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Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia



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  #526  
Old 3 Apr 2015
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We stand as if the National Anthem were being played, in an effort to be as tall as possible
to catch the sunrise as soon as possible!



The warm glow of the morning sun envelops us as we hike down to join the tour group

After bragging of where we were and what we saw, we bask in the BusPeople's envy in addition to the warmth of the rising sun. Haha!


See the two empty dromedaries up front? We were hiking back separately from the group so we got to take some great backlit shots


Reflecting on such an amazing experience!


Dromedary Toe.... dammit, Neda!!!

Okay, so I didn't get to make a dumb camel toe joke. You win this time, Neda...

Jokes aside, it was interesting seeing how fleshy and padded their feet are. These are very heavy creatures and the extra surface area stops them from sinking into the sands.
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  #527  
Old 12 Apr 2015
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/215.html



It wasn't cheap staying at the edge of the Sahara. If it were, we probably would have spent much longer there. But after our mini-excursion, we traded in our dromedaries for our two-wheeled steeds and made tracks away from the desert and back into the interior of Morocco.


Without the majestic sand dunes in the background, all the pictures I took seemed very flat

Taking a different way back, we encountered a variety of terrain - some hard packed gravel, grassy plains and sand, of course. I managed to keep my wobbly bike upright through the sandy stretches, not without much sweating and swearing. But when we reached pavement, the score between Neda and I for falls remained tied at 0-0! Phew!


Back on the main road!


Double-tracking back north through Rissani. Riding through the gates from the other side now


We are heading west across the country. Next big city is Ouarzazate.
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  #528  
Old 12 Apr 2015
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Stopped to check out some ruins at the side of the road


Ruins at Tinghir

I don't think these were important buildings. It seemed there were squatters living in the ruins and there was a lot of construction material outside. Still, the colour of the remains looked quite nice against the blue skies of the nice weather we were having!


Donkey Hotay


Riding through desert landscape dotted with palm trees


Our journey across the interior takes us through some tiny towns.
This felt like the real Morocco outside of the large cities and medinas.
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  #529  
Old 12 Apr 2015
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Tajine break along the way

The bus tour people that we took the dromedary tour with the day before also left the same time as we did and since we were all headed in the same direction, we leap-frogged one another throughout the day. These tours have deals to bring their tourists to local businesses and restaurants, so the bus people had to endure sales pitches and overpriced food, while we could stop wherever we wanted to eat where the locals did!

After lunch, we noticed their bus parked outside a gringo/tourist restaurant. Haha!


We took a road north of Tinghir and stopped at a scenic overlook


The patch of green in front of the buildings is the Tinghir Oasis

The oasis itself is quite long, stretching 50 kms parallel to the road that we took. Tinghir is right in the middle of that long stretch of green grasses and palm trees. At the overlook, we met another GS rider, David from Germany. We envied how light his F700GS was packed for this trip, as he was planning to tackle a lot of the off-road pistes that would have been too gnarley for our overloaded mules.


Chatting with a fellow traveler, exchanging stories and tips


Stowaway
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  #530  
Old 12 Apr 2015
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North of Tinghir, there are some smaller towns that we rode through


Neda noticed that there are different styles of clothing and robes in each of the regions we rode through.
Not sure if it was a fashion or religious thing. Here, they all wear white robes draped over one shoulder



Heading into the mountains


Todra (or Todgha) Gorge

A few kms north of Tinghir, the walls of the mountains rise up suddenly and the road winds through the gorge that was probably carved out by a mighty river at one point in history. Today, we ride parallel to a small, stony riverbed that is fed by glacial streams, which are dry at this time of year.


The gorge extends for several kms and the scenery all around and above us is marvelous!
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  #531  
Old 12 Apr 2015
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We couldn't help but ride as slow as we could to take in how beautiful the orange rocks were. The colours were reminiscent of the hues we saw in Arizona and Utah.


Neda is racing mountain goats running alongside us on the dry riverbed


At the narrowest part of the gorge, vendors have set up stalls to cater to all the tourists that come here


We have to stop for a picture. Too bad not a lot of sunlight gets into this part unless it's directly overhead


Further north, the road deteriorates as not many tourists venture past the narrowest section

There is a piste that connects the Todra Gorge road to Dades Gorge further west, but it was late in the day and the forecast called for rain in a few hours, so we decided to turn back and take the main road to Dades instead.


Trying to find our riad outside of Dades Valley

It felt great to be back on the bikes and doing more exploring while the weather was good. We've got to decide if we're going to wait the rains out for the next couple of days or just bite the bullet and forge on in the wet...
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  #532  
Old 14 Apr 2015
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Great pics from the desert! They're some of my favorites from your whole trip.
And as always, I'm chuckling away at your humour.
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  #533  
Old 23 Apr 2015
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/216.html



Dades Gorge is the twin sister to Todra Gorge that we visited yesterday. Located just an hour away, we stayed overnight at the nearby town of Boumalne to wait out the overnight showers. Unfortunately, the forecast called for more rain today so our rainsuits were on standby.


Regular maintenance at our riad

Neda's front tire is suffering from an annoying slow leak, about 1 psi every couple of days, which means we've got to make sure it's inflated on a regular basis. Now her seat lets water in and her tires let air out! Not major issues, but added to the list of all of our gear falling apart, it's really starting to weigh heavily on our mood.


