Friday, 29 October 2010
Shad, Alan, and the very expensive Riad Alma
Once more, leaving Myself, Darren, and Jason, in the abandoned building alongside the N10, we'll take a look at how our two soft travelling companions fared on the road to Marrakech.
Shad and Alan had made tracks for Marrakech, where Alan was to hole up with his girl Jill, who had flown out to see him, and Shad would go on to Casablanca, and spend some time heading up the coast, and us, well, you know where we are.
Alan, gives this account of their ride.
"After meeting up with the Nomad wanabees at bikers home, and giving them all the sympathy I could muster up from my little finger, especially after having to suffer the indignity of a double bed and hot food myself.
Shads and myself started to make plans for our second break away, this time to Marrakech, where I had made plans to meet my Girlfriend, Jill.
After some advice from Peter we decided to turn right off the N9, heading towards Áit Benhaddou, and take the piste to Telouét.
Whilst at Bikershome, we met Steve and Ewen. They had been in touch with Si via the UKGSER website before the trip, so this was a good time for all to catch up and swap stories over our first beers in Morocco. 3 beers later, light headed and agreeing on leaving times, plus adding Steve and Ewen into the next day’s journey, I headed off to bed with it raining (9.30).
Up early the next morning (6am) bikes packed, chain lubed, fuel and oil checked, which was now becoming quite a ritual with the problems I was having, the four of us set off. Going out of Ouarzazate joining the N9, and passing the film studios which were very much closed at this time of the day. We found the right hand fork and stopped to make a decision, was it worth risking a piste after all the rain over the last few days and the stories of the night before. Or take the more sedate paved road. Decision made we stood up on the pegs and road onto the dirt.
For the most part the road was graded and made for a good ride through typical Moroccan villages with their mud huts and satellite dishes. All along the piste you could see signs of progress with piles of gravel, ready to turn yet another piste into a road which will no doubt benefit the locals but takes some of the fun out of travelling through these places. Traversing the side of a bloody big hill with sharp turns and big drops, once down the other side we found the rain damage that so many people talk about which Shads and me had yet to see, with washed out roads or layers of thick sloppy red mud. Progress slowed but not drastically, there where a couple of slippery moments but we all held our own and stayed on 2 wheels.
As we closed in on the N9 we could see the dark clouds of yet more rain, now it was hard to tell if these dark clouds where heading towards us or we where riding into them either way, getting wet was our only option.
While we were all getting wet riding some great valleys through the Atlas mountains, we reached the summit and thought it best to stop for some liquid heat and wait for the worst of the weather to pass us. Whilst waiting for our mint teas the 2 Welsh lads on 250’s turned up, yet more stories swapped and the Welsh duo filled us in on the events of the unlucky 3 left at bikers home repairing bikes and energy levels. With clear skies in the direction we were headed we braved the last of the rain and made our way down the other side, and towards the sun.
We stayed together as a group until I needed fuel on the outskirts of Marrakech where Steve and Ewen made there own way into the city and found a hotel. Shads had booked his hotel the day before in a road side café, which was in the middle of nowhere but had a 50” plasma tv, satellite, phone and Internet plus the standard mint tea. I had already booked Jill into Riad Alma and she was there waiting for me to arrive.
I had the address written down and that it was somewhere near the airport. Shads hotel was also on the south side of the city so I decided to follow him to his hotel then make my own way to meet Jill."
So, with Alan tucked up in his £600 hotel, Shad cracking Budweiser's, getting massaged, and watching DVDs in the Ibis at £60 a night, and Myself, Darren, and Jason in our tents on the front porch of a half-built house on the way to Skoura which we'd traded for a pouch of Drum tobacco, that's very much how the 17th of September ended.
Tomorrow would see a mammoth push from us three "Nomad Wannabees", as we head back up North, trying to dodge the bad weather that was coming in from the West.