Monday, 4 January 2010

Just like that

North and South
So here we are back again and on the road heading south from the Rif mountains in northern Morocco.
It has been a long lay down which means we have become very lazy indeed and have not updated this blog as often as perhaps we should have.Our excuse is the weather. Whether or not we were going to get out of Chefchaouen. Its a nice enough place but after constant rain for what seemed like 40 days and 40 nights we decided enough was enough. Come rain or shine we will leave the next day. We waited for a small pocket of sunshine, put on all our wet weather gear (or should that read 'wet wet weather gear') then headed south.

Apples and Pears
 We made an early start for the road to Fez (approx 200km) and I found out that 8am exists on my watch. I thought I only had 8pm. It would take us most of the day to reach Fez.
 The weather wasn't ideal but it was ok. We started with all of our wet, wet weather gear on, found the pocket of sunshine and got out of town.
I would like to say it was all downhill but alas, no. The bikes were making progress though. The surgery I performed on the Vespa, on the rooftop, seems to have paid off. It sounded totally different but I was not so sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. It sounded like it would go faster, so I decided it could only be a good thing.
Munchy the crunchy (its a girl by the way) was running kind of ok too. Not great but not exceptionally bad.
We have plenty of time for that to happen.
We also found out on the way;
Dogs like to try and eat my side panels but only when I'm riding at 100kmph past the gate/driveway they are guarding.
Munchy the crunchy makes donkeys re-enact the mad MB game 'Buckaroo'.
Riding the same speed as Kev makes me want to go to sleep but I think it must be part of the David Blaine act he performs.
But more importantly we found out that the mechanic in Tetouean was a better magician than Kev and performed various cunning stunts on his engine such as the, "Now you hear the banging, now you dont, now you hear the banging again but its louder" routine. Amazing.

Mines a pony, raise you a monkey
On the way to Fez, whilst stopping to adjust some loose nuts, we were passed by a couple of old Peugeot 205s and a couple of old Land Rovers with english plates, all dressed with rally stickers, roof racks and spot lights.
Thats we needed on our machines! Big stickers with large numbers on, maybe that would make us more reliable and maybe even help us go quicker. They were all 'J' reg and from UK.
We quickly put our screwdrivers away and chased after them. After a few km we caught up with them and we were menacingly close.
Kev took the lead and, wait for it ladies and gentklemen, he overtook a car.
Ok so it was only an old 205 but something more amazing happened.
He overtook the Land Rover too. I was watching from the rear of the convoy of 2 cars and 2 Land Rovers with glee.
"Look at Muchy go", I cried.
The look on the faces of these guys and girls driving their old bangers through Morocco must have been of total amazement.
 They were being overtaken by little old Muchy the crunchy. A Honda C90.
The road was getting straighter so Kev went for the "Right. I'm going to have the lot of you" manoeuvre and proceeded to overtake the remaining 2 rally vehicles in one go. What class!
Munchy was happy munching away the km and those rally drivers were left flabbergasted.
They had just been overtaken by a C90.
I was still watching from behind and laughed out loud at this moment in sheer admiration of Kev and Munchy.
I waited for the rally drivers to recompose themselves and then suprised them by whizzing passed them all (or should that be wheezed passed them)?
One or two of the drivers/passengers waved back but most seemed to want ignore the fact that they had just been overtaken again but this time by a Vespa.
We watched them go past us again when we stopped for coffee but they did not see us as we sheltered from the downpour of rain in a cafe, so I'm guessing they thought we were still in front of them. Ha ha.

It was a nice scenic route which took us straight to Fez before 6pm. Once again whilst riding around the outside of the old medina walls looking for the right entrance, I took a stupid route and this time it took us through the fruit and veg market.
But there was one major difference.
Kev was directly behind me and he followed me in.
There was no vanishing act, no waiting or wondering where Kev was. We made it to the same town at the same time. I believe it was the force of Tommy Cooper.
After quickly haggling down the price of a hotel room and parking  we were in another hotel in another town.
Our first impressions of Fez were not good. The hotel we ended up staying in was not too good. Kev had an ensuite sunken bath in his room. A drunk made us feel welcome by deliberately barging into us when we carrying our bags to the hotel. Well, he more or less bounced off Kev and took revenge on me by attempting to kick me. I was not in the mood for a fight and ignored him.
It was still raining, the food was more expensive than we were used to, the hotel was rubbish and the welcoming commitee was rather rude to say the least.
"I'm leaving at 7 o'clock in the morning and getting the f out of here", were Kevs comments.
I remained quiet as the weather did not look like it was going to get any better.

Dot Cotton
At early o'clock the next morning a bang on the door from Kev woke me up.
"Come on then, lets go", he said.
My reply was a little less friendly. I was ready to change hotels but did not want to be riding in what looked like another storm that was approaching.
I tried to talk him out of it but he was having none of it. He was going. Whatever. So I thought I'd better keep with him and reluctantly tagged along.
BIG mistake.

We rode in what was probably the worst weather I've ridden in during the whole trip so far and I was riding in it against my better judgement which did not put me in a good mood.
After 2 hours of battling with the rain and the wind I almost stopped in one of the few houses I saw dotted along the highway to ask for a bed for the night. I'd had enough. In all my years of riding I've never ever felt this way before no matter how bad the weather.
I was asking myself, "What the f am I riding in this crappy weather for"? I knew the answer which wound me up even more. The answer lay behind me somewhere on a C90. He too was beginning to ask himself the same question.

The road to Marrakech

Sexy Deidre
I stopped at the first hotel I saw. Asked the price of a room. Scooped my jaw from the floor and once again got ready to be beaten up by the weather. I didnt realise hotels could be quite so expensive.
The directions out of town were not that clear and I ended up heading in the wrong direction. After 15 minutes the force turned me back the way I came, back into the town of Ifrane and it was here that I bumped into Kev who had the same problem as I had when trying to decide which road we needed. It was only about another 15km to the next town which had cheaper hotels but we did not even make it that far. After 2 or 3km we stopped at a motel and asked the price there. This was more reasonable, about £30 a night (we were used to paying around £5 a night). Kev, to his credit, offered to pay due to;
a) it was xmas ...and 
b) for being such a dick for making us ride in the worst weather we've had so far. (Sorry Kev)

Kevs genourousity and having the chance to dry our clothes in a nice warm hotel (even the stairs in the corridor were heated - luxury!) made us more cheerful and we left the next day feeling a little more refreshed.

It is here that I will have to leave you all again as food is required. We are off into the Sahara tomorrow for a couple of days after which I promise to update this again.

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