It was pitch dark when I left Smara, and started a liaison that would take us through Morocco to the Mauritanian border, where the day’s special would begin.
Although I had four hours to sleep I only managed to sleep for two – I just couldn’t relax. I was too wound up about all the little details I needed to take care of. I staggered through breakfast like a zombie, and wondered what I had gotten myself into. We hadn’t even arrived in Africa yet and I felt like I was already starting to fall apart …
There was no special today, just a very long ride on the highway. In preparation, I had a set of road tires mounted on the bike just for today.
Today’s events started with a riders’ meeting, which was a who’s who of rallying, with Alfie Cox, Fabrizio Meoni, Shlesser and of course, me. I meet the Rauseo boys (Charlie and Dave) – two American brothers who were also attempting the Rally on bikes that they had rented through Rallye-Raid UK.
Okay, I’m going to be honest here. Before October of this year I didn’t know much at all about the Dakar Rally other than it was a two week rally from somewhere in Europe to somewhere in Africa. Trucks, cars and motorcycles all entered, lots of people didn’t finish, some of them even died.
Most people’s first recollection of the Catskills is as the location of Ripp Van Winkle’s famous snooze, but the roads through here are nothing to yawn about. With scenery to rival the Adirondacks to the north, and a web of county roads reminiscent of the Pennsylvania network to the west, this area is a “must do” destination for the sport-touring enthusiast.
It’s become a bit of a custom at CMG. Every year, when the leaves are turning and the temperatures dropping, we give the motorcycle season a grand send-off with a grand tour. It’s a good excuse to let loose, explore some roads and slap in a last comparo test before the snow hits.
Welcome to the second and final part of our accounts of the recent Paris-Dacre (Ontario) Rally. If you missed part 1, you can click here to read it, otherwise read on and have a laugh at Team CMG’s expense. We did.
With the heat of the midday sun beating down directly over us, and 7 hours of riding under our belts already, we pause to take stock of the seemingly innocuous puddle in front of us. A group of riders on the other side waved at us to stop just before we crossed it and are now chatting to Team CMG ride leader Bryan Flannigan a few yards ahead of us.
CMGers will probably be aware that we have a new(ish) member of staff in the form of Mr. Lewis, who joined the ranks back in June of this year. Being keen to experience the wilds of Canada first-hand, he quickly agreed to purchase a rather used ’84 KLR 600 dual-sport bike from a good friend of mine (Jim Vernon).