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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 16 Jun 2009
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Advice on possible morocco trip

Hi to everyone, I'm new o this site and am going to do that annoying newbie thing of asking loads of possibly obvious questions in my very first post. Please bear with me.

So I've got the bug and want to go on a bit of a jolly. Trouble is funding is very tight and I'm starting uni as a mature student at the end of september. Having recently being made unemployed I'm facing the prospect of some soul destroying job for the next few months or selling my car, Z1000 and Hi-fi system and going on my first tour.

First off, bike. I'm thinking of trying to pick up a F650GS for £2500 - £3000 with as little mileage as possible. I've not heard much bad about them except for horror stories about front forks falling off. Anyone able to shed some light?

So assuming I've got my Beemer, loaded up with touratech panniers and some sort of gps (??) I'm thinking of heading to morocco (seems like a cool place, no need for carnet or visa etc) through france and spain then back again. So am I mad for thinking of doing this in summer? I know its pretty hot. I'm new to touring and never done any off roading so I'm not out to conquer the sahara or anything, I just want to see the sights, check out Marrakech and ride over the atlas mountains. Can anyone give me ideas for a nice fairly easy route round taking 10 days to two week and getting me back to the ferry? Would like a few dusty roads though.

Due to budget I plan on camping through europe and have been looking into campsites but was wondering, is it possible to just ride wherever you fancy in france and spain and be in with a good chance of finding a campsite at the end of the day?

I don't know if I can pull this off in the time/budget I have but any advice would be great. If I do i see it as a little experience builder and jolly in preparation for greater things in the future.

Thanks
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Old 16 Jun 2009
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First off, don't take too much stuff!! Use the Algeciras (Spain) to Tangier (Morocco) sailing as the border is a lot easier. Get yourself a Michelin map of Morocco - better than GPS and a compass. Oddly, there are quite a few campsites in Morocco. We stayed in little "hotels" also - Chefchaoun is lovely and in the Rif valley. Meknes is cool and has a campsite near the Palace. Erg Chebbi will give you a taste of the Sahara and there are a few pension type places that supply food (v useful in the desert!) and you can ride around the whole dune - will take a few hours but is great! Vallee du Draa is amazing scenery and the Todra Gorge has the best roads and piste, with hair-raising bends (the sort to give mothers everywhere kittens) and fun water fording. Don't bother hugely with the west coast - there's a couple of nice surfing places but the big towns are fairly horrible!
Hope that helps - have a great time - you'll meet other bikers, esp near Erg Chebbi.
Enjoy!
ImiBee
PS - re France and Spain - campsites are easy to find, but will be pricy at this time of year (they up the prices in the summer) in France, if you want quiet, try "Camping a la ferme" (ie farm camping) where there will be a pitch and loos but not much else, but way nicer than the huge sites with loads of kids!
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Old 16 Jun 2009
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Hello Alex and welcome to HU
There is still time (close to full now I think, but possible) for you to register for the HU meeting in Ripley near Derby this coming Friday, Sat Sunday
Look it up here, loads of information and great people who have traveled all over who will gladly answer any questions you may have.
Camping on site, showers, loos, pub etc and loads of lectures all included in your week end fee.
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Old 16 Jun 2009
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Morocco will be hot, but so could be France and Spain. Assuming you get really hot weather in Morocco try to spend most of your time in the mountains or near the Atlantic coast.

Morocco's dry heat means that dehydration is a real problem for bikers so have a back-mounted hydration system and plan to drink at least 3 litres during the day. Be really systematic about this--have half a litre before starting off, get to 1.5 litres by lunchtime, have another half litre after lunch, and so forth. In real hot conditions you won't be able to ride with the visor up as it will be too hot. A buff or some form of cloth across the nose/mouth is useful. Try to breath through the nose not the mouth. If you are not peeing, or if the urine is yellow, drink more water. You also need sugar and salt which is why salted peanuts and sweet mint tea are popular.

Many campsites in Morocco are primarily parking places for motorhomes and not much cheaper than a hotel, so you would be best off either staying in cheap hotels or wild camping.

