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Stage 26 - Sea Fog

* Doug Percival leading riders’ meeting

A very foggy start to the morning, really very thick. Once again, I’d erred by packing my jacket before assessing the weather. The hotel breakfast only so so - continental at best. Steve commented later this evening that based on his power meter readings plus his instincts, that lack of our usual industrial portion of porridge with fruit along with peanut butter and bread, that that’s a factor in feeling so ‘blah’ over the past two days. Perhaps.

I departed in company of Brad and Mark, first down thru the town to the industrial area once again and then swinging north. As I said, foggy. A guy on motorbike passes close by as we swing right and uphill toward roundabout. Down he goes! His bike and him losing it totally on the corner, going down hard; oops I say to self … it’s slippery out here. After that we climb steadily 200-300 hundred metres in the fog, to the presumed headland via a few switchbacks.

Swinging north-northeast on the coastal road, there’s swirling wind but still no sign of the fog lifting. Almost no traffic though, which is fine by me. The silence and the conditions make it a little easier as well to pick up the sound of approaching vehicles. The wind now has shifted to our backs, where it stays for remainder of day; not a particularly strong tailwind, but appreciated all the same. This goes on for well over half the day’s ride, only starting to lift after we’re well clear of a mid-morning stop for nous nous and a slightly stale Napoleon pastry. I wanted to check if all on offer were as stale, but the lineup by that point too long so I gave up on the idea.

The fog lifts and sun emerges only for the last hour or so of riding into Oualidia, designated camp place for the night. We arrive before noon, with the afternoon ahead in which to relax. This is a full-on commercial campground; tents on platforms, chalets, hook-ups etc., for large motor homes, and lots of thick grassy areas on which to pitch my tent for the night. Hot showers etc., as well, not to mention Wi-Fi. This is to be our last night on the road; Chef Mark is already prepping the evening meal by early afternoon, and Matts the media creator is putting some finishing touches on what will be the official video of the Morocco tour.

* Micah and Doug effecting field repairs to Rogers rear derailleur with aid of a cut-up beer can. it worked!

I set up up tent, get out of cycling togs, scarf some lunch and crash out for while. Eventually re-surface in the mid-afternoon heat to hear reports of both ice cream and beers to be had in the nearby village of Oualidia. Set off in company of Peter in a search for these significant objectives. Some exploration ensures, and we’re refused service at the Gucci hotel down by the shore, but with perseverance and help from the locals, locate the mother lode on the back side of town - an actual bottle shop dispensing cold beers, wines and even spirits. The ice cream is forgotten. While we’re not allowed to drink on the premises, at least the fellow pops the caps on our Casablancas, and we retreat to the shade across the street to consume.

* that little open door indicates bottle shop; not particularly obvious, I’ll admit.

Dinner tonight truly special - Chef Mark barbecuing both chicken and shrimp, a 4-cheese pasta, Caesar salad and more. Some wine and beers are also on offer. This all preceded by an informal tour wrap-up ceremony thanking the local crew especially, and handing out of tour jerseys.

* our local staff - Imar on the left, then Mohammed, Ibrahim and Mohammed.

* late afternoon from campground, Oualidia

The sea fog already building offshore as I turn in; I’m sure it’ll be a wet morning.

Plan for tomorrow is to throw bikes into a truck by 08:30 and drive 100 km or so further down the road, then offload and we’ll cycle the final 60 km into Casablanca. Doug wants us all in by noon so that everyone’s bikes can get taken apart and boxed up. Tour dinner (yes, another one) tomorrow night. Riders disappearing back to respective homes late tomorrow evening and Friday.

It’s almost over. I’ll probably post one more time, perhaps Friday morning.


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