Italy Morocco Pyrenees

May 2015

Part 3: Errachidia

We leave Fes behind and here we are riding on R503 heading to Midelt:

The route is pleasantly fast and gives us a chance to picture this bare landscape in the middle of nowhere:

At Thichoukt we stop for a much needed orange juice:

Oranges are a thing in Morocco. Insects too, so I take a chance to picture the ones that unintentionally landed on John's oil cooler:

Close to Ait Karmosse, I make one more stop to picture the area:

On these open and mostly straight roads I am effortlessly speeding around or way into 3 digit km/h when suddenly I see gravel ahead. I think to myself "Oh well...not the first time..." so I keep my pace but when my front tire steps on it I realised it's a fresh deep layer of 3A gravel, the stuff used when they prepare the road for tarmac. It really feels hungry enough to swallow me and my bike. The front end starts shaking like crazy as I am on street tires, full of luggage and 20 lt of fuel with VERY strong wind coming from my right. Fortunately I manage to pull over without further drama and jump off the bike fast enough to warn the rest of the guys (I was leading at this point).

We all stop to decide what to do about it as other guys are not only loaded as me but also riding with their significant half in their back making it even more challenging. We ask the guys working on the road how the route looks like ahead and they say that the nightmare ends after the next 5 kms so we decide to do it since there's no sane alternative routes available around. We meet lots of trucks on the way, gravel, crazy wind, all in all a terrible parenthesis that we fortunately close without serious issues.

However, we make it faster than expected to Midelt so we decide to overnight at Errachidia instead. The route gets more and more exotic as we keep heading South towards Sahara so finally I get a taste of the real Moroccan landscape as the North looked often familiar to me (places like these can be found in Crete for example).

"Vive le Maroc" written at the junction of R503 with N13

The only shade available at Kharrou

"Fleuve de Ziz"

We keep riding by the river crossing the Gorges du Ziz and the exotic images are still plenty:

We finally arrive at Errachidia and as soon as we unpack and get our stuff to our hotel rooms we rush to enjoy some chill times by the pool:

To be honest, I didn't swim at the pool though my body was begging for it. I just didn't trust their water. Coincidence or not, the only guy from the group who decided to dive in it was the only one to experience stomach problems hours later. We were so sorry for him but nothing we could do other than hope the pills he took would make him good enough to be able to ride the next day under conditions that would only get hotter and drier. If not we would have to reschedule out next days.

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