Tag Archives: Loc2Roues

Ten Days in Morocco ~ Husky • Sertao • XR ~ Final part

Parts One and Two here.
mk3-01As two of the group are actors and Americans, from Tazenacht we take an excursion north to Gas Haven, a surviving film set from a 2006 remake of Wes Craven’s 1970s mutant hillbilly slasher The Hills Have Eyes. If nothing else it’s a great ride north through the Tizi n Bachkoum pass, chasing Andy on the Sertao.

mk3-02Southwest American roadhouse an hour out of Ouarzazate. Even that boulder by the sign is fibreglass and wire.

mk3-03Being an actor, Patrick knows a lot about about working behind bars.

mk3-04Outside, desiccated, severed limbs swing in the desert sun.

mk3-05There’s even a Wall of Death, but not the fairground one where a bloke rides round and round until he gets dizzy.

mk3-06Chubby-cheeked babies charred by a nuclear experiment that went tragically wrong. Or something like that.

mk3-07Lunch in Agdz – pronounced like ‘Agadez’ in Niger.

mk3-08Rob takes a swing on the Husky.

mk3-09Mustapha leads us to a viewpoint over Agdz palmerie with the Draa river in there somewhere. We’re riding up that hill tomorrow.

mk3-10We arrive at the lovely Ksar Jenna on Nekob westside. We’re spending two nights here.

mk3-11Night falls over Nekob.

mk3-12Inside, following another fine feast, the Kindles glow.

mk3-13Next day Rob, Andy and I take a ride up MH14 ‘Sarhro West’ which I tried last year on the BMW 650 twin.

mk3-14Patrick is doing his own thing today on the Sertao and Andy snatched his XR250 before I could.

mk3-16We stop for a tea and snack at the last dwelling up the valley. Hassan sits with young Ahmed in his woolly hoodie.

mk3-17At the summit junction, KM46, I invoke the droite d’accompagnateur and depose Andy from the XR250.

mk3-35Undaunted, Andy hurtles off into the afternoon sun on the TR650, following an untried Olaf track which descends to the N9/N12 near the Draa river.

mk3-18Once it drops off the plateau this piste proves to be as spectacular and exposed as I imagined. Morocco at its best.

mk3-20

mk3-21Back on the N12 road a short distance out of Nekob, another palm-ringed kasbah shimmers in the crepuscular glow.

mk3-22And another lavish breakfast at Ksar Jenna.

mk3-23Today we’re moving on, off up the well-known 112-km piste over Jebel Sarhro to Tinerhir; MH4.

mk3-24Just a week on a dirt bike and Patrick already has his arse-end aflame.

mk3-25A rare shot of me on a motorcycle. I’m trying out the Sertao, but on the piste its characteristics are distinctly canine compared to the Terra. Nice engine but feels 20kg heavier.

mk3-26This was all the ‘camping’ we could manage.

mk3-27A coke stop near the pass.

mk3-28Up past Iknioun the track becomes a wide and fast motorway and I blast along on the Husky in top gear for a while. But the classic piste (MH4) is now in the shadow of the amazing Sarhro West piste we did yesterday.

mk3-29We haul 100km over to Chez Moha at Ait Youb hamlet in the High Atlas. A lovely spot all made of mayd and straw, but a bit chilly compared to what we’re used to.

mk3-30Maybe better in the spring when I was here last time. Even then, we enjoy a fabulous cous-cous feast huddled by an electric heater.

mk3-31Next day a cool morning but I enjoy a fantastic burn up down the Todra Gorge on the Husky, fix a quick nail puncture then we have a lavish grill in Tinerhir. A hundred miles down the road we check into the Vallee hotel in Ouarzazate southside. A little past it prime, but they have wifi and heating and beer and yet more great food.

mk3-32Our room boasts some rather creepy psycho-erotic art. The longer you look at it, the more disturbing it gets. Or perhaps it’s just depicting the desecration of our Mother Earth. Either way, I do believe ‘Salah 07’ might be in dire need of some female company.

Next day, yet more brake warming, bend swinging action over the Tizi n Tichka pass back to Marrakech and a plane home.

mk3-34So there we have it. A great group and a fab time buzzing around Morocco over 10 days enjoying a little bit of everything: cosy lodgings, amazing views, delicious fresh food, all linked by great blacktop and piste. I’ll offer something similar as a tour next November 2014 when the weather seems just right. Have a look at the Tours page around mid-December.

Ten Days in Morocco ~ Husky • Sertao • XR ~ 2/3

Continuing our short ride through southern Morocco. Part 1 was here. Part 3 right here.


Sunrise at the oasis.


I go for a walk, passing unusual dwellings designed to slide downhill in the event of an earthquake.


Not a place to stagger back to late one night, fumbling for your keys.


We go for a ride back up the cliff

.


Rob tries out his new Touratech Arai-iPhone adapter mount, called a Digital Utility Camera Transom. You’d think they could come up with a snappier name.


Down below, a carefully tended mosaic of gardens lap up the autumn sun.


We take a walk over to the kasbah (fortified dwelling) at Assaragh


Then ride back down…


… to the auberge for lunch. It was built by a local who did well abroad, and chose to return something to his community. A common practise in Morocco.


After a siesta we head out to a curious ruined tsar (similar to a kasbah but more castle-like) which I passed last year.


We wind out way up into a maze of crumbling walls and collapsed palm-trunk beams.


But at the doorway it looks a bit dodgy to go further without a hardhat and full body armour.


Next day we’re back on the piste.


Heading up over Jebel Timouka, Route MA6 in my book.


Into the ranges.


Some oueds (creeks) are hard work on the heavy 650s. So we stop to cool off and let Elisa and Mustapha catch up.


The climb begins.

Deeper

Steeper

Higher

I don’t know about the others, but the occasional landslide repairs with football-sized rocks are barely rideable on the Terra. The suspension shoves the weight back at you in all directions nd you can tell that point is coming where it’s easier to fall than fight it. When I came this way in 2008 I broke a spring on my pickup. I’m up ahead and eventually pull over weak-kneed, strip off and empty my 3-pint bottle. The others catch up and Elisa hands out power bars. Andy’s Sertao is even more of a dog than the Husky and Patrick got pinned negotiating a gnarly hairpin, but is nevertheless amazed at the beating the XR can take. Rob finds his XR a breeze up here.


We carry on to an amazing view back south towards Jebel Bani, now only 80 miles away


Thankfully the track eases up and we reach the equally amazing Timouka Pass overlooking the Issil plain.
In the many tiny Berber villages below (the green clumps) women dye wool and work ancient looms to
produce the fine carpets you’ll find in the souks of Marrakech and Tangier


We drop off the pass, race across the plain to the highway and ride into Tazenacht for a late lunch, babbling about our awesome morning’s ride. Freshly-chopped Moroccan salad (a bit like Mexican salsa), omelette, chips and bread + tea. That’ll be $3 Down the road, plenty of room at the Hotel Sahara.


Night falls over Tazenacht.


While inside the infidels, some in fancy dress, gathered for the feast and then retire to their chilly suites.

Final part right here