We left Marakesh with spirits high and ready to ride the famous atlas mountains. Our destination Was Zagora.
We made our way through the morning traffic and headed out of town on a wonderfull twisting road towards the mountains. We had some breakfast next to the road and stopped various times for coffee as we were freezing. Only 2 weeks after the heat of the Sahara and we were riding in 5′C weather with snow capped mountain tops.
We stopped just outside Ouarzazate and decided that we were going to skip Zagora and head towards the Gorges du Dades. The wind was howling and I didnt want to ride at a 45 degree angle. So we headed up wind and made it to Gorges du Dades. We met some awesome spanish bikes and had a cup of coffee. Lots of bikers passed us and I was suprised as this was the most bikes I have seen in 3 months…
We met 5 bikers from Spain at the top of the pass. Javier, Alberto, Manuel, Jose, Anthonio, Jesus. Javier spoke the best english. He had big silver Ray-Ban’s on and had a huge smile. We had some coffee and took some photos. We agreed to follow them to a hotel in the next gorge and spend the night with them there. Dave and Manual said that they were taking a gravel piste and being after 5pm I said I was going to skip and join the other guys on the ashpalt.
I rode out with our new mates and we headed out of town towards the next were we where supposed to stay. We filled up and Alberto and Javier made some jokes and we set off. I was following the group, riding at the back.
Javier asked me to pass him, I did. He had some problems with the carbs on his Africa Twin and I suppose he thought that he was holding me up which he wasnt. Rode down the road, late afternoon with an icy wind from the front and the huge Atlas mountains to our side. Everybody was happy, I could tell by their body language on the bikes.
We passed an oncoming truck and went around a right hand bend. I checked to see if Javier was behind me as you do when riding in a group, but Javier wasnt coming. I stopped and waited a few seconds and turned around. What followed was a scene of chaos and utter sadness. I was first on the scene as I waited for Jose in the back up Prado to arrive.
Javier had a head on collision with the truck. Javier died on impact.
We left the scene late that night and headed for the first Hotel we could find.
The next morning we went back to the scene and joined the spanish guys to small town called Azrou. We had lunch and had a beer on their lost friend.
We left the guys the next morning as they were on their way to Spain and we headed for Fes. It was a sad goodbye as we joined in their sadness, but also had a good laugh. The boys were trying to keep their spirits up. They were missing their friend.
The road to Fes was cold and miserable. We got a hotel and headed for the old town.
We spent the afternoon in Fes and decided to leave for Rabat the next morning.
We joined the motorway and headed for the capital Rabat. The road was boring but perfect. We found a campsite 15km south of Rabat at Marie Rose and met the crazy Canadian overland trucker Mike.
Dave left yesterday morning and headed for spain. Mike has been feeding me from his well kitted out truck and I have been enjoying some beers at night. Mike has some great stories as he is an Ice Road Trucker and is quite hardcore. He also enjoys a good movie, hence the big screen.
The atlas has been amazing and also very sad. As you can see my blog lacks the normal energy and sarcasm. I just had to get this one over.
I will be blogging again on the 23rd when I leave Africa and head over to spain.
See you in Spain.