Morocco 2012 - Baggers Story

The female perspective


Friday 13th April

Went via Gayle's mum and dads to see Guys boys, uncle Ralph wound them into a frenzy - then we left for the 1730hrs ferry. Had an excellent meal with Carew and Janey, then on for a couple of beers. Inappropriate photo taken with butt hanging through a photo board.

Then had the delights of Ralph's gentle snuffling (unreal snoring).

Saturday 14th

Gentle day of relaxation on the boat, chip butty and diet coke - the first of many quality meals.

Off the boat at 1800hrs and the start of an epic drive to Algeciras on a non stop driver relay for over 1000kms. Red Bull and Deep Purple gave team Baggers the fortitude to see us through.

Sunday 16th

Arrived at Carlos for Morocco ferry tickets just after dawn, 2hrs early so got our heads down. That lasted 15 minutes before meeting a fellow over lander (from RGS meet). Disaster - Carrefour closed so no beer run, as the pope is the boss and shuts Spain on a Sunday. Drove to the Algeciras port and had the carnage of spanish port arrangements to get through. Arrived at Tangier Med Port after a very choppy crossing.

Moroccan customs officials wouldn't let Evan import the Landy and the KTM, so Landy came in under Woody's name (a decision that will come back to bite us!).

Then drove to Chefchauoan to the campsite, had a really great meal overlooking the square. Walked around the souk and Ralph and Carew bought jellaba's. Wimped out and got a petit taxi back up the hill...

Monday 17th

Up early (as will be the norm for the rest of the trip). Bike off the trailer and the trailer is packed away, on to the huge Roman ruins at Vollublis near Meknes.

Evan and Woody looked on in awe as Ralph dry humped a Roman column. He insisted he was trying climb up it, we believe he wanted more.

Janey misplaced her sunglasses, went back but sadly couldn't find them.

Most importantly went to Marjane supermarket in Meknes and got a couple of slabs of beer. Most expensive beer in the world, but somehow Heineken turns out to taste like golden nectar after a whole day of desert piste driving/riding.

Ralph on the bike pm, had to ride through the snow capped mountains in his summer motorbike suit. Saw monkeys in the forest by the side of the road. Stunning views. On to the cedar forest and a wild camp. Really cold night. Evan reported he was so cold he thought he might die! (he didn't cry though!).

Tuesday 18th

Woody on the bike for the first time, bike developed a misfire. Rode through mountain passes.

Drove down through to Agoudal, where a quick battle appreciation took place and a decision taken to push on through Dades Gorge. Ralph on the bike, rode and drove through some serious mud and snow. Nearly lost the Landy down the slope, Woody shaking like a constipated dog (he didn't cry though!).

Got to the bottom of the piste and met with Matt and Christopher in the campsite. Epic days driving and decided not to ever do Dades again...(chicken! [Evan])

Wednesday 19th

Down to bottom of Dades Gorge, with stop offs for the switch backs and rock formations.

On desert highway to Todra Gorge, rested feet in water. Evan stayed in Tenerhir to get new tyres fitted onto the KTM, which cost the princely sum of £ 8

On to Erfoud. Bought fossils. Stopped in desert to see fossils in situ. On to Erg Chebbi and a stunning wild camp on the east side of the dunes.

Thursday 20th

Erg chebbi piste. Nude bike riding, which actually started as a suggestion to video each other riding without helmets, then Ralph raised the stakes to kit off (he must have done some time in the Marines!)

Woody on bike am, big Woody on bike pm. Epic sand and views. Lunch of the gods, corned beef and tomato sauce sarnies.

Wild camp by soldier post. Had a FUDOO dinner party in the desert tonight. Spilt the port. Lovely friendly wild dogs.

Friday 21st

Zagora, Landy bushes replaced. Had cake and coffee in Zagora restaurant. Split from each other - Woody, Evan and Ralph to Ait Benhaddou and Telouet, arriving after dark (which was interesting for Evan on the KTM, with it's headlight that doesn't actually light anything). Janey and Carew to Skoura. Matt stayed in the desert.

Saturday 22nd

On to Marrakech via the Tizi n Tickna pass. Dug out Landy, did laundry. Ralph and woody went into Marrakech and Ralph shopped. Ate in earth cafe. Woody lost phone (plonker!). Evan stayed behind at the campsite to check over the bike and try to cure the misfire.

The misfire was fixed when the seat was removed and one of the 3 air intake ports was found to be blocked by a connector... Thanks Bristol bodge shop! The loose hand guard was also fixed, you're welcome

On the downside the right front fork was found to be leaking fork oil.

Sunday 23rd

Dropped off Ralph at the airport and waited for Kev and Eddie to come off the flight Ralph was heading out on. Woody was on the bike and the others were in the Landy for the trip back over the Tizi n Tickna to meet up with Carew and Janey on the other side of the pass. Woody, Ev & Kev split from the Wilks team to see if a fix could be found in Ouarzazate for the leaking fork. Spoke to a guy in Ouarzazate who did tours on KTMs but he could not help us, he did point us in the direction of a nearby campsite though.

