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Morocco 2014, on a R1150GS


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I will post 4 ride reports from Morocco, from the past, from 2014 to 2017. Here is the first. Early in 2014 I bought a BMW R1150GS, specifically to tour with Maria, my girlfriend. I had been with

So, leaving the golden dunes of Merzouga, we planned on sleeping on Mhamid. It's only around 400km but the trip would be what I longed for when dreaming of visiting the desert. After a hearty breakfas

So, after a cold night well slept in a big bed covered by the heaviest bed covers I've ever slept under, I then proceed to delete all pictures in the camera, and we go one to have a little breakfast a

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On 29/09/2020 at 11:33, yen_powell said:

This is all Most Excellent!

yes, it was!   I'm learning to love the desert, after visiting Death Valley every year with our club.  Something about the desolation, that really isnt.

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  • 6 months later...

Bloody hell. That is an Epic tale of motorcycling adventure. Quite honestly you are way too good for this site and make the rest of us look bad. Well, not me because I dont ride. I hope Mucho pays you a stipend because reports like that are rare and epic. Bastid probably just gave you a like and said it was great before doing a runner. I'm quite fatigued now going through this. I'll have to leave the other 3 for another day. ITS FUCKING SPIRITUAL MAN.

AWESOMNESS IN A PAGE.

 

You seen this shit RIGS? Makes Baja tame and you look fat. And where's that Ozzie Gringo. Now we know why he left. CANT TAKE COMING 3rd PLACE.  2 bit wannabee site indeed. We have Pedro, read it and weep weiners!!

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30 minutes ago, Bruce said:

Bloody hell. That is an Epic tale of motorcycling adventure. Quite honestly you are way too good for this site and make the rest of us look bad. Well, not me because I dont ride. I hope Mucho pays you a stipend because reports like that are rare and epic. Bastid probably just gave you a like and said it was great before doing a runner. I'm quite fatigued now going through this. I'll have to leave the other 3 for another day. ITS FUCKING SPIRITUAL MAN.

AWESOMNESS IN A PAGE.

 

You seen this shit RIGS? Makes Baja tame and you look fat. And where's that Ozzie Gringo. Now we know why he left. CANT TAKE COMING 3rd PLACE.  2 bit wannabee site indeed. We have Pedro, read it and weep weiners!!

Well, I don't do any of that hard off-roading, more like pleasant touring without fear of a little dust.

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You discovered new territory, new people, new religions, ethics, values and lifestyles. You didn't just ride, you sucked in the whole ensemble and are richer for it.  Dont undermine yourself. Pigs play in mud and count adventure in sweat shed. You chose an enlightened path.  KUDOS.

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Great report. Glad I waited until I had time to read it properly 👍

I wonder if people who live there find it hard to suspend belief if they watch a film and think “hang on thats my back yard” 😂

“Pastilla, which is a some of sweet and sour pastry” is that sweet and sour as in a salt and sugar mix?

Really looking forward to getting to Morocco. It is in my mind one of those places that seems exotic enough to provide new delights but tame enough not to frighten. I think a good start for my husband. 

Did you have paper maps as well?

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I will answer in parts as sadly I have a very unique perspective of Morocco as a tourism destination.

1 hour ago, Slowlycatchymonkey said:

I wonder if people who live there find it hard to suspend belief if they watch a film and think “hang on thats my back yard” 😂

“Pastilla, which is a some of sweet and sour pastry” is that sweet and sour as in a salt and sugar mix?

Ouarzazate is very well known as a location for the film industry, and lots of hollywood celebrities used to do holidays in Morocco, it's more of a secret that movies are shot there in the US and Europe than in Morocco :classic_laugh:

Pastilla, a mix of sweet from sugar and cinnamon on the outside with sour like salty from the spices like turmeric and cumin, with a little bit of a kick sometimes. It's not my thing as I only like sweet in fruit or dessert.

