Back on track. We are now on our originally intended route. We left Er Rachidia in the cool morning air. After 18 kms, our route took us off to the east towards Boubib onto a road that was to be sparse of traffic. At an early stage, we saw ahead of us a water hole which was also marked on the map. We stopped to inspect it. There was a collection of buildings near to the wall of the well. The well was deep with what looked like oily, mucky water at the bottom. We dropped a couple of stones down and listened to the rush of the stone moving through the air, followed by a bang as it hit the water. Not much chance of getting any decent water out of there!
A Belgian four wheel drive vehicle went past hooting. We waved. For the rest of the morning, we cruised against a slight headwind and reached Boubib by lunchtime. We had a fizzy drink in a café and were joined by some friendly and relaxed Moroccans. They talked and mentioned two French or Swiss cyclists who had been past the day before. The barman put some excellent West African music on.
We pushed on, passing a couple of barracks and then stopped by a brick sign and sat in its shade to eat our lunch. Just before this, crossing a small bridge, a striped light and brown snake skitted across my path. While eating, a Moroccan on a Raleigh racer stopped to borrow a lighter to light the kif in his pipe! He said it was the only thing in this desert that kept him sane. He cracked some more jokes before moving on.
I had a stitch after lunch for a while as we ate up the kilometres towards Bouanane. Five kilometres short, we pulled off the road and set up camp behind a bush. The light went quickly (5.45pm) as we cooked up rice and onion soup. Pudding was bananas and evaporated milk.
We got into our sleeping bags early. But, we were soon up and out having heard the sound of rodents having a go at our panniers. We moved the bikes into a position where we could see them more easily and armed ourselves with the catapult, ready to strike the pests.
Our guts were bubbling away, giving us the foulest wind. We presumed it was some fiendish bacteria having a field day. I glided into sleep, tired after a long day in the saddle.
Distance 141.78 kms Average speed 15.5 kmh Time 9 hours 2 minutes.
Will Hawkins lives in Lincolnshire with his family, works in a technology company in London and does as many micro-adventures as he can.
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