Friday, 21 October 2011

Days 14, 15, 16 and 17 - Illness and Breakdown

The following day I awoke and enjoyed the usual great breakfast at Bikers Home in Ouarzazate before starting to load my my bike to set off into the mountains. The previous night Pirate and I had plotted a route going across the country following back roads and tracks. Then planning to take the the east coast of Spain before going the most direct route across France.

It was only once I had started loading my bike that Pirate came down to say he had just spent the last hour in the loo and didn't think he was going anywhere that day, He was suffering from a heat related illness or he had eaten something that didn't agree with him.

So we remained at bikers home for at least the rest of that day while Pirate recovered I ammused myself by spending my time socailising with some of Peter's neighbours who were butchering a sheep to create a large tagine, and I got shown around the eldest of peter's neighbours house which was partially completed but it was going to be absolutly stunning when complete. He was a very proud man and really keen to show me how he lived and told me stories of his travels to germany. Communication wasn't easy at all times as my French is week and the local language was Berber (a version of arabic spoken widely in Southern Morocco).

The other thing I did to amuse myself whilst Pirate was recovering was read, I picked up to Dakar and Back by Lawrence Hacking, a book I read in 24 hours. It outlined his journey from rookie motorcross rider to being the first Canadian to enter and finish the Dakar Rally. Highlight of the story was when had to be recovered using his best self reliance and bartering accross 400km of Mali/Senegal.
Gravel road out of Ouarzazate

Pirate on the rough road

The green oued bed

Small village outside Ouarzazate
Riding towards the mountain pass

The veiw down the mountains
After 48 hours of being unwell Pirate annouced that he was fit to leave so we loaded up the bikes and headed for Demnate. We headed north from Ouarzazate following an off road track along an oued through some Berber Villages. It was along here that Pirates fueling issues began again. We stopped along the track and drained the carb float to try and clear all the dirt from the card that was causing the fuel to leak and the bike to stall. after doing this Pirates bike fired up and we continued on our way.

Pirate on the twisty mountain pass
We rejoined the tarmac and it was almost 6pm and we knew we had only 2 and half hours of light left and 100 miles of twisty moutain road with rock's all accross the road where they had been washed down the mountain. The R307 was one of the best roads I have ever ridden with lose tarmac and twists and hairpins going over two mountian ranges. After 2 and a half hours of hairpins, loose surfaces and truely stunning scenery we ran out of light, and we went looking for a place to stop for the night.

Wild camping in the mountains
We wild camped in between a few trees on the mountain side, we were far enough away from the road that we didn't have any problems with being discovered or disturbed. I got my tent up and we cooked our dinner (a vacum packed meal from "Look what we found"). Pirate had chosen to camp without a tent and in the Morning it emerged he had been eaten by ants and looked like the Manimal with red splodges all over his face.

After laughing and taking the mick out of Pirate for his unfortunate incident with the ants we packed up and headed into Demnate for breakfast. at Breakfast Pirate told me his clutch was dragging, I told him this may not be good news, but we had a got at adjusting the clutch and continued on into the mountains. Our pan was to ride a dirt track from Demnate 100 km west and then continue north over the next few days before crossing into Europe.

Leaving Demnate towards the mountains
For the first couple of hours the track was really rutted and torn up so pace was slow, Pirate was really struggling in the heat, but was putting a brave face on it. I had to tell him direct to speak up if he didn't want to continue as we were very far away from help. After about 2 hours the rutted dirt track turned into a gravel road so our pace rose again as we went around many mountain villages and passed through the souks (traditional markets next to the road).

The tough rutted track into the mountains
Suddenly I lost all break pressure in my front break and on further investigation I could see a leak had appeared around the break caliper, I knew I needed to repair this, but I had no fluid and I needed to replace the copper washer so we needed get to the next town with auto supplies, so I could bleed the brakes.

As the day wore on the track got worse and my lack of breaks saw me crash into a wall and almost go over the edge twice, then coming down a mountain due to over reliance on the back break I boiled the fluid and was totally without breaks. The day had taken it's toll on Pirates bike aswell his clutch was really dragging by the end of the day.

The veiw from our camping spot
We ended the day in a village marked on my GPS as Tirsal which took us an hour and half to get through as the steep down hill track was pretty damaged and with no breaks I couldn't control the bike properly. The villagers allowed us to stay in the village and gave us a flat patch of ground to pitch our tent. One of the villagers fed us and gave us a drink of tea.

Bikes loaded into Peter's Truck
After a good nights sleep we were going to ride on to the next town, but in the morning Pirate decided that it wasn't worth continuing with his clutch in  such a bad way so he decided to call Peter from bikers home for a rescue. I decided that with no breaks it wasn't safe for me to continue alone so waited for rescue with him.

It was about 6pm when Peter arrive for rescue, we loaded the bike and headed back to Ouarzazate grabbing a bite to eat in Demnate before arriving at Bikers home at about midnight.