This is a repost of a ride report a friend and I did for a motorcycle trip to Morocco over September to October 2014. My friend goes by the nickname of Locky, he's a locksmith, been riding for many years (read: he's old), a good laugh and a great travel companion. This was the first time either of us went this far from home to ride off road.
I will do the report in instalments because it is written day by day and quite lengthy. We'll start with "Preparations", enjoy the read!
We'd originally planned to have this trip in 2013, but due to various circumstances we decided to delay it to 2014. We started off with about 7 people and this eventually whittled down to only 2, myself and Locky. The other people all had genuine reasons for not being able to make it, but it was still a bit of a disappointment that they couldn't and we know it was even more so for them.
You could say we'd been planning this for 2 years, on and off. We did a good amount of research, this mostly involved reading other people's trip reports and gathering any advice they were giving. The Morocco Overland website and book (Chris Scott) as well as numerous online writings by Tim Cullis were our most valuable resources. Buy the Morocco Overland book if you want to go riding in Morocco (on or off road), it is an invaluable resource that has played a big part in making our trip go as smoothly as it did. We made a list of points of interest that we might want to see/do, the plan was that this will dictate the route we take. We decided that a big part of the trip would be riding off road on piste (unpaved roads) and, as originally planned, that the trip would be done on V-Stroms. This was because we all knew each other and met each other through the V-Strom.co.uk forums. We'd catch a ferry over to Spain, ride down through Spain, take another ferry to Morocco and do the reverse on the way back while taking a different route up through Spain, just to mix it up a bit.
Other than that bit of detail we didn't really plan the daily routes ahead of time. I spent a lot of time mapping routes from the Morocco Overland book for the satnavs and the plan was that we'd pick what to do the night before and "wing it" that way while in Morocco. We decided that we'd stay in hotels as opposed to camping, this would save a lot of weight that the camping equipment would put on the bikes. We didn't want to book any hotels ahead as we didn't like the idea of having to be at specific places at specific times on specific days. Instead we got a list of hotels and fuel stations from the Morocco Overland web site for putting on the satnav and, along with a few other researched places, this is where we'd stay. The idea was to show up and see if they have a room for us, if not then we'd try the next one or ask them for a recommendation. In hindsight, this plan worked really well for us and I'd do it this way again, perhaps I'd just try to expand the list a bit to get more options in areas where the options are limited.
We knew well that the Stroms would be heavy bikes off road and decided that we need to take off road biased tyres to help us out on the rough stuff. I opted for TKC-80 tyres, a reliable favourite with many, and Locky decided to go with Mitas E10 tyres. The Mitas tyres have been around for a while and making a good name for themselves. The E10 tyres look very similar to the TKC-80 tyres and are a few quid cheaper. This would be a good comparison trip for the tyres.
We thought we'd packed pretty light considering that we'd be away 2 weeks and that we were carrying tools, tyre plugging kits, a 12v pump, spare tubes, spare levers, tyres, fuses, tow straps, a funnel fuel filter, an oil filter, spare foot pegs and various other spare bits along with our own oil.
Both our bikes, loaded and ready to go: