Published: November 30th 2009November 25th 2009
Inside the Bedouin tent in the middle of the sahara, and very nice the camel stew with dates was too.......
Good day today all told, nice breakfast, chilled start to the day and rattled off 250km's, filled up and did another 100km by this time it was getting rather warm and the scenery had definitely moved into the desert/dune territory. Intuition told me to fill up at this little filling station even though 1/3rd full, good job i did because it was another 200Km before fuel, did pass one in the desert but had been shut for a considerable time looking at it.Was getting well into the afternoon and wanted to get to Tan Tan as was recommended an Auberge there, heading into town police check point checked my docs, very friendly and directed me to said hotel. Into town stopped by interior police, checked again the third check point waved me through !!!! got to the Auberge and again it is very nice, put bike in a garage and i immediately headed for the douche.
During the ride down apart from the countryside the people changed, you could almost sense it, when i stopped for fuel I had to tell this guy off near to the bike, it was edgy and some of the towns looked distinctly lawless, despite this
Mauritanian border crossing
The infamous 5km stretch of desert between Morocco and Mauritania, heavily mined to east and West....so don't get lost, easier said than done in a sandstorm covering old tracks.
i still enjoyed it, and the locals at Tan Tan are ok.
Might have been the heat or just the fact i was feeling a bit weird but coming over a very twisty mountain range dropping into the desert i was musing to oneself, it went something like this. As the bike and myself crested each rise and bend purring and then snarling to my command, Skimming over the landscape almost adrift from reality. Each perfectly formed curve reminds me of a voluptuous womens breasts with each apex clipped like kissing a nipple, the warm sun on my neck assumed the feel off the warm inner thigh and every rise and depression the movement of two in harmony,the thrust of acceleration and then the abrupt forcing of the front tire hard into the tarmac as speed was scrubbed ,time and time again until we crest a rise and burst in blur of exultation and euphoria into the desert plains with the crashing Atlantic to my right ,,,,,,,,,about this point i nearly ran off the road !!!! lol
I feel better now knowing that i have a viable alternative in Dakar Senegal rather than going to Timbuctu, it may even
Camping abba Nouadibou
Fully equipped kitchen to help make your stay just like home from home....
be better.......definitely safer, and i have a lot to return too.
The time has gone so quickly, and so has the money how can I make this last a little longer?
Riding along this morning, and there in front of me was a sea of sand, the dunes rising up like great big breakers about to crash down and swallow me up, made me feel really really insignificant.I would almost go as far to say it scared me a little, the vastness, the solitude,the emptyness i stopped turned off the motor and just got off and stood there, to the right the Canarias Sea housing the famous islands, in front of me the Sahara, to my left the Sahara and behind the Sahara, as far as the eye can see, nothing but sand and sea ( bit like Mablethorpe at Easter ).
I did another 400Km with the only thing a fuel station half way.( thank you Allah )
Stopped at a Bedouin campsite some 5km from the highway in the desert, isn't gps great ? http://www.geocities.com/le_roi_bedouin washed my dirty laundry and set myself for a night under the stars, the quietness is deafening, and the heat is all
was bleak and hot, nice to have a companion.
powerful, must be 35oC+ unfortunately they ( all three of them )speak only Arabic and French, going to be a night of charades again i see. Liberally doused myself in anti mosquito stuff i bought in Turkey, boy must be good stuff some must have got onto my lips cause i cant feel them now , just tingle and numb....lol.
I think , and think, too hot to do anything else, tomorrow.....that's another day
Hell its all happened since the last entry, the night at the Bedouin site was remarkable, good food, good wine and the greatest night sky you could wish to see.
