expedice-1

RIDE REPORT

Our ride started actually at fall 2003, when my friend Radek and me purchased new R1150GS/Adventure bikes. We know each other from SCRC (cruisers) club for many years and one of major questions was - where will will ride with our new bikes (basically replacing F650GS Dakar what we had few years ago)? Our bikes should be able to carry us to far distances without any troubles, even with a lot of stuff in pannier cases. But where to go? There is plenty of attractive locations, but we don´t have 2 or 3 months time to spend on road as other globe riders. We even don´t have enough money to cargo our bikes to far distances by air (what is typical if people from Europe ride to Namibia or JAR for example). We would like to ride to a country, what is possible to reach without cargo - by road or short ferry. Let´s look around - Lybia, only sand, uncertain country for us. Tunisia? Too many tourists and small area, sand areas closed as military places. Not really. Next - Algeria is practically sealed by civil war. So, why not Morocco? Interesting country, not to known by our riders here, there are beatifull mountains as well as desert areas. That´s it. We ride to Morocco. How many people? Two? Not enough. Our third mate cannot ride with us this time. So we started to seek riders to join us. We asked people at local BMW meetings, at Slovakia where we were on friendship rally... Finally we got answer from one rider who saw our post at Adventure RIder forum - Jim is from USA, but live at Germany and plan to ride at Morocco for short time at the same period as we plan (end of September). Fine. We are three of us. On one of our afternoon offroad rides around Prague we spotted absolutelly same GS/A as we have. Of coarse we stopped and started to talk with the owner - FIlip. He plan to ride to Greece (actually he did the ride twice this year alone, plus Albania and plus Romania as well). But at fall he wanted to go to knee surgery. What´s a pity. Our club friend Jarda “Gas” finally purchased F650GS and decided to join our team. And on the end Filip decided to postpone his surgery as well. So it´s five riders, more then enough...
We had few summer meetings (mainly around my grill at the garden), where we planned our ride. Purchased guides, books and maps. Decided who will care about what, who will carry tents, who will take stoves etc. Many details had to be discussed. Anyway, major question is - how we will move from Prague to southern Spain, what is more then 3000km? It´s probably not a big deal to ride at the end of September, but we may return late at October, when will be really cold at Germany or here at CZ. Not to mention that we would need to ride on street tires and carry offroad tires with us and change it at Spain, plus we wanted to take at least one of each used tires as spare to Morocco. Jim will use “auto-train” from Dusseldorf to Narbonne at France. It´s about 1000km ride to Algeciras from Narbonne. But we will have to ride 3x more. Then came idea from Gas - his friend has huge car trailer, what may be suitable for carrying 4 big bikes. We will have to test it, if we will fit. But such trailer is almost impossible to pull behind personal car. So Filip came with idea to hire his friend´s Ford Transit, what they use for trailering kayaks. He actually hired it for fair price to us. Many other questions? Will Jim´s KTM LC4 fit inside? Where we will keep car and trailer during our Morocco ride? Jim solved it - he agreed with Linda from place near Algeciras, that we can leave car and trailer near her house at Castellaro. Fantastic. Rest was just not as complicated - purchasing tie down straps and many things, what we will need for the ride or at least we think, that we may need. But first calculation shows, that when we will drive, we will be able to make 3000km in two days (actually it was 40hours) if two people will drive and two will sleep and we will drive nonstop.
We had to solve other problem - navigation. There is not many good GPS maps of Morocco. In fact, there is nothing available. We purchased several Michelin maps (742 for example), we even tried to scan it and covert it as base map in Garmin GPS, but the map is not correct. It does not match with waypoints, what Jim downloaded from many sources. So we decided to use Garmin World Map as only available thing. We had good resources for planned offroad rides - M1-M7 routes from Sahara Overland book and many great routes from voyages4x4 web site. My colleague had software and skills to incorporate waypoints from Mx routes as well as convert tracks from voyages web site in form readable by all our Garmin GPS devices as part of World Map files. You can download and replace those files using our downloads section too. We later discovered, that those routes and waypoints were only certain things, what we could trust in our GPS at Morocco.

maroko-000

Preparation:
Few days before we had to go and my bike is at BMW shop finishing repair after crash at late summer. One stupid German driver decided to do U turn exactly at the moment, when I passed his car. Not major damages, but I had to replace many things. Insurance helped really. Anyway, they had to wait for paperwork from my insurance company (crazy slow here) and then I had trade show at Amsterdam and practically started to pack things day before we had to leave. Last days I spend by buying film material for my cameras (35mm as well as medium format), tapes for video camera, converting chargers to use it on BMW sockets etc. Radek and Filip ride with huge cases (Touratech and Grave). Mine are BMW original, not much smaller when you look at it, but much less practical in compare with above two. BMW cases are using flat top cover, top 20% capacity is used by the cover, where is not as easy to pack things. And crazy is how much space will reduce BMW inner bags. I had in right case sleeping bag, rolled therm-a-rest ultralite pad, films, chargers and that´s all, what is possible to stuff in it with inner bag. Left case - extended (TT) toolkit, tire repair kit (TT), some spares, stove (MSR) with smallest bottle, cooking things. I wanted to keep topcase mainly as storage for expensive cameras during night etc. I had cameras in Touratech camera case on the tank (very recomended!) but for the night and moved it at the topcase or carried it with me. In the topcase was also map, toiletry bag, big pack with baby tissues (wet), head for my tripod and small pillow to dampen those things in half-empty topcase. On the rear seat was my 35l roll bag with clothing for the ride (of coarse too many of everything), some warm things for mountains (good idea to take for example fleece gloves and warm hat). Spare inner tubes for our tubeless tires (in case when we will destroy tire too much to repair it) fit under this roll bag and keep it aligned with both cases in level. Under one case was a bungee net with bag with 6 rolls of toilet paper as I think, there will not be many places where to buy such item at Morocco. My tent will carry Radek as well as my tripod. Second tent will take Filip (same type as I purchased at the summer - czech made Jurek). I had to re-solder power cable for my GPS SPIII unit to not occupy that power socket, what will allow me to charge phone or other things during ride. Good idea, well adviced - do it as well! I´m trying to put down bike from centrestand in the garage. Crazy heavy. Offroad with such load? No way! I mounted Touratech KDS bags on top of suitcases (plastic buckles on KDS will not fit without removing those metal U shaped holders on BMW cases). Fine. I have two 10l MSR bags inside, so even when there will be problem with water, I can carry a lot. If required. First problem happened in the evening day before we had to go - I tried to close the lid of my right hand side case, but the little plastic ball on the zipper extension happened to stay between lid and the body of the case, what caused totally destroyed both hinges on the lid. Plastic hinges! It´s not metal! Oh no. Quick call to BMW. Mechanic is still there! They have two hinges on stock. Price is ... no comment.  OK, I need it otherwise I will have to close it by staps all the time on the ride. Courier carry it to me. I´m saved.

IMG_4399

DAY 1
I´m ready to go at about 7AM, but Gas had to check his new house constructions and we agreed that we will meet at about 8:30. Filip arrived with Ford Transit. Their bikes are already on the trailer from yesterday. I purchased two wide and two regular tie down straps what must be enough. Big are suitable for 3000kg each - at least it says the OBI packaging. Gas catched a bit cold, does not feel very well. We are mounting bikes on the trailer and packing things we want to take with us in the car. Most of the weight is on the back of the trailer, even when all our luggage and spare trailer wheels are at front. We must hope, that it will be OK. Leaving with delay. Radek is waiting at home and is nervous. We stopped at my place, picked up some wraps and pillows (I wanted to buy new anyway :) as we will sleep in the car floor, we don´t need to open our sleeping bags now. It will be luxury. Picking up Radek at his home at Prague 6 near airport and leaving for Pilsen and Rozvadov, where is our border crossing to Germany. Car is OK, just a bit old, rear door does not close very well, but it does not matter. Highway speed is around 100km/h., what is OK. We have 3000km to go - is friday afternoon and tomorrow we must pick up Jim at Narbonne, what is 1500km away at about 11AM, when his train will arrive. Gas feels sick and is sleeping and resting a lot. Good. Guys are talking about how to fit Jim´s bike in the car, if there will be chance to sleep then, if there is no other option like mount the fifth bike on the trailer in between our bikes etc. Trying to cool them down a bit, sending SMS to Jim and with exact measures of his bike is almost certain, that it will be possible to strap it in the middle of the rear cargo area in the car, where two people can easy sleep alongside it, one will occupy rear seats and two at front as now. It his KTM will not fit, we will dissaseble it to pieces! :) 

tomas_0009

DAY 2
We arrived to Narbonne at 8:30AM. Jim will arrive at 10:30 or so, we have couple extra hours to rest on the parking place. I drove there as last one, so I´m up and don´t want to sleep now. Going to buy some food at the gas station and waiting while guys will wake up. At around 10:00 we moved on another rest area past Narbonne and sending Jim GPS coordinates, where we are. Preparing the car for loading his bike. Jim arrived in time. Mounting his LC4 in the car was question of another 30 minutes and we are ready to go.  Car is of coarse slower and heavier, but it´s fine. At 1PM we are crossing border to Spain. We have to drive south - almost to Gibraltar, where we will keep our trailer and car at Linda´s place. She is on ride at Portugal, what´s a pity. We will not meet her now. Driving through Spain is totally boring. Just on one place we stopped at Gas station where was parked bus stuffed with Spanish girls, who danced at front of the bus. Nice view, we enjoyed it :)