On our way to Dades Gorge


Picturesque villages line the valley along the way


Ruins of an old kasbah
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  #534  
Old 23 Apr 2015
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They call the route through the Dades Valley the "Road of a Thousand Kasbahs". These old fortresses were built by the indigenous Berbers to protect themselves from invaders.


Neda's GS photobombs the landscape


Neda is attacking the twisty roads con gusto... er, avec plaisir!


Famous shot of the Dades Gorge switchbacks

It's a cloudy day, but the rain seems to have held back as we rode up and down the road that winds through the Dades Gorge. This is the best motorcycle road we've been on in Morocco thus far and we are savoring the good tarmac and the curvy roads surrounded by amazing scenery!


Stopping to admire the sights


Cool rock formations up in the distance
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  #535  
Old 23 Apr 2015
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More Dades Gorge


Riding through the narrowest section of the gorge


A boy and his bike


We ducked into a restaurant to eat some yummy Moroccan dishes for lunch

While we ate, the skies opened up something fierce. Looks like the rains had found us again. Gahh, I really, really hate putting on the sausage suits again. My new motorcycle jacket has a thick collar and all the layers bunched around my neck: sweater, Gerbings, jacket and rainsuit feels like it's tight enough to cut off air and circulation.

All the stuff we're replacing our broken-down gear with is just not as good as when we first started off on our trip. I miss online shopping.

*whine* *whine* *whine*


Rain lets up but the skies are still threatening as we get closer to Ouarzazate
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  #536  
Old 23 Apr 2015
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We're spending a couple of days in Ouarzazate to catch our breath. We're a bit hesitant about hitting another city again, given our bad experiences in Fes and Meknes, but this time we've opted to stay far away from the medina.

Ouarzazate is known as the gateway to the desert... if you're coming from the west. I think it's an interesting place because they filmed scenes from the Game of Thrones here. It was the location for the city of Yunkai. Cool!


Parking outside the hotel

For once, we don't have to pay for parking since the bikes are right outside the reception area and we are assured that everything should be secure. The next day, our bikes are still there but someone has swiped my security cable that was strapped down to the back seat. They stole a locked security cable. Without the key. Why would someone do that? What good would that do anyone?!?

Now I have to buy a new cable lock. So annoying.


Pick up soccer games spring up wherever there's an open space

Our plan to stay away from the medinas is working out well. All we want to be is anonymous and just observe the people going about their day-to-day lives without being harassed, and it seems the best place to do this is not be where the tourists go. We found out that there is a market every Sunday just around the corner that only the locals go to, which seemed like a good place to hang out for the morning.


The market gets busy, as people arrive by foot, motorcycle, bus


Lots of food, clothing and miscellaneous items for sale here


Tajine pots
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  #537  
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The market was chaotic, far less organized and manicured as the souks in the medinas of the big cities. Vendors set up their shop wherever they could find room and we strolled between large tents selling furniture and blankets thrown down in the sand with trinkets and baubles strewn over top.

This is where people who actually lived here shopped and I liked the authenticity. And also not being hustled at every turn...


Chick peas and assorted beans for sale


Anyone selling a spare motorcycle security cable?


Need to pick up some new silverware?


Looking for a bargain


Buckets of olives
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  #538  
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Fruit stand


Smug as a bug in front of rugs

It was a very good decision to stay away from the tourist spots in town. We had a very good experience just hanging out with the locals. Not sure this is going to last where we're headed next, though...
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  #539  
Old 29 Apr 2015
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/217.html



It's with a mix of curiousity and dread that we're heading into Marrakesh with.

We've heard so much of this mysterious and mystical city through books and songs, as well as from other travelers and we're eager to see what all the fuss is about. But having endured the touts of Morocco's other large cities, we were also expecting the worst in the country's largest tourist capital.


The Gene amongst tajine pots

But first, we have to cross the Atlas mountains again. We made the crossing last in the east, near the desert, and it was through the range called the Middle Atlas. This time, we're going up and over the High Atlas mountain range towards the Marrakech Plains.


You can see the snow-capped Atlas Mountains in the distance


Mountains are getting closer as we climb higher


The twisty road that we're on is called the Tizi n'Tichka. Tizi means "pass" in Berber
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  #540  
Old 29 Apr 2015
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The temperature drops to below freezing (-1C!) and the visibility gets worse as we ride up into the clouds. We're over 2200m above sea-level at the top of the pass and the moisture from the clouds and the freezing temperatures force us to pull over and put on our rainsuits.


Brrr!


Just like in the Middle Atlas Mountains, we find all the dogs that were exiled out of the cities by the cats

Neda feels sorry for them and rummages through her pantry (top case) to find some food for them. She generously gives up her last few scoops of peanut butter to these sorry canines, but they don't seem to know what to make of it. Even after suspiciously sniffing the open jar, they don't go for it. Neda has to spoon some out with a twig before one of the braver dogs approaches for a taste-test. Dumb dogs. No wonder the cats managed to kick you out of the cities!


Aren't dogs supposed to *love* peanut butter?


This guy knew what was good and made off with the jar!


With our rainsuits on and one jar of peanut butter lighter, we made our way back down the pass.
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