May 06, 2007 GMT
Kif in the Rif

Still heading south to try for the warmth of more Mediterranian climes...First stop Donana for another birding spot and LOTS of sand. Spotted some purple chickens (one for Paul and Jane there), short-toed eagle, glossy ibis (even Imogen thought they were cool) and purple heron (what is it with this colour?!) Typically, we got fantastically lost, ended with a 15km ride through deep sand with Imogen walking, luckily James remembered a groovy tip from Chris Scott about letting air out of the tires and hey! it works - result. Alas, we were discovered by a ranger who reminded us that we were in a national park, small worry that we would have to turn back, through the sand and with the light fading fast...

IMGP1048.JPG


Onto Cadiz where there are no hostels or camping, madess! Again with the light fading, another gorgeous free camping spot on the dunes by the old walls beckoned.

The great thing about travelling and being in random places is the people that say hello, one memorable moment was the Portugese lorry driver carrying several tonnes of oranges, so we gladly accepted his offer of an immense vitamin C and fructose rush.

We headed to the port for the boat to Morocco, slighty nervous at the prospect! We can't quite believe that we were fleeced by a Spanish policeman even before we got onto Moroccan soil officially, pah! The Moroccan officials were scandalised at this behaviour, from an Euro official too (so were we!)

One of our first stops was the fantastically mellow Chaoun, soon to be twinned with Glastonbury I'm sure! We even met the owner of Starchild by our hotel, what a small, small world. The Rif Valley grows mainly one crop, yup, kif (or for you Brits, grass), so drug busts are common, but it did add an air of total chill out vibe to the place!

IMGP1049.JPG


Still heading south to try and find warmth (must head out of the mountains, as the pass yesterday was 1907metres...brrrrr....). Onto Volubilis, a huge Roman city near Meknes so Imogen could get some ruins in.

True to form, we've had our brush with carpet buying and yes, a lovely Bedouin tapis made from camel hair is now (hopefully!) winging its way back to dear old Blighty, must learn to say no.

Had our first brush with the speeding police (!) but when they found out that we weren't with the Spanish 4x4's (who WERE speeding) and Imogens charm offensive in her best GCSE French (thanks Mr Sadler!) were were sent on our way with nothing but smiles and cheery handshakes - phew.

Now attempting the great Erg Chebbi, so we are surrounded by rufty tufty bikers all eager to get going. Apparently one of the local bridges is down from the uber storm yesterday (so were the roads for a while - your intrepid travellers decided on a hotel for the night rather than camping - what wimps!)

Final note to the London and Tonbridge aiki lot that graded - well done, all stars the lot of you, and Paul, you'd better be a 1st kyu by the time we're back!!)

Posted by Imogen Mitchell at 10:48 AM GMT
May 19, 2007 GMT
Beaucoup de gas

Arrived at the great Erg Chebbi, which is as amazing as everyone says. Needless to say, James and his pal Gunter (on a DR400) did the 40km circuit around the dune on piste (and off, when the bike got dropped!)

james at erg chebbi.JPG
We declined the offer of a 5am watching of the sunrise over the dune and opted for the far more civillised 7pm version....
erg chebbi.JPG

We headed on through the most amazing scenery (strata of deep reds and malachite green), via free camping 'comme les berebers' where even in the middle of nowhere, there'll be an audience, watching your strange rituals of trangia stoves and tent-erectage.

Onto the Vallee du Draa, where our little desert campsite had a pool! Alas, the 'melange' of (we now suspect) dirty well water and an untimely lunchstop in the fabulously monikered Agdz, meant that James was laid low with a viral and bacterial infection, which involved a visit to the local doc (only opened 3 weeks earlier!) who, after an ultrasound exam, pronounced 'beaucoup de gas' and prescribed a plethora of antibiotics and an anti-vomiting injection.

400 Dirhams later, we limped on, through the stunning Todra Gorge - best roads and piste yet, hair-raising bends (the sort to give mothers everywhere kittens) and fun water fording, testing James' bike handling skills whilst not feeling tipettytop.

fording the ouad.JPG
(note Imogen not on bike at this point!!)

Onwards through strange little towns, one of which necessitated a stay due to James not feeling on top form, and, in the daylight of the following morning, reminded the intrepid twosome of Mos Eisley spaceport.... those that know will understand!! ("Never has there been a more wretched hive of scum and villany" - a tad harsh, but the local copper, when hearing of our night time destination said "c'est pas sophistique")

Next rendezvous was Beni Mellal, home of trekking guide and friend of aiki pal Paul, Abdoul. A couple of days respite at his auberge in the mountains, with his glorious cook Fatima (check out www.plein-maroc.com), and James was duly summoned to give a demo at the local aikido club, where the Sensei is 4 times Morocco weight-lifting champion and a dan grade in 3 different disciplines.

beni mennal aiki pals.JPG
Note the colour of Sensei James's dogi and Imogen's very cool hakama (result for IM!)

A couple of bike free days then beckoned in Marrakech as the temperature gauge hit the 40 mark... souks, snake charmers and all around the sights and smells of Maroc's most famous Imperial city.

Next stop, the Atlantic coast....

Posted by Imogen Mitchell at 05:23 PM GMT
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events

 

Latvia to Australia, an inspirational 5 month journey full of unexpected adventures!


Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!