DAY 3
We arrived to Castellar at 7:30AM. Linda is not at home, what we knew. Parking place and road is quite small for large trailer and car, but we managed it to position both so it will not make any problems for the optional traffic on the stony road there. We are not much in a hurry. At noon leaving Linda´s place. First courves up hill to see the castle. Crazy loaded bikes, spare tyre on top of the topcase etc... It will not be easy. Riding at Gibraltar. Filip want to see famous rock. But we have bad luck - rock is almost all in a fog. Leaving for Algeciras to check ferry options. Seems like there is plenty of dealers but all offer same cost. We want to stay at Spain tonight and go to Africa in the morning as is afternoon already. We are riding about 30km to a campsite called Jara, what Jim knows well. Diving to a two groups - some of us will want to see southest point of Europe, me and Radek will go to campsite, occupy some place and rest. For now we´ve been adviced to have lunch in one restaurant around corner, but the food was bad there. Jim, Gas and Filip go to see the sounthest point, while we occupy most tactical space at the campsite - just oposite ladies toiletes and baths. So basically every girl in the camp must pass our place tonight :) When rest of our group returned from the ride out, they don´t understand why we stay so close to the baths, but soon they realise it´s advantages - we are sitting or laying, enjoying beer (Filip and Radek carry each about dozen 0.5l Staropramen cans) and we observe girls who returned from surfing. Great evening. Even Jim tasted our beer and later also our stomach-prophylaxis called “slivovice”, what is our traditional alcohol - double destillated plumb brandy. It´s clear, very strong and very good. Typical drink for our country. Guys take about 4 litres with us for the whole trip in PET bottles (it´s light and it does not look like alcohol, so no problem with customs etc). It´s proven by many expeditions to mountains and other wild areas, that drinking “slivovice” every morning and mid-day and evening will prevent most of stomach problems typical for those countries. Believe it or not, but non of us had any problems with diarrhea during those three weeks, even when we had most of times local food and drinks including tea made from brown water from streams etc. One problem of the evening - Filip spotted, that his visa (yes, we need visa for Morocco) is valid more then 10 days later! Clerk at Prague embassy did mistake! Filip is not in good temper tonight and even when we try to do jokes about it, he is worried, what to do in case when they will not allow him to enter Morocco. We think that it will not be a big deal as is possible to buy visa even on the border (regarding guide) and as everywhere - customs at Islamic countries are open to “sugar” deals and for little “bakshish” may help him. We will see. We sleep without tents - just using moskyto nets (bivouac) as is warm and rain is unexpected.

tomas_0039

DAY 4
Leaving camsite and going straight to a ferry. Buying tickets from one of many dealers at the terminal. Open return, so we are flexible. Ferry is ready to go, so we can load bikes now - not as last, what was my experience from last year´s ride to Corsica, where we had to wait hours in the heat, when all cars and trucks will load and then were allowed bikes to enter the ferry and all places on the board were already occupied. Here we were first, who been in. Guys take place near bar (of coarse), drinking some beer. I ordered coffee and something for snack.
Crossing is very quick - in about hour we are already at Ceuta at Africa. No customs as it´s spanish city at Africa. Easy. All looks exactly the same as at continent - same cars, buses, billboards etc. Heading to the gate, where is border to Morocco. Just on 100m will all change. We first spotted mountains of garbage - looks like we are riding on a scrap-heap. Empty boxes etc. People in arabic clothing. Many people. Thousands. Staying in a queue to cross the border in a corridor made from chicken wire. But not many cars. Is late September, not high season I think. Some authorities in uniforms turn us back, we must go somewhere else. OK. There is one “helper” who is explaining us how to fill all the paperwork (only in arabic or French) and go to visa check. Filip´s magic moment - he is allowed to go without any questions. Great. Next is import vehicle forms, then changing money and ready for final check. In about 20-30 minutes we are leaving border! SMOOTH as much as it can be. They asked if we have any guns (of coarse that not) or defensive sprays (we said no, even when there may be few somewhere on the bikes forgotten :) and voila - we are at Morocco. Jim must return on friday, they did not allowed him to stay longer. No idea why. USA citizens does not need visa, but perhaps they may limit the stay like happened to him. OK. Leaving the border on the cost and heading to Tetouan. First gas station. Damned. Gas is expensive here! 9.5DH per litre, what is way more then we expected. And way more then at Ceuta! We forgot to tank at Ceuta, where is no duty and gas cost much less. But anyway, it cost here almost one euro per litre, what is not cheap for Africa. OK. Let´s roll. We eat at some touristic restaurant alongside the road. Very nice place, very european I think. Expensive - 100DH per person. OK. It´s payout for beeing here for first time. But food is great. Buying some flat bread (arabic) at the square. And bottled water Sidi Ali, what is our favorite for whole 3 weeks then.
In the evening we are close to a dam near Fes al Bali. No camping, but there are two 4X4 Mercedes cars camping close to the dam, so we joined them for the evening. Filip is cooling our beer at their fridges. Jim is opening close german-language friendship with two pairs from Mercedeses, while we are sorting things and enjoying our first night at Africa. Jim want to ride M5 route from Sahara Overland as main and only target, then must return by friday. In four days it´s not easy. He will have to be quick. We plan to ride a bit slowly, perhaps do one shorter offroad at Atlas before arrival to Merzouga area or so. We will see. On the way to take a picture of the dam I meet Gas, he is nervous, wanted to do some personal necessary - spotted big rock, but when he positioned, just behind the rock appeared local kid´s head looking what Gas is doing. No way. So he moved to another rock and of coarse - same situation. Kids take us as “television” and look all the time, what we are doing. I don´t care so much, sooner or later they will have to sleep, so I will find toilet place later on. Mercedes teams are cooking on grill, we eat something from dry instant food and arabic bread. Also good. Trying to take night shots of the site with millions stars on the sky. Then finally kids seems to be gone and I can ease a bit alone late at night. Sleeping in moskyto nets again.

tomas_0094

DAY 5
As we waked up, we spotted kids how they are observing, what we are doing. They are again everywhere. Mercedes team is cooking and kids are slowly moving closer and closer. Radek and Gas want to swim in the dam. Jim is leaving for M5 or at least will try to move as close as possible to M5 starting point. We plan to ride to Midlet and in next day or two make one initial offroad from the voyages web site - Midelt to Tinerhir. Packing take me ages. On the begining of the trip I had real problems to pack everything in the cases. One “mistake” like wrong order of things or positioning something in different direction and is impossible to close the lid of the BMW case. Crazy. Later I learned exactly what must be where and in what order and position each thing must be in the case and I finished at the same time as Filip or Radek with larger and more practical cases. Other source of problems was huge amount of film rolls, what I had to carry with me. Good idea to take slide (reversal) films with me. I tried to ask at various places just for fun - there was no place where would be possible to buy 35mm slide film - including Marakesch. Anyway, we are ready to go and using narrow stony road riding close to the dam. Water looks much worse then from a distance. I would never swim in it - seems to be full of parasites I think. Anyway, Radek and Gas are not sure, finally decided to not swim (good move) and we are leaving and heading to Fes. We must leave our spare offroad tires (4pcs total) somewhere as we cannot ride with such overload at offroads. Our idea was find a suitable place like mechanic shop, where we would be able to keep our tires for 2 weeks, where one of us can ride in case of urgent emergency from everywhere in a few days in return. Fes seems to be right place as we plan to pass it on the return way as well. Arriving to Fes is crazy experience, from our direction we first saw horrible and stinking ditch (called here a stream) with even worse buildings around. Whatever, on the edge of medina is Texaco (we call it Texaco even when they actually only sell there Texaco oils I think) gas station with a coffee/tea room. We purchased gas there and some tee and great fresh orange juice. Trying to ask, if they would not be able to store our spare tyres for 2 weeks there. They don´t understand and think, that we want to park our bikes for 2 weeks there. We offered some money to cover it. After half hour of endless discussions came one guy (guest), who was speaking good English and offered us to store our tyres at his house nearby. He translated everything to the shop owner. Then started real war as the shop owner wanted our tyres to be stored at his place, not the guest´s house etc. Finally they store it at the team room storage and of coarse, we had to pay the shop owner. And the guest asked also for money, otherwise they will cancel the business. We had no option then spend another hours by negotiations for 60DH or so. We gave him his bakshish as well. We all though, that we will never ever see our tyres again or they will charge us so much, that it will be cheaper to not ask for it :) Anyway, we left Fes and heading to Ifrane, where is great countryside and the city itself is like central-european oasis in the middle of Africa. Totally european houses etc. Seems to be millitary/university city or so. We stopped for a dinner and touristic restaurant again. They had only one menu for 110DH - no bargains. Food was excellent. On the road again. Filip saw some kind of  “dangerously panoramatic” road in the map. So we had to ride it. At one place we got a bit lost, map is not matching with reality really. Finally we see our direction. Is already evening and we have to go at least 100km to Midelt, where we plan to stay at city campsite. But in a few moments is good asphalt road changing to a cartway and we have option to stay somewhere here or try to find a road on the map and finish it to Midelt. OK, let´s ride - our first offroad in the night. And it´s not easy. Actually it was quite regular offroad, but much more dangerous as was night. In several hours on the road with average speed about 30-40km/h we spotted car in front of us. It was very old Renault car, moving about 10km/h our direction. If he can do it, we can finish it as well! We are not sure again about the direction. In the nigt is close to the road working group of people with some drilling machine. They adviced us where to ride. I take picture of Radek and one of those miners in the night. Filip is falling couple times on the stones. Finally we are on the main road to Midelt. It was about 90km offroad part, quite hardcore in the night with fully loaded bikes. There is restaurant along the road. Fine. They serve us two tajine (typical local food cooked at conical shaped biscuit puts) and omelettes and bread. Great. Arriving to Midelt really in the night. We cannot believe it - there is big czech van in the campsite - talking with the people - they are geologs from Moravia. Toilets in the camp are one of worst, what we ever saw. Learning one important trick - pit a ball made from paper in the hole of the “arabic toilet”. Why? All the beatles and insects will fly out from it first :) Really, it works. Other important trick - take motorcycle boots when using those toilets, sometimes we had to stay couple inches deep in the stinking whatever... :) Good thing is, that there are 220V sockets at the lamps, so we can charge our devices overnite. Water in the stinking and dirty showers is like from ice. Nothing special.

