Chris' 1994  R100GS/PD ULTIMATE JOURNEY Erin's 1997  F650

Living a Dream . . . 2 Live-N-Ride

May 21st -- Time for the webmaster's' contribution . . .


New York to Casablanca: 212

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 baggage.

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 rules.

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 were exchanged.

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.

 Mohamed Chakil (left) and local who helped reassemblyRoyal 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!

Mosque can hold 50,000 worshipers

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).

Sidi Abderraman Shrine

— Chris

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