Saturday, December 1, 2012


In Asson France, we noticed I had some problems with my moto. A bolt had worked is way out of my suspension and was rubbing on a linkage. Luckily the upper shock bolt is the same as the lower which was ruined. We were able to find a bolt with the same shoulder and thread to cut to length 
Looks horrible!

A stock bolt next to the "home made" version

Installing the new bolt

Kieth, his wife and daughter. 

Oct. 25 Asson France to Manzanares Spain. 725 km of Motorway fun.
We were up bright and early to head south. The night before I was up untill 1 AM or so posting about Italy. I knew this was going to be a great day. Luckily the weather wasn't to bad and I had a good book on tape to listen to. By mid morning we hit the main motorways in Spain. We got into Manzanares just before dark and met up with the other peole who came down from the UK. We now had 11 people in the group. 9 bikes and 1 landrover. We had a few beers and sandwiches for dinner at the hotel. Another long day tomorrow.
LtoR: Ricky, Craig, Adam, Graham, Ken, Phil, Caro, Keith, Frank, Me, Christophe
This is the group: 
Team Scottland
-Ricky on an Africa Twin (Irish living in Scottland)

Team France
-Phil on an old blue Triumph Tiger (English living in France)
-Christophe on a Yamaha XTZ750. Professional photographer. He took some AMAZING pictures.
-Frank and Caro in a Land Rover 300tdi 110 CSW
-Kieth on a Yamaha 660 Ténéré (Northern Irish living in France)
-Ken on a KTM 990 Super Moto (English living in France)

Team Australia
-Craig on a new Triumph Tiger (living in London for the time being)

Team England
-Adam on a Yamaha 660 Ténéré
-Graham on a KTM 990 Adventure (Scottish living in England)

Oct. 26 Manzanares Spain to Asilah Morocco. 619 km of Motorway fun.

We were up early again. It rained on and off int he morning and afternoon. When we got into Tangier Med, the a few of the group go through customs very quick. Others (like me) had to wait for almost 2 hours. It was very dark any rainy when we finally got done. We did another 75 km in the dark to Asilah. I know, riding in the dark in Africa is stupid but we weren't about to sleep in Tangeir Med with the bikes.

Waiting for the sun to rise in Manzanares

All the motos on the ferry

Leaving the ferry

This guy's jacket says "EXPLOITATION".  I realize this is frech.. but it makes way more sense in English. 

Moroccan clusterf*ck.. I mean customs

Helping 2 moto riders from Poland fill out the paperwork


Oct. 27 Asilah Morocco to Marrekesh Morocco. 545 km of Moroccan Motorway Madness.

Not to many interesting sights on the way to Marrekech. The usual.. donkeys in the median cars that should not be running bumbling down the interstate, and smile from every kind in the back seat as you pass them. Once in Marrekesh we found a Aberge with "tents" to sleep in. It was like a paradise  We took cabs into the main square in Marrakesh. Definitely a crazy place. Lots of junk to buy and people trying to sell it to you. Cashews were the only thing I bought. A few people in the group had to remind me that a suicide bomber had detonated a bomb a less then a year ago. The damaged building was visible from where we were eating. I was a bit nervous but I got over once the cous cous arrived.

This little guy reached up behind the grill of an SUV to find a bird he was not shy about munch munching on it in front of us. 

Craig in the "tent" for the night

Very welcomed shitty beer. 

Most don't have headlamps.. 

Main square in Marrakesh 

Oct. 28 Marrakesh to Ouarzazate. 216 km

A quitck 200 miles over the Atlas mountians to Ouazazate to stay at the Bikers Home.

It is good to get back on some interesting roads. When we got to Ouazazate I changed out the fully woarn T-63 with a brand new Dunlop 908RR. I found the 908 rear with the TKC80 front to be a good tire in the rocky, sand, mud and even the twisties. Great view of the full moon over the Atlas that evening.
Some nice Unimogs. I prefer to fill the tank on the KTM. 

This little guy ran up to me yelling "papa" as I snapped this picture. I don't remember the mom so I think I am in the clear :)

Leaving Marrakesh 

Ingenuity at it's finest. 

The high Atlas

Some kids having a friendly game of "throwing rocks at each other"

Nice moon over Ouarsasate
 Oct. 29 Ouarzazate to Zagora. 197 km

We rode some pavement to Agdz then hopped onto some nice grave/rocky 2 track on the east side of the valley  From Agdz to Zagora, the main road is on the west side of the valley. There is a river in the middle and lots of palmetto and crops being grown. You leave the river valley and there is basically nothing growing. This was the first taste of "rockstar status" that you feel when you go through a small village and 30 kids drop what they are doing and run to the road to wave. They all make the motion to rev the throttle. At the hotel in Zagora there was a pool which felt very good even though it was to cold to swim. I jumped in, couldn't breath and got out. Very refreshing. Tagine for dinner this night and for the next 7 or 8.

I really hate seeing trash like this. 

This shows how the trees grow next to the river and not to much away from it. 

