The door of the desert

Intro


I am finally done with this story of Atlas, it is clear that I do not like it more today than at primary school .. Towards the village of Tantan it starts to be flatter. El Ouatia is about 20km from it on the shore.

 

It is there, after 3 months, 2500 kilometer and the half of the trip that a real break proposes in a beautiful way. I would stay 3 weeks in this coastal village to lead a life of premature and happy retirement in the company of what they called here a Djinn.

 

This stopover really fell in terms of climate, a big depression had spread off the Atlantic ... An opportunity to rest properly, eat well and make precious improvements on Mysty.

Crusty...


I know I have to be careful, I've had a lot of rest lately. It has already happened to me to burn all my strength after two or three days by mismanagement of my energy. It's time to find my rythm again.

 

On this cliff coast along the only road, I discover landscapes that remind me of my research routes and stories from travelers ... It's very beautiful. Never been to see the cliffs of my own region in Normandy, but it must be at least as good, certainly less cold here by now.

 

At day 1 back on the road I briefly meet a couple of bicycle, a belgo / Moroccan and his darling, Chinese. We will not stay together that day, I need to hit the road a bit ... I'll leave them behind.

 

The nights on the coast and even a few miles inland are cold. A dozen degrees and humidity is incredibly high and this, from the sunset. One of the improvements that Mysty and I have enjoyed during these three weeks is the creation of an isolated space underneath through a tarp and sail. So, still no tent but almost the same comfort without having to sleep separated from my faithful companion ... Even sleeping next to me I happen to wake up in panic after a nightmares where it was stolen during my sleep .

 

I spend a night near the fishermen with their tiny recycled huts that marry the cliff, almost camouflaged. And another close to the military, in small houses in breeze blocks, they are here to prevent trafficking and illegal immigration to the Canary Islands.

 

I found again my two cyclists 150 kilometers away, two days later at the only service station on the road. We decide to make the last 40 kilometers to Tarfaya together with a fabulous back wind ... Arrived on site, at dusk, they start looking for a hotel. I propose a deal to Sami to "skew" this rule of 0 budget for accomodation that tonigh, once again, is very restrictive: they'll pay my night and I would provide the dinner ... It works.

 

The next morning our paths are separated again, they prefer the coast road to the inland national leading to Laayoune (this time we can choose!). My decision to continue through the land is largely influenced by the information I get from here and there about the state of the coastal road.

 

It will turn out that half of the National 1 (although better than the other way) is in a ... let's say ... painful condition, especially when it comes to rollerblading it. For my luck I still have the wind with me and thank you my God, it's really no luxury. The track between Guelmim (another city further north) and Laayoune will be completely rebuild in two years, we'll be able to cross barefoot without fear of scratching our heels! For now it's a little complicated, some sections are new and slip like on a speed track, others make me spend the worst hours of my skater life... Even equipped in 150mm the grain of the road is so thick that it destroys my feet and knees. The road is so exploded that I am more at ease on the tracks under construction where the compacted sand, although absorbing much the effort remains a lesser evil.

 

I reach Laayoune a little tired of this complicated stretch and tries to let pass this feeling of anxiety with concerning the continuity of my road which is announced more and more difficult. For now I can relax again, I find new friends.

Extrem Omar and Family


Omar found me on the internet, he is a skatepark rider and saw the story of the trip on youtube, he decided to help me. It's been a few days since we've been writing as I was gettin closer to his city. He says he can host me and Mysty.

 

We meet at the entrance of the city, he brings me directly to the house. Once the cart parked I meet Mama and 4 of his brothers. It is a very pretty little house where reigns a beautiful atmosphere, despite the difficult episode that runs through Walid, one of the big brother. He can not get up to greet me, his father at his side. He went to see a healer two days ago for nasty stomach pains. The woman would have recommended treatment that ended destroying his stomach. With his last strength he had returned to find her. She then diagnosed him an imminent death by measuring his fingers and forearms using a rope, to compensate him certainly ... He suffers and seems terrified.

 

Omar started skating just 2 years ago and has already won several national titles, he is the pride of the association Extreme Laayoune which he is part. He is not the only talent of the small structure which from the height of his 4 years of existence can already boasted victories. It must be said that they put the pack here, the city has 2 skatepark and Najib, the president of Extreme is the ideal mentor for these young people in search of accomplishment.

