Toughest riding day. No, Really!

Our route sheet’s destination for today is listed as Mellila, but actually we head to Ceuta instead, because the ferry schedules to mainland Spain are better than from Mellila. The roads leaving Fes are as challenging as the ones going to it. Small villages are crowded with people going to market. Tight twisty roads have changeable surfaces. We’ve got an aggressive schedule to meet up two miles from the border at 1pm for a group crossing.

Cathy and I leave before the group and are having a good ride. We stop for gas at 100 miles, so our tanks will be near empty when we get to Malaga for airfreight to Buenos Aires. Some folks catch up and we’re riding through beautiful sweeping curves. Cathy’s riding well and her line through a right hand curve looks good. Unfortunately, there was a spill of diesel fuel on the road and her tire slipped out and down she went. Our guides fan out and block the traffic. Kevin pulls in front and turns on his flashers. Cathy gets up and is guided to the side of the road. Safety equipment has done its job. One pannier is dented, the crash bars are scratched and her riding suit has a couple of small tears. Lingering soreness was less than her slip in a bathtub the week before. We didn’t get any pictures because we were too busy keeping traffic away from her and getting the bike off the road.

Later in the day, another of our group went down on the same curve. Two other riders went down on gravel on the road. We are all experienced motorcyclists and not overly aggressive. Our average age is mid-fifties. These are demanding roads and unexpected surface changes can rapidly change our day. It was unfortunate that all these mishaps happened on our final day of memorable riding in Moroc.

We’re on the African continent, but are leaving Morocco and crossing into Spain. The border was a non-event. Nondescript guard shacks line the barbed-wire enclosed road. We line up and get our passport stamped as leaving Morocco. Climbing back on the bikes, we ride ten meters past a guard who checks our stamps, to another row of shacks. Kevin finds an open door and explains the group. The group follows individually with our entry permits for our bikes in hand. The guard looks at the paper with the entry stamp and asks “Where is the motorcycle?” “Outside,” I answer. He remains seated, stamps the top and bottom of the form, tears off the lower half and hands it to me. “Bon voyage.” We get back on the bikes, ride another 50 meters and are waved into Spain.

Two miles later we’re at our hotel, where we can order beer and drink water from the tap. Woman’s hairdos can be seen again and Christmas lights and decorations are everywhere. Calls to prayer are nowhere to be heard. We relax and tell battle stories about our adventures and missteps.

Thursday 16-Dec Fes to Mellila 235 miles

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