Day 16: Campsite near Moulay Idriss

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Sun 21 Nov 2010 10:18
Day 16: Saturday 20 November 2010. Campsite between Moulay Idriss and Meknes. N 34 00.891 E005 33.717  Distance driven 275 km
Today was our great breakaway day from the clutches of Tetouan and we wound out of town in the direction of Fes in light drizzle and overcast skies. Our first objective was to charge the batteries after being stationary for 3 days with the fridge running. The road to Chefchaouen wound up into the mountains, the drizzle turned to rain and we climbed up into the clouds with headlights on. 
We quickly came on three accidents on the mountain road, with vehicles that had come off the road, either by themselves or as a result of skirmishes with oncoming vehicles, two having ended up in the deep concrete culvert which ran by the side if the road, one on its roof. There were a lot of very slow-moving vehicles and impatient drivers trying to get past them. We almost met our end in one of these encounters - as we came round a blind corner on a two lane road we met a Toyota Land Cruiser overtaking a line of vehicles and coming straight at us, head-on in our lane.  I pulled over with the nearside wheels on the edge of the culvert and, somehow, he got through without hitting us. Had we gone into the culvert we would have gone on our side and been completely wrecked against the rock face.  Had he hit us he would have torn the side out of the Landy.  We, of course, with a RHD vehicle, are driving on the "wrong" side of the road with Jenny in the centre. When I asked Jenny how close he had been, all she would say as "bloody close".
We visited a rather nice campsite at Chefchaouen but only stopped for coffee as it was still raining in the mountains and we though we would be better off lower down, so took the road to Fes.  We stopped for lunch at a petrol stop somewhere near Ouezzane and had fried eggs, cheese, newly baked bread and Moroccan tea, the proprietor apologising for the lack of choice because of the Islamic holiday!
As we continued, the rain stopped and we drove through beautifully cultivated areas with quite diverse farming methods. We saw several wooden ploughs pulled by donkeys and then the most modern tractors and irrigation equipment, side by side.  We passed trough rolling country with olive trees, citrus trees, pommegranetes, cabbages, and bee hives with all the produce being sold by the side of the road.
Just past the Roman ruins at Volubilis we headed for a campsite on a hillside among the olive trees, following a GPS reference from The Great Trek South.  It would be a lovely place to stay in the sun, but it is raining steadily now!