Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Honda C90...Bulletproof? My arse

...please excuse punctuation...another dodgy foreign keyboard...pictures coming soon...


For the first time in the history of this blog...the voice of  Kev...

"I was going slow uphill so Scott could keep up and too fast downhill so Scott could not keep up ...NOT...
but then I realized that the petrol gauge was going down quicker than I was moving. I looked down and noticed petrol leaking down my leg and over the spark plug:.
I pulled over; had a fag; tightened up the screws on the carb and realised I left the locktite with the guide book.
Carried on for another 10km. Scott went ahead without me and as he had no mirrors he did not notice me on the side of the motorway.
I took a detour to a national park as I was bored with the motorway* and waited for Scott. Ended up in the town of Palace y Villafranca at the same hotel where Scott had been waiting for me. Stroke of luck.

From the hand of Scott again...

Now I will have to finish the story.


*Scott: What Kev means is; he got lost. I can tell you this now, as he has had to shoot off rather quickly to the hotel toilet.
If only he went that fast on his C90.

Whilst waiting for Kev; riding slowly; I had been pulled over by the fuzz. Heres what happened to me;

They pulled me over and wanted to fine me countless Euros as I did not have the 2 mandatory mirrors on my scooter that they said was required by law. That was their excuse anyway. They refused to talk or understand english.
I think they were jealous that everyone was looking at my scooter and not looking at them on their "manly" motorbikes.


The 2 cops were giggling in Spanish to each other as they thought of what to write on their "On-the-spot-fine notepad".
I managed to explain in my best Spanglish that my vespa had no mirrors when it was made some 35 years ago.
"Manufacturer no fabricado", I shouted in a spanish accent, whilst pointing to the vespa.
They carefully felt their way around the legshields looking for some kind of bracket but found nothing. I prayed that they did not look under the  handlebars where a bracket could be fitted.
I told them that I had ridden the vespa all the way from the UK through Portugal and Spain on my way to Algerciras, without mirrors.
This made them laugh even more and they had to let me go.
I made a hasty get away and went to the nearest town to wait for Kevin. I arrived in Palace A something or other.....? 
A crazy bus driver kept overtaking me and pointing; grinning like a spanish motorbike cop on laughing gas.
I found out he was another vespa freak and he led me to a cheap hotel where I later met up with Kevin again. He had re-appeared!


After we had some food; I pulled out a 20 euro note to pay; expecting lots of change; the owner took the lot; then he must have felt guilty he had ripped us off and gave us a "free" glass of ? fairy liquid? So nice...
I awoke to find (eventually) Kevin fixing his carb; again. With loctite this time.
We continued towards Algerciras to catch the ferry to Morocco. Kev was listening to drum n bass on his MP3 player then realised it was not drum n bass at all but his engine banging and knocking.
We got split up again in Jerez de la Frontera.
Kev done his David Blaine vanishing act again; literally about 50 metres away, at the bottom of a hill, on a ring road we were on.

Audience member: "Can you pull a rabbit out of your hat"?
Magician: "No but I can pull a hair out of my bum".

Again I waited...and waited...this time I could easliy turn back to find him, which I did but his trick was so good he had completely vanished; even though 2 seconds ago he was right behind me. His close up work was amazing.
After trying the toy walkie talkies for a while and searching high and low I could not find him.
So what did I do? he he he!
I headed off.
Towards the road we agreed to travel on beforehand.

Candid Camera
I went on the main road which we found out Kev was not allowed on as his bike was considered a toy and not fit for fast roads such as these.
I waited at a cafe; where after 1 hour or 2 Kev pulled up with his C90 banging away like a panel beater on amphetamines. He had to take the back roads reserved for gypsies riding donkeys where he says; and I dont believe a word of it; that he saw 'lots of people fixing vespas on the roadside'.
The original plan when we left the hotel that morning was to head straight for Algerciras. As we could not travel on normal roads we had a choice at the crossroads -
Follow the old peasants road towards Algerciras or ...
take a different road that had a couple of towns on it where we could hopefully find a hotel if needed.

