Friday, 27 December 2013

Day 62 - Tan Tan to Tarfaya 212km LONGEST DAY!!!

We woke up ok, but didn't leave until maybe 5.45 (a bit later than intended). We were cheered as we cycled through the town by a group of men which was quality. Initially there was a climb out of town which didn't fill me with confidence with over 200km still to ride. At the top though was an amazing view of a flat road at the bottom of a descent stretching as far as the eye could see. This along with the fact that it was a cooler cloudy day made the massive day seem possible. The riding was fantastic early on with again nothing but road, baron desert, the odd lorry and pylons in sight. We stopped for a break after around 40 or 50km next to the road overlooking the first proper sand dunes we had seen across some water. The coffee came out as did the slaggy tuna as we sat on the floor admiring the view. About 45 mins later we pushed on. The riding continued to be awesome and after a while we started to see quite a few camels (we were now back by the sea). I was slightly ahead of Tom and Chris when I heard Chris call me. I looked around and saw maybe 8 or 10 camels running alongside the bikes. I couldn't believe what was happening - who as ever heard of a load of camels running alongside anything before or even camels running at all come to that? Anyway they started off quite far away and got closer to us as they continued to follow getting to within 10-15 metres away . This lasted for a couple of minutes before they suddenly changed direction and walked across the road behind us. Truly bizarre. And to top it off Tom captured it all on the itouch. We all had big smiles on our faces for the next few hours after this and would shout 'CAMEL' at every camel we saw - needless to say these other camels didn't start running with us like the previous ones. Somewhere approaching halfway between Tan Tan and Tarfaya we had to stop for another police check. When this now standard formality was over we headed over to a petrol station over the road in search of food. we found a cafe and walked in. It was a large deserted grand place which looked like nobody had been there in years. There was a pretty limited choice but didn't mind as was relieved to find anywhere at all selling food. I bought some bread and juice and banana , got some chocolate spread I had in a pannier bag out and ate. There were a lot of flies. Chris and Tom had heir standard coffee with the food. When we left Tom needed a poo as had diarrhoea. He had to go in the disgusting smelly hole in the floor toilet next to the cafe. We then went to leave and got chatting to some Moroccan guys who were probably a bit younger than us. They loved the rave train and had a play with the iPod. One offered to buy it. For the next 50k or so the cycling was great with a healthy tailwind behind us and some ultra smooth sections of road. Some Stunning sand plains and hills too. Then we changed into a north westerly direction and things became 100 times harder. We now had a strong sidewind blowing sand across the road making progress painfully slow. I was concerned about this as we had to make Tarfaya by dark. This north westerly stretch of road lasted a good hour, maybe an hour and a half. We stopped for a break during this stretch taking shelter from the wind/sand at the side of the road behind a sand bank when we saw the 40k to go to Tarfaya. We were onto rations of food by this point and I remember eating a load of sweets to fill myself up. I was eager to get going Chris and Tom were a bit more reluctant - after 20-30 minutes we were cycling again. The remaining kilometres were far easier than the last hour with the sidewind soon turning into a tailwind. The road had now started following the coast again and we passed quite a few isolated houses dotted along the road most of which had dogs tethered outside - most of which seemed happy enough. Thanks to the impossible sidewind turning into a nice tailwind we made it to Tarfaya comfortably before dark. Surprisingly there weren't any police checks as we entered the town although the road did run through what appeared to be a missing section of the town's surrounding wall . Anyway we rode around for a bit in search of a hotel. Chris dismissed the first one we saw for being in a rather ghetto area. There were a few potentials along the Main Street but we decided to hold out and try and find a nicer looking one. At the end of the street we found a decent looking hotel and Chris went in to enquire about prices and to look at the room. 60 dirhams per person for a spacious 2 bed room with private bathroom - sweet. We carried the bikes and everything upstairs and settled in. Chris was first in the shower and described it as a trickle. Me and Tom soon found is out for ourselves. Also the toilet didn't flush. Our solution to this was to scoop water from a big barrel next to the shower into the cistern to fill it up using a plastic bottle that been cut in half. Very tedious. Soon after familiarising ourselves with the room we headed downstairs to the restaurant in search of food. Chris and Tom ordered a meal whilst I decided I'd go out to the shops later to get food due to my shoestring budget. Meanwhile we got chatting to some Moroccan journalist guy who was very interested in the ride. He was with a group and they had just finished their meal on a nearby table. Him and his group then moved into the lounge area. We were all eyeing up their leftovers. I asked the waiter if I could take these leftovers over to our table. He had no problem with us doing this and even brought us clean bowls and cutlery. I had enough bread and soup here to fill me up (no need to buy dinner - result). Chris and Tom had ordered food - this didn't stop them also having a load of the leftover soup and bread before their meals. I still went to buy food at the shops later but this would be for tomorrow. We were in bed by about 11 with the morning alarm set for 6.

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