 

1 hour ago, Slowlycatchymonkey said:

Really looking forward to getting to Morocco. It is in my mind one of those places that seems exotic enough to provide new delights but tame enough not to frighten. I think a good start for my husband. 

Did you have paper maps as well?

We did have a paper map, which we used on all four trips, I think it's the basic Michelin 742. It's now framed in my kitchen. A smartphone or proper gps is great for the dirt roads, though. Google maps is great and you'll have perfect data coverage in places where you would assume you didn't by looking at the pictures.

Regarding your husband, being new or not to motorcycles has got nothing to do with it in my perspective. You will struggle the same on a dirt road in England or Spain as you do in one in Morocco, from a technical motorcycle riding perspective, it's the thrill of being somewhere so different that gets me, and that you can get if you catch a plane to Marrakesh and a local bus to the desert or go for a snack in the medina. It's the thrill of knowing you are somewhere where there is less of a safety net if something goes wrong that makes it special when riding a motorcycle.

Don't be naive in thinking Morocco is like Europe, it's not. You will have no problems getting in or out, you will find the roads and trails wonderful and see amazing sights, but if anything goes wrong (proper wrong, not just a breakdown) you will be slapped in the face by the reality that you are not in Europe (or the UK :classic_laugh:). We have had only a few moments in our trips when we were really not at ease with people, being a woman if you dress the wrong way in some places you will easily feel that.

On my last trip, not on a bike, I sadly lost Maria for a sudden stroke in Tangier, and the town that I felt so much like already arriving somewhere familiar suddenly turned into Africa for the worst days of my life in a place that suddenly went from being a 1 hour ferry crossing away to being a whole continent away: I was arrested and questioned, the police treated me like they would any other man that had a non related dead woman in his hotel room dying from unclear causes, and there was a severe difficulty in communications. I was treated kindly and shown a lot of sympathy maybe in a way that wouldn't happen in europe, but there is a chasm of difference between the support you would get in western europe in a true emergency.

Right now there are 2 or 3 thousand europeans trying to get back and finding a closed border, they didn't expect Covid to shut down traffic so quickly after it opened and have risked it. A bad case of Covid in rural Morocco? Now that's an experience.

Don't let the friendliness of most people fool you into thinking it's not an adventure even if nothing goes wrong with your health. A few people have died over the years just enjoying their bikes on the desert, getting lost and dehydrated and they didn't last the day. It is the Sahara and the Atlas, there are flash floods, insane temperatures, and places where you are not welcomed and where the people will sometimes only speak berber or some form of arabic. Having said all that, I can't wait to go back, sadly on my own from now on.

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50 minutes ago, Pedro said:

I will answer in parts as sadly I have a very unique perspective of Morocco as a tourism destination.

Ouarzazate is very well known as a location for the film industry, and lots of hollywood celebrities used to do holidays in Morocco, it's more of a secret that movies are shot there in the US and Europe than in Morocco :classic_laugh:

Pastilla, a mix of sweet from sugar and cinnamon on the outside with sour like salty from the spices like turmeric and cumin, with a little bit of a kick sometimes. It's not my thing as I only like sweet in fruit or dessert.

 

We did have a paper map, which we used on all four trips, I think it's the basic Michelin 742. It's now framed in my kitchen. A smartphone or proper gps is great for the dirt roads, though. Google maps is great and you'll have perfect data coverage in places where you would assume you didn't by looking at the pictures.

Regarding your husband, being new or not to motorcycles has got nothing to do with it in my perspective. You will struggle the same on a dirt road in England or Spain as you do in one in Morocco, from a technical motorcycle riding perspective, it's the thrill of being somewhere so different that gets me, and that you can get if you catch a plane to Marrakesh and a local bus to the desert or go for a snack in the medina. It's the thrill of knowing you are somewhere where there is less of a safety net if something goes wrong that makes it special when riding a motorcycle.

