The road to Fes

A little detour to Fez
From Nador I went over the N15 to Guercif. A good 120km which were easy to drive without any traffic. Klaus, Gérard and Kerstin, whom I met on the ferry before, joined me shortly after Nador, so we were in a 4 motorcycle convoy.

Every now and then there was a jeep of the rally de gazelles, old overloaded trucks and sheep. But unfortunately also aggressive, motorcycle chasing dogs. On the right hand of the road is aflock of sheep, Gérard brakes, Klaus too, they both look right at the sheep – and from the left from the desert a barking dog races toward them. Gérard was too far forward, I too far back, so Klaus is the target of it’s attack.

At only 35 km/h the dog throws himself under the front wheel, Klaus can hold the machine upright with a lot of luck and a using the right foot to stabilize the machine. The dog is gone after he ran away to die in the desert, we assume …. Klaus has a swollen right foot for the next week, this could have ended much worse.

In Guercif we take a deserved coffee and tea break – the mint tea with biscuits is really delicious. Then we separate our ways until Saturday, where we are going to meet again at the Saharacamp. The 3 of them drive east and then the Algerian border to the south south, I take the N6 west towards Taza.

In Taza I need to buy gas, one euro per liter. Going further south, I hear the mountains calling me. My navigation system thinks that this detour will take me another hour, so I go for it.

My navigation system from Garmin was wrong, so wrong. The detour over the R504 and the R507 was  263 km long, although it saved me a good 70km of the straight route using the N6.  But it took almost 6 hours of riding time with no stops. Because I went from 250 meters altitude up to to 2200 meters …

According to my navigation system, it was  8261m up and 8471m down. The temperatures went from 16 degrees and sunshine to 2 degrees and rain. Snowmasses at the edge of the road. Calling it a street is very, very optimistic. The worst part was the good 3km on the summit. Red clay, wet red clay. Probably the worst surface I ever had to ride.

The tyres I got for this trip, TKC70, have saved my ass up ther. We discussed beforehand that most gravel roads in Morocco can be driven with the Tourance Next or a normal road tyre. That is true. But I would never have been able to get over those 3km with a normal tyre. And believe me, one drop of the bike on that surface and I would not have been able to lift the bike up again.

At about 7:30 pm I arrived in Fez. At the location, where according to Booking.com the riad  I booked should be, is nothing …..

It rains cats and dogs, and I search in the dark for a hotel …. I call the hotel, and the location given by booking.com is just wrong , the hotel is 2.5km in a different direction. After arriving there, a young local helps me find the garage, and leads me to Riad Myra. Since this is in the middle of the medina, if only 100 meters away from the garage, I would not have found this in the dark and the rain without his helpr. The riad itself I highly recommend, very nice place.

I spend over  10 hours on the bike this day, I drove from  extreme heat in the desert to snow on the mountain peaks, for on stretch of 270km I did not see a gas station, sat over 6 hours at a time on the bike and will always remember this as one of the greatest days on the bike I ever had.

I have learned, that my Zumo  is very unreliable with the choosen map here in Morocco in the mountains. The projected end time was 15:40 (good), then she jumped to 19:50, then to 18:15, or 19:10, depending on the curve, until I was again on the main road, the N6.

Simply a fantastic first day – less rain and it would have been perfect. The detour was great, the tour to the Tis’n Tiskine I can highly recommend, but better not ride it end of March.

The time in Fez itself was rainy, but still very nice. The medina is a place where you want to explore and get lost in. Which you will. Visiting this city is definitely worth it.

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