tomas_0112

DAY 6
Geologs adviced us to visit abandoned mining town in the valley about 30km away from Midelt. Gas want to stay in the campsite as he need to reorder things in his small pannier cases and improve various things on the luggage on his bike, what is not very well prepared for such trip. He did not invested in metal cases and it seems to be major problem. When we camp, he must remove too many things from the bike and vice versa. And the cheap plastic cases are not well fixed to the frame etc. He need to tie it down by straps or so. And clear his airbox as well, what is not nice work on F650. So we will return and pick him up on the way from the lost town. We stopped first at area where are some old mines, is very hot, but it´s attractive place for taking pictures. Geologs adviced us to not enter any of those mines as it´s place, where live black cobras. OK, no snakes please. So I keep away from mines as much as possible. Continue by fantastic western movie alike valley to a really abandoned town. All covered by dust and sand. Radek´s rear wheel is burrowed into sand. Some houses (looks very poor) and stil in use. Few people live here. Taking pictures. Continue on very narrow trail in the hills. There should be way around and by loop to Midelt. We stopped on the way in a village (few houses). Buying some minerals from people there - galenit, vanadinit. They have also wulfenit but ask too much for it. But we must return back to Midelt same way as the trail has dead end. Picking up Gas in the campsite and going to the “square” to get something to eat. Finally buying chicken and salad. They asked 100DH but finally price went down on 25DH, what is OK for us. Food is fine. Some homeless-looking person is trying to sell some minerals in a box to Radek. No chance :)
In the afternoon we leave for our first real offroad ride. Route is from voyages4x4 labelled as Midelt - Tinerhir. It should be for two days anyway. Today we will not ride much, but we will try... GPS works fine when we have correct and precise routes like this one. First part is on the regular road. Then road turn in the mountains, where is visible bad weather. Everywhere is clear sky, just on our direction dark clouds and visible rain. Hard discussion about our options. I would like to ride to south as first and ride there first and leave Atlas for second half of the trip. Others dissagree, so we ride to mountains. We are trying to send SMS messages to friends and families and inform that we will not be “on signal” for day or two now. BTS station where we are all connected is probably not designed for such overload as four phones in the same time and does not want to send messages. So one of us must switch off the phone, then we can send messages and he then can turn it on and finish his SMS. :) Better then nothing. Otherwise we had no problems with mobiles (two operators almost everywhere in towns), but don´t expect anything more advanced then SMS. GPRS of coarse does not work there and even when many SMS messages seems to be sent, they are lost and incomming messages as well. About 30% has not been delievered.
OK, we are ready and going to the mountains. Some troubles in a village where road continue almost directly in the houses. We have to ride over and find correct trail. Asking teacher from the local school. We ride on a stony trails quite fine now. Stop. Big rocks and timbers across the trail. Local kids trying to stop us and ask for “stylo, bonbon or dirham”. Order is changing place by place, but those three things are saying ALL kids everywhere at Morocco instead of greetings. Sometimes quite strongly and are angry when we will not give them any money. I carry about 50 pens, several packs with our Czech candies and cigaretes for adults, but I don´t give away money to kids. Whatever, this is too much, what they did. Radek and Filip spin the engines in high turns. Kids are scared by engine noise and step away from the trail. Radek and Filip ride through the barrier, I try to follow and Gas behind me. Kids recognised that will will not give them turn-pike and throw stones to us. One little clink on my helmet. But we are out from the range now. Gas catched couple hits but nothing major. Uff. Riding up more and more. Path is now going through dry watershed of a river. Stones are quite large and BMWs jump from side to side. Important is to keep going. Stop and you are gone on the smooth stones uphill. After several hunderets meters we are on stony trail again. Filip is falling on side during stop. Now is raining a lot. I hate such weather. Africa and is raining like at home. Damned. We ride over pass and guys want to camp here. Little discussion with stronger negotiations to ventilate feelings. Gas gave me bottle with “slivovice” and after big shot I´m instantly drunk. We will build tents tonight. From nowhere is comming group of herdsmans. They are observing us as evening television - aligned in a line, smaller at front, taller at back. They are looking and looking. Offering cigarettes and trying to communicate. But they are berbers and we know no berber worlds. Is good to remember at least basics - “asa” is today, “aska” tomorrow. Sems is sun, aman is water, agrom is bread. Leila sajda sounds for good night. Ehla is super. Saha is thanks. Vacha is OK. Limen is right, lisar left. Direkt or nisan is straight ahead. And most important - kif is grass :)

tomas_0209

DAY 7
Morning is great! Weather is 100% better - sunshine, but a bit cold. Local people are already “in auditorium” and watching us how we pack stuff and cooking etc... Riding down in the valley, passing several villages (village means here few houses made from clay). On a juction decision where to go. Heading to the village and we are asking teacher in the school for advice. He does not speak English a lot, but with help of our hands communication we understand where to go. Fine. Interesting is, that people there don´t know names of villages around. From the roadbook they knew only few names, mainly bigger villages from last day. But when we ask what is the name of the village next to them, they don´t know. Strange. Anyway, that “teachers” way is a shortcut, we ride in one canyon earlier then our GPS shows. But it´s not a problem. Path is now going directly through river, unfortunatelly, this one is not dry.  Wade after wade. Very nice ride and interesting change for us. Now we are joining new road for a short time. In a village is a shop (garage size, typical for this country), so we stopped to buy bread and water. I´m leaving it last, Filip is waiting for me, others are already moving. Filip saw that I´m close to the bike and started as well. But - my bike keys are gone! Quick search in the pockets. Nothing. And I see two kids and one is playing with my keys, what I left in the ignition. Damned. OK, negotiations. They adviced Filip where to go and he does not gave them money, what they asked for etc... Anyway, I got my key back for about 55DH (good to have small amount of money in a special pocket in a fake wallet). Uff. Guys wait for me in next village talking with locals. I swear like sailor explaining them that we must wait for the last rider anywhere and everywhere in a villages. It´s too dangerous. Agreed. Our route is now going in absolutelly fantastic valley. Big rocks all around, beatifull oasis after oasis in the centre with small clay-made villages. Great ride. Taking many pictures, Gas stops to take movie as well. Fine ride. We are now on the end of the offroad. 50km to Tinerhir on the regular road. Now heading to Todra valley and gorges. It is very touristic place, really there is few walking people here or there. Not much, but for us it´s too many anyway. In the middle we met our friends Geologists from Midelt camp. Talking with them. They adviced us to try good campsite just close to the end of the gorges. We will see. Todra gorges should be one of major highlighs for tourists and sightseeing, but for us it´s nothing special. Previous canyons were 100x better. Camp is good. Very good. Clean toilets, clean showers. In the evening is Radek and Gas cooking something from their instant food reserves, with Filip we want to try local food in the restaurant. They have only one food - pastilla. Interesting mixture of sweet taste and chicken meat. But nothing special. Tajine is better option. Talking with waiter. He speaks good English and offered us to have nargile (sisa) outside. 20DH for apple tobacco and something more for extras. Great. Radek, waiter and his helper and me are smoking, looking at the stars on the sky and feeling fine. Waiter helped me with arabic words and translations as well. And very interesting discussion later on about Morocco, arabs and berbers, culture and with more smoke we opened advanced subjects matter like rocket science and girls etc... :)

tomas_0267

DAY 8
Leaving campsite. Short ride on the road, buying bread and water as always. All shops are the same - open garage door, small place but they have all, what we need. Bread is cheap - 1DH, in the towns sometimes 2 or even 5DH. Water about 7 or 10DH for bottle of Sidi Ali. Fine. Price for water is like at home or bit less. Every piece of bread is different but taste is ALWAYS great. Today we want to ride to Merzouga. Now we would like to ride about 100km offroad from Sahara Overland book - M6. It´s really good. First part is stony, Radek catched with his suitcase some rock and Zega case is not waterproof anymore :) Fixing it with a stone. Next part is real desert piste - wavy, sand and hard. Good speed to ride smooth over sinuous surface is about 80-90km/h. We are all white by the dust from riders at front. I take great picture of Gas on the piste with typical african trees around. This is, what I looked for. This kind of ride. :) Next part is over desert, but on a new road. Boring. Going very fast, not traffic at all. At half past five we see huge sand dunes. Good road - surprize. Totally new. We expected piste, but they built new road. OK. Riding to Merzouga. We have advice from a guide to try one hotel in the village. But we want to see sand dunes first. Close to it is some kind of desert hotel. Owner or whoever is trying to offer us great conditions if we will stay there. We are not interested, but, he said that we can sleep in a bedouine tent. Great! It is something different now. Deal is 120DH per bike including “big” dinner and a breakfast. OK. Tent is great really, for 6 people. Unloading our luggage and going to the sand dunes to crap around, tak pictures and so. It´s not easy. Sand is like a flour and even empty GS is trapped in the sand after while. But it´s a fun. We have absolutelly fantastic light for taking sunset pictures. Sand is almost gold colored. Shooting picture after picture. Back to our tent. Toiletes are almost matching those from public camp at Midelt. Stinking, dirty, insects etc. Is evening and we have dinner in a “restaurant” what is made from several connected tents with carpet decorations on the walls. We are only guests. On the table next to us is group what we´ve been told are hotel owners and their european girlfriend. Food is late but good tajine. And good tea. More tea. Close to us on the floor is playing local guy on a Gnoauoa instrument. First we dislike it. It actually sound horrible. Perhaps when a drummer is joining him, it sound a bit better but... after few hours and I must say also after some probe of things what local people smoke here, we like the music more and more and we all moving heads to the rhytm. Great evening. We are talking with Jim over the phone - he did M5 but had some troubles, had to hire 4x4 to carry his luggage and he spent 20l of gas on the 250km ride. But he believe that we may be able to do M5 as well. So we will see in the morning, we can try it and see... Musician is going to join us on our table and night will be quite wild I think as they are very liberate about amound of whatever good they put in the joints.... :)

