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Sun Feb 15 2015: Things Continue To Break and Disappear

Dades Gorge is the twin sister to Todra Gorge that we visited yesterday. Located just an hour away, we stayed overnight at the nearby town of Boumalne to wait out the overnight showers. Unfortunately, the forecast called for more rain today so our rainsuits were on standby.

Regular maintenance at our riad

Neda's front tire is suffering from an annoying slow leak, about 1 psi every couple of days, which means we've got to make sure it's inflated on a regular basis. Now her seat lets water in and her tires let air out! Not major issues, but added to the list of all of our gear falling apart, it's really starting to weigh heavily on our mood.

On our way to Dades Gorge

Picturesque villages line the valley along the way

Ruins of an old kasbah

They call the route through the Dades Valley the "Road of a Thousand Kasbahs". These old fortresses were built by the indigenous Berbers to protect themselves from invaders.

Neda's GS photobombs the landscape

Neda is attacking the twisty roads con gusto... er, avec plaisir!

Famous shot of the Dades Gorge switchbacks

It's a cloudy day, but the rain seems to have held back as we rode up and down the road that winds through the Dades Gorge. This is the best motorcycle road we've been on in Morocco thus far and we are savoring the good tarmac and the curvy roads surrounded by amazing scenery!

Stopping to admire the sights

Cool rock formations up in the distance

More Dades Gorge

Riding through the narrowest section of the gorge

A boy and his bike

We ducked into a restaurant to eat some yummy Moroccan dishes for lunch

While we ate, the skies opened up something fierce. Looks like the rains had found us again. Gahh, I really, really hate putting on the sausage suits again. My new motorcycle jacket has a thick collar and all the layers bunched around my neck: sweater, Gerbings, jacket and rainsuit feels like it's tight enough to cut off air and circulation.

All the stuff we're replacing our broken-down gear with is just not as good as when we first started off on our trip. I miss online shopping.

*whine* *whine* *whine*

Rain lets up but the skies are still threatening as we get closer to Ouarzazate

We're spending a couple of days in Ouarzazate to catch our breath. We're a bit hesitant about hitting another city again, given our bad experiences in Fes and Meknes, but this time we've opted to stay far away from the medina.

Ouarzazate is known as the gateway to the desert... if you're coming from the west. I think it's an interesting place because they filmed scenes from the Game of Thrones here. It was the location for the city of Yunkai. Cool!

Parking outside the hotel

For once, we don't have to pay for parking since the bikes are right outside the reception area and we are assured that everything should be secure. The next day, our bikes are still there but someone has swiped my security cable that was strapped down to the back seat. They stole a locked security cable. Without the key. Why would someone do that? What good would that do anyone?!?

Now I have to buy a new cable lock. So annoying.

Pick up soccer games spring up wherever there's an open space

Our plan to stay away from the medinas is working out well. All we want to be is anonymous and just observe the people going about their day-to-day lives without being harassed, and it seems the best place to do this is not be where the tourists go. We found out that there is a market every Sunday just around the corner that only the locals go to, which seemed like a good place to hang out for the morning.

The market gets busy, as people arrive by foot, motorcycle, bus

Lots of food, clothing and miscellaneous items for sale here

Tajine pots

The market was chaotic, far less organized and manicured than the souks in the medinas of the big cities. Vendors set up their shop wherever they could find room and we strolled between large tents selling furniture and blankets thrown down in the sand with trinkets and baubles strewn over top.

This is where people who actually lived here shopped and I liked the authenticity. And also not being hustled at every turn...

Chick peas and assorted beans for sale

Anyone selling a spare motorcycle security cable?

Need to pick up some new silverware?

Looking for a bargain

Buckets of olives

Fruit stand

Smug as a bug in front of rugs

It was a very good decision to stay away from the tourist spots in town. We had a very good experience just hanging out with the locals. Not sure this is going to last where we're headed next, though...

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