Don't be naive in thinking Morocco is like Europe, it's not. You will have no problems getting in or out, you will find the roads and trails wonderful and see amazing sights, but if anything goes wrong (proper wrong, not just a breakdown) you will be slapped in the face by the reality that you are not in Europe (or the UK :classic_laugh:). We have had only a few moments in our trips when we were really not at ease with people, being a woman if you dress the wrong way in some places you will easily feel that.

On my last trip, not on a bike, I sadly lost Maria for a sudden stroke in Tangier, and the town that I felt so much like already arriving somewhere familiar suddenly turned into Africa for the worst days of my life in a place that suddenly went from being a 1 hour ferry crossing away to being a whole continent away: I was arrested and questioned, the police treated me like they would any other man that had a non related dead woman in his hotel room dying from unclear causes, and there was a severe difficulty in communications. I was treated kindly and shown a lot of sympathy maybe in a way that wouldn't happen in europe, but there is a chasm of difference between the support you would get in western europe in a true emergency.

Right now there are 2 or 3 thousand europeans trying to get back and finding a closed border, they didn't expect Covid to shut down traffic so quickly after it opened and have risked it. A bad case of Covid in rural Morocco? Now that's an experience.

Don't let the friendliness of most people fool you into thinking it's not an adventure even if nothing goes wrong with your health. A few people have died over the years just enjoying their bikes on the desert, getting lost and dehydrated and they didn't last the day. It is the Sahara and the Atlas, there are flash floods, insane temperatures, and places where you are not welcomed and where the people will sometimes only speak berber or some form of arabic. Having said all that, I can't wait to go back, sadly on my own from now on.

Thanks for this reply 👍 Gonna take me a minute to get back about it but I have more questions if thats ok?

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46 minutes ago, Slowlycatchymonkey said:

Thanks for this reply 👍 Gonna take me a minute to get back about it but I have more questions if thats ok?

Of course, take a look at the other reports, there is mechanical failure in 2015 :classic_laugh: and a new bike in 2016 and 2017  

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50 minutes ago, Pedro said:

Of course, take a look at the other reports, there is mechanical failure in 2015 :classic_laugh: and a new bike in 2016 and 2017  

And me setting my Rottweilers on Pedro in 2006!

Dr Evil Lol GIF by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

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@Slowlycatchymonkey......we also went out for a meal and I was spitting my foot across the table onto his plate!

He didn't know and was just eating it up!

He only found out last year about it! 

tv show lol GIF

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8 hours ago, Pedro said:

I will answer in parts as sadly I have a very unique perspective of Morocco as a tourism destination.

Ouarzazate is very well known as a location for the film industry, and lots of hollywood celebrities used to do holidays in Morocco, it's more of a secret that movies are shot there in the US and Europe than in Morocco :classic_laugh:

Pastilla, a mix of sweet from sugar and cinnamon on the outside with sour like salty from the spices like turmeric and cumin, with a little bit of a kick sometimes. It's not my thing as I only like sweet in fruit or dessert.

 

We did have a paper map, which we used on all four trips, I think it's the basic Michelin 742. It's now framed in my kitchen. A smartphone or proper gps is great for the dirt roads, though. Google maps is great and you'll have perfect data coverage in places where you would assume you didn't by looking at the pictures.

Regarding your husband, being new or not to motorcycles has got nothing to do with it in my perspective. You will struggle the same on a dirt road in England or Spain as you do in one in Morocco, from a technical motorcycle riding perspective, it's the thrill of being somewhere so different that gets me, and that you can get if you catch a plane to Marrakesh and a local bus to the desert or go for a snack in the medina. It's the thrill of knowing you are somewhere where there is less of a safety net if something goes wrong that makes it special when riding a motorcycle.

