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Tinghir to Agadir

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Mohamed was an excellent host at the guest house in tinghir, the view from our room in the morning was spectacular, probably not changed since Jesus was a lad, Mohamed told us that his grand fathers house around the corner was 3000 years old, what an incredible age.
More desert
For breakfast on the terrace,we had savory pancakes, tea and coffee and bread and honey, it was just the ticket, we were on the road by 8:30 heading for our next stop in Agadir. 580 Km away

Probably one of the less eventful days so far, roads were good, we saw camels, in fact we almost ran them over and an accident was only prevented by the Shepard girl with agressive stick waving. Good to see the camels though.
Desert Kasbah
Apart from a couple of minor issues with the car alternator and the constant battle with overheating it was a relatively easy day in the Sadle. We arrived at our hotel at around 5 pm 67 euros for three twin rooms, happy days. It is a large modern hotel with a large out door swimming pool all rooms en-suite, good value but in comparison to last night, a featureless event.
Film studios
We went out for something to eat which was 50 euros for six of us and spent an hour discussing plans to get back to marakesh in time to meet the girls. Here is the plan, tomorrow we aim to get to Laayoune, the next day we aim to go to the tropic and back to Daklah for the night, that will be a big drive, the next day Dakhla to tan tan then on to marakesch for Saturday. We have a long way to go and maybe we should have done more miles today to free up time later on. We are where we are and we are all still enjoying the trip. I wanted to stay in Daklah since we planned this trip but it is around seventy to one hundred miles out of our way, we are all happy to do that.

Morocco is largely dry so the chance of a pint at the end of the day is not guaranteed, last night we had a bit of scotch left, tonight we have had a couple of bottles of beer in the hotel bar but I think we are the only guests using the service, the bar is located by the pool but they seem happy to bring us a drink into the hotel.

The routine of the day.

Here is how things go for me and mark as a daily routine of getting to where we need to be, Some time prior to setting off, we check oil and water and adjust accordingly, given our overheating issues, this is a pretty important activity, the car has to keep going to get us out of morocco otherwise we will be heavily taxed as it becomes an import, or we are fined for dumping it. Once on the road we generally set the sat nav to show altitude, this is important as the higher we go the thinner the air and cooler it gets, giving us an advantage with cooling, also we know once we are above 1000m we are not going to go much higher in this area, the highest we have been on this trip is 2202 m, this is the highest my car has ever been, prior to this, it was 1900m in the alps on the Asia trip. Once we are on the road we manage the overheating using the manual fan switch and if it still gets high we have to resort to the cabin heating to disperse engine heat. This is hard work having the heater on at noon in the Sahara. I normally start the first driving shift and mark takes photos as we drive along , we generally split the drive into roughly two halves. We normally stop for dinner at around 3pm and get a snack mid morning, fuel is as and when available. It costs around £35 to fill up. For lunch we have noodles and stir fried veg, it’s good, and very quick to prepare. The car is running at about 53mpg.

We haven’t seen much of agadir but is seems live a fairly modern city well developed and clean and tidy with a strong leaning towards tourism and service industry for the area. It’s not a place we would come back too, it lacks the culture of the other places we have stayed. But it give contrast to the trip.

Agadir Hotel

We saw, on our way into the agadir a pick up truck with a camel in the back. The camels head was poking out of the top and looking at the traffic as the pick up went along.

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By for now Simon

The Last Minute

Why do I always leave everything to the last minute, the car is over heating, the window won’t wind down, I have lost my driving licence and I haven’t ironed my sleeping bag yet. Despite this, I have a plan, a new door is arriving tomorrow, hopefully with a functioning window, I think I may have now fixed the overheating thing, and at least I have found my sleeping bag. I was delighted to find that my friend Clive had very kindly dropped off a bag of ear plugs today, not to give me some peace while driving, more while sleeping, thinking of our trip to Asia last year! I know snoring can be an issue and I like a good nights sleep? fortunately for the rest of the crew, I don’t snore ;-)
I think today for the first time in a long time I have started to look forward to the trip. I have a vague feeling that we are going to have a real adventure. I have heard today that the riff value in northern morocco is a bit of an issue with cannabis cultivation a significant wealth creator. There is word that it can be a violent area and should be avoided at night. Given the preferred cash crop it surprises me that they can be bothered to be violent, we expect to be through the riff valley within a day of landing in Africa.

I have a fridge. I made it out of a wooden box and some bits off another fridge. It will hook up to the power in the boot of the astra and keep food and drink cool. It’s not very powerful so I have frozen a bottle of water to get it started , perhaps the fridge will keep it cool. Thanks to F.T. For the original fridge. Photos to follow.

The kitchenette now not only includes a fridge but a work top, a two ring stove and, just installed, a drawer. The drawer, like many kitchen drawers is already full of non kitchen related stuff, spinners, insulation tape, etc.

It is less that 48hours till we leave, the trip that was originally planned on our way out,of Telford on our way to Asia last year. I am most looking forward to looking at the stars in the Sahara, sticking more flags on the fender, cooking up lunch in the astra kitchenette .


PS. Jim washed my car tonight, the last time my car was washed I was going for an interview for my job at TI Automotive

More Saturday in Sweden

Stopped off for a bit of lunch by a lake, the vid is the drive to the lake and then couple came for a swim, it did feel warm but it is surprising to see people swimming outside so far northif Clive or I swear in this video, please let me know and I will del eat it! I have not had time to watch it but I realise that I should increase the quality of the video a bit. I will do it tomorrow.