Monday 24th

Went to see Peter Gray at Wilderness Wheels who was very helpful. Fork weeping not fixed but got some oil to top it up with. Headed out onto MA6 route, Kev on the bike for the first time. Stunning views over the Issil plain ascending up the piste, stopped at well to try the water.

Very rocky descent down an awesome mountain pass. Evan was well ahead on the bike and managed to get stuck coming out a very rocky river bed, ended up having to manhaul it out on his own (he didn't cry though!). Stopped in oued for wild camp. Nobody around, real wilderness. Amazing night sky. Oued had flying bugs. Woody walked up out of oued to get view and away from bugs, which followed him (time for a shower perhaps).

Tuesday 25th

Woke up to amazing desert dawn. Woody on bike this morning. Had puncture on front tyre of KTM, then stood around giving orders as the support elves got to work.

Drove rest of MA6. Drove to Tata and had chips for lunch. Got punctured inner tube fixed for 80p and bought a petrol jerry can (the fun never stops on this trip!).

Met up with Matt and Carew. Drove on to MA3. Did bottom half of route, Woody (on the bike) nearly crashed into the only other UK overlanders yet seen. One of whom turned out to be the guy who runs the UK GSer forum. 'GS friends!'

Saw a big black scorpion.

Wild camp in bottom of oued where Kev and Evan scrubbed up and did some serious surgery on the KTM fork. Topped up oil and twisted fork stantion to hopefully clean any crap out the seals. It worked no more leaks. Celebration beers all round!

Wednesday 26th

Split from Matt and Carew as they wanted photos of the village. Kev on Bike. Missed turning in valley into the narrow part of the gorge route.

Stopped for coke to wait for the rest who were in fact in front of us. Met up at taftrout at campsite. Kev (now driving Baggers) ran campsite owner over who had an epic humour failure. Left the campsite en masse. Wild camped out of town, large fire.

Thursday 27th

Carew and Janey left to pick up Mikey from Agadir. Baggers, the KTM and Team Toyota did MA1, through awesome palmeries. Woody on motorbike. Very rocky piste, mental out of control quad bikes passed going the other way. On to Ickt campsite for beers. Hottest day of the trip so far (46). Admin afternoon, laundry and showers. Best meal of the trip, fresh chips with marks and sparks curry, FOOD OF THE GODS!

Friday 28th.

Met at junction. Kev on bike, photos on desert highway. On MW3. Mostly paved. Team photo and drive over shots. Snickers sandwiches introduced to the team by woody.

On to piste, Kev on bike. Video of Kev running alongside the road, Evan took over riding bike on road, long journey to MO1. Evan soft sand epic including dropping bike (twice, didn't cry though), Woody took over for descent to beach. Landy twitchy moment, resulting in Evan's best swearing. Lots of soft sand.

Campsite on beach.

Saturday 29th.

20km Beach run down MO1. Woody on bike, then Evan (get in the water ya fann..tastic rider). Rode through estuary, then stuck getting up hill. Back to beach for videos. Piste to road, along road to fort. Chips and cheesy chilli, no2 in the food chart.

Sunday 30th

Tan Tan. Kev off-road feche feche video on the way back to main road.

Broken front damper on Landy, bike back on the trailer for 8 hour drive to Essouaira (inlcuding a 20 euro speeding 'fine'/backhander). Stayed in Ibis hotel. Ate in hotel.

Monday 1st

Essouaira. Patisserie for breakfast. Lunch in the earth cafe. Bought wood for woody mum. Bought boxes. Met up with Carew for evening meal overlooking fortifications.

Tuesday 2nd

Drove to Marrakech. Admin in campsite. Ginger sun bathing. Spent hours wandering through the Scooby Doo Souk looking for a lamp shade for Woody Llewelyn-Bowen, then on to supper overlooking the djemma el fna.

Wednesday 3rd

Dropped Woody and Kev at airport. Woody not allowed to leave country as vehicle booked in under his name. Contacted Evan (en route north), who turned around and picked Woody up back at the campsite. Marathon run north to tangier med port, Evan driving while Woody books flights out of Malaga. No problems leaving Morocco on the last ferry of the day at 22:00ish

Thursday 4th

Off ferry in Spain and cleared customs by around 02:30, started drive along motorway to Malaga but decided we were both beyond tired so off onto a side road, found a sort of layby then dossed on the ground beside the wagon for a few hours.

Surfaced around 8ish then back on the road to Malaga airport. Dropped Woody then it was solo for Evan all the way north to Bilbao.

Biblical rain leaving Seville then met up with Shackleton and Team Toyota a couple of hundred k's north at the campsite for the night.

Friday 5th

Left campsite at a reasonably comfortable hour then back on the great Spainsh roads north to the Salamanca camp site for tonight.

Saturday 6th

Another easy start, back on the motorway north heading for Santander, then along the coast to Bilbao to join the queue for the ferry.