Author Topic: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)  (Read 19231 times)

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Offline Juvecu

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Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« on: October 13, 2014, 17:25:54 »
I'll be doing the report in instalments as there's a lot to write about :) 

Preparations:

We'd originally planned to have this trip in 2013, but due to various circumstances we decided to delay it to 2014.  We started off with about 7 people and this eventually whittled down to only 2, myself and Locky. The other people all had genuine reasons for not being able to make it, but it was still a bit of a disappointment that they couldn't and we know it was even more so for them.

You could say we'd been planning this for 2 years, on and off. We did a good amount of research, this mostly involved reading other people's trip reports and gathering any advice they were giving. The Morocco Overland website and book (Chris Scott) as well as numerous online writings by Tim Cullis were our most valuable resources. Buy the Morocco Overland book if you want to go riding in Morocco (on or off road), it is an invaluable resource that has played a big part in making our trip go as smoothly as it did. We made a list of points of interest that we might want to see/do, the plan that this will dictate the route we take. We decided that a big part of the trip would be riding off road on piste and, as originally planned, that the trip would be done on V-Stroms. This was because we all knew each other and met each other through the V-Strom.co.uk forums. We'd catch a ferry over to Spain, ride down through Spain, take another ferry to Morocco and do the reverse on the way back while taking a different route up through Spain, just to mix it up a bit.

Other than that bit of detail we didn't really plan the daily routes ahead of time. I spent a lot of time mapping routes from the Morocco Overland book for the satnavs and the plan was that we'd pick what to do the night before and "wing it" that way while in Morocco. We decided that we'd stay in hotels as opposed to camping, this would save a lot of weight that the camping equipment would put on the bikes. We didn't want to book any hotels ahead as we didn't like the idea of having to be at specific places at specific times on specific days. Instead we got a list of hotels and fuel stations from the Morocco Overland web site for putting on the satnav and, along with a few other researched places, this is where we'd stay. The idea was to show up and see if they have a room for us, if not then we'd try the next one or ask them for a recommendation. In hindsight, this plan worked really well for us and I'd do it this way again, perhaps I'd just try to expand the list a bit to get more options in areas where the options are limited.

We knew well that the Stroms would be heavy bikes off road and decided that we need to take off road biased tyres to help us out on the rough stuff. I opted for TKC-80 tyres, a reliable favourite with many, and Locky decided to go with Mitas E10 tyres. The Mitas tyres have been around for a while and making a good name for themselves. The E10 tyres look very similar to the TKC-80 tyres and are a few quid cheaper. This would be a good comparison trip for the tyres.

We thought we'd packed pretty light considering that we'd be away 2 weeks and that we were carrying tools, tyre plugging kits, a 12v pump, spare tubes, spare levers, tyres, fuses, tow straps, a funnel fuel filter, an oil filter, spare foot pegs and various other spare bits along with our own oil.

Both our bikes, loaded and ready to go:


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Offline bigpie

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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2014, 18:27:04 »
I've been looking forward to the write up since I first saw mention of the trip. You said tubes, does that mean you are running the bikes with tubes in the tyres? Did you diy to change tyres when you got there? Was you able to seat the bead with on the tyres? Did the vstrom cope OK with the off road stuff and how rough was it?

Feel free to delete if my questions ruin your write up? Hope you took plenty of pictures and videos.

Offline Juvecu

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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2014, 18:55:10 »
We ran the tyres tubeless, but we took tubes for the front and rear in case we damaged/punctured a tyre badly enough so that we couldn't repair it with a tyre plugger kit. We also took 2 spoon type tyre levers and 2 sets of plastic rim protectors. Other than the side stand trick, which some claim doesn't work, we had no clue how we'd break the bead in an emergency, but we figured that we're good enough at improvising to come up with something. In hindsight, we could've only taken a single front tube as it would do the rear in a pinch, but we were being careful and as we're going to be more people carrying an extra tube wasn't an issue. Only being 2 in the end it still wasn't a problem, but it was unnecessary, in the end we never needed it. I bet if we didn't take tubes we'd probably need some.

The other questions will be answered in future instalments :)
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Offline bigpie

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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2014, 19:38:54 »
Also did you recycle a single pair of undercrackers? I took more than you for a 3 day trip to Wales with the looks of it.

Offline Locky

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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2014, 19:47:49 »
That will also become clear later on in the thread :)

Offline Jacko

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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2014, 20:27:50 »
I'm not sure I'm looking forward to the pant recycling episode. Looking forward to the rest of it though.