tomas_0319

DAY 9
After basic breakfeast in fantastic “restaurant-tent” with luxury view on the biggest dune we move back to the village. Buying lots of water and bread. We expect to stay on the M5 overnite, if required. Kids at front of the shop ask, if we are here for rallye practise. We are trying to look as seriously as possible and explaining them, that we are poor part time sportsmans. After while we are on M5, what suppose to be best and most complicated route at whole Morocco. Starting almost behind our tent in the hotel, where we stayed overnight. Riding close to the big dune on a trail with many deep and fine sand traps. Filip ride first, Radek behind him. I take photos of the big dune in poor light conditions that morning. It looks like washed out. Radek ride over larger “sand pool” when his front wheel slips and he falls to left side. We want to make some jokes about it but we now see that his face shows pain. Some problem. His left leg was trapped under the bike, what should not be major problem as the sand is deep and very very soft. But as he crashed, his leg and sole stayed aligned with the direction of the bike, while his upper body and upper part of the leg, turned 90 degrees to left, what caused his knee dislocation. Bad. Very bad. Joint jumped out and back, but the muscles and tissues around are loose and very painy. Not to mention that the bike weight pressed his left ankle a lot. He mounted metal holders for 5l jerrycans on the passenger peg brackets and one of them pressed his leg now. Thick metal of the holder is bended to the sole shape. Only good luck that his left jerycan was emty as if it would be full of water (impossible to compress), it may crush his ankle. Is clear, that M5 is over now. Filip is going back. Radek rest in the tree shade and 4x4 drivers are passing us. They think, that we just arrived from M5 from the other direction and asking for advices. We have plenty of medicaments and bandages. Radek used two kinds of gel on the joints to help reduce pain and prevent tumours. And elastic bandage to fix the knee a bit. He can hardly stay, walk is really like moving with wood leg. No chance to ride in offroad now. He can perhaps shift, so we can try to return and go to Merzouga on the road. Riding several hours in the desert heat. Stop on the gas station, applying more gel on the knee. Uncertain situation and future. Anyway, he can shift, even with big pain. On the halfway to Zagora are now two ways. One sign shows Zagora 90km, other Zagora 190km. We will try the shorter one. In 30km is clear, that this road is not for Radek - asphalt stop and continue dirty cartroad. Sun heat is huge. Radek feels fine and advice us to try to continue on the quite nice and flat road (looks like ready for ashphalt layer), he will return on the crossing and take the second route. Who will come first to Zagora will check options where to stay and will inform others by SMS. We have guide tips to try camping Sindibad or hotel Palmeria where should be bedouine tent for rent. He don´t want anybody to ride with him. OK, agreed. He seems to be confident. So, we continue on dirty but very good road. Of coarse, it is good only for about 10km, then it turns in regular “Morocco-offroad-standard” trail and several pistas in the desert and various directions. We are lost. Asking kids for advice even when it´s not always good idea as kids sometimes show any direction just for fun. We tested it in the mountains. We asked group of kids for direction to a village let say “Agoudim” and they pointed al to certain direction, different then we expected. Then we asked about place what we though we passed and they pointed somewhere else. And Gas asked about direction to “Bankog” and they with confident faces pointed to some direction. So, don´t ask kids for directions. But now we saw only some kids, so we tried it. One was speaking quite good English and offered us that he will show us right piste to Zagora or at lest few first kilometers as there is many pistas and we need to find the right one. But we don´t want to ride with anybody. We are trying one piste in direction what we think is correct. One boy on a bicycle is fast moving trying to catch us and show us where to go. He does not speak English at all, but is certain, that even if we want or not, he will show us where to ride. OK. So we are slowing down and following him. After while Filip offered him to sit on his pillion and ride with us as it will be faster. So he throw his bicycle in the rocks along the trail and ride with us. And his advice is critical. Without GPS route we are lost really. In the desert is several ways, pistas go in different directions. He knows where to go and many times he pointed to a pista, what I would bet is wrong, but always was the correct one. Heat in desert is huge. We are white by dust, temperature all the time attacking 50 degrees celsius. Some parts of the desert are sandy, some covered by billions of black stones and even sand is dark, what even increase heat. My engine dies (on second gear) in one of hills and I crashed as many times in past. I really feel tired by the heat. Stop for a rest is not helpful as there is absolutelly no place where to hide from the sun. Filip and Gas pour water in the helmets to help to resists heat. My helmet is fine, actually I cannot complain about anything from by riding gear, just the boots should be painted by white as black concentrate so much sun heat, that my feet almost boils :( But BMW Rally II jacket and pants are perfect for such conditions, it keeps certain climate inside, what is fine. Is worse to strip down jacket then keep it on. Helmet (Vemar) is fantastic. I can definitelly advice to use it in such temperatures. Is light and does not overheat and vent fine. Back to ride. After endless ride on the wavy pistas with time to time “surprise” of sand traps, we just spotted a well. Next to it are two donkeys and some ladies with big black headcarfs are going to get some water from the well. They talk to us, we of coarse don´t understand but our guide talks with them. Just appeared there old man and is approaching Filip with hand straight for a shake. But FIlip is setting his GPS and does not react now. So the guy point to me and I see that he is removing some cloth from his second hand and the hand is puffy, green-pink looking and few fingers missing. And on whole leg he had sores of size like golf ball. Ehm, situations what I really not like. Time to sloowly move to the bikes and jump, start and ride out. Uff. I don´t care what it was, too much is too much. After a few more hours we arrive in Zagora. Of coarse, negotiations and haggles about the cost of the service. He asked for about five times more then is average monthly income over here. So finally we gave him 15USD, what is more then enough to return by hitchhiking and be happy, what some people who watched us on the road confirmed. He also asked for some chewing gum so I gave him what I had. Quick check of SMS, and after while we are at front of Palmeria hotel where is Radek waiting already in the bedouine tent next to the pool. Receptionist is showing us that we can park in the hotel hall, so bikes will be protected during nigt. So fine. Our dirty bikes looks interesting in the marble corridors, but why not. Tent is fantastic. We have real luxury of open air next to blue pool for 30DH per person. Actually, we are a bit of attraction for the hotel guests, but we don´t care. Tent will be our base for couple days, until Radek will recover a bit. They even gave us blankets and wraps for sleeping and are serving us tea and beer. All we need now. I go in the shower with my riding suite on. It is so dirty, that even our guys mentioned that washing it may be good idea. Using hand soap I do strange launder with jacket and pants on me in the shower. But it works. Hanging it at front of the tent and in the morning is all clean and dry. Others do the same. We are going to eat out at the main street. Many shops, this place is very touristic but it seem to be over season. Good. But shop assistents are noisy and walk with us and fast speach trying to advice us to visit that shop etc. We hate it. Finally we spot place where eat locals. Tajine, soup for 45DH with salad etc. Good. Food was very good. On the next table to us is sitting guy in blue cloths and we talk with him. His English is fine. He is owner of a shop, but he does not advice us to visit his shop or anything like this. Good. If we will visit any shop, we will try his as he is not annoying as others. He told us that during summer they had daily about 60 degrees C and in the night 45C. It´s a lot.
On the way back I stop in a shop on the corner and talking with a seller there. He is open to a barter business - some of our slivovice drink and t-shirts for his stuff (like silver pendants in shape of southern cross) . We will see..

tomas_0376

DAY10
Radek want to rest in the tent today and Gas will join him in catching some sunburn and lazy resting next to the pool. We are going with Filip alone. Unloding everything from the bikes, we will take no luggage. Want to ride to south to a place called M´Hamid where ends M5 route and we can try to ride on M5 direction to Merzouga to see, how complicate it is. We take just camelbags, cameras and GPS. M5 is in GPS like connected waypoints, but Filip has copy of the roadbook from Sahara Overland book, so I put it on the map case and we can ride quite fast. Describtion of each waypoint is great. No problem with navigation. Without luggage it is totally different kind of riding. We are really riding fast and enjoying sliping of the rear wheel in the sand. Going around one hill, then climbing up and down and in the middle of desert is a well. We are thinking if to continue to a “military checkpoint” or not. Taking pictures and riding few more kilometers to test deeper sand. All is possible to ride around or so. So far no problem - without luggage. We have to return. So we will try to ride not on the same route back, but in the middle is junction where should be route directly to Zagora (in the Sahara Overland books are few notes as well as in the forum, that “locals says” that this route goes to Zagora). So we will try it. Route is much worse then M5, much more sand. One valley is totally filled with sand, we have problems to even return on the hard surface from there. FIlip had problem - his handlebars rotated in about 80km/h to front! He managed it to stop without crash. Probably he did not tighten bolts on new risers on required torque, or the extreme heat and vibrations released it. Dangerous. Quick fix and we have to ride in real terrain over the valley to try to find the path behind the valley. We spotted quite good road in the middle of nowhere, where is about 50m of the trail surrounded by stones and there is traffic sign “dangerous hill” and “courves”. Joke? Who knows. I think, they may take some commercials there or so. Anyway, riding again, fast. Hard surface with time to time “lakes” of sand. Now appears ruines of some ksar on the hill next to the trail. As I look at it as did not see Filip to stop, turning away on last moment and bending his pannier frame with my crashbar a bit. But no crash. We see eagle flying at the wadi. Fantastic. Road is now heading close to some larger sand dunes, taking pictures of coarse. I want to try to ride as close as possible, of coarse crashing in the soft sand :) Pictures are impressive. Some locals have tent there and camels. They offer us camel ride for 100DH. We are not interested. They asked Filip if he would not ride with one of them around a bit. Filip agree and ride a circle with one of those guys. On the end he shows hand and ask for 100DH. Locals don´t understand that it´s a joke, but after while laugh a lot. Going back to Zagora. One friendly mechanic offered us yesterday his help, so I called him to come and help Filip to straighten his pannier frame as he cannot fix it even with a hammer borrowed from the hotel. Mechanic returns with a hydraulic minijack and very slowly straightened it. We will have to stop at his garage tomorrow and pay and he desperatelly need to take photograph of our bikes at front of his shop. OK. Food at the same place as yesterday and again good. Again the same sales person and interesting talk. We are going with Gas to visit his shop in the night. He is very happy, business is probably dead now. Offering us to wear those tuareg cloths, turban from black cloth and we talk, drink tea, listen Gnaoua music and enjoing “business” with him. Actually his berberian jewellery is very fine. Anyway, he asked how Radek feels now and think, that Radek cannot buy any gifts as he did not wanted to walk, so we asked this merchant to come to our tent and perhaps offer some silver things to Radek. He came later on and I purchased from him some CD with local music. He is vitty and told us, that he learned Englisgh from a girl, what he had sex with some time ago. Then he said that he learned also Spanish, Italian and German languages the same way with different ladies :) I also do some trade with the shop “next door” - where we swapped some alcohol for some local marrocan specialities :)

