15-16/06/2019: Maison Vallée Du Ziz
Km travelled today/sum: 359km / 6226km
Sun shine, 35 degrees, country road
Okay, so we decided to do this whole riding in the desert thing. We live in Australia, how different can it be?
Off we went in the morning. We took a picture before we left Meknes through one narrow gate.
We crossed the High Atlas and on the other side of the mountain range, we could feel that we got closer to the desert. The landscape started to get even barer and the air got dry. The temperature was not too hot, around 28 degrees, which was still enjoyable with our gear on and the vents open. The landscape was just breathtaking. Here you can see the High Atlas on one side and in the far distance the Anti Atlas.
We arrived at a nice accomodation with pool. So the decision to stay here was easy, involving us bringing the luggage to our room and jumping straight into the pool. Nice and refreshing!
The accommodation was in the typical Moroccan style, all walls are tiled and there was even a small fountain in the middle of the entrance.
The next day we were aiming for Merzouga, the place where the street ends and the desert starts. The landscape didn’t get boring, but the temperature was rising.
We followed a river for a while, which felt unreal. As soon we came close to the river, the temperature dropped noticeably. You could see how the river had carved its way through the mountains over a long time.
As soon we left the river, the landscape became barren and the temperature started to rise.
At one stage we saw a huge body of water which turned out to be a giant water reservoir, so we stopped to take some pictures. The temperature was a bit higher by now, it must have been around 35 degrees.
When we took off again my bike started to stutter and to stall from time to time. It got more frequent so we decided to stop at the next petrol station, have a tea and park the bike in the shade.
My suspicion was that it had something to do with the temperature, since we experienced something similar in Australia with Sigrid’s F700GS. So after the tea was finished, we hopped on to the bikes again and everything was fine. Until… 12km later it started to act up again.
When the bike stalled, I had to put the neutral in, start the bike again, select the gear again and keep riding. In the beginning, it worked without me losing too much speed. We had only 100km to go, so I was hoping I could nurture the bike that far. After a while the bike was harder and harder to start. I told Sigrid the next accommodation would be ours and, as I looked up, there it was: a Riad just by the side of the road!
And it had pool! Bonus!
At this point the bike had stalled again and I couldn’t start it, so I rolled into the car park and there we stayed for the night. Lucky for us, they had a pool and Wi-Fi, so we found some forums and researched the problem. Turns out that this is a common problem for the F650, F700 and F800, easily solved by replacing the petrol pump. Well the next BMW dealer was 600 km away, in Marrakesh, so maybe not THAT easy. Since we had similar problems on Sigrid’s F700 on our last Queensland trip, I was hoping that the problem will just disappear when it gets cooler.
So the plan was, start riding with the sunrise and make the next 100km. If that went wrong, we could get stranded in the middle of a desert trying to organise something to get the bike towed or trucked to Marrakech… Adventure awaits!