 

My passage is an opportunity to shed some light on their activities, the local TV is rushed for the occasion. I never thought I would ever be able to answer an interview in Arabic ... No, actually, I just recited the little speech that I have oiled well since the beginning of the trip, nothing more. With Omar we will also have a video session one morning, we edit editing for his portfolio of rider.

Zinzin and compagny


We had texted quickly with Sami, the cyclist. I knew they had a very bad time head wind with his darling but they would certainly make it in town by the evening ... Nothing more.

 

The first night I when arrive, after greeting the whole family, Omar is dying to show me the skate park. We are on the way when, on a crossroads, we cross the road of my two bycile travlers friends quite by chance. What a sync, when we know that Laayoune has no less than 220,000 souls! They are tired, we plan to see each other longer tomorrow for a trip in the dunes at the exit of the city.

 

After the visit of the skate park and the lesson with the children, it is exactly at the same crossroads that will be installed for dinner, a beautiful Berber omelette. While we are just starting to eat, a motorcycle tumbles out of nowhere and stops right in front of our table that we share with members of Extreme Laayoune. It is obviously a traveler, it looks like a space pirate straight out of the stars, wandering between the galaxies for millennia ... Enthusiastic to meet another original the motor didn't even stopped yet that I am already standing to greet him. His eyes under his visor and the flag torn behind his bike tells me that he comes from the land of the rising sun. He is twice my age, carrying his hand to his mouth, fingers outstretched and grouped, I realize he asks me if he can eat with us ... He is hungry.

 

Then, seats at my left side a quit extraordinary character : Chen Luang Quan.

 

 

In short, he has been traveling the world on a motorcycle for 15 years, traveling through 109 countries andvisibly on a very tight budget. His trip, he decided to dedicate it to peace between people and contries. He carries with him a long rolled white sheet which serves to collect the peace of the world. I connect it directly with Lorin and Sami, cyclists reunited a few hours before at the exact same place, certainly the only two Chinese in town.

So we will all meet the next day in front of the Spanish church. We really form a team of shock. After meal shared with this new little clan that is formed we go for a walk in the desert together. I find this configuration of people incredibly beautiful and poetic. I would ride on the bike with Chen while the cyclists are cycling and Omar on my rollerblades.

 

For the first time in my life, I am walking on real dunes. This is a very special moment for me. A moment of great symbolism, the signing of an achievement, the beginning of a new era.

 

I am here, like I was in my dream, in this old dream... Life has finally taken me there. Surronded by Omar, Lorin, Sami and Chen, I feel, I know, I am, we are, exactly, perfectly.


Adopt me

Intro


The sun is starting to fall and I do not know where I'm going to spend the night. It is not always easy to let go this small waves of anxiety from these end of days that sometimes seem inhospitable. Yet I know that I must relax, the road always reserves me beautiful story when I get there.

 

I hit the road, it's the best time for this. The winds in the back, the sun does not burn anymore and the temperatures have become pleasant. The weather, less painful, also makes passers-by more pleasant, more smiling. A tranquil and virtuous force seems to embalm and soften the angles of these places caressed by the sunsets with benevolent rays. A breath of sweetness, a surge of enthusiasm before giving way to the night, mysterious and often wet around here.

The guardian of the field


"Go Joh, ONE more coast!" Short but firm, it finished my legs.

 

At the top, three grandpa chatting, leaning in line on the guardrail. They greet me with clapping hands, eyes full of questions ... Leached but smiling, I stop at their level. My legs do not work anyway.

 

My little speech of presentation of the trip in Moroccan just begins to be built at this stage of the trip. I can not hide my immense satisfaction when I am understood! I'm less clever when the first questions arrive but hopefully mimes always do the job.

 

When comes the famous question: "where do you sleep?" I take this opportunity to explain that I'm looking for a place for my mat and sleeping bag. So after a little consultation they let me know that Oussien is the guardian of the citrus field on the other side of the road. He invites me to spend the night there.

 

Once the camp is installed along a row of citrus trees, Oussein has already prepared tea on a stove, I bring back my provisions, one of the guys from the side of the road also has bread to share, so is improvised a happy feast on a few pieces of cardboard. I'm happy to share a meal, I've been eating alone for a long time. And even if the language barrier is there, I remain admiring, in front of all, these efforts that they make to make me understand, willing to exchange bread and stories!

 

 

At first I understand that Oussein must go home and he will come back tomorrow to check that the field is fine, or something like that ...

