Tic-Toc Maroc: Arrivé

For the next two weeks, I’ll be circumnavigating the country of Morocco with Edelweiss Bike Tours for upcoming stories in both Motorcyclist Magazine and HOG. This travelog was written during the ride, but thanks to many technical difficulties (to both this human and his machines) they’ll be posting after the ride. Please enjoy none-the-less.

 

Typically, each guided tour I join begins with a welcome dinner, in this case at the Parador De Malaga Del Golf (Malaga, Spain), where the Austrian company Edelweiss Bike Tours chose to start this tour and where they brought the load of rental bikes we were to live and breathe on for the next two weeks. Thanks to the creative work (and mutual blames) between Air France/Air Europa and American Express, I missed this dinner, instead sitting in the Paris airport for 9 extra hours while I bounce back and forth between service counters and my laptop. Making numerous calls via Skype to American Express agents working through the night, getting dropped every 30 mins when the free wifi in the airport dropped out,  I clumsily work through the problem and eventually find myself with 5 hours yet to kill, but now in the club salon (with free booze and free wifi).  Too bad I’m too jet lagged and frustrated to enjoy it… that’s not to say I didn’t try however.

Arriving finally to my hotel room, with little help from the grumpy cabbie charging me 20 euros to drive 5 minutes away, I’ve got about 6 hours before I meet for departure, the time I do not know, nor do I know with whom. I’ll just stand by the motorcycles in the morning.

Luckily, the Edelweiss guide was awaiting my arrival and welcomed me despite the late hour. Now that’s service! With the paperwork signed, and the keys handed off, I get the breakfast time and knock out. It’s been a long journey of very slow moving progress. Let’s hope it gets better in Morocco!

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Morning comes fast and already I’m off pace when I arrive early and sit alone for breakfast, not knowing the group table set up was to be for the friends I hadn’t met yet. No biggie, I prefer to eat alone anyway. Geared up, luggage in the van and mounted, we spark up the bikes and make a break for the ferry in Gibraltar over the AP-7 slab and under some very strong liquid sunshine. Assuming as I always do, coming from California, that the rain will not last, within an hour, my Kevlar jeans are soaked to the core now and for the next two days. So much for traveling light!

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The ferry goes as ferries go, although this one is already paid for and organized, we just had to stay together and show up. We found problems with the first part but got it back together in time just fine. Unique to any ferry I’ve been on so far though, they lock down the motorcycle for you. Just dismount and walk away. Go find a seat in the salon and sip a coffee for 45 minutes… and try not to get sick. Its a short but rough sea. And the only fresh air option is far from fresh, just above the exhaust pipe, the designated smoking section, and as such, packed to gills with Spaniards. Find a seat and set your watch back an hour to Western European Time (UTC), if necessary. They swap back and forth between ‘summer time’ 4 times a year.