Prologue - on deck
Updated: Apr 12
Well, arrived in Casablanca two sleeps ago and if definitely not sleep recovered yet, still keen to get going; perfect conditions for riding, daytime highs forecast at 20-22° and nighttime’s down to 10-12°. Winds out of the north at 15-25 mph along the coast, so it’ll be fun.
It’s Ramadan of course so I think relatively quiet, but we’ll see how the traffic treats us getting out of Casablanca in the morning; the taxi run into town from the airport on Thursday afternoon was certainly ‘exciting’ with the concept of lanes being somewhat more elastic than most of us might be used to in North Amercia However, I did see several local cyclists commuting(?) and even entering the challenge of roundabouts. Brave men, all.
Thursday and Friday just being lazy with some small walkabouts on the beach right out front; given the breezes coming in off the Atlantic, I didn’t feel it necessary to confirm my suspicion of chilly waters. The few people who were actually in the water all seemed be to be younger than teenagers. Lots of people on the beach in later afternoons, early evening celebrating Iftar at sunset, breaking fast.
Our first Riders’ meeting took place today, Saturday noon which turned out be a rather comprehensive orientation meeting.
Intro by Douglas, tour leader … seems most of the TDA crew all have 8-10 years doing these sorts of tours, so that’s’ comforting. A run-through of what we’ve to expect over the next 5 weeks, Covid-19 protocols ( of course), more general concerns of things like dehydration, gastro-ailments (probably inevitable for many of us), onto specific issues like snakes which are common here in Morocco, apparently (I don’t care for snakes), and trauma (hopefully to be avoided) with ambulance telephone numbers dutifully noted.
Due to Ramadan we may not be seeing many or even any of the normal cafés, bars, coke stops open for business, so that may be a bit of an issue. Best carry some snacks, I suppose.
The first 3 days in the run up to Tangier will occur in built up areas, along the more or less flattish coastal plain, reportedly not overly inspiring. We’ll see.
Sunday: Drop off daily bags at 6:15 , hotel breakfast at 6:30. ‘Convoy’ out about 7:15 for first few kms to a group photo-op in front of mosque … then it’ll be a case of following the solitary coastal road north-ish to Rabat, capital of Morocco. Tomorrow night will be at the grand sounding Imperial Hotel.
Minor glitch in the planning. My carefully downloaded and installed GPS routes have been revised over our first 3 days. Hopefully, I’ve captured all the corrections.
This evening saw a late dinner, not what I wanted but it is what it is. Eager to get going in the morning; late start promised for tomorrow, probably something like 7:00-7:15. Breakfast promised for 6:30. Sunrise here is 6:07, sunset at 18:56 so those are our absolute constraints at being out on the road.