Ricky on the African Twin

Christophe.. "Robocop"

Prototype Moroccan desert race bike. 

Graham was getting hot. So he got naked. This happened more times then I can count. 

Love the desert!

Adam had an "off" when he was trying to avoid a crazy Moroccan driver. His pannier hit a tree and put him down. Luckily it wasn't to bad. 

Caro, Kieth and Christophe 

Oct. 30 Zagora to M'hamid. 118 km

Pavement from Zagora to M'hamid with one small pass over some mountains  On top of the pass it is windy and by the time we get to M'hamid it is getting to be a crazy sand storm. The visibility is about a quarter mile when we check into an aberge. Later the wind gets even more crazy. They have beer so cold.. it has ice in it.

"I'm dead sexay" 

Should say "you are here" in Zagora 

This guy makes these out of wood from the palm trees. 

New Moroccan friends

3 Continents now :)

Is it live? I wish I had a multimeter to check. 

Phil eating his beer-slushy

Coffee in a sandstorm

Frank and Graham

Oct. 31 M'hamid to Aberge near Tafraoute Sidi Ali. 166 km

No one in our group had done the route from M'hamid to Merzouga so the night before I downloaded 2 tracks that went through. One from a moto and one from a land rover. They stayed in the same road for most of the way so we were pretty confident we had a good route. We had a coordinate for an Aberge that was about half way. The plan was to do it in 2 days. There were 2 or 3 of us in the groupe that could have done it in one day had we started early. It would be a long day though and the riding reminded me of the the LA-Barstow to Vegas. Some sections flat out. Some 2nd/3rd gear rocky. Some silt beds or fech fech as they call it here.

The wind and sand was still blowing when we headed onto the first major offroad section of the trip. There were 2 military checkpoints to go through that day. Once we started to get into the softer stuff, the going really started to slow. With about an hour left of day light, Ken went down on his 990 and hurt his leg pretty bad. We decided to stay at an aberge about 6 km further. I rode his 990sm to the Aberge then went back for my moto. I was surprised how well it tracked in the soft stuff... if you were on the throttle.

Military checkpoint. 

Somewhere and nowhere. 

Adam cruising

A little guy running up to us when we stopped. Out of nowhere he appeared. 

I am sorry. I had to post this picture. 

Tipping over in the soft stuff.. 

Playing in some dunes with Craig

Ken with his hurt leg and Phil

Nov. 1 Tafraoute Sidi Ali to Aberge near Remlia. 88km (About 40 km straight line)

We started the day working on motos after a beautiful sunrise over the dunes. Since Kens leg was hurt, we took the front end off his bike and squeesed it into the LR. Then Craig's 800 tiger wasn't wanting to start or idle so we tore into it. I had my OBDII cable but I didn't get any fault codes from his bike. We now learned that Triumph cleaned the stepper motor and throttle boddies to fix the problem. This bike went pretty good. I was not to impressed with the location of the air filter though. Its about a 45 minute teardown to get to it. You have to remove the gas tank.

Once on the road we had some decently fast going. Then Graham on the 990 ADV got a flat so I went back to help. Phil was coming back after me to help and he got turned around somewhere and we all got separated from him. He didn't have a GPS on his older Tiger so he couldn't follow his trail as easy. So we ended up not moving for about 3 hours. I put on 88km that day and we went about 40km. Phil eventualy made it into Remlia and Frank in the LR found him there. Between us and Remlia there were dunes and lots of nice fech fech. I had to help ride by riding the 990 ADV through some of the soft stuff. Graham is a good rider but didn't quite have the confidence needed for the softer sand. When in doubt, throttle it out!

Soft sand.

Fixing Graham's flat.

Riding Graham's big 990

We stayed that night in an Aberge. Again, the full moon over the desert was amazing.

Moonrise orange from the dust in the air.

Nov 2 Remlia to Merzouga 119 km

We had a pretty fast track most of the way to Merzouga. We did some playing around on a dry lake bed and Craig and I even found some air under our tires. Mostly rocky with not much fech fech. Craig and I got to see some Moroccans blasting a mountain for some minerals. I have video that I will post on Youtube at some point. We saw a lot of camels this day. Once we got to Merzouga we found a place to buy beer (it is technically illegal). The beers and the swimming pool felt amazing.

Nov 3 Merzouga

Didn't do much this day. Took a nap. Played in the dunes some. I did get some good pics though.

This camel is wiping his snot on my leg. 

Nov 4 Merzouga to Imilchil. 323 km

We pounded pavement for a while on the way to Troda Gorge. We stopped for lunch just before then and I made the mistake of eating slighly undercooked meat. I didn't eat diner that night because my stomach wouldn't have handled it. Before I left the US I got perscriptions for a variaty of things. The traveler's diaria pills work wonders. I felt better the next morning.


I would not want to be in this during a heavy downpour. I have a feeling the road turns into a river. 