tomas_0404

DAY 11
We are leaving Zagora today. I want to take a shot of our group at front of famous “52 days to Timbuktu” board, what is located just oposite our place at the gate to prefect´s building. Board is authentic, but in poor condition. Filip does not like such “touristic” events like group shooting and does not want to stay at front of the board. Couple more photos to be done - one with the guy from the shop at the corner, who we swapped stuff with, next is visit of the mechanic´s garage and negotiation about price. And promised photo of our bikes at front of the garage. It´s too much for Filip and he left alone. Gas was on delay and did not arrived to the garage at all. Local people take it as part of their life and business. All they do “slow” and not in a hurry. Always offering you mint tea and want you to sit, talk and perhaps do some business, but even if you don´t want to do business, they want to be “friendly” and hate situations when people leave without saying good bye etc. Whatever, we have to go really. Heading to north, road is nice, traffic a bit busy. Beware of Mercedes 240D everywhere! They use full width of the road and never give you way on bike. We ride through many oasis alongside the road to Quarzazate. Palmeria after palmeria. Very soon it is boring. We are heading to a place called Ait Benhadou, what is very touristic attraction - clay made town, what appeared in many movies like Gladiator, Ben Hur and others. On the road we see one guy from Netherlands, who we met at the camp at Todra valley, he is riding old BMW GS. Trying to see one of the dams just before Quarzazate, but military guards are not open to a trade and don´t want to allow us to ride in. OK, arriving at Ait Benhadou. View is really fantastic. This is amazing place, from the hill it looks like true biblic picture. Photograph will never be as the reality. Parking at front of one “touristic” restaurant alongside main road and sharing bedouine tent with some police officers, who adviced us to eat there. Ordering traditional stuff - vegetable soaps, harira, tajine... It´s not bad, but little bit “without strong taste”. We know much “worse” level places, where they cook much tastier food... But here is no choice, many restaurants are occupied by groups of tourists. We even saw bigger group of riders from France on Goldwings and even one new K1200LT. One of the riders on GW falls during parking and his bike hits the others in the line. Taking quick picture of the moment. GW riders are in shorts, no helmets of coarse, t-shirts. We ride in full protection suites, helmets, gloves, enduro boots... After lunch we ride downhill on a narrow streats lined by endless touristic shops. At front of the main ksar is empty space, where I remember was shooted scene from Gladiator (first training arena). Now as we stopped, are many tourist-catchers speeding to offer us something, show us cobras or whatever else. Before contact we are leaving. We want to ride offroad described in voyages4x4 web site as Quarzazate - Marrakech. Or at least it´s most interesting part. Alongside the trail is few other big ksars (clay made citadels). Finally, late afternoon we are riding on our favorite surface - stones, dust, sand... in a fantastic valley with unbelievable views on the river (maybe) in down in the middle of the valley with many oasis. Oposite to our direction is quite busy traffic. Many Landrovers are heading to Ait Benhadou with tourists, who probably sleep there or will continue to Quarzazate. They are even worse then Mercedes 240 drivers - drive very fast, on any side of the trail and they absolutelly don´t care abour motorcycle riders. We see even few bikers - in the t-shirs on various “road enduros” mainly. No helmets etc. They just ride from Ait Benhadou on easy cart road and returning before wade when starts more complicated part. We just stopped as we saw some “real” bikers opposite - two guys from Ceuta riding on a single Yamaha Tenere. Strange looking (jackets like for snowboarding in combination wih cowboy style boots etc). They seems to be a bit “cold” while for us is “hot”. Just 30-35C is cold for them, warm for us. Anyway, good guys, speaking English - so we stopped our bikes in the middle of the track and talking, smoking and having fun for a while. They taste our “slivovice”, we tried their alcohol. Good fun. Is quite late. We have to look for a place, where to sleep. Climbing up the hills in total darkness is not easy. Trail is very stony, many holes and dangerously missing parts of the road etc. Finally we are on top and spotted flat area where we can put our tents. Wind is very strong now. Building tents in the night and after quick talk and even quicker smoke (gift from the merchant at Zagora) we are in really really good humour. It´s long time when I was in such situation - total darkness below horizon level, no single light from anywhere. And 360 degrees half dome with billions shiny stars above it. Unbelievable. You have feeling that you can almost touch the stars. Amazing. And after the smoke :) OK. Time to go to sleep.

tomas_0484

DAY 12
Night wind is over and morning is amazing. We are totally suprized by the view from our hill. We slept on the top of a rock with deep valley around us. Great! Our two tents looks like lunar modules or so. First locals are riding their horses and donkeys alongside, so packing fast the leave the place quick. No breakfast today. We will eat when we will have chance to buy bread or so. Ride is absolutelly fantastic. Total adrenaline - riding on narrow trail with deep valley just meter away from the front wheel. Great. Passing local traffic - donkeys mainly. Sheeps as well. In a first village is “touristic” stop - one plastic round table and couple seats. They are serving us mint tea. Great. And fantastic rounded bread. I asked owner if he does not have any pattiserie or whatever, he thinked a bit and after while served us black olives and olive oil. So we take piece of bread, dip it in the oil and it´s best breakfast you can imagine. Ordering more mint tea. On of little girls who was playing alongside takes water bucket and is running down from the rim to the valley. It could be easy several hunderests meters. Hard job. Of coarse, they do the tea from the still water from almost dry stream in the valley. Color of the water is almost like the tea itself :) Hope that boiling will kill whatever bacteria is in it. Hope. But really we had luck (and perhaps with help of slivovice twice a day) we had no problems. Gas is not very happy - he eat all, apart from olives :) Finishing the offroad in the early afternoon and heading to Marrakech. We want to see at least one of those genuine towns and it´s medina. Lonely planet adviced us to take a hotel Tolousian close to Muhammad V avenue. It´s not easy to find it. Of coarse, many people is trying to push us to somewhere, others are trying to guide us to their hotels, where they are paid to bring tourists to. We finally managed to find the way. Hotel has two free rooms for us. And even better- we can park bikes in the backyard under little roof. Fine. Quick shower, change and we are ready to visit the centre. Talking with some people from USA - woman and her doughter about Morocco etc. Trying to stop a taxi. Problem, petit taxi can take only 3 passengers, we are four. But it´s only 10DH to medina, so we ride with Filip in one taxi and Radek and Gas take the other one. They will follow us. Arriving on the place where is short walk on the main square at front of the historic centre. And second taxi is not here. Even after while. Trying to send SMS to our friends, where are they. They appeared finally in about 20 minutes. Their taxi stopped in the middle of big crossing and could not move the gear stick at all and then did not know, where to go. Uff. Mobile phones are good sometimes. On the square are crowds. Many tourist attractions - black cobras and other snakes, guys who sell everything you can imagine, talkers, drummers... Most interesting for us is long line of shops where they sell fresh orange jouice for 2.5DH. Of coarse, they are cheating and mixing it with water. Radek spotted it and the clerk is smiling. We must order “not cold” juice. They he just squeeze it and has no chance to mix it with water. Walking to medina. It´s impossible to describe it - pictures in the gallery or on the DVD is 100times better then any explanation. It´s middle ages town and middle ages shape with middle ages smell. Donkey in between crowds, many small shops, workshops etc. Narrow streets are roofed like tunnels and shops are joined to create endless maze. Only few shops were really nice - antiques, shop where clerk was selling candies and few others. Only few. Deals are amazing. We spotted shop where they had some central African leather made handbags with decorations. One of really like half of animal (size and look like rabbit). Radek wanted to buy it but it was smelling a bit bad. It was skinny leather. So we looked and some others. Offered price was 800DH. We said we will give 100DH for it. Final deal was done 30 minutes later far away from the shop, where the clerk followed us with the goods and where we agreed on 220DH price. He really wanted to see if we are leaving his shop... Later in the night we eat at the main square where are hunderets of tables and benches, grills and you point on whatever you like and they cook it for you. Good food. In the evening we would like to see some night life at Marrakech, where local girls seems to be much more “open” to a modern trends, wearing provocative dresses etc. So, we have no idea, where to go. Thinking about options. Where local modern girls would go at place like Marrakech? What may be modern and trendy for them? Of coarse - Mc Donalds!!! So, walking across the roundabout to Mohammad V avenue and we are right - at front of the Mc Donald´s restaurant are really really pretty girls. Trying to visit couple night clubs close to our hotel, very good clubs, but all open at midnight and we don´t want to wait hour or more. So, going back to the hotel as we are tired today....

