May 21st -- Time for the webmaster's' contribution . . .
New York to
And so the big day arrived. We, of course, were
nowhere near ready. Emotionally = Yes; Psychologically = Sure; Physically =
Close enough. So what's the problem, you may ask?
The problem: Our friends are downstairs and we're not completely packed!
After months of planning/preparations (the last month being jobless), there was still much
to do. Quitting our jobs, selling our apartment, staying in the apartment until the
departure date, getting rid of most of our possessions (while putting what was left in a
5'x5' storage room), getting all the gear and goodies for the bikes, and getting all our
papers and personal issues lined up . . . Shall I continue?
The point: A journey like this takes more than money and a sense of adventure.
Give yourself plenty of time.
. . . The intercom buzzed, and our doorman George informed us there was a "gang of
motorcyclists" across the street, and do we know anything about them. I told
him they were our friends, and to ask a few of them to come up and help carry down some
Under the watchful eyes of multiple New York City residents and tourists, we loaded the
dozen machines with all our gear. Erin and I straddled our 1988 K100LT for the last
time(a friend will paint/maintain/ride in our absence.) The folks gave us a hearty
wave goodbye, and we were off to John F. Kennedy airport.
Traffic was . . . well, it's NYC at 6pm so there was lots of traffic. Alone, each
of us probably would have "worked" through the congestion, but we
were a group comprised of members from 2 different motorcycle clubs (The Chai Riders and
The Sport Touring Motorcycle Club), and when riding in a group, it's better to follow the
As we approached the airport, the congestion gave way and we were finally able to have
some fun with our machines. We followed the signs to Terminal 1, and rode up the
ramp towards departures. For a brief moment, I had butterflies in my stomach.
It was then that I realized the magnitude of what we were about to begin.
We stopped in front of the Royal Air Maroc entrance, and parked the bikes. The
airport police, who normally don't allow parking at the departure entrance, were
mesmerized by the scene. As such, we took advantage of the situation and
parked. The bikes were unloaded, the pictures taken, and hugs filled with promises
Family members were there to take over as the "gang" finally pulled away.
Another session of hugs, requests, promises (these more stern), and farewell kisses
as we went through security and boarded the plane.
Royal Air Maroc: The onboard service was terrific, the food
was even better. When we arrived in Casablanca the next morning at 7:15am, Mr.
Mohamed Chakil was there to greet us. He helped us load our gear into his car, and
took us over to the cargo terminal. Mr. Chakil was able to expedite things, and by
the time Erin got the bikes cleared through customs, I had the bikes uncrated (with some
local help) and ready to go. Mr. Chakil then led us to the Idou Anfa Hotel (a $75
luxury we would afford ourselves). Although we will mostly be camping, we decided
that if we find any $25 hotels along the way we would take full advantage of it!
Mr. Chakil came back later in the evening to take us on a guided tour of Casablanca.
We saw the Hassan II Mosque, the largest Muslim mosque in the world and considered
the "8th Wonder of the World". It even has a ceiling that slides open,
similar to some sports domes. We traveled along the coast and saw a beautiful
sunset, then stopped for dinner at to a fantastic seafood restaurant right on the docks in
the famous Port.
And so our journey has begun. We left New York City (area code 212), and arrived
in Casablanca (country code 212).