Don't be naive in thinking Morocco is like Europe, it's not. You will have no problems getting in or out, you will find the roads and trails wonderful and see amazing sights, but if anything goes wrong (proper wrong, not just a breakdown) you will be slapped in the face by the reality that you are not in Europe (or the UK :classic_laugh:). We have had only a few moments in our trips when we were really not at ease with people, being a woman if you dress the wrong way in some places you will easily feel that.

On my last trip, not on a bike, I sadly lost Maria for a sudden stroke in Tangier, and the town that I felt so much like already arriving somewhere familiar suddenly turned into Africa for the worst days of my life in a place that suddenly went from being a 1 hour ferry crossing away to being a whole continent away: I was arrested and questioned, the police treated me like they would any other man that had a non related dead woman in his hotel room dying from unclear causes, and there was a severe difficulty in communications. I was treated kindly and shown a lot of sympathy maybe in a way that wouldn't happen in europe, but there is a chasm of difference between the support you would get in western europe in a true emergency.

Right now there are 2 or 3 thousand europeans trying to get back and finding a closed border, they didn't expect Covid to shut down traffic so quickly after it opened and have risked it. A bad case of Covid in rural Morocco? Now that's an experience.

Don't let the friendliness of most people fool you into thinking it's not an adventure even if nothing goes wrong with your health. A few people have died over the years just enjoying their bikes on the desert, getting lost and dehydrated and they didn't last the day. It is the Sahara and the Atlas, there are flash floods, insane temperatures, and places where you are not welcomed and where the people will sometimes only speak berber or some form of arabic. Having said all that, I can't wait to go back, sadly on my own from now on.

 

Good to know about the maps. Maybe I’ll try out Sofia’s throw a pen at the map style of planning 😂

The reason for choosing Morocco (after we’ve ridden England to Southern Spain together) is not to do with his skill level. He is new to motorbiking but he is also one of those people with a high level of sporting skill and a justifiable level of confidence in that ability. A year before he took his test he did an off road day with me not having ridden a motorbike before and flew through the lumpy mud like it was nothing, simply second nature- yes kinda annoying!

Its a very different experience travelling by motorbike and doesn’t involve booking a nice hotel for a week and staying in the same spot. Its out of a lot of peoples comfort zone to go away not having all the accommodation booked and staying somewhere different every night. Just as you say Morocco is not in the comfort of Europe and thats why its I think the perfect step for thrills that once he’s experienced he’ll be smitten and further flung destinations will be on the cards 👏 ☀️ 🏍

I passed the point of no return on a Nepal/Tibet trip and broke my foot (I can confirm the RE Himalayan is a heavy bike 🙄😂). Its in the back of your mind this stuff can happen but when you’re quietly wedging your foot into a boot and riding on through mud because the only other option is spending days bust up in the back of a truck waiting to reach dubious medical attention it becomes painfully clear you‘re very far from home so I suppose I’m saying I dont enter into these things unwittingly and I know well from other experiences everything is not risk free sunshine and roses. Women in particular have to be careful not to cause offence (one of the reasons I won’t go to Iran) 🙄 but I tend to do my homework on where I’m going 👍

Its terrible to hear of your dreadful experience losing Maria in Tangier. Not just the awfulness of being so far from home and the undoubted fear of what care she was receiving but the simple unadulterated horror of losing your partner that way so unexpectedly. She looks so young and vibrant in your pictures I almost can’t believe it, I’m sure you couldn’t. You have nothing but my admiration for having to make your way through that quagmire and clearly not giving up.

 

So are you mixing it up when you go back with some known destinations and some new or sticking with your favourites?

Is there a better time of year to go temperature wise and what are the expected temperature fluctuations over 24 hours?

I want this to be successful so dont want to take my husband slogging through miles of mud, is there a rainy season?

Looking forward to reading about your other trips 👍

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29 minutes ago, Slowlycatchymonkey said:

Good to know about the maps. Maybe I’ll try out Sofia’s throw a pen at the map style of planning 😂

Pick a Michelin map, and most roads with green highlights or viewpoint signs will be good in most countries. Morocco is no exception.