tomas_0511

DAY 13
We want to leave Marrakech today. Our hotel is serving free breakfast, Filip and Radek are already done, but we are waiting for service. They totally ignore us, even when we asked several times. Crazy. Finishing 40 minutes behind them. Buying some postcards (in envelope)  for home.  Weather is not good - is warm, but is light rain with stronger showers. Leaving the city and heading west in direction to Atlantic coast. Filip and Radek want to eat fish for lunch, so they find place at Essaouira town where is many tourist (of coarse) fish restaurant shops. I don´t know, what to eat, it´s not my favorite meal, so they must help me to make a choice. I ordered two fish and both was very smooth, fine and tasty. Of coarse, we had some loud discussion about the price later on - their “half price” does not mean “half price” of coarse and they are trying to increase price even when we agreed fix total price before we ordered. Walking to the town to chill out a bit, drink a tea etc... Medina is very nice, but not as old - about 200years. But very nice really. All towns on the coast looks different now - blue and white, while other areas use different colors. Even taxis (Mercedes 240D of coarse) are painted blue and white. Riding on the coast line on south a bit. We are looking for a nice place on the beach, where we can sleep tonight. Our engines are not running well. Now finally we got better gas and it´s far better, but it´s smoking, smelling and backfiring anyway. But we don´t hear valves so much as in past. We stopped at one place where is nice beach, some car parked there even. I´m trying to look around, but as I ride closer, feel like the ground is softer and it´s too late to turn. Bike is trapped in the sand. Local guy helped me to get the bike out, I ride with him to his village. His family house was size like 4x3m stone walls with some cane roof. Poor living. He adviced us to try a camping place nearby. It´s just small unofficial camp for surfers, but guard seems to be fine and offered us good price to stay there. They have toilet (quite clean!), water from a reservoir and hunderets dogs around. We are finixng out bikes in the evening, cleaning air filters (K&N) and so on. In the evening is a bit humid and quite colder, then we expected. Ocean... Whole night are guards walking between tents with light torches.

tomas_0548

DAY 14
Day does not start very well... First Radek and Filip had scorpio under their sleeping bag. Nothing happened actually, no bits. But... Unlike mine (TT outdoor net) their big white moskyto net has no surface and insects can get under it... Second and much worse, when I walk toward my bike, I see that my camera tank bag is missing. Stolen in the night. Somebody cutted base plate straps by knife and left even the mounting buckles on the tank. Practically he stolen almost empty bag, what is useless. Damned. My cameras were locked in the topcase, tankbag was almost empty (I lost just cable release, sunshade and a warm up filter and couple other small items). But without the bag is travel photography much worse on the bike as I will have to stop, put the bike on sidestand, get off, open topcase, get the camera(s) out, take a photo and reverse. It was extremelly practical to use the tankbag for photography. Damned. I have travel insurance from European Travel Insurance company, quick question by SMS to home and call to the insurance company - they need document from local police, that the items has been stolen (just kind of affirmation that I really reported it). We are trying to look around if the bag is not somewhere nearby when they realised that is empty. Nothing. Guards are very nervous about it. They really swear like a troppers. I asked, if the owner of the camp site is insured. Ehm, they “dont understand” now. Seems like they don´t like to talk about the owner or whoever runs the business. OK, I decided to try to visit local police if they can give me the protocol for the insurance company. Other guys will take a swim and will wait for me. Police patrol is staying just couple kilometers nearby. I asked and they explained, that it´s not their job. Police is looking for car accidents etc, pilferage is task for Brigade de Gendarmerie. And send me to another place, where they of coarse send me to another place in the port and there I has been finally pointed to the right place. I parked my bike at front of the barrack and entered. At the gate I explained what I need. I´ve been invited to go in, I explained whole story to several officers and finally I´ve been asked to go to a commander in his office. One of the younger guys translated him what I need. I about half hour of talks and translations I realised, that they will never release any document to me as it´s too much paperwork for them. Commander told me that they can give me something after the court will finalise the case and I would have to wait there weeks etc.. Simply NO WAY, FUCK OFF. On the end I asked him, if I should call my embassy to ask for help and he told me to return to the camp and wait there one hour. He will personally take a jeep and will come there to investigate it. I though, that it´s easy way, how to kick me off and as he knew, that we cannot stay here long as we must continue, he will not need to come there and we will leave... Anyway, I returned to the place, explained friends what happened (with much more stories, what I don´t want to publish) and got tajine and we wanted to leave. Just at the moment arrived shiny new jeep wrangler with the commander and translator in the camp. I hurried there too. Guards were shocked to see police officers there. After while I´ve been told that all they can do is lock up those guards in the prison and in a few weeks after court will decide, I may perhaps get the proof for the insurance company. Damned. I told them, that I think, guards did their maximum to protect us in the campsite and I don´t want them to go to prison of coarse. It will not help me. So, it is clear, that for them was easier to lock up somebody then write a single sentence saying “Mr. XXXX reported stolen item during night, perpetrator unknow.”, what would be all, what the insurance company may need. No way in Morocco. Whatever, guards were happy that they don´t go in the prison and offered us free lunch, unlimited stay and I think, if I will ask, they will offer even their young sisters :-) So we said good bye and left the place.
We are heading south, riding on the coast road to Agadir. Color of the sea is fantastic - deep blue, really nice. It´s quite colder then in the other areas. Agadir itself is horrible. If you like tasteless concrete in combination with oriental litter, visit Agadir :( Riding more on south. We would like to sleep at the beach somewhere on south of Agadir, but could not find nice place. On many places are millitary areas, others are not safe looking. We stopped late evening on one place above small village, couple local fishmen adviced us to stay there as it´s safe, but guys dislike it and Filip discovered from the guide, that there should be good camp ground about 100km more on south at Tiznit. It´s night anyway, so it makes no difference if we will ride a bit more or not. So we are riding more on south. At the same time was the king of Morocco on a visit at this area. We saw decorations in many villages and towns. We we were riding in a formation, it was funny how often they though that we are probably group of police on the motorbikes and they cleared all traffic and allowed us to pass. Good. :) At Tiznit is really good camp, but the guy on reception was sloooow and did not allow us to go in before all the paperwork and forms has been filled etc. But we got nice concrete corner looking like halfway build garage, what we shared with billions of huge black ants. :) Good test ground for my outdoor net :) We asked some boy in the camp to buy a bread for us (gave him enough money so he can buy something too) and enjoyed evening with cooked food and fresh bread. FIlip had idea to ask him, if he can also buy some beer somewhere and surprisingly he could. So FIlip and Radek really enjoyed that evening with several half litre lager cans. There is couple caravans in the camp, few 4X4 cars and our four bikes... Toiletes much better then expected, shower almost clean, what is very good. Night was quiet.

tomas_0566

DAY 15
In the night came really strong fog and dew. I had wet sleeping bag as the dew condensated on the net. Radek and Filip next to me had no problem. Net is good, but sometimes not as good. We are drying things on the sunshine. On the way from showers I see few french 4x4s as their crew is releasing some rabbits in the empty pool in the campsite. Interesting. Going close and asking one of them - older lady in the overall, if they are preparing rabbits for snake feeding or what. They told me, that they sold their homes at France and moving to Burkina Faso to open a farm there. Poorest country at Africa, one of poorest on the world. They are really really adventure looking people. I wish them good luck. We are not leaving Atlantic coast and riding to the east - to a area called “Moroccan Wild West”, near town Tafraoute. Sand rocks and warm colors all the way. Very nice houses, at this area live most laborious people at whole Morocco (regarding our guide). Maybe. Definitelly Tafraoute is like at Wild West. We stopped in the centre of the village and enjoyed big lunch in the hotel Tanger - shiskebab tajine, cus cus etc... We are so stuffed, that guys want to rest behind the town under three for a while. They got to sleep. I write notes and ride report in the meantime. And writing down some extra arabic words, what may be good sometimes. My berberian vocabulary has been stolen with tankbag, but I already learned it, so it´s OK. Arabic is not as easy for me. In the late afternoon arriving in a camp site Toubkal, what is probably best camp ground from all Morocco. At least what we visited. Very clean, very friendly and biker-welcomed staff/owners. Good place. They offered us to sleep under roof next to the toiletes and next to swimming pool. Filip used the pool for cooling down beer cans. It´s really not weather for swimming. Wind and cold. Sometimes light shower even. We are ordering mint tea and having fun by testing defensive spray on a cat, what are really annoying. Radek wanted to “test” his electric shock paralyser, but we think, that it may cook the cat :) So just a bit of cayenne chilli spray and cats leave our place and walk around by a big circle. Filip´s beer bag left the stair in the swimming pool and he had to ask older british lady (swimming in such cold water) to dive for it. :) Night is interesting. They have some kind of celabration in the village and we listen berberian music almost whole night. It was very good and interesting. If it would not be so far, I would like to go there and visit the celabration if possible... Next time.

