To the south of Spain
One and a half days of long distance riding through all kinds of wheather took me from Brussels to Tarifa. I did plan to do it in one go but after 1850 km, I had to stop at 22.30 in the evening due to the cold somewhere 80 kms before Madrid. Trucks were throwing salt on the roads and I only wore my rallye2 suit, fleece jacket and summer gloves. The Hotel where I stopped was a bit lousy but It was fine for one night. The next day in the mountains somewhere south of Madrid, the wet roads were very slippery and a car in front of me just slid away like that and ended up in the crashbarrier. It made me realize that I had to be extremely careful if I wanted to make it to Morocco. Finally round 4 o’clock in the afternoon, I met Paul and Mark at the hotel Meson de Sancho in Madrid and the mood was great.
They did the trip from the UK in 3,5 days so they were a bit fresher than I was. The combination of the fatigue and Paul carrying a huge amount of luggage (I guess he carried three times the my volume) made me laugh so hard and in a totally uncontrolled way. I had the impression we were pretty much on the same wavelength. The KTM’ers decided to change their tyres and honestly, I was too fucking tired to even think about starting the job on my bike. Especially since Mark warned me these tubeless tyres were a real PITA to take off the BMW rim (which isn’t really the case as I found out later). We had dinner, I fell asleep in my bath and it all felt right.
The next morning we got up early to learn Paul wasn’t on the trip anymore. Bullocks. A family problem forced him to go back so it was me and Mark alone from now on. After having changed tyres at Quick Fit in Gibraltar, we had our final breakfast together and he headed back. I felt so sorry for him.
We got tickets at the harbour in Algeciras, hopped on the boat and 30 minutes later we got off in Ceuta. It all went very smoothly, until Mark had to patch his first flat tube. He had probably pinched the tubes with a tyre lever. In Ceuta all the shops were closed due to some special holiday in Spain so we decided to look out for some more tubes in Morocco.
At the border crossing, we paid 100 dhs to a local to sort the papers quickly. I don’t know if that helped a lot but after 45 minutes we were through. People had warned me for the border crossing but to be honest, it wasn’t much of a hassle. Pretty efficient to African standards if you ask me.
The weather was fantastic although we heard that it rained a lot over the Atlas mountains. We decided to ride until Fes and then go East to Guercif and then down to the south as quickly as possible. We found tubes at a reasonable price in Tetouan and headed further to Chefchouaen along the Western side of the Rif mountains. The roads were pretty quick and of good quality. The TKCs were so sticky and I continuously scraped my boots in the bends. It was a lovely ride and at around 7 PM we booked into a nice and cheap hotel just outside of Chefchouaen. Bikes were parked in front of the hotel and attached to each other. The north is still pretty risky for theft and you wouldn’t want to lose your bike on the first day.
Chefchouaen itself was a nice town. People were friendly and it is pretty much tourist oriented. Not really what we were after on this trip but it could have been worse. The only downside was that about every we crossed in the street offereds us hashish. Nice to know you can freely buy that stuff here but there was really no need to get it offered all the time. I bought a tiny piece off a friendly guy because the idea of smoking a spliff in the Sahara sounded nice.