Aggiungi didascalia

New bricks
The last half hour or so before Imilchil, the KTM started to miss pretty bad. I assumed it was fuel/air poblems. Air filter was not to bad. Fuel injector looked a bit weak so I swapped it. I took it for a spin and it was still missing.

While I was working on the bike there was a large group a kids hanging out. The girls were just hanging out and the boys were asking for stuff. They didn't want us to take their picture so I gave my camera to an 8 year old (I think) girl to take some picures. Her and her friend took some good ones of her friends.
The 2 girls in brown took my camera for a while

These are the pictures the local girls took.

This one really makes me smile. Its so innocent. 

Nov 5 Imilchil to Midelt. 169 km

I woke up early in the morning to start working on the KTM. We cleanded the air filter, swapped the spark plug and did a 15 mintue reset. That seem to help. But later that day, It was missing again. Then it all but stopped all together and wouldn't start. I checked the spark and it was very very bad. It turns out my low voltage connections to the coil had gotten loose and were only kind of touching. I also re-sanded the grounding points on the frame. Boom. Problem solved.

There must have been some crazy rain because the road we were on was at one point totally covered by a land slide. We had to go into the river to get around it.

Dry masons at work

Near finish product on the other side

Plow the rock slide off the road? Naw.. just go around. 

Where does the road go? 

Oh.. this guy is making us a new road.

Watch out for the barbed wire. We are all glad that Christophe saw this and didn't get hurt. 


Craig having some troubles with the goat trail.

Donkeys on the goat trail

Do you take that of any sweet jumps?

Stay true. 

Resting spot for the night.

Whiskey. No Ice. Not league. 
Nov 6. Midelt to Chefchaouen. 408 km

I almost died. In the Atlas it was raining so I slowed down because the knobbies don't work very well in the wet. I was going into a blind sharp left hand and there is a car in my lane struggling to make the corner. He slammed on the brakes and slid about 15 feet in front of my bike into the guard rail. I did not see him hit the guard rail because we kind of went past each other and I was trying not to go down myself. It tuns out he was passing a bus and had to much speed going into the corner, came through my lane before smacking the wall. In the afternoon we stopped at Volubilis. Volubilis is an ancient Roman city. This is the first Roman runes I have ever seen so I thought it was pretty cool. We made it to Chefchaouen in the dark and fog. We had a hell of a time finding a hotel with secure parking and ended up staying way up at the top of the hill overlooking the city. It was 60 euro per person which is 2 to 3 times what we had been paying.

Once again. Do you think it is live?

I bet it used to be impressive!

Grain grinding thingy

It was very windy this day. I don't know how trucks like this stay upright. 

This would be lunch

Best meal in Morocco.
Nov 7. Chefchaouen Morocco to Manilva Spain

Craig, Adam and I left early to try to get to the first boat. On the way up to Tanger Med it was pouring rain and storming very hard. We had tickets for the 10:00 boat and it didn't leave till noon. The whole way across the boat was moving quite a bit. People were getting sick and puking. Both Craig's Triumph and Adam's XT660 fell over on the way and they were strapped down like mine. It wasn't till 5:30 or 6:00 that we were through customs. I even got to see customs agents pull a guy out of a truck who was hiding to try and sneak into the EU. He was way up on top of the cab behind the air spoiler. The driver was acting like he didn't know. We didn't go very far before it started to rain again so we pulled off into Manilva to get a hotel.

Horizon goes up...

Horizon goes down.. 

Truckers getting sick

Adam might puke..
"i'm not gunna puke" face.

Movember. It will fill out.

Inspecting the damage

10 observations about riding in Morocco with the crazy Moroccan drivers:

  1. People walk in the street instead of the sidewalk.
  2. Large slow vehicles will not let smaller cars/motos by so get used to passing like an A-hole.
  3. In the twisty mountain roads, assume there will be a car/truck/moto/donkey in your lane around that blind corner.
  4. Moroccan drivers NEVER turn their lights on during the day.
  5. You will get flashed 4 times every 3 minutes for having your lights on.
  6. Never trust a blinker.
  7. If you come up behind a slow moving vehicle and you hesitate to pass, the car behind you will start passing you in your lane because there is "room".
  8. When coming down a hill, expect to have to go off road because people will be passing in your lane. And they will flash their lights at you for having your lights on.
  9. Every truck and car must be loaded at least 2x the GVW.
  10. People pull out first then look to see if there are cars coming. This is true for cars, trucks, bikes, mopeds, pedestrians, donkeys, and tractors.
All in all, Morocco was amazing. Here is a short video that Christophe put together. Enjoy.


  1. Hey !

    I was busy those last weeks and I just noticed that you went through south of France without stopping in Marseille are.

    Anyway thanks for the pictures and have a great continuing trip !!!

    Raph, KTM 690 SMC, St Zacharie, Var, France.

  2. Amazing adventure in Morocco. Nice to see you made it to Africa! Welcome back to Europe, and ride safe.

  3. Amazing, so happy thats there os a photos of me :D Next time im coming ! :D

    From: Caitlin Boyd.