Saturday, 6 August 2011

Days 6, 7 and 8 - Northern Morocco

Left to right: Glen, Geoff, Matt
We packed up quickly and were ready to leave about half 9 on Wednesday 22nd June 2011. However before left we met a really interesting guy called Glen Burmeister, who was  under taking a challenge that was making us look like a bunch of soft shandy drinkers. Glen was riding from Tarifa in the very south of spain up to the tip of norway and trying to set a record time whilst doing it and raise money for Mind the mental health charity.

We got on the road and the good thing about the Etap hotel was that it was very easy to get on the Autovia (spanish motorway) and on the road to Algericas where we wanted to get the ferry to Tangier Med Port. After a few miles on the road I noticed my bike was really down on power and my top end was really sluggish. I knew what was wrong, when repairing my bike I had put the timing belt on one tooth out. so I stopped in at a services and set about and adjustment. I noticed that my attempt to fix the leak into cam belt chamber hadn't worked, bu the leak was only small so I decided to keep going and just monitor oil levels. It took some time as the engine was very hot.
Fixing my bike at roadside in the hot sun

I pulled away from the garage and 500 metres down the road the cambelt shredded a few teeth and I had no drive this was another half hour delay as I changed the cambelt by the side of the road. The belt had worn really quickly (less than 2000 miles) this was due to the oil leak from the bottom end softening the belt.

On board the boat
As we got on the road I noticed that my top end was slow again, in the rush by the side of the road I'd missed a tooth again. so when we arrived in Malaga to try and obtain the com unit for pirates helmet I set to work adjusting the belt for the 3rd time today.  Unfortunately it was 2pm when we arrived  and seista had jus begun. so pirate couldn't buy the bit he needed. We decided to go without the part and arrived in Algericas at 5pm.

We bought our tickets which were much more than we exepcted (£110 approx each for an open return) and just got on the last ferry of the day. We stayed at a campsite in the coastal town of Martil.

The Campsite in the morning
We woke up by 8 and were on the at about half 9 after we began our love affair with Moroccan mint tea at breakfast time. We got as much water as we could carry filled up with petrol and set off.

I was a refreshing change to be on twisty back roads rather than mile after mile of Motorway/ Autoroute/ Auotvia, although id did take some time to get used to the Moroccan way of cutting every corner so you had ride like everyone was going to kill you out there.

On the road south
It was hot and only getting hotter as we contiuned further south and buy lunch time it had reached 42 degrees. Our lunch stop was great int he middle of know where we had the biggest plate of salad bread, egg and cheese I have ever seen and it cost us next to nothing. The others got tuna with their food but I don't eat fish so I was happy with the salad.

By the time we finished lunch it was gone 3pm and it was clear we weren't going to make it to Midelt but we were only 100km from Meknes so agreed to finish the day there, It had been the hottest day so far and we were all tired in the heat. We got to Meknes at about 5pm and headed to a campsite that was marked on the GPS map I had downloaded before departure unfortunately we found it had been closed since 2009, at this point we were so hot and irratable that we decided to saty in the Local Ibis hotel. This was a slice of luxury that we felt we deserved after the ups and downs of the last week.

Geoff on the BMWR1200GS in Meknes
The first thing I did after unpacking the bike was head for the luxury that the Ibis hotle provided in the way of a swimming pool and a cold beer, it was much needed. That evening we headed into the town centre and the team dynamic was running great we all appeared to be getting on so much better (4 is a much better number to travel with than 3 was my conclusion). Paul had got an old phone to lend Pirate (Pirates phone had died in the rain storms in france) but it needed unlocking so on our way to find food we stopped at a few phone shops and arranged for this to happen in the morning.

For dinner Me and Geoff had our first Tagines in Morocco, a nice meal of Lamb veg and fruits Paul and Pirate weren't quite ready for native cusine and had Pizza.

Waiting outside the Ibis Meknes for Paul to return with an unlocked  phone for Pirate
The following morning we made the most of having breakfast provided and got ready to go for 10am. While Paul got a phone unlocked for Priate. It took until 1pm for Paul to return having been taken all around town  by various local phone unlocking people. This gave pirate the means to make much needed communication with the better half back home.

All the bikes in the Low Atlas
We left Meknes after paul returned and continued south to Midelt, the road went up into the mountains, Morocco is a ver strang country the senery and landscape change very quickly almost as if there is a line in the ground that marks where there is forest, plains and a landscape that looks like it should be on Mars. Being in the mountains it was much much cooler and we even had a little rain which cooled us all down.

Spirits high at the Campsite in Midelt
At times we were at 2200 above sea level however by the end of the day we dropped to around 1000 metres above sea level and the town of Midelt. the campsite in the town was empty and it made us realise how few travellers were heading to southern morocco at this time of year in this heat. We got our tents up and walked into town where we were shown to a local resutrant. We had a massive dinner and it cost us a total of around £15 for four of us. After dinner we returned to the campsite had a few drinks and and we had proper chat and a really good evening, after 2 days of brilliant roads and fantastic scenery Morale was high again.

The young lad who had shown us the restuarnt agreed to come and meet us in the morning to take use to get our tyre changed. Although it isn't in the spirit of independant motorbike travel didn't fancy changing my own tyres in this heat. I needed to change my tyres to Knobblie trail type tyres as tomorrow we were heading to the Mountain paths and the Cirque de Jaffar.

No comments:

Post a Comment