There are a ton of old Mercedes still out on Morocco’s roads. They must each have around a million miles, and they are beautiful. Not particularly beautifully taken care of by classic car standards, but you can tell that they have each been loved well by their owners over time. European tourists ride around in massive Jeeps with snorkels, or those monstrous world tour adventure RVs with massive wheels and a motorbike attached to the back. But well-to-do locals often drive these ancient Mercedes, or even older Renaults. There are also a vast array of different motorbikes, of all different shapes and sizes. From tiny Motobecanes, to touring motorcyclists riding massive BMWs. Also the occasional mule or horse.
At a party one night last fall after I returned from Iceland, Collin Harkrader and I had a wouldn’t-it-be-cool-if conversation about another international bike trip. When he called my bluff on the plans a few days later, we considered the idea again in the light of day, and pushed forward with more serious planning. We initially tossed around the idea of a ride along one of Spain’s famous long-distance walking paths, but over the next few weeks our plans drifted south towards Morocco. Even better, a direct flight from from Washington DC to Casablanca would facilitate the logistics. So we decided to forego all of the comforts and easy riding of southern Spain for an ambitious, 5-600 mile trek through the Mid- and High- Atlas Mountains.
Time for another adventure! This May, I will be adding a fifth continent and ninth country to my sidebar, as my bike and I will be off to Morocco for some on-season (for once) riding through the Atlas mountains and along the edge of the Sahara. Collin Harkrader, a colleague of mine from the Illuminati Center for Monetary Policy will be joining me on this excursion. The trip will give us both a much needed two-week break from the endless 16-hour days we spend slaving over the money printing presses.
We’ll be starting in Fes or Meknes on May 5, depending on where we feel like getting off the train, and heading southwest through cedar forests and over the High Atlas. After topping out at around 9,000 feet, we’ll coast down the back of the Atlas to Ourzazate through tiny Berber villages and towering gorges. After that, it’s a race against time and the odometer, until we reach our goal of Agadir on the coast of the Atlantic. My personal goal is 1000km over two weeks, just shy of 600 miles. As always, this depends on our daily progress, conditions, and wind direction. The first week will be tough, the second less so.
As always, I leave these posts for other people planning to follow similar routes, and this will be no different. Road conditions, bike durability requirements, water and food availability. Morocco is quickly upgrading its infrastructure, but we should be able to find at least some lonely mountain roads.