tomas_0590

DAY 16
We ride in the mountains today. Direction to Tizi´n Tess and then direction to Marrakesch. Ride to the pass is very nice, we saw the german Mercedes 4X4s, what we met the first night. I´m slow, taking photographs. Gas is behind me, I had chance to shoot him over the whole valley. On one place I see Radek trying to stop me - they decided to have tea break almost on the top at the pass. He´s waiting for Gas, but he is looking at the other side and did not see Radek at the left and continue. We finished tea, paid and trying to catch him. No way. Gas think, that is behind us and his F650GS is fast.. We even stopped for a while to talk a bit with people from our county, who we met on the road - driving Landrover Defender. They are from Pilsen (listen, this is the city, where only genuine PILSEN beer is brewed and where is Pilsen Urquell from). OK :) I´m not beer specialist... Anyway, we catched Gas afer about 40km, when he though, that is strange, that we don´t wait for him. We even sent him SMS - stop, you are ahead of us. But he did not turned on the phone yet. OK. Weather is bad. Toubkal mountains (4000+m) is in the fog. Rain will come almost definitelly. On the way to Marrakesch is raining a lot. We need to ride through and continue on the road to a town Demnate, where we want to sleep tonight. Weather is a bit better and is not much raining. Good. Demnate is horrible. Dirty, dark, slummy... simply real town, nothing for tourists. No camp ground. First hotel is really horrible, we are trying the other one from the guide. It´s better. They even lock our bikes in the ruines of a shop at the corner. Good. Ordering tajine dinner and trying to have shower and rest a bit. Rooms are OK, toiletes and shower horrible. Don´t believe Lonely Planet that´s it´s the best adresse at Demntate. And if is, then it´s poor :) Dinner is late. Again and as always - they had nothing in the house and had to bring food from various other places for us. We are leaving for a short walk in the medina. Dirty place but interesting. We stopped for a tea at the café Amalou on the main street. I guess, it is Mohammad V avenue or something like it :) Anyway, waitress is not Moroccan-looking girl, has nice eyes and is making eyes at us. And is smiling and when we look at her, she is looking small.. Funny. We gave her extra tip and asked to take a photograph with us at front of the café. Her name is Mina. Walk through narrow streets at medina is not for weak minded people. Not to mention slum and stinking rubbish all around, dirty shops and people not nice looking to us, but some shops are really hard - especially several butcher´s, where are displayed items like chopped goat heads etc. In the dark it´s middle ages reality. We talk with a teacher from mountains, who speak quite good English. His name is Saidi Jebrane and he explained us a lot of things about life at Morocco. How kids sometimes cannot go to school as their parents has no money to buy them books and how one kid teach others in the evening at home etc. He even invited us to visit his village and he will show us how regular people live in the villages. Fantastic. We will try it...if we will have time.His village is not far from the offroad route, what we want to ride tomorrow.

tomas_0605

DAY 17
I wake up quite early today. Hotel Café Ouzoud was OK, but I could not sleep anyway. So I decided to spend the time before we will ride out by photography in the medina at early morning. Taking just my 35mm camera. Unlike last night, medina looks really not much interesting. Just dirty little streets, nothing else. Magic of the night is gone. Taking couple pictures for memories and walking toward our hotel. In one narrow street I see smithery. It´s interesting place for me - I spent couple summers working in black smith´s workshop as short-term-students-brigade at little village, where we have summer lodge. It´s one of crafts, what I really like and I could not resist to have a more then short look here. Owner/worker saw my interested and started to talk to me, of coarse without language it was “hand communication” mainly. But he demonstrated me his little forge, what looked like a rounded stove, hand operated bellows like from middle ages, but many things are the same, does not matter, where you work. He used the same type of coke as we used, just instead of compressor he´s been using power of little boy, who work the bellows. Strange thing was, that he had no real “anvil”. Just metal spine on the floor, what he uses instead of our “stithy”. I could not imagine, that somebody is able to beat the hammer while sitting on the floor. I tried to explain what is strange and he opened his eyes and removed piece of mat behind the spine and there was square hole in the floor. So he could stay in the hole by about waist level and the spine on the floor was then in correct height to work. Strange. He even offered me mint tea, what he cooked on the forge. I spent there about 30 minutes and even when I knew no words, it was very interesting. Next to his shop was just another, who also wanted to show me his workshop but I had to hurry to meet friends in the hotel. On the way I saw big sacks with fresh mint, what they distributed in the restaurants etc.  Radek and Filip are in a hurry and leave us (typically). We should meet on the gas station. We have no idea, where is gas station, so riding through the town from end to end, looking on the local marketplace (souk) and finally finding gas station on the other road. Guys are not there, but they also had no unleaded fuel. So we are going back to the hotel, when Radek is pasing along. He though that we are lost and wanted to find us. Filip is back at front of the hotel. OK, we will tank somewhere else, we have enough fuel to ride. We want to ride offroad route from Voyages web site north-south trans-Atlas route. Somewhere around maybe. First we want to visit nice waterfalls at Ouzoud. It´s interesting place. You can stay on the rim and 100m under you you can see the little lake where the water crash in breath-taking depth. No protection, no barriers, nothing. One slip and you are gone. All on your own risk. We are walking down to see it from the bottom - very touristic place, shops all around the stairs, but season is over and they are lazy today, so no much “offensive business”. Cup of mint tea or two - we see how some local guys are jumping in the water. Not very good is, that the lake are positivelly many examples proving that the river is used as toilet for many villages on the upper side :( We don´t ask where is the water for the tea from. Answer is clear. Must hope that it´s well boiled. Crazy walk up in the heat. Uff. Tough job. Leaving the place and heading to the mountains, what top´s are covered by fresh snow after yesterday´s bad weather. Our route is going up to almost 3000m over sea level. Is cold (about 15 degrees or less) and we ride on muddy path directly in the mist. Nothing positive. Sliperry stones, holes etc. Resting at front of abandoned farm (?) with nice front gate portal in arabic style, exactly as we had on the logo of our expedition. Taking group picture to utilize my tripod at least twice during the ride :) We are now on place, where we think goes Y leg of the very but very narrow trail to the village, where should live the teacher, who we wanted to visit. But it´s very uncertain. We see car far away, heading toward us. Fine. We will wait and ask. Unfortunatelly, guys in the 4X4 don´t know name of the village and could not help us. OK. We decided, that is too risky to ride on such bad trail if we are not sure, where exactly go and will continue on the offroad route, what we have good GPS waypoints. Riding up and up, temperature is really down. Just after we passed 2800m over sea pass, I slipped front wheel during stupid lane change and crashed nicelly in quite good speed. Nothing happened to me - I was standing, so it was nice flight, but good landing in the mud and small stones. Bike is OK, bit smashed corner of the tank, damaged turn signal and most of the energy saved crash bar and Touratech engine head protection guards, what I definitelly recommend to anybody with stock BMW crash bars. I was alone (photography) so I picked up my beast, fixed turnsignal with silver millitary tape and I´m ready to go. Radek is returning for me but it was OK. Riding around 2700m is exhausting in cold and rainy weather. Just a shock - camels in front of us on the road. Here? In such high mountains? Strange, but true. Couple pretty ladies in local colorfull costumes are standing around the trail. I gave them couple candies but before I even tried to take out camera, they were gone. They live in little stone shanty in the mountain slope. Not nice place to live. But they were really pretty. Interesting. Perhaps it was result of almost 3 weeks in the distant country without woman? :) Who knows. Perhaps. :) Anyway, riding and riding. Filip had dangerous situation, he stopped his bike just on the edge of stony yawn, just really centimeters away from serious depth. There was bad edge of the road and he stopped just on the edge of the hole to hell. But he had to use his leg to balance the bike against a rock and his knee dislocated now. Helping him to save the bike and he is in pain jumping out. Unfortenatelly, he sits directly in the middle of huge thistle. Damned! Painy even more then the knee! Radek and FIlip are now resting near one briar in the moore, what is burning here (we did not started this fire really) and is heating a lot. This route is complicate for our heavy loaded bikes. Not to mention that the near 3000m heights are exhausting. Whatever, after one pass is the road better and we are riding down in different valley where are trees without ends of leaves. Looks very strange. Passing few villages, road is mixed with dry stony runways and we are climbing again. We see about three cars today. Busy road :) Finally one of major passes and we are riding down to a valley, where are totally different rocks around and some green trees and even sign of grass. Positive. I stopped by two berbers alongside the road. Offering cigarettes of coarse. One of them is tucking up his tunike and showing me nice example of ooze-sore-leg. No friend, I cannot help you. Trying to explain them that I´m photographer of the group and even had no medicine with me as the medicine for our group carries our “medicinman” at front. Gave them more cigarettes and catching guys in front. We see nice flat place next to the trail, ideal for camping. We picked up our tents tonight. Fantastic sunset, taking several pictures of the mountains illuminated by the strong and strange shines of sun. Dark is a minute as ussually. We are picking up some leaves and pieces of wood as we would like to do a fire tonight. Cooking, talking, smoking around the fire place and enjoing the night in mountains. Nobody want to walk in the dark for more wood as there are close hearing strange sounds, animals and whatever. We are scared a bit, even more when Filip is talking about werwolfs and other bugaboos, what may live here :) Believe me, when you smoke or drink, you will fully believe it! But it would not be as a big problem.... but, I now recognised, that would be really good (read URGENT) to find quiet private place to do my needs. In the dark! OK. I´m brave, so picking up all my armory - knife, defensive spray and strong light torch and heading to the forest. Uff, not very bad quarter of hour :) Nigt is fine, quiet and resting...

tomas_0739

DAY18
Morning is fan-tas-tic! Blue sky, sunshine dries our tents in a minutes. Is cold, but it looks good. Of coarse - just as expected, those two guys from last evening (sore leg) just walked in our camp place and walked directly to Filip to ask, if he is our “medicinman”. He cured them with cigarettes and tried to explain, that we are not doctors. He does not like locals so much anyway :) I´m trying to look like I´m not here :) We are riding down the valley, what is one of most beatifull at whole Morocco, what we saw. Simply something, what is worth to ride here just for it. Impossible to explain. Flowers (!), green oasis, river streams and fantastic rocks, blue sky, nice trees and interesting villages. I would like to spend here whole day by photography. Riding actually almost whole day closer and closer to a big rock called “Le Cathedrale” where we finally joined another offroad route (much more known and much more popular) to Imilchil. In a village behind the rock is starting new road and we are finished with offroads as Radek and Gas are without fuel and there is no unleaded at Imilchil and they don´t want to ride on leaded. They did not know, that they ARE riding leaded fuel all the time and their catalytic convertors are already gone. But at that time we decided to go to Rif mountains at north-east. At the gas station at one of little towns on the road we see two quads from Spain. They arrived from Imilchil and confirmed, that there is no unleaded fuel. Other problem is, that we have now almost no slivovice and we are not able to “desinfect” our stomach every morning and evening by shot of strong and healthy alcohol anymore. OK. We are sleeping at on of the towns in a hotel, where Radek and FIlip had very small beds and disliked the night. We had good room with Gas as we recognised small beds and complained and they gave us replacement. :) Anyway, we are eating tajine in the poor restaurant and as typical - they have “last one” but no problem, other restaurants helped and we got tajine, grilled chicken for Gas and later on for me as well, as my tajine was just potato, carrots and pieces of bones. I gave it on side and in a minute one poor homeless local asked, if he can take it. Of coarse we gave it to him with some bread and he enjoyed it. Onwer of the restaurant wanted to kick him off, but we stopped him and explained, that we allowed him to take it and eat what he want. Of coarse, tajine does not cost “fifteen” DH as he told us, but “fifty”, what they say the same way. Negotiations and complaints followed of coarse and we finished with reasonable price. Night is good.