Saturday in Sweden

You can only write a blog if you can up load it to the net, this has been a major headache, it is now 12.30 and I am still up trying to get something together while I have a connection. We have driven 755kms today, around 500 miles.the high point was the giant bahco adjustable spanner in Encoping. I did not expect such a treat after having traveled ov one thousand miles to find the birth place of the inventor of the adjustable, such a spectacular memorial.
We did not have quite as much luck at the place where the chap who invented the zip was born. We had to drive around several times then found it was at the first place we had looked. Clive had a photo from the first visit to Sonarp Farm so we did not go back, more details of these two Swedish inventors below.
We traced north to Garvle where we found a youth hostile. 620 SEK for the two of us and breakfast. Its not a nice as the dragon hotel in montgomery but, a cracking deal, save a load of stress, that is very roughly £60.
Went out for a pint, £13 for two and some more junk food, Keith’s bread will conger the negative effects of this chemical cocktail in the morning,
we will soon have to be dealing with our third currency of the trip, it is getting really complicated working out the value of stuff, I really knead an accountant to help me with this, I hear Cadwallader and co in Welshpool are an excellent team of accountants,

That’s three sponsors seamlessly mentioned in one blog!

the blogs I have done today are probably out of order, I hope to edit them soon but now I must go to bed,

just one note that may interest you. We aime to get to the arctic circle in the next couple of days, however, there is an other potential destination that we are looking at going too, the north cape, this is around 700 miles further north. We are not yet clear if we can do it and will have to calculate the times and distances at noon tomorrow when we get to Umea. This will make the arctic circle challenge a real challenge! I want to do it but not sure about putting the astra through an extra 1500 miles, if something does go wrong so far up, we will be in a real pickle. Time to go and sleep on it. Thanks for reading, please sent me a message via t
He links on the bottom of the pages.

Brussels hotel and the Atomium

observations on belgium
There are no hills in Belgium, the motorways are very smooth. the people in the holiday inn adjacent to the atomium are very miserable, this is not representative of all Belgians, or in fact all personel of the holiday inn empire, simply the belgian holiday inn representative in Brussels.

The Atomium is well worth a trip it looks small from a distance but gets much bigger as you get nearer, . It is really quite an exciting structure and I would love to have gone inside it. Here is some details of it.

The Atomium is a monument in Brussels, originally built for Expo ’58, the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. Designed by André Waterkeyn, it stands 102 meters (335 ft) tall. It has nine steel spheres connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times.Tubes connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the center. They enclose escalators connecting the spheres containing exhibit halls and other public spaces. The top sphere provides a panoramic view of Brussels. Each sphere is 18 metres in diameter. Three spheres are currently (2008) closed to visitors, others can be reached easily by escalators. The vertical vertex contains a lift which was very fast and advanced at the time of building (the speed is 5 m/s).[1]

The road to Dover

The road to Dover
Dispute setting off in plenty of time for our six o’clock ferry to dunkirk, the M25 had diffent ideas for us.
Due to road works and traffic volumes, we had to give up on e six o’clock ferry wen we were over 80miles away. We rescheduled for the eight o’clock one. We made it in plenty of time.
It took two hours to cross the channel.
We set off to Dunkirk at 11 o’clock location time and it was 105 mile away according to Sally satnav. Fortunately the Belgians had known about our trip for some time and were expecting us to be a bit be hide schedule so they had very kindly built us a three lane motorway which they had largely cleared of cars. The motorway went from the port directl to the hotel, I love the belgians.After I booked the hotel, based on price and location, I had a look on trip advisor to see how it was viewed by others. The first comment that came up said “crap, do not stay here” Sally satnav took right to the door and given the state of the holiday inn neon sign that resembled something out of hotel paradisio, I began to think trip advisor may have been Right.

First blog in Sweden

We arrived at 6.30am on swedish soil or tarmac, the ferry trip was really smooth, had a couple of pints on the ferry before bed, no other Brits on the ferry as far as we could see, last British car we saw was around 200 miles before the ferry terminal. We had to pay three euros to get into the ferry port, not quite clear why, probably some sort of port tax.
driving through sweden is like driving through an advertising set for toothpaste or some pine based cleaning product. Its all squeeky cleam and fresh. We went over 1000 miles into the trip not long after we got off the ferry,

Notes on sleeping tablets
If you anticipate you are going to struggle to sleep ie when having to sleep on the floor of a noisy ferry, you might be tempted to tak a couple of sleeping tablets.. Being keen not to poison your body you might opt for the herble type. take my advice, don’t. They taste vial, with in five minutes your brain turns into an empty vessel with all your thoughts wiped. Then you stay awake with nothing to think about but the phisicle remind of the taste in the back of your mouth. Then when you do get to sleep, you wake up with a hangover unlike any other and you are really tired. Take my advice don’t do it.

Ready to go

Spent tonight packing, Had new tyres fitted today and the car is ready to go. Had some concerns with over heating, i have a back up plan, bought a spare water pump and spent some time working out how the cooling system and electric fans are controlled.
I have had some labels of the commercial sponsors printed and my friend Jim stuck them all over the front wings, I will post a photo soon.
If I don’t find a wireless net work to blog via, perhaps see you in the Dragon on Sat 10th Sept.

Is this blog on Facebook

I have attempted to connect my blog to Facebook, if this post bears on Facebook it will have worked.

I have just lent my car to a friend, normally I would not have really been concerned about it, now with the trip so near, I really do want to see it back in piece. I am sure that it will be back in one piece, or will it?

BBC Radio Wales interview

Just had an interveiw on radio Wales with Mal Pope. It was fun, not the sort of thing I do every day!

I spoke about the car, the charity and the trip. It seemed to go ok, I was concious that I was not relaxed, it may be on i-player later, not sure if I want to hear it.

The just giving site is upto £360 this morning, Thanks very much to all the givers.

We leave on Thursday so only three days to go, I am getting quite excited about it now,

Thanks for reading