Tic-Toc Maroc: Rest Day My Ass

Erfoud Rest Day | October 22 | Going in Circles

So much for a rest day! That was a friggin workout… and in the end, cost me more than I’d spend on the entire trip so far (for food and fuel).

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With a handful of optional activities planned for the group, hanging around the hotel —although very beautiful— didn’t compare to the plan to ride camel in the Sahara desert or take an ATV ride though the dunes… I mean, you just HAVE to do that sort of thing while you’re here right?!  And not one of us said no, I think everyone even paid to do the ATVs too… but I might be wrong there. We had two groups, fast and beginner, and my ending had me well distracted.

The day started out rather mellow, I think we got an extra 1/2 hour sleep but then it was off to breakfast and a 60 kilo ride South to the edge of the real desert where we park our hogs and climb onto some camels.  Towards the end of the road, and the very southern edge of the country, we ride onto what later I learned was a stand-alone patch of sand dunes, some 400 square kilometers in size, from which we can see into Algeria.  For about 20 USD we rode for nearly 2 hours together in a caravan, making great pictures and memories. And with the collective silence, we actually spoke to each other while riding… sans the SENA bluetooth devices or among the flurry of food and water at the dinner table. Very nice…

Morocco2k-1511Sunshine, super hot and yet not enough wind for any kite flying, it was rest time and lunch on site (another massive Xaluca property btw) and possibly my best meal on the trip so far…I forget what it was (chicken with sour pears?) but it was so good I ate all of it, and then Andreas’ leftovers too (and he’s an eating machine, often eating everyone else’s leftovers)… VERY good food here!

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Back on the bikes, we’ve got an hour to ride and another hour to kill before the sunset ATV tour back at the hotel we’re staying in so I break away fro the group to get some special photos pf the dunes and my motorcycle…. and a little desert crossing of my own, on two wheels. 🙂

In a display of his 4 wheel mastery, Chris Cantle surfs the surprisingly-wet Sahara.

In a display of his 4 wheel mastery, Chris Cantle surfs the surprisingly-wet Sahara.

Delayed by my own shutter, I arrive back at exactly the moment we head off to get on 4 wheels; rather expensive IMO, 90 USD for 2 hours but what the hell!

So they’ve got little Polaris Trail Boss 330cc machines for us to ride, although I tried to snag the 400cc winch-toting guide machine but they wouldn’t have it. I should have pushed harder to ride that one as I didn’t do so well on this little one.

Exiting the property due North, we’re facing some wind-ripple dunes, baby ones, but just perfect for killer photography… I thought for second, oh hell yeah, we don’t have to go very far for this one to rock… when we turned right and away from the dunes, far away… noooooo! What the hell I thought. But I guess the guide is sussing us out… down some dirt roads, over even smaller dunes, circles, giggles and all out laughter… ok this is awesome! Chris gets sunk, repeatedly, Andreas and I circle the wagons and try passing the guide on numerous occasion but he’s the only one that knows where we’re going … so we kick back and play other games. Riding an roosting, it’s become a little bit of a history trip as well, riding pass old kashbahs and through swollen rivers. Through tall grass (and people living in there!) and over hard scrabble desert… until this one time when lean back to loft the front wheel off a 2-foot ridge.

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With the left wheel landing first on a hard bit of camel grass, the possibly sun-faded plastic floorboard breaks and my foot drops to the ground. In motion that means my foot is now under the rear wheel which then pulls me from the machine though the new opening in the floor, tearing open my jeans, dislocating my shoulder and knocking the SENA 10C off my helmet, and the wind out of me.

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With the machine itself still upright and running, I’m on my knees both laughing and gasping at what just happened. Thinking, I’ve ridden thousands of miles on quads by now, and this little shit just ate me?! Fuck.

Morocco2k-2026Luckily nothing was broken, and I was able end the tour, riding farther into the dark and then eventually back on the pavement  for a few miles (ending 10 minutes early and before the other group) and getting passed by busses, scarier shit IMO!

Back at HQ I wind up having to pay for the damages unfortunately… which at first we all thought was in dirhams, thank you good bye… and I should have run away then. Instead, while waiting for the other group they realize that’s in Euros and it cost me 250 USD to replace that damn plastic floorboard… so much for a great day in the desert. The fun just faded…. lets hope it doesn’t get any worse at dinner.