September 2011, three blokes, three bikes and a grand plan for some serious off-road riding on the pistes in Morocco.
Sadly, not all went according to plan!
With a few unintentional detours they made their way through France, Andorra and Spain, heading to the coast and the ferry to Morocco.
When setting up camp the first night Darren realised his previously unused and untested tent was lacking somewhat in the size department. Each night, with his gear necessarily left on the bike and his legs curled up because the tent was too short for him to lay flat, he slept from sheer exhaustion. Meanwhile Sparky and Dave chuckled to themselves in the knowledge that "ours are bigger than yours!"
There was a hiccup at Moroccan customs due to the fact when officials checked Darren's name their records stated he had not yet taken his Camel Trophy Land Rover out of the country since arriving in 2007. They suspected he had illegaly imported the vehicle and then sold it. Several different officials, one after another, demanded paperwork that Darren could not produce.
Of course, we had driven the vehicle back to the UK and did have the correct paperwork at the time, but it wasn't something Darren thought he'd need when on a biking trip four years later.
Eventually, he was allowed through and the intrepid trio set off, glad to be on African soil at last.
The first morning's search for breakfast took them to a roadside vendor where they ate delicious barbecued fish.
Though they did see a little of Morocco...
... on day 3 all plans for the next 3 weeks had to be abandoned.
Darren's bike developed a serious problem that couldn't be fixed on the road.
There was nothing else for it, he had to get the bike back to Spain and the KTM dealer in Almeria.
All hopes of an off-road riding tour of Morocco were now dashed, for Darren at least.
The budget for this particular trip had been low and tight, it did not allow for bike repairs and two extra ferry crossings.
C'est la vie.
Dave rode on, Darren & Sparky made their way back to Spain, enlisting the help of a truck driver to get them to the port of Nador. There, the sad steed was pushed onto the ferry and off again the other side where it was collected by a recovery truck.
The bike was fixed in Spain and the guys had a leisurely ride back via the picturesque French Pyrenees with no further problems.
Who knows, maybe they'll have another attempt at that particular tour sometime in the future.