blue pushed me on-brilliant fun.
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Back on the dual carriageway for an hour and I’m literally falling asleep on the bike so we have to stop. I was flat out for half an hour
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We finally got to the meeting point but no sign of Fossy so we sit around munching snacks before we set about finding somewhere to camp. As the sun started to set it got cold so we checked into a motel next door to the petrol station and left the bikes out the front so Fossy would see them when he came passed. By 8pm there was still no sign of Fossy, our phone’s were useless and we hadn’t a clue where he was. We couldn’t do anything so settled down in the bar chatting to 3 Essex Boys who were on their way back from Granada where they had a house along with KTM EXC’s stored. 10pm and he’s not made it so we head off for some sleep.

Tuesday 10th
Still no sign of Fossy but we need to get to Bilbao early to see if we can get on a boat otherwise it’s another 2 or 3 days of riding up through France. We’d noticed a small oil leak on Blues bike late last night but as we pull up in the ferry port oil is trickling out the back of the engine. Luckily there are spaces on the boat so we bend over and take it like a man as we pay the fare-to be honest it would have cost more to ride up through France so definitely the better option.
We pull into the queue and start to check out Blues bike before deciding he needs to get collected once back in Portsmouth.
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Suddenly we hear a familiar voice, it’s Fossy-must admit it was a great relief-f*ck knows what he would have done if he'd missed the Ferry. He’d missed a turning the previous day so decided to just carry on to the port and had camped on the tarmac at the front of the queue.
Once on the boat we grabbed some kip before heading for the Restaurant and some much needed food. We met a group of 3 sportsbike riders who had been for a blast around Spain but the conversation about knee scraping became boring and we moved on.
We then met a couple of great guys who were eager to exchange stories. One was from Birmingham and had been for a trip around Spain with a couple of mates. Unfortunately his Vespa scooter had broken down so he had to abandon his trip. The other guy was an Irishman on his way home after a solo journey around Germany aboard his 1150GS. Both listened eagerly as we babbled about our trip to the Desert and the 24 hour crossing turned out to be a great craic.
Once we’d docked Blues Dad had arrived with the van to collect him and his bike. It turned out to be a leaking oil pressure switch and we were fortunate it hadn’t gone earlier. Something as simple as that could have been a trip breaker for any bike down in the Desert.
The ride back up from Portsmouth was always going to be an anticlimax after such a fantastic trip so after saying goodbye to Blue and the others at the port Fossy and I set off. Once on the Motorway network we lost each other somewhere around Oxford so I just headed for home.


THE END ...........











Or is it just the beginning :twisted:
Open your eyes and you see what is in front of you, open your mind and you see a whole new World.
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