How do I describe Morocco and my recent journey across a small part of the country? It is a land of such contrasts; beautiful, almost delicate, sand dunes which are unbelievably hostile; charging along the floor of a plain and yet crawling ant-like across an epic landscape; friendly and welcoming locals whose way of life is utterly alien to me. The journey was equally full of paradoxes; it proved invigorating and inspiring mentally but at times left me physically shattered, almost numb. It felt like we were battling across this most forbidding place, and then would fall through the door of a hotel to be waited on hand and foot. Hardship and luxury, as Sven would say.
This personal adventure (some would say mid-life crisis) was an organised off-road motorbike tour which started in Ouarazazate and followed a wide circle, taking in the southern edge of the Atlas mountains, the Todra Gorge, Erg Chebbi (the highest dunes in Morocco), down to Zagora and finally up through the Draa valley and back to Ouarazazate. Myself and five others formed the group which was led by the legend Patsy Quick and organised by Motoaventures. Having previously only read about Patsy’s exploits on the Dakar Rally, it is hard not to be somewhat in awe of her, but she was, of course, down-to-earth, friendly and a very good teacher. A good friend, Rob, had come along on the trip and we met Jago, an IT bod from London, Sven, another IT bod from Sweden, Donna, a scientist from Hertfordshire and for a few days we were also joined by Mel who writes for Trial Bike Magazine. This seemed like an unlikely group to be playing on motorbikes in a far off land, but everyone got along well and certainly did not epitomise the biker yob.
Donna, Rob, Jago, Jez & Sven
Out of shot are Patsy & Mel (therefore making six and a half)
Anyway, this is my diary of that trip.
I hope that you enjoy it and it tempts you to fulfil one of your dreams.