DAY 19
In the morning are Radek and Filip already at breakest when we are walking down the stairs. They could not sleep all night.We have moroccan-style pancakes with honey today. Interesting. It was part of the hotel deal. Good. Riding to Fes to pick up our spare TKC tyres. Of coarse, as expected - big problems. They are trying to get some money for “late pick up”, for calling us and other unexpected services. But we are strong this time. We gave them enough up front and we will not negotiate. Even the english-speaking guy is there and they are trying to offfer us guided visit of the medina etc. Voices are loud and finally they gave us our spares. We gave them one, what was really only for emergency situations as Gas did not wanted to take used older tyre back to home. They almost fighted for it. Leaving quickly. Heading to north, where is interesting fast food shop at one town along the road. Actually many shops. On the street are hanging pieces of meet (almost no blood as they probably kill the cows using “traditional” way, where there is almost no blood left in the meat. Simmilar to “cosher”. Anyway, you point on piece what you like, they cut a big piece of meet (in my case it was almost 3/4 kg), cutted on cubes, mixed with onion and some green stuff and grinded it in the mill to a hamburger-alike style. Then rolled pieces and directly grilled it and served to us with bread and salad. Very good. Too good. We are all sick that nigt as it was too much meet for us. But we enjoyed it. We are at national recreation area at Rif mountains. Many cork-oak trees. Countryside like at Corsica or so. There is big  abbys and cave, what we want to visit. Entry is 3DH, 2DH per bike for parking. It´s cheap. If we want to visit more (almost another 200m caverns) with guide and torches, we would have to pay several hunderet DH more. No, we don´t want. No negotiations. There are no other guests, but the guide don´t want business or so. OK, his problem. So we are going down alone for 5DH. It´s fantastic place. Deep. Some 180m or so. And several hunderet stairs :) Down it´s fine, but return way is real hell. I walk with my riding jacket and three cameras (including video). Gas decided to rest outside. Good move. We are back totally gone. :) Radek is near heart-attack. :) Resting on the sun a while. Riding to the mountains and looking for nice place to sleep. We decided to stay at nice looking glade in the bushes and trees quite a bit away from main roads in the parc. Evening is wild - we finished almost everyting what we had for fun - drinks, smoking... Night is great. I sleep in bivouac a bit away from others and really think if devils exist here or not :)

tomas_0757

DAY 20
Morning is great, birds are loud and waked up us early. Drying things on the sunshine as every other day. Filip has some little stomach problems, probably too much meet and too little alcohol. But he will be fine. We ride on north, closer to the sea. Road is something great - actually road is crazy, asphalt is replaced by stones or gravel every corner, but the view is fantastic. I take photo after photo. It´s wild road as usually - no barrieds on side, no protection, just hunderets meters deep yawns meter away from us. Great riding. Adrenaline. We like it! But there are not pleasant things here. Biggest problem is not wild traffic - road is narrow, ashphalt typically only on half of the width of the road, other half is gravel and cars of coarse us the better half always. Biggest problem are local kids, what play their game “throw stones to motorcyclist”. It´s really dangerous. Those bastards don´t know, that they may cause big damages or kill somebody. Their stones are big and they aim accuratelly. I catched several shots in the back and helmet. Gas as well. But bad luck had Radek today. One of the little crappers shooted stone to him but not from back, but directly to face. He crouched instinctivelly and little bit too much brake on the gravel/asphalt surface and crashed on left side in full speed. He is fine, bike is fine, just the bike crashed on his left leg and ankle, what was not even OK after fall at the desert. Damned. Of coarse kids dissapeared. Otherwise I think, there will be one with huge blue/black bruise in size of footprint on his buttocks. We just saw couple german riders on BMW GS bikes! Their adventure is just ahead of them... I would join them right away for another couple weeks... :(((  Anyway, we ride much slowly down from mountains on the coast and  finding empty place on the hill over see, where is possible to sleep. Unfortenatelly, it´s just between two radio transmiters (BTS) of local GSM operators, but we don´ t care. In the evening we got visit of old man from the house on the top of the cliffs. He is very fine, we tried to talk, offered him all we had - food, cigaretes and candies. He is sitting and looking at the sunset. Mine dry food is gone and tonight I´m guest of Radek and Gas as I cooked my food the other nights for others. Night in the moskyto net is quiet as always.

DAY 21
Morning is cool - sky is clear, sunshine warmer and warmer. But Gas complaints a lot. He think that the energy from the BTS transmitters affected his nigt sleep and is not in good mood at all. Especially as he wanted to sleep at other place etc. We are joking all morning and Gas is a bit target of our jokes. Apologize now :) Old man from the house is vising us again. Radek gave him old T-shirt and old sandals, what he don´t want to bring at home. Actually I´ve been asked by his wife Hana, if I can make sure, that the “horrible sandals will not leave Africa” and even when they are Radek´s favorite, old man will enjoy wearing it :) I gave him almost all of my remaining candies for kids too. Riding on the sea side direction to Ceuta. Border is wild - many cars and people. Paper checks are OK, bike re-export is OK. FInal drugs check OK (dogs!) and we are in Spain. Riding directly to the ferry, what will leave in a short time. Guys enjoy cold beer, I got something to eat and black coffee, what is not very good on the ferry bar. Back on the continent. We stopped for a short time before joining highway to Castellaro and before I could ride, stopped at front of me police scooter and officer asked if we have any problem or need help etc. I explained that we just looked in the map. But friends are already gone. So I left highway on next exit, replaced memory card in the GPS (on the other one I had all european maps loaded), easy finding nearest way to Linda´s place and through shortcut between some industrial zone joining others on the gas station before Castellaro. Linda is not at home, what we knew. But we arrived much earlier then we expected. So what to do. We would like to personally meet her and thank her for such kind help to allow us to park the van and trailer at her place. But we will loose at least 6 hours by waiting. I´m not in a hurry but we must return the trailer soon and it would be without spare time. So we decided to buy her some gift and apolologize in a letter and leave and try to drive as much as we can to utilize daylight. Loading bikes on trailer is quick, all secured and we are ready to go. We are taking picture of old BMW bike, what Linda ride around the world. Amazing. She has stickers on the topcase from Australia, cross-America and many other long distance rides. Does not matter how old you are or how old is your bike, you are limited only by your desire. I will remember her bike and will pass the message at my country, as many times I hear from people that they cannot do such long rides as they don´t have latest bikes etc... THANKS AGAIN LINDA! On the road home again. 3000km at front of us, more then 40 hours of driving. We drive with Gas first, what is exhausting after whole day today. Whatever, somebody must do it. In the night spending hour by finding opened gas station at the highway at Spain. No luck. Their gas stations are there not close to the highway. We ride almost whole night and just before morning waking up Radek and FIlip and going finally to sleep.

DAY 22
I wake up after about 4 hours sleeping in the car. Of coarse, need to piss urgently. Damned. And bad luck, I just missed their stop on the gas station some half hour ago. I cannot sleep more. Reading some magazines. Radek is driving almost whole day today and then is replaced by Filip, who finished at about 9pm. Our “shift” is night again. But Gas is very tired and we leave him to sleep more, so I joined FIlip at front seats. Gas drive for about hour and half and is too tired to drive now, I drive until about half past two in the morning and then Radek again. I fall to sleep almost instantly.  We ride average about 90km/h

DAY 23
Morning is for me “traditional” in the car - STOP PLEASE, NEED TO PISS!!!! :) We are now at front of Czech border somewhere on the second class road at Germany. Last about 50km to our border is not finished highway at German side and traffic is crazy and there is no place to stop. It´s a pain. :) OK. Finally Rozvadov border and highway to Pilsen and arriving at cold rain to Prague. I left almost all my things at the garage at Gas´s place at Jircany and speeding up on the bike in dirty riding suite to the E-6 laboratory as I cannot wait until monday to see processed films :) If I will give it to them by 11am I will have all 35mm and 120mm slide films processed by 2pm. Arriving in the lab just in time! Picking up material at the afternoon and this is great weight off my mind - 35mm and most of medium format films are great! I was really scared. It was real hard test of my cameras. Mainly my old 35mm Olympus SLR is scratched, dusty and shaked in the topcase a lot, but all is fine and photos are good. I finished with about 700 shots on 35mm and 100 medium format shots. Plus 6 hours raw camera material on DV and together about 1400 digital shots :) A lot of work for following weeks!!!  In the evening picking up my things at Gas, wathing video recorded directly from the DV camera and we just realised, that the expedition is over.

Tomáš

Photo gallery is here:

You can order our 2 hour DVD (PAL) with English voice over comments, maps and photo gallery... And you can order wall calendar in B3 format right now!!!

You can download navigation files and information about GPS and links about routes and resources here in download section of our web site...

We user printed map Michelin 742. Older map is also Michelin 963. And even good is 741. you can order maps online for example from UK shop here... Michelin map cost about 5 pounds. Great is IGN Maroc map, but is not easy to find. Cost is about twice is Michelin but is far much better. On the link from MapsWorldWide is error, instead of Maroc is there map of Tahiti :(

This is absolutelly essential book for everybody who want to ride offroads at Morocco and many other Sahara countries. You can order it directly from the authors pages for about 20 GBP. Now in second edition.

Pages of EUROFERRYS where you can easy find when is ferry leaving Algeciras to Ceuta or Tanger and back.

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Our route from GPS is black