Can we start with a holy ****? We drove ourselves over the Tichka (Tish-ka) on highway N9 (Route National 9) from Marrakech to Ouarzazate (War-zaz-zat) and really pushed Mustafa to his limits. This highway is considered among the top driving roads in the world According to National Geographic (we looked it up). N9 road runs between Marrakech and Ouarzazate through the Atlas Mountains (7,410 ft above the sea level) and offers amazing scenery with several twists and turns throughout the entire pass. Small Berber quant towns add a unique feel to the area. It was worth it to drive slower, be safer, take in the view ....save our marriage. The road is a bit bumpy in spots but for the most part its quite good. Everyone that we talked to was freaking out that we were going to drive it. We heard that it was scary, dangerous, and super sketchy due to the huge busses that take up the entire road. Then we looked it up on the Internet. By way of pictures it looked newly paved, 2 lanes and pretty normal for a mountain road. So, in Brian and Marisha style, we went for it.
The next picture is an arial view of a section of N9 - just to show you what our 3+ hour drive was like. That is a cliff there to the right... just sayin.
Although definitely a mountain road in a foreign country... It's wasn't THAT bad. No guard rails made it a bit nerve racking in parts, and passing busses etc.... But no where near as bad as some of the roads we have been on in a bus in other countries. I guess in a bus it would look worse, being so high up and all. We gave ourselves the same goal, get off the mountain BEFORE dark. What it was....was freakin long. Holy cow. We were in steep, winding mountain roads for over three hours. Plus regular roads before that. We saw some really great scenery, and were glad we did it in a car and not a bus. We made it to Our destination on time.
Ouarzazate Is located on the edge of the high Atlas mountains covered by stony desert broken by green oases and steep canyons. Beautiful. It also boarders the Sahara desert with 300 foot high dunes covering the edge of the country and spreading into Algeria. Life here centers on the great "wadis" (rivers) which have created landscapes of canyons, gorges and oases filled with date-palm groves. We decided while planning this trip that we would break from our normal routine and get a little deeper into local life and desolate territory.
Through a friend, we were introduced to Peter, a Hollander living in Morocco for the past 30 years. He has been a resident for 10, married a Moroccan girl and runs overlanding and motorcycle tours through Morocco's back country. 7 days total (5 in the rough) we would trek through the Draa valley, the High Atlas and the Anti-Atlas mountains, the stony desert, and the great Sahara. We really had no clue what we would be seeing or expecting. Peter told us: "We have a simple plan, but I will tailor it for you with what we do and see by how you are feeling at the time. We can change it up day by day or hour by hour." Free flowing....just like us.
We can't even tell you how excited we were to start this part of the trip. We have only done something like this once in Thailand and it was on a much smaller scale. Looking forward to seeing parts of the country most people don't get to experience.
That John Denver guy is full of $h1t! This ain't no Rocky Mountain High! From, on Sep 8, 2013 at 02:48PM