Funsters Over The Crossing [tizi N Tichka Pass]
Offering just a mere murmur Mark and Linda's Burstner was first around the bend, followed by the lazy rumble [engine, not belly] from Rory and Jan's Detroit Diesel Damon. Geo and Pammy, Lyndon and Emma's throbbing V8's took up the rear as they added a welcomed financial boost to the Moroccan economy via ZIZ National Fuel Company.
Ray who had been waiting and negotiating with a trader by the roadside fired up the Unimog and bounced back onto the road behind them a few hundred yards beyond he knew they would all be temporarily and mentally stalled at the sight that would open before them.......Like a coiled black Cobra shiny tarmac turned and twisted far below and like the snake the Tizi n Tichka pass could be just as deadly.
They had not rushed their departure from Ouarzazate, leaving the early morning roads to the buses and trucks making their way fully laden from Marrakech. But now the roads were quite under what was already a hot and cloudless blue sky.
Ray had led the "funsters" up the first part of the crossing/pass before pulling over and trying again to secure a deal on some particular item he has been trying to buy over the last few years. This time it seems he has been successful in completing his purchase but will not say what it is other than I will like it ......[Probably the Yamaha "Grisly" Quad that he insists I need and has been pestering me to buy for ages!]
Before the HIGH crossing/pass the lower Tizi is just as stunning through dusty pungent villages at which few other than locals would linger, passing tiny fields snatched from an otherwise baron earth. Passing by forgotten Marabouts [Holy men tombs/shrins] and crumbling Kasbahs. Tizi n Tichka is a place of endless cliches from alternate high and low roads Ray kept the "funsters" in view as they paused time and time again for photo stops.
Lunch was a roadside affair overlooking a deep and seamlessly valley far below, tiny specs that were shepherds tending flocks, women working fields and children playing, all going about their parallel lives. So very different from our own. Ray joined the "funsters" who were staring over the edge! Linda, never lost for words, opened her mouth but nothing came out, she just shook her head. Geo said, "bloody awesome" and strolled off. Rory commented that he had driven all over America and had recently returned from Asia, but had never seen the likes of this.
The Tizi n Tichka pass is a modern road built to connect Marrakech to the desert regions of the south east. Highest point is 2260m, the pass winding its way over the High Atlas Mountains with spectacular views, valleys below, villages perched precariously on the edges of deep chasms. In the winter months it can be covered in snow creating a magical sight if you are likely enough to catch it, as the pass does close to traffic due to snow.
Ray emptied the contents of a water bottle over his head and climbed the steps back into the Unimog cab. Engine fired and gears sorted he slipped back onto the road. A'hammid pressed CD/Play on the Panasonic and a hypnotic Koran chant filled the air. Marrakech was just a dark line in the distance as they descended the Atlas.
"Funsters" now visible in the huge truck mirrors, carbon against steel screamed in protest, over pressured air tanks popped and sighed, suspension and rubber squelched. Over the last bend/descent and yet another remarkable scene unveils itself, the lunar landscape of the Atlas and the desert beyond, obliterating memories of the dense woods and green fields we have just left behind.
Tizi n Tichka pass successfully driven and had again failed to take any prisoners ........Mmmmmmmm.. Strange yet appealing life in the office for Desert Detours staff.
Tomorrow, Miraculous Marrakech, city of seven religious patrons, which knows how to join the day to the night, the desert to the mountain and the sand to the snow .......... Until then..........
Debbie. [phewwwww I feel like Ive been on this tour] ............
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