Prior to the Morocco moto trip, I wrote a piece about the North Face Basecamp Duffle Bag. As you may or may not be aware, traveling to a foreign country with bulky moto gear (helmet, boots, pressure suit, spare goggles, riding pants, etc.) could fill up a normal size travel bag real quick. I needed something to get my gear across the pond, then once there, fold down and be out of the way. Because of that, I opted to not go with a wheeled rigid frame bag.

So how did the North Face Basecamp Duffle perform? First of all, if I did it all over again, I would have opted for the size Large rather than the XL. Why? Because the bigger the bag, the more shit you bring. You fill the bag until it’s full, it’s human nature. A size Large would have been adequate. As a result, I brought too much shit (and forgot the one thing I had a hard time doing without, which was a pair of sandals). Also, due to the behemoth size of my gear, compounded by the weight of extra stuff that I didn’t use, the XL pack was quite cumbersome to lift up and use the backpack straps, making me slightly envious of 2 of my slacker cohorts who used a pair of modern inventions called wheels to gently drag their sleds wherever they needed to go. Literally, the OGIO bags they brought are called “The Sled.”

I can’t be more pleased with the quality and construction of the North Face Base Camp Duffle, though, and if you are a big bag type person and you want it to last forever, I’d buy another one of these in a heartbeat (full disclosure: that’s an affiliate link up there, so if you click it and end up buying one, we’ll make something like $1.23, which will go towards a bag of Skittles on our next moto adventure).

Too Much Gear I didn't Need To Bring To Morocco

Too Much Gear I didn't Need To Bring To Morocco

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By far, one of the most surreal experiences of our Morocco trip was arriving at a Bivouac (Steve: B-I-V-O-U-A-C) in the middle of the dunes. It was at the end of one of our longest days, partly due to an extra long lunch break to wait for the sand storms to die down. After we arrived, we chilled (not really) with some cold Flag Especiale beers and Cokes in the main tent of the bivouac for an hour or so, then remounted the bikes for a little instruction by Tim Skilton and closely monitored playtime in the dunes. We waited until the sun started to recede and the temperature dropped, which supposedly allowed the sand to firm up. Tim described riding the dunes like piloting a boat. Hang way back and twist the throttle, and you would plane above the sand with a little luck. Relax the throttle hand, and the front end of the bike would dive deep into the sand. The next day, we left early to avoid the heat on a route that would skirt the dunes, but our newfound sand riding technique would come in quite handy, as there was plenty of it as we followed a ghost of a 4×4 route to the dry bed of Lake Iriki. It was here that Tim promised we would stop for tea in a most peculiar place.

 

The challenge of capturing the moments on our Morocco trip was compounded by the multitude of cameras, keeping batteries charged, keeping lenses dust free, and keeping the more expensive gear from slipping out of Darth’s hands and tumbling down into rocky ravines (you’ll have to wait for a later post to find out what happened to my brand new Canon S95). Our guides (Tim, Edo, and Khalid) did a great job of humoring us and snapping photos whenever a camera was thrust upon them, sometimes 5 cameras for the same shot. I found my iPhone 4 with the Hipstamatic App to be my go-to choice for spontaneity and capturing a stylized, dreamy memory of the trip. Dave may disagree, as he has formally eschewed any love for Hipstamatics, but I think even Dave will have to admit there are a few keepers in here. Almost all of these were shot with the Watts lens setting, Ina’s 1969 film setting, with Flash off. Enjoy the slideshow below, or visit my Flickr photostream here.