Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Shad , Alan, and the expensive fuel
Taking a break from our current predicament in the Atlas, I'll leave myself and Darren in the tent, and Jason, who is missing in action, and fill you in on the progress of our escapees...
Merzouga, September 14, and Shad and Alan stick to camp rules, getting up at 6am.
Shad, regimental as always eats breakfast, while Alan does his usual "I'll wait till lunch" routine. So with Alan discarding the burst pannier, and some of its contents in the parking area of the "Palais des dunes", they headed out back towards Erfoud, and on to Tinerhir.
They made good progress, being only 2, they were able to up the speed to a glorious 80mph, blazing their way down the R702 and N10, making Tinerhir by lunchtime.
Stopping at Cafe/Restuarant Perla, in Tinerhir, it would seem that traditional Morrocan food was pooh pooh'ed in favour of a more westernised offering of egg & chips, with all the squeezy bottle comforts of back home... (no colemans out in the gorge then lads?)
Shad and I had agreed that the piste between the Todra and Dades gorge was a must-ride, but since he'd ditched me and the Grand Wazoo back in Merzouga, in favour of the "Diva" on the Teneré, he would miss out on our superb impromptu campsite in the rain that night in favour of double beds in an Auberge...
The two of them set off up the Todra, looking to take the piste between Tamtattouche and Msemrir. Turning left too early though saw them run out of road, and stuck on a 4 foot wide rocky track with nowhere to go.
20 minutes later, and assisted by 10 six year old local kids who had appeared from the hillside, the intrepid duo were making their way back down the goat trail, and off in search of the correct left turn, not of course before Shad dumped "Sam" ingloriously on the ground, much to the amusement of the kids.
During the course of our trip, there had been much deliberation as to the sexuality of Shads GS, and as of yet still undecided, he had settled on naming it "Sam" androgynous though, for now... Androgynous Sam.
Finally back on track, they begin the crossing to Msemrir.
In Shads own words...
"Having found the right road, we started to make good progress up the piste, and the views were amazing. After about 2 hours of avoiding the local junk sellers and taking in the views, we got to the river bed which is the centre of the piste and the going got a lot tougher.
There were massive rocks, small rocks, sand, gravel etc. and I was on the limit of my riding capabilities. I almost made the whole riverbed without falling off but a tight S-bend turn caught me out and I dumped Sam on the ground again. One advantage of travelling light was the fact I could lift the bike on my own, something which was impossible for the guys with the bigger bikes.
Once we had got out of the river bed it was a simple case of riding down to Msemrir, or so I thought. We had started picking up speed and I thought I would open Sam up through some soft looking fields. I was doing alright and enjoying being back in third gear when a wall appeared in front of me. I bottled it, hit the back brake, and hit the dirt again. Third crash of the day, but the difference with this one was I dented my exhaust, bummer.
With out a doubt, it was the best day I have had on a bike, ever."
By this time, the duo were running low on fuel, so upon reaching the Dades side of the piste, they rode up to Tilmi. Unbeknown to them, Myself, Darren and Jason were Heading for Tilmi from Agoudal, but the thunderstorm that Shad and Alan had just hit, was to keep the 5 of us seperated for another night.
On reaching Tilmi, they were served by a 10 year old kid, selling fuel in water bottles, out of his shed.
20 liters later, and the little tyke wanted 5200 dirhams!!
They wouldn't say how many dirhams they parted with, but by now, soaking wet, they headed back down the Dades gorge to find dry accomodation for the night.
So, while their companions are in the mud on the mountainside, these two softies take double beds at Auberge Etoile Des Gorge.
I can't mock them too much, I think that in our state, if someone had offered us a dry room, I would have said yes as well.
So the two deserters dried themselves and their gear, and spent the remainder of the evening eating, drinking, and swapping stories with a French couple and their daughter who had hitch-hiked there from Marrakech. Their plan for the morning was to do some localised exploring of the Dades gorge, and meet us that evening at Bikershome in Ouarzazate....
That is of course if Myself, Darren, and Jason survive the night.