Of course the day had to start with a climb, a big one at that. It’s beautiful though, the scenery changes each day and I find something new to add to the experience. I simply get into a rhythm and churn out the kilometers, this one went on for about 12 km, before another cracking descent off the summit ->
It wouldn’t have been a difficult day, except for the winds which are horrendous, blowing up huge dust storms and making the going a mixture of very quick and very slow, depending on which way you’re caught. I can handle the resistance, but the dust is penetrating everywhere.
It’s almost impossible to find somewhere to wild camp in this type of terrain, because it is so open and barren. I did manage to find an abandoned outdoor shed a few nights ago, but that really was a stroke of luck. The further south you go, the more options seem to be open to visitors – lots of hotels (and many of them cater for the budget traveler as well as your average tourist) and a good few camping sites. I however stay away from the camping sites, because they are very much an unsafe option with a bicycle, in my opinion anyway.
Rich is a strange town, you arrive on the outskirts and it’s very run down, but once you enter the town proper (through a series of arches) it’s rather nice. I had decided once again to take a room and en-suit with shower, TV and wifi was just 75 dh – easily the best room yet in terms of quality and price.
The backdrop is certainly spectacular, as it sits beneath the Atlas Mountains. As I got there quite early (today was a short 65 km’s) I took a walk around the Souk and generally explored. There’s not enough here to warrant a long stay, but as a stop off point it’s one of the nicer places I’ve visited and I wasn’t overly bothered by the touts.
Next it’s on to Er-Richidia, just another 70 km of rather flat road, if I believe the profile. I think once again the wind will be the main factor, but when I’m doing these shorter distances I enjoy taking breaks and taking my time. Erfoud beckons, the day after which should give me my first view (and photos) of the dunes.