Friday March 11th ~ Tafraout to Tan Tan
Reading my handwritten notes I can almost just copy them down here. An unusually literate moment for me!
Though in hindsight i wonder is it that as the trip gets in some ways at least tougher – so do i function better as a result?
I mean that to survive, enjoy and get the best out of something like this, you really do need to get your sh*t together (man!). As in; if you’re not fit to function totally independent of any and all other people and not rely on them for your inner feeling of well being – forget it and go home.
Hmm, I may edit that bit out later…. I mean, it comes over as all a bit deep and meaningless dont it?
(Well, if any bugger would care to comment…. and, yes – that’s a hint to my readers – both of them!)
It’s early and the wind woke me up. The weather was rather loud last night, between wind and rain and sudden interludes of absolute silence. Eerie, but not creepy eerie – just unexpected for this city dwelling tourist.
Having a pee at 2a.m. was a challenge as well.
I had sat and thought this out in the tent before venturing out. Do I bravely step out, take a little walk and hope to aim over the edge of the parking area and risk buggering that up and falling over said edge? No, dont be silly Marc. Alright then – do I leave tent and attempt to find a quiet spot away from other tents and relieve meself? No- I’d probably trip over a tent peg and wake half the camp in the process. This left one option – open the tent, kneel at the opening and pray the wind wasn’t blowing towards me or I really would “get my own back”. This sort of worked, but I cant say it’s recommended.
not only did wind wake me, but hot air too. Dennis and Ian still discussing the ‘disparity’ of sat navs and where we were and where we should’ve been by now. Aw well – where else could you get such cabaret on a Bike trip?!
The smell of Bacon frying for our brekkie butties gets me out of the tent – life cant be too bad if this is the start to my day, and the view as i open the tent is just wonderful. From this height, for mile upon mile, all the way to the hazy horizon, you see the tops of peaks, mist rolling over them and so many colours and shades. I sigh to myself – two reasons – one is that i want to never forget this and two – as my camera is still soaked and not working, I’ll have to remember it!
The camera goes in the car, Ian puts it over a vent and babysits it all day, moving it from time to time. I’m not optimistic and am cursing the thought that I may have to buy another one. But by days end Ians managed to revive it and I’m sorted (phew!).
On the road again
First off- I’ve been asked how are the Bikes coping with the trip? Better than the riders is the best answer! Really – there’s been little hassle in any way with the bikes. Sure, we’ve had problems, but nothing you wouldn’t really expect and to my mind surprisingly little of what you would expect! Hope that makes sense.
So with the buzz of Tiz N Tez still filling our heads we set forth again. In my journal I describe todays roads as;
” 8.30a.m. depart. Downhill to Tafraout. Twisty descent, gradually straighter and flatter as day goes on. Finishing at Tan Tan. Weather; mostly cold and wet. Ended by outrunning the weather front and got into the start of the Sahara. mileage: 238″
We got on the Bikes. We stopped 2 miles later. Tom had come off and slid along the ground. Better than over the edge!
That kind of set the tone for a while. We carried on.
Shortly after this we stop at “The Blue Stones”
an odd tourist attraction. Literally stones painted blue by a Dutch or Belgique artist in the 70’s (?) – now a quirky place for tourists to visit. The Moroccans copped this fact and have repainted them since. Though using a fire tender with paint instead of water hosing them down is not your conventional method to paint anything – it’s a method used at least once since!
Video gives some idea of the “road” which led to much discussion as to whether i could do a “Piste”… more later.
The stones themselves.
Sharp twisties to gradual sweepers, hills descending to flat plains. Where’s the mountians gone?! Answer; we’re on top of them! You only realise this as the hills reappear on the horizon – forward and back, side to side. We’re gradually descending south side of the Atlas range. The land flattens out, the sweepers turn to straights and the weather eases out of cold and rain… slowly.
Open plains now and it’s windy. It’s dull compared to yesterday until you look a bit harder and properly Observe your surroundings. This is the start of the Sahara proper! Land starts to look like the moon, but a fair scattering (only a scattering mind!) of green in parts. Big huge skies and horizon is way way off. Estimate that you can see for 20 (?) miles in any direction.
There’s many Police checks, lots of stops. No problems – only smiles and handshakes and welcomes. Eventually we reach Tan Tan, a hotel and a well earned rest.
Todays mileage: 238