Sunday 7th April
We left the Auberge at the regulation 8am on desert trails. In fact the whole day was spent driving rough, stony desert trails which are hard on car, drivers and passengers. It was hot, rough and tiring.
Due to a mixture of heat, the road surface and vehicle usage, particularly heavy lorries, the track forms grooves approximately 2 inches wide with steep sharp ridges either side. These resemble corrugated sheeting and are horrendous to drive on.
At lunch we stopped by a well in the middle of no where. There was a small clay hut no more than 4m x 5m in which lived three generations of the same family, 8 people in total. It would appear that a living was eked out tending goats and selling to tourists what ever could be made or bartering with anything that they were given. Several people on the trip who had been before left clothes, toys, etc., which they had brought with them from home.
Only one mountain pass today with a steep climb followed by a sharp drop down into the valley beyond. For much of the track there was a shear drop down one side or the other with the edge only marked by a line of rocks.
There were to security checkpoints during this stretch of the journey. At the first every passport was checked, vehicle and passengers recorded. At the second we were waved straight through – clearly too hot by this time to be bothered.
Our day ended In Zagora where we will be spending two nights in a hotel. This is where the rear screen on my car will be fixed at Ali’s Garage. What I didn’t expect, and wasn’t made at all clear, was the mandatory vehicle check. Funnily enough every vehicle needed something doing, although about half refused. My car needed a new part, in theory, but discussing it with the other guys on the trip the advise was to buy the spare and do it if needed as it was a simple enough job. The bit I really disliked, and will be taking up with the organisers on my return home, was the need to leave my car, fully loaded outside a back street garage in a Moroccan town over night! Fingers crossed all will be well.
Tomorrow is a rest day while the vehicles are completed and then back on the road Tuesday.