Method 1: ‘Highway’
After the colorful textures, exotic smells and general cacophony of Marrakesh, the Ricks decided a change of pace was in order. After filling up with water, they headed East from their camp on the edge of town. City gave way to hinterland then eventually the ricks began to climb the face of the mighty Atlas. The further they climbed, the worse Kit began to feel. After a month of good health in Africa, it seemed gastrointestinal distress had finally caught up with Kit.
The Southern side of the highway in excellent shape, the Ricks made good time descending the other side of the Atlas, only stopping briely to admire the one of the many fortified Kasbah of the region.
Hidden Hollywood Oasis
While Ourzazate was supposedly an interesting city, particuarly for its history as a filming location, the Ricks had their sights set on a wild camp at Oasis de Fint.Getting there was no easy task though. Kilometers of loose sand and rocky riverbed, interspersed with half a dozen river crossings, were a difficult order after a long day of crossing the Atlas. Particuarly for Kit who had struggled to keep solid food down all day.
East and cross back over the high Atlas again. This time on a unpaved back road crossing some of the steepest parts of the mountains.
Method 2: Mountain piste
With the new morning Kit was feeling better but Kyle began to show the beginning of similar signs of distress, the Ricks wondered if this day would be anothe repic like Black Bear had been.
As the day progressed Kyle, unable to keep any real food down, began to struggle more and more at maintain the energy needed to ride up and down the steep, unrelenting trails of the high Atlas. Eventually the Ricks had to stop to take a rest. Kyle proceeded directly to the nearest ditch to recline.
For some parts of the route the road conditons were actually quite pleasant. Much of the piste was freshly graded and even semi-sealed in a few spots. Apparantly this was an important route over the Atlas as well as a vital lifeline for the few communities situated along it high in the mountains.
Coming down out of the final high pass, the Ricks pushed on through the idyllic valleys of the foothills in the evening alpineglow. The apple harvest was coming in and the air was filled with the smell of ripe apples and the sounds of the workers rushing to pick the fruit before the fall took hold.
At last the Ricks finally made it to the mountain town of Azilal and proceeded directly to pass out at the first shitty hotel they found.
The next morning the Ricks split up to each head their seperate ways for a while. Kit would proceed further through the Eastern Atlas. Kyle would burn North to meet his girlfriend Elise in Rabat. The plan was to rendevouz in 3 days in the imperial city of Meknes.
IMG 12 “Continueing the streak”
On the way to Meknes, Kit decided a day off the bike was in order. What better place than a Moroccan ski resort?
Hot springs and visiting shitty ski resorts off-season are the two threads that tie this trip together. This particular resort was unique in that it had a large population of resident monkeys in the summer months.
Unwinding a thread in Ifrane
Back in town, Kit continued his mission this trip to find a wool sweater he could use in the upcoming winter months in Europe. While Ifrane was known for the weaving of it’s surrounding mountain residents, all the articles Kit found were too bulky to wear under a moto jacket.
After hours of searching the Azrou souk, a local introduced Kit to the owner of a shop who specialized in sourcing the fabric from the surrouding mountains and bringing it into town to be sewn into garmets. At his ‘warehouse’, the merchant showed Kit a much wider variety of fabrics and weaves then was available for sale on the street.
Kit eventually decided on a coloful, light weave that could be constructed into a mid-layer that would wear well under a moto or ski jacket in the upcoming months.
Meetup in Meknes
Out of time to find a tailor in Ifrane, Kit headed out early the next morning to Meknes where he could find someone to get to work on his chemise before meeting up with Kyle and Elise.
Half a day and 200 dirham later, Kit had a custom fitted shirt made and a matching hat sewn from the leftover cloth.
In the meantime Kit explored this old Medina of Meknes. His search to find a place to spend the night in anticipation of meeting back up with Kyle and Elise met with success in the way of a upscale Riad owned by the patron of the shop next to the tailors.
This was just in time, as Kyle informed Kit they would be arriving shortly. The West African chapter of the journey was soon to be closed.