Offline StromGeeza

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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2014, 21:07:42 »
Great stuff. But warn me to look away when you get to the pants bit!

Offline Juvecu

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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2014, 21:16:52 »
How come everyone is expecting the worst when it comes to the pants bit? :shrug:
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Offline mr_diver

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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2014, 21:23:13 »
Many of us have met you pair!
That's why.



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Offline MartinW

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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2014, 21:25:56 »
Quote from: "bigpie"
Also did you recycle a single pair of undercrackers?
The answers ....
Locky - Yes
Juvecu - No
Tall, Dark and Handsome (In 1987) - Just tall now !!

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Offline kirky1298

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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2014, 21:33:50 »
Wot, no tents ?
 :eusa-doh:  :eusa-doh:  :eusa-doh:
Looking forward to this report .  :thumb:
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Online Fat Rat

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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2014, 08:54:20 »
Quote from: "mr_diver"
Many of us have met you pair!
That's why.

Yes, in fact Cymarc now has a special bond with you Juv since that silk underwear moment  :shock:

Anyway.... More write up please...  :eusa-doh:  :eusa-doh:
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Offline JRS81

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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2014, 09:04:35 »
Excellent - I've been looking forward to this write up! Don't keep us all waiting too long for part 2 though!

Offline Juvecu

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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2014, 16:46:04 »
Day 1, Saturday 27 September:

Our ferry was leaving from Portsmouth at 08:15 and we had to be there at least 45 minutes before. We both had to leave home quite early to get to the ferry on time. The 27th was my wedding anniversary so I spent some time with the good lady on the evening of the 26th which meant I got to sleep very late, Saturday morning really. Neither Locky nor myself could sleep much the night before, I kept waking up and checking the time to make sure I haven't overslept, we each slept around 3-4 hours in total. We'd arranged to meet at Chieveley Services where the M4 crosses the A34. Locky had trouble, part of his route on the M5 was closed so he had to take a detour, but we still ended up being ahead of schedule. I had no trouble, my route was all clear with no traffic at all as it was very early.

I took a blurry picture of us at the services:


We arrived at the port in good time after the satnav took us on an unconventional route that turned out to be quite nice. The weather was good and the day was brightening up with the shipping forecast looking decent. We would soon be on the Etretat of Brittany Ferries heading for Santander, Spain, but it didn't yet feel like we're at the start of an adventure.

Here we are in the queue at the ferry, waiting to get past customs:


Leaving port:


Dave the Rat making himself comfortable in our cabin for the ferry journey:


Locky bought us some coffee and we settled in for the journey with a breakfast that's a bit of a tradition in my family, buttermilk rusks and biltong, not even bacon beats that!


Not long after and we had some trouble with Dave getting seasick:


Having a pint before bed, me staring out the window at the horizon, it works well, makes the movement of the boat feel less:


We went to bed early, 9pm, and we slept well. The motion of the ocean is like being rocked to sleep, but the thunderous noise of Locky's snoring requires some good earplugs. It was nice knowing that we'd be arriving in Spain when we wake up.
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Offline MartinW

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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2014, 19:50:49 »
Quote from: "Juvecu"
Locky bought us some coffee.
He's good at that.  :)

Looking forward to the rest of the write-up, keep it coming.
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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2014, 20:08:41 »
He can snore, I'm surprised nobody abandoned ship.
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Offline milz

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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2014, 20:40:49 »
I've been waiting for this for some time good to hear your both home safe keep the posts and pics coming. :auto-dirtbike:

Offline StromGeeza

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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2014, 21:07:02 »
Beer and biltong- no wonder Dave felt queasy!

Offline zimcruza

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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2014, 23:10:45 »
Nothing wrong with beer n billies - even for breakfast. A plane will have gone past somewhere ...

Offline Juvecu

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Re: Locky & Juv's Morocco Trip (Sep/Oct 2014)
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2014, 18:36:10 »
Day 2, Sunday 28 September:

The reality that we were away from home now started to set in. The weather was definitely warmer than it was in the UK and we were looking forward to getting on the road towards Morocco. Had some breakfast on the ferry, myself opting for a full English and Locky going continental. It takes very long to get into port, the boat goes quite slow to get in.

Approaching port at Santander, half dressed for riding and standing outside so that we don't get to warm in the riding gear:


I opted to wear my normal MX riding gear all the way and took a light summer textile riding jacket (without armour) and a two piece rain oversuit additionally. I took short and long technical base layers as well as long merino wool base layers. Next time I will only take two sets of short base layers, rinsing whichever set I wore that day when we get to the hotel for the evening. I had some fairly cheap textile Wulfsport MX trousers for abrasion resistance on the legs and wore some Knox Flex Lite knee protectors. My Alpinestars Tech 3 off road boots completed my leg protection. I was very satisfied with this particular set up and will use it in the future. For the body protection I used a SuperShield armour suit (got it from GetGeared), it gives good, close fitting armour protection for your whole spine, your chest, elbows shoulders and some for the ribs. It also has an integrated kidney belt which helps a lot with keeping good posture and lessening riding fatigue. It's fairly well vented so it works in the heat too. I took two helmets, my normal X-Lite X-551 for the trek both ways through Spain and a HJC AC-MX off road helmet with Oakley goggles for the riding in Morocco. I took tinted and clear lenses for the goggles, they are easy enough to change over. In hindsight, I'd probably only take the MX helmet, goggles and lenses next time I go, but will make sure to have duct tape along. If it rains heavily the duct tape will get used to tape the always-open vents on the helmet closed and perhaps tape the openings between the googles and the helmet up to stop too much rain getting in. I ended up using the textile summer jacket only on the motorway slogs and wearing the rain oversuit as needed to keep the wind off me so I don't get cold. The rest of the time, mostly in Morocco, I wore a thin MX jersey over the armour suit. This worked well, you could stay cool enough not to dehydrate at a rapid pace. I was happy with this particular setup and felt I planned it well, I will use the same riding gear in the future. I might get better quality textile trousers and an even better armour suit for future use, but what I had would also be fine again.

Locky was posh with his Gore Tex Klim suit full of vents, but perfectly waterproof if he wanted to be. He used this on the motorway slogs and I must say it really does seem like the Klim stuff is worth the money. He wore Forma Adventure boots, the waterproof version. On the ferry to Spain I noticed a screw on the cabin floor from his boots. He put it back in and made sure everything else was tightened up (nothing else loose though) and didn't have any trouble with them after that. Locky only took one helmet, a Spada Intrepid dual sport helmet, and a set of goggles. He used the goggles for only a short while when we first went off road and declared the set up too hot. I think there isn't enough space between the goggles and he helmet view port to let air in to keep things great (I've had the same issue with goggles in my X-551 before.) The rest of the time he was using some yellow cycling glasses I took along instead of his goggles. They don't keep the dust out as well as goggles, but at least they provide some essential eye protection. He also took some Lindstrands MX trousers, better quality than the Wulfsport ones I had, a Knox Urbane armour shirt with the optional chest protector and a couple of thin MX jerseys. Locky also wore the same knee protectors that I had. The MX stuff he wore mostly in Morocco where the weather was very warm with only the occasional reprieve when going over mountains and on high altitude roads.

Once we got off the ferry in Santander we found a fuel station and then set off south. We planned to ride down and skirt past Madrid then see how far we get south and find a place to sleep. The first part of the ride was good fun, over mountains with really nice passes to ride and making good progress as we were going faster than the satnav thought we could. Riding on the other side of road always takes a while to get used to again, but once you can remember to look left at junctions and roundabouts you're soon fine. After a few hours the roads quickly changed to motorway type riding with only the occasional bit of fun going over a mountainous area. This was the slog down, at first seeing a lorry you'd need to overtake in the distance makes things a bit more interesting, but soon even that fades. Riding like this is soul destroying boring, but it was a necessary evil we had to put up with. Neither of us were used to riding this kind of distance on the Stroms any more and we had to do all kinds of things to keep our arses from going numb and our legs stretched. I was falling asleep and even singing or shouting in my helmet didn't make the slightest difference. At least we were on road tyres (both on Anakee 2) so the going was smoother than if we'd decided to change our tyres ahead. Another small mercy on this slog day was that the weather was relatively mild most of the way. We eventually stopped, late afternoon, to decide where we're going to sleep.

Here's Locky having a leg stretch:


And here I am looking at the satnav to find a good place to sleep for the night:


We slept at Santa-Cruz Motel-Restaurante at kilometre 217 on the autovia (motorway) going from Madrid to Andalucia. Dinner was tasty and the beds were nice and solid, otherwise it was basic, clean enough and well priced.
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