Had a very hard ride to Dahkla, the wind was gusting and blowing sand squalls across the road, it was a constant fight.Lots of police checkpoints but all ok. Got to Dahkla and was recommended the Sahara hotel, spent ages trying to find it, and wished i hadn't, what a shit hole. Decided to rough camp but on the way out noticed a very nice new hotel on the plage.Bit on the pricey side but then quality costs.Breakfast was mediocre and so was service. Was about to complain about lack of water due to
Nigel AKA bignose....travelling companion and all round good egg. going onto South Africa for riders for health
the power being off in the morning when she stole my thunder and said no charge, all free......nice. please stay there and tell them i sent you hotel riad calipau sahara www.calipau-sahara.com
Headed south, without much of a plan, today i was ready for the desert and gave it a good fight.Riding along i could feel the sand sticking to my sweat running down the nape of my neck.My arms were sweating so much my coat was sticking to them,my hands burnt from holding onto the grips hour after hour,i was a wreck but kept pushing on. Had a couple of really bad sandstorms to contend with, reducing visibility and covering the road in places.I think all this effort and a bit of daydreaming helped pass the time and before i knew it i was at the border 400km later, Out of Morocco and into Mauritania, all went rather well, amazingly...i blundered and bluffed my way through and even made it through no mans land without a guide ( 4km section between these countries, no road just desert and mined to east and west, as one driver assisting in a Paris Daker support truck found when one blew his leg
Terry the tortoise gets amorous
Found camping abba in the middle of Nouadibou, this is deepest darkest Africa proper, and i dont mind saying worries me slightly. I am very green and not sure what is what yet, i stick out not only cause of my colour but my bike, and i know that they all what a bit of my wealth, its how much they want it that concerns me.
On the site i make acquaintance with big nose from Derbyshire,( blog.bignoseontour.org ) riding an Aprillia Toureg, and we shall accompany each other to Nouakchott, from there it should only be a days ride to Dakar in Senegal.
Tomorrow i need to buy insurance for Mauritania and Senegal, get photocopies for the many checkpoints of passports etc and get some local currency, 400 to the Euro. Had a Chinese meal tonight, me , big nose and a guy with a landy and it cost us 3600 each with two beers, not bad.
Today headed south, across the great Sahara with Nigel AKA bignose, No dramas plenty of police checkpoints but 80% just waved us through with a smile. Got to Nouakchott and found camping Auberge Menata.Will stop here on the
Dinner at the Senegalese border, sheeps head lightly brazed with a few onions
return , very good with good washing facilities. Been out to get some photocopying and then onto a little place for food. The star of the place I have nicknamed Terry,he is an Amorous Tortoise, not your common garden type in England but a bloody great big huge thing normally only found in a zoo.Already had a tug of war with him as he tried to eat the bike cover.
Sorted my Mauritanian return visa, that took most of the day believe it or not, tomorrow is a bank holiday so tomorrow is another day off then we hit Senegal bright and early on Saturday morning.During the day a French couple came in with there bike in the back of a Citroen, it was a Honda Africa twin and had succumbed to the desert in a terminal kind of way, these bikes are known for being unburstable so it just shows how harsh this environment is.
Tonigt me and Nigel went chinese, rob ( another KTM rider that has joined us ) was entwined via the internet with his Chilean beau so missed out on what was a monumental meal, I am not a big eater as many might
A view to wake up too, Senegal style.
testify, but i cleaned every round and felt very fat but very good at the end of the evening.It must be the best i have tasted in a very long time.Just needed a Frappe to round it off.
Hit the road, not literally but it got close on a couple of occasions due to deep sand on the road, headed south to rosso, the most notorious border in Africa (do a search on rosso border crossing if you dont believe me ). From Nouakchott its 170Km to rosso where we filled up with fuel, we got swamped with touts and kids and just generally hassled in 40oC of heat is not what we needed. From there we back tracked up the road 100 meters or so and took a dirt track on our left, this runs along the river and borders the wet lands that you have to cross, it goes on for 96km from gas station to border of ruts , bull dust and generally bad road.Its that bad you don't see much other traffic and as such the border at the other end Diama is much quieter and not so hard to cross.That was the theory,got nearly to the bridge and got pulled by a police check, demanded some money which he didn't get but the park ranger wanted 1000 of there notes, about £3 because we crossed the park, we let him have that. Then the bridge to the crossing ,the barrier was down, guy comes over and wants 10 euro each to lift it, we have a bit of a heated stand off and call in the police, we explain that we are on a humanitarian ride to help Africans, he over rules the guy and we get in, he even wavers the normal police fees !!!! The douane was nice too, charged us for the laissez passez but as that's official we were ok with that, he even fed us goat that had been freshly slaughtered as it was a bank holiday.
Next stop was the zebrabar.....this all three of us was looking forward to, we had heard so much about this place and was a bit of an oasis of calm when we eventually got there, having to repair a puncture on the way....it also sold beer!
We stayed in a circular thatched cottage, and it deserved better than being used by three smelly guys to doss in, the lake was in front and the birdsong in the morning was rather special and not something I thought I would ever hear apart from on the TV. Next stop my destination DAKAR........