Russ Abbott
In true proffessional explorer style we tossed a coin to decide which road to take. We ended up heading towards a great little town by the name of Alcala de los Gazules and decided to stay there the night. It had taken us 2 days to travel about 100km. We asked an extremely helpful local by the name of Juanma )many thanks Juanma for your expert knowledge; your guided tour and friendship) for a cheap hotel.
It would have been nice to stay a little longer here as it was such a nice town but we wanted to catch that elusive ferry.
I pursuaded Kev that he should at least limp the final 60km to Algerciras so we could get on the ferry and actually make it to Morocco to prove everyone wrong.
Well; thats what we did. It took a couple of hours to travel those last few kilometres but we made it onto the ferry and arrived in Ceuta at around 2pm.
Ceuta is actually a tax free Spanish province, )ah ha ive found the commar key) so it was another 3 or 4 km to the actual Moroccan border and a further 100km to our planned destination of Chefchouean in the Rif mountains.

At the actual border we could tell straight away that we were no longer in europe and in a different continent. It had the similar hustle and bustle of some of the asian countries we have both visited before in previous lives.
Mayhem. Languages we did not understand. Not having enough time to read the guide book we managed to buy earler we did not really know what the crack was to get through the border without getting ripped off, which was not so good.
Empty forms to fill in were shoved in our faces.
"Park the bikes here",
"No, move them here",
"No move them there".

Helpful hustlers

Guys clutching documents, telling us we needed to fill them in, then insisting that they fill them in for us. Of course they were going to ask for a small fee to 'help' us. So me being me, I wanted to do this myself.
Meanwhile Kev had a few guys helping him fill in his details. After getting a laser to the head from the medic )checking for  flu we think) I handed in all the nessacary documents to the official. I had no insurance for Morocco )no green card) and the official threw the papers back at me,
" No Insurance".
Damn. What to do? I was told by my insurers that I would have to buy insurance on the border. After asking a few people at the border I was told that this was no longer possible.
What to do?

Itchy brown eye
Kev in the meantime was at another kiosk doing the same thing )he also had no green card/insurance but the official didnt seem to notice and he had his papers stamped and went straight through.
Of course I then rapidly went to the same kiosk, got my papers stamped and also went straight through. Unfortunatly the guy who helped Kev did not like me (as I filled out the forms myself and did not give him any money).
He called me a, "Bad man".
This little "hustler" also knew I did not have any insurance and threatened to tell the border officials this before I managed to enter Morocco.
"Ok.You win. How much do you want"? I said.
"10 Euros", was the reply.
I retalliated, "10 for that, you must be mad".
We agreed on 5 Euros. I only had a 20 euro note but he politely gave me 15 euros change and  I promptly got on my scooter and was about to ride off quick. The alternative was to leave the scooter at the border with Kev, jump in a taxi with this little hustler )I use the word 'hustler' lightly) and drive 35km to get insurance. No chance.

No chance

Then next, the border official  who was checking that the papers were stamped correctly etc noticed something was wrong with my documents.
All the time Kev had been patiently waiting just 10 metres away in Morocco proper, on his C90 ready to go.
"Where did you get these papers stamped"? asked the border official.
I had to lead him to the booth where I got the papers stamped, fearing the worst.
Would I actually be allowed into Morocco after riding 2500km to get this far?
Would I have to go to the nearest town in a taxi to Tetouan, to get insurance at an extortionate rate?
Will we make it to the town of Chefchouean in time for supper?
Will Kevs C90 go any further?
Will I ever find out where the "open bracket" - )) is on this keyboard?
Tune in next week to find out this and more in the next episode of A Long Lay Down.


  1. Hi there! I'm really glad to see you continue that great adventure of yours. I hope to see you again when you're going back to England. We'll have beers and tapas. Call us, and you won't need to pay for a hostel. Remember to have a good time everyday for those of us who can only envy you! (in a healthy way, of course)I hope to see you back, but not soon...

  2. Hi Juanma. The beers will be on me if/when we reach your lovely town. Thanks again for your generous help.
    Scott and Kev

  3. hey fellas its martin hope you aint been ripped off by those dodgy mechanics did u get ur bearings kev -4'c brum inabizzle martinlmoore@hotmail.co.uk