[ Manvel ]
Two departure dates have come and gone, but the third is indeed the charm: my ticket is booked, bags are largely packed, and I fly from Houston to Casablanca on Tuesday, December 12th.
At long last—after two years of planning and more than a decade of dreaming—it’s here. It’s time to get this crazy show on the (very long) road.
We’ll come back to the delays, but first let’s talk about what comes next. My final days stateside will be a whirlwind of final preparations—last-minute accumulation of gear and supplies, and a long checklist of home health-care preparations to support my mom’s return to independence. None of it is too difficult, but it’s a lot to work through—and nothing can be left undone.
After that it’s time to board the plane and leave this not-so-glorious American mess behind. [Feel free to insert your own disgusted political asides here. If necessary, resort to infantile tweets for purposes of realism.]
Upon arrival in a saner quarter of the globe, I’ll spend my first days shuttling between Casablanca and Rabat, Morocco’s capital. Rabat is on the list simply to procure a visa for Mauritania—my first port of call on the Sahara’s far side. In Casablanca I’ll get my Yellow Fever vaccine and WHO paperwork, assemble and test my bike, load up with food and begin my ride—south-easterly into the Atlas mountains.
That’s the tentative plan, at least. An alternate plan is to leave the bike in its box for these days and travel by bus to Mirleft to meet a friend. In this scenario I would have company for the first week or two of my sojourn, a rare pleasure for me and a great way to ease into such a vast undertaking.
We shall see.
A brief word on the delays: my mom’s hip has been healing nicely, and her mood has been steadily improving from post-release dejection to pre-departure determination. We have two physical therapists, an occupational therapist, a home health assistant, and part-time cleaning help lined up to get her over the final hurdles of recovery. By all accounts, her progress is better than expected, and she is most definitely ready to kick me out and have her house to herself once again. All of these are great signs, and so we’re now back on track; my temporary reprieve is nearing its end and all those hungry lions and hyenas are going to get their shot at me after all.
Keep your fingers crossed, and get ready friends: it’s just about time for the series premier of the Transglobalist vs. Africa.
The featured image is from Richardson Bike Mart, as they prepared my 17-year old REI Ponderosa for the coming trip. I’m excited about the bike, and appreciative of the RBM folks for sponsoring me.