Marrakech to Guilmim (Fort Bou Jerif), Morocco
390 miles / 624 km
Wx: Clear skies, cool.
Day 9 and I am anxious to get back on the bike after yesterdays rest day. The plan is to head west towards the Atlantic coast then turn south towards the southern border of Morocco. Today is our last full day in Morocco as tomorrow we cross into Western Sahara.
Since there are a lot of miles to cover today it is going to be a 7:15 am start. I am up early, once again trying to defy the laws of physics by stuffing 100L of stuff into and 80L bag. This takes some time due to the fact that everything seems to have exploded all over the room.
After a quick breakfast off the back of the truck we load up the bikes and get ready to ride. I set off with ‘Pencil Pete’ and ‘Big Al’ for the morning as we roar out of camp, eager to get back on the road. After, what by now is the seemingly obligatory wrong turn, we quickly find the right road to follow and we head out of Marrakech. We all need to gas up before hitting the open road so we decide to head for the outskirts of the city and do it there before we get too far away from civilization.
After riding for about 20 minutes we pull into a petrol station and fill up, grab some snacks for the road and get ready to go. Click, click, click, click, click. Shit. Pete’s battery is dead and his bike won’t start. We borrow what passes for jumper cables in these parts (big long wires with no clips on the ends) and try to jump the bike, try to push start the bike, but it is no use, we can’t get it started again.
We manage to send a text through to the support vehicle to let them know where we are and that we need help. They respond, letting us know that they are just leaving camp now so it will be at least a half an hour before they get there. Bugger. I go up to roadside and sit and watch for the 4×4.
I have been sitting, dejected, on the side of the road for about 10 minutes when Dave, Rick and Matt ride by and keep on going. Jealous, I am tempted to go with them, but you never leave your wingman, everyone knows this, so I continue to wait with Pete for the support vehicle.
I would find out later that the other three guys were about to have some drama of their own anyway. They continued up the road for another couple hundred meters before stopping for petrol themselves at a different filling station. As it turns out Dave ended up accidentally putting Diesel in the tank of his (own) bike, all the time wondering why the locals were shouting and waving their hands. Thus the legend of ‘Diesel Dave’ was born.
The Legend Of Diesel Dave is Born
Well the support vehicle eventually showed up and they had a spare battery on the truck which they whipped out and activated. But, we had to wait around for another 20 or so minutes for the new battery to build up a charge. So by now we have probably wasted about an hour and a half and only gone about 30 kms. Great. Only 590 more to go today.
Back on the road again the we head west then south-west towards the town of Agadir. During the mornings ride we are descending out of the Atlas mountains once again and are treated to more spectacular views and the twisting and turning roads we have grown to love so much.
As we descend out of the foothills and into the coastal plains near Agadir it becomes noticeably warmer. In fact, it is the first time for the whole trip is has actually been warm. It is a nice change, now it is starting to feel like Africa. We stop in Agadir for lunch and some petrol before heading south through Tiznit and on to Guilmim.
There are long stretches of straight road through here and all the aches and pains that seemed to disappear during yesterdays rest day come creeping back. Although we have all now started to find different, more comfortable riding positions for the long stretches in the saddle. I don’t mind the long stretches so much, it gives your mind a chance to wander and it becomes almost like meditation. No worries, nothing to think about, just living in the moment. The road, the bike and you.
We finally arrive in the town of Guilmim. Our destination for the night is actually about 40 Kms out of town at a campsite with Bedouin tents near the old French outpost of Fort Bou Jerif. We finally make it to the campsite and park our selves at the campsite restaurant. Rick already has the beers waiting, bless his heart.
After A Long Day Of Riding
Fort Bou Jerif