 

31 minutes ago, Slowlycatchymonkey said:

 Just as you say Morocco is not in the comfort of Europe and thats why its I think the perfect step for thrills that once he’s experienced he’ll be smitten and further flung destinations will be on the cards 👏☀️ 🏍

The comfort of Morocco is that until you are in the shit, you still have amenities. Booking.com and google work as well as in Europe, I've booked places in villages you would think had no internet, just stop your bike mid afternoon or a couple of hours before you feel like stopping, and turn your mobile on and you're set.

 

34 minutes ago, Slowlycatchymonkey said:

I passed the point of no return on a Nepal/Tibet trip and broke my foot (I can confirm the RE Himalayan is a heavy bike 🙄😂).

Well...I see no ride report of that, did you not have a camera? Are you one of those? Even with no camera you can still write it up...

 

35 minutes ago, Slowlycatchymonkey said:

So are you mixing it up when you go back with some known destinations and some new or sticking with your favourites?

Is there a better time of year to go temperature wise and what are the expected temperature fluctuations over 24 hours?

I would go either in April / May, or September / October. Mid winter or after October you will have snow storms in the mountains, and rain in places you do not want to find rain when riding. Mid summer will be too hot (REALLY hot, way over 40º), even in September you will be too hot for a british person in the desert, but it's the Sahara, if you show up there and it's not hot you'll complain.

 

40 minutes ago, Slowlycatchymonkey said:

So are you mixing it up when you go back with some known destinations and some new or sticking with your favourites?

Next trip might last a week longer than previous ones did, there is no work commitments but mine this time. I will do a couple of offroad roads I didn't want to do before with a passenger, and maybe go further south having a taste of the desert and the smell. Africa smells are addictive, you'll see when you step out of the ferry for the first time!

 

44 minutes ago, Slowlycatchymonkey said:

Looking forward to reading about your other trips 👍

Get to it, reports are posted, Pete is paying a fortune in webspace ... :classic_laugh:

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31 minutes ago, Pedro said:

Well...I see no ride report of that, did you not have a camera? Are you one of those? Even with no camera you can still write it up...

Yep I’m one of those 😂 I have bought a helmet camera... that resides in its box 😬 One day I will write it up but it was mostly a shit show of the highest order. Everyone stopped recording so theres little footage. Down 10 riders in the first two days, 4 lots of broken bones (not including mine) and two riders literally slid off the side of the mountain. It seems we’re all still a little too traumatised to write that one up. 😂

I would go either in April / May, or September / October. Mid winter or after October you will have snow storms in the mountains, and rain in places you do not want to find rain when riding. Mid summer will be too hot (REALLY hot, way over 40º), even in September you will be too hot for a british person in the desert, but it's the Sahara, if you show up there and it's not hot you'll complain.

True we do like a good moan 😂 Ive found I adapt to the most extreme temperatures in under a week but riding at over 40 degrees wouldnt be fun, Ill leave early. Great advice, appreciated.

Next trip might last a week longer than previous ones did, there is no work commitments but mine this time. I will do a couple of offroad roads I didn't want to do before with a passenger, and maybe go further south having a taste of the desert and the smell. Africa smells are addictive, you'll see when you step out of the ferry for the first time!

I can imagine, cant wait to whiff it up, now that sounds weird 😮

Hmm apologies for the single block of text. Can’t be bothered redoing it now!

 

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33 minutes ago, Pedro said:

Pete is paying a fortune in webspace

1.5 TB of free space on this box Pedro....so bring on the ride reports!

319723536_Screenshot2021-04-07231416.jpg.63145a15e3afa013cdefdb7660095f31.jpg

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On 07/04/2021 at 14:08, Pedro said:

Of course, take a look at the other reports, there is mechanical failure in 2015 :classic_laugh: and a new bike in 2016 and 2017  

What are the titles of the other ride reports so I can find them? Thanks

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