Check out the Morocco knowledgebase and other info at Morocco and NW Africa - ::. UKGSer.com .::

Tim
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Old 16 Jun 2009
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Good stuff guys, thanks for that. I've got better than average french, I presume this will get me by almost everywhere? Do you have to worry about fuel much in areas like the mountains?
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Old 16 Jun 2009
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Hi. Check out The Chain Gang (aka The Chain Gang) for bike-specific info but search this forum for probs people have had. But if you're on a budget then there are (better?) options for a trail/road bike (a cheap BMW will have a huge mileage) - DRZ400/KLE500/etc... you pay for the BM badge! Get a good set of soft panniers rather than expensive hard ones until you find you need to invest later on. Camping good value and very plentiful in France (i've no idea re Spain), and on my first trip to Morocco this year i found cheap Hotels to be ideal. Mr Cullis' site is mega-useful - a veritible Oracle on the place .
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Old 16 Jun 2009
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Advert for what looks like a fairly clean F650GS at £2000: For Sale: 2000 (W-reg) F650 GS in Light Metallic Blue - ::. UKGSer.com .::

Tim
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Old 16 Jun 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom309 View Post
I've got better than average french, I presume this will get me by almost everywhere?
French is widely understood and should get you through your journey OK
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  #9  
Old 16 Jun 2009
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Wow, thanks again everyone, for the PM's as well that I can't reply to yet due to lack of posts!
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Old 17 Jun 2009
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When you get back, tell us how you got on.......
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Old 17 Jun 2009
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Hello Phantom309,

The F650 single has one issue you need to look for. Dip the oil. If it's chocolate brown your water pump seals have gone and if you keep riding you'll wreck the motor. It's under £50/2-hours to fix, but you don't want to pay full price then have to do a fix. Ask sellers when it was last done and maybe carry the kit. Chaingang, Motorworks and Motobinns are going to be useful sources of info. I'd pick an FI Dakar over the carbed F's and FI GS's as you get better tyre choice, but otherwise I'd buy on the best deal, there is very little in it performance wise.

You don't want to repeat my first Morocco trip-F650-walk in the desert-BMW Malaga experience, so please take some time to get to know the bike. It's not perfect (but what is) and certainly doesn't live up to the image BMW marketing project, but it's a decent enough bike. Do you just fancy the F or does it fit you particularly well? Personally I'd look at XT's, DR's etc. as well, they all do the job, but bike choice is personal.

I wouldn't rush to buy tin boxes unless you can get them for a lot less than TT sell them for. Any tubular rack and soft panniers work well enough and you'll save the cost of the ferry on one item. You will fall off, so plan your load accordingly, but it tends to be at low speed on soft stuff.

The one thing you don't mention is tyres. The F650 typically runs a TL tyre with a tube. These are real barstewards to get off if you have a puncture (rim well is shallow and they are tight). Practice by fitting your own knobblies (TCK's or Heidenau's in my preference, Pirellis were great on sand but dangerous on wet tarmac, but they did last about 20000 miles) so you know what you'll need in terms of levers, soap, a 6" G-clamp, a ten foot pole etc.

Good Luck and Enjoy it,

Andy
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Old 17 Jun 2009
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Cheers for that Andy,

After a bit more research I'm thinking I'll probably have better luck picking up an XL650R. I've got to sell my '56' plate Z1000 which I expect £4k - £4500 for it so if I spend a couple of K on a big trailie and any kit I may need I should have some wedge left over for things like fuel. I've been trawling about for info and the XL looks like a winner, though at 5'6'' I'll probably be forking out for a lowering kit and hacking away at the seat a bit. Also I'm converted to the idea of soft luggage, probably some wolfman stuff but I'm gonna probably have to order a rack from the states from someone like pro moto billet, as I've not found on in the UK and have no way of making one. If it all comes off I can just shove the bike in a mates garage an go adventuring when the mood takes me.

One thing, does anyone have any up to date info on rally bodywork for an XL, I found threads and stuff here and on ADVrider but they are all going back a bit. It's not important as I'm only thinking of it for the probably-far-off future.
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