Atar is about 270 miles north east of Nouakchott. I planned to see the Terjit oasis and Chinguetti where there's a UNESCO world site for libraries containing ancient Quranic texts.
My motorcycle's range doesn't stretch to 270 miles even with my two extra 1L fuel canisters. The fuel stations half way are not guaranteed to have essence (petrol in the UK). I scavenged an empty 5 L oil container from the fuel station in Nouakchott and filled that. My range is now over 270 miles and allows for any variables such as weather conditions, fuel quality, and anything unexpected! I'm trying to blend in with the locals by not having a fancy, expensive fuel container (most motorcycle adventure gear is expensive). See the orange bag!
The journey was split into two days. Leaving Nouakchott, the wind was strong and chucking up a lot of sand. Visibility reduced to a few hundred meters at best and about 30 meters at worst. My top speed with throttle fully open and head tucked down was no more than 46 mph. I re-calculated my range based on my revised mileage in these windy conditions. Still possible to make it; however, I needed to squeeze every mile from the fuel so decided to stay tucked down for better aerodynamics, hence fuel consumption. I had taken photos of these conditions but lost them through human error -- I'm really sorry folks!
A positive was the reduced visibility made it easier to find a camping spot where I was less likely to be seen!
The following day, the wind was weaker, but sufficient to prevent speeds over 55 mph. I stayed at 50 mph and kept tucked down again. I could still see sand snacking across the road.
Sure enough, the fuel stations half way to Atar had no essence. No problem though, I still had sufficient range to get to Atar. En route, I stopped off at an oasis called Terjit. There were a few sandy stretches, so I deflated tyres to increase surface area, hence grip. Sweat was pouring off me when I arrived! I climbed to a viewing point and saw the entirety of the oasis. A luscious green environment completely disparate from the desert nearby and very tranquil.
The viewing point was near an auberge who were keen for me to stay, but I had plans for Atar. I rested in the shade with them as they offered me tea. Once I was composed, I tipped them and left.
Having stopped to re-inflate my tyres for road conditions, I spotted these guys keeping an eye on me!
Unfortunately, around the next corner, that's when it happened. I came off my motorcycle. That requires a dedicated blog post! (disclosure: I'm OK and my family are aware.)
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