Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Day 7 – 228km Monday 09/04/2012 Todra Gorge – Ait Benhaddou – Ouarzazate

Had a crap nights sleep as it was freezing, well about 4C actually, which was probably down to the fact that my campsite was still 1500m above sea-level. In addition, there was the constant noise of donkeys making the most awful racket – I hate to think what was being done to them.

Anyway, have chosen to head West to see the sights and then to gradually make my way back to the North in time for a Thursday ferry back to Tarifa if possible…..

Got to Ouarzazate without incident. Whilst the bike seems to start and ride fine, it does seem very noisy as though the valve clearances are miles out. Hopefully I don’t have a problem with the cylinder-head or timing chain (have valve clearances checked and a new cam-chain tensioner fitted recently) but I have been taking it steady just in case. Could get it looked at here, but hopefully it’s just my imagination so I’ll keep on truckin’ after lunch to see Ait Benhaddou. Speaking of lunch, goes to show how accommodating the locals are. I sat down in a Café and asked for some food. They explained that they don’t serve food as they are a Café but if I like they can rustle me up an omelette. I saw the girl the runs the place quickly nip out to a local shop and 10 mins later I was served a great ham omelette straight from the frying-pan. I enquired about a fork (which they didn’t have being a café) and ate the food with a miniature cake fork. They only charged about €2 including 2l of water and mint-tea (Berber Whiskey). I was feeling generous so left a tip of 50p being the big spender that I am.

Got to Ait Benhaddou, snapped a couple of photos and then struggled to re-start the bike. At this point I realised that the bike problem was serious. The rattle became epic and I lost power in a big way. Figured I had a big valve / head problem so I turned the bike around and limped the 35km back to Ouarzazate. Here I found the local Tourism Office where I asked for help in locating a Dutch guy (Peter) who runs ‘Bikershome’ – I had his number but couldn’t get through. The very helpful staff managed to call him – he was out in the desert himself doing some recon. Eventually he managed to call me back and gave me directions to his place where we took a look at the bike in his garage. I was about to fire the bike up to get it jet-washed when essentially the motor seized and couldn’t be turned-over. I suspect that I’ve dropped a valve so it’s probably not worth faffing about with the bike here as I won’t have the time / parts / cash to get it sorted out here.

Now just discussing how to get the bike back to Tangiers. It’s €1000 for recovery on the back of a pick-up (1000km) so I’m looking to strip the bike and somehow get it and me onto a bus……..

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