 

In fact Oussein also spends the night on the spot (well yes jojo, it is his job to keep the field, remember?). To camp he uses these big blankets of the wheat, very warm and comfortable but very voluminous and heavy. For me it's a bit of a shame tonight. My mattress is still punctured. I feel a little too skilled by rebutting a leak in the dark ... Too bad it was not the only hole! I'm at least as exhausted as the mattress, so I'm about to spend the night on my clothes as a spare bed.

Seeing this, Oussien hands me one of his blankets and keeps his coat ... A real dad.

Ouled Ameur


For the alarm, outside, it is at daybreak with the birds. After nights with such a dew we are glad that the sun is coming. The desire to sleep more comes only far behind in the ranking of priorities.

 

As we pack our respective stuffs, Oussien repeats to me again what he told me yesterday ... I finally understand that he invites me to come to his home, at Ouled Ameur. It is a village a few kilometers away, I would follow him on his bike to the track to the hamlet.

 

At the end of the dirt road, already well attended at this time, a little haven of peace where time seems to have stopped a long time ago. No car but rude, we meet at least 5 shepherds with their flocks and young men from the village are on their way to the fields. Only the electric line, the caps, the shoes and the tires of the chars remind us of our century.

 

We arrived at the man who is nicknamed mustache here, as his father was called before him. He opens the gate and we put Mysty safe in the big yard where everything happens ...

 

I meet then a very beautiful family in the house of Oussien. His wife, his two sons and their wives and his granddaughter. A sweet and peaceful note of harmony blows in my heart as I discover the inhabitants of this house who treat me like a prince.

 

Mom has already washed my clothes when I come out of the shower garden, we are at table the next moment in front of a fabulous tajine at least as big as my emotion. Difficult to explain with the words just the feeling that provides the warm welcome of these familiar yet unknown people who whispered to me already "if you're fine, I'm fine" in a divine smile filled with love, trust and sharing .

The souk in my heart 


After eating I go with the older son for the weekly souk to Ouled Jelloul. It's big, bigger than I thought. Around, sales of animals, cows, sheep, goats, some donkeys and horses ... this is where Oussien sold one of his cows lately.

 

Always on the periphery are the building materials where Ammad discusses a price for these 30 wooden piles that he needs to build his own house in Ouled Ameur. After organizing the transport and passing the mechanical to straighten one of my broken trailer wheels, we arrive in the heart of the souk. This is where we will shop for the week. Difficult to determine the extent of the place as it is dense, the stalls, the people, we see only about ten meters. Heavy canvas fabrics are stretched very low above our heads, they let pass here and there the sun. Its burning rays sparkle the golden dust of the dry soil of this timeless scene. As fine as the smells of spices, they seem to be part of the great dance that has been taking place here every week for an eternel time.

 

I would stay just a day and a night in Oussien's family. I really want to hit the road. Oussien prepared the horse and the wagon to bring me back to the national road, a noisy and colorfull departure ! The hugs are strong and sincere, it's crazy but I feel my heart tighten in my chest. I realize how quickly and how intensely my attachment to them has become, I feel so grateful.

 

I also know really privileged to have crossed the path of the guardian of the field that night. And blessed, to have been adopted by this family of light.


Naughty priest

More than the ways of the Lord, it is in practice its doors of churches that are often impenetrable to me in recent years.

 

But it's true that I'm showing a particular "no luck" with regard to this point, it would become almost suspect ...

 

A bit of trouble to join the flock little one? 

 

I'm probably one of the problematic vectors of the equation. Or we are all ... Humans, imperfect, fallible, like our texts and our places of worship. Like our ways and our beliefs. At this point I can not get away from the idea of ​​the divine, no matter what his name is, his essence has already given me high fives enough that I could continue to ignore it.

My analysis of this rejection of the Catholic Church that I am experiencing is comparable to the story of this boy who is doing everything possible to please this girl, a little clumsy ... No chance for that one, he is too much in waiting for a gesture from him, magic will not work. And no matter if it's the authentic, simple, sincere Love that the boy can feel, she's too flattered to see him.

 

As for the latest episode of the kind, let me tell you the story of the naughty priest:

 

While I arrive at Mohammedia, at a time when the sun has to settle with what breathes, I pass by the church Saint Jacques. It is one of the many churches in the country. I notice the course behind the gates guarded by two policemen, it offers a shady corner, ideal to spend the mid-day break in peace.

I ask if the priest is there, I still intend to ask permission even if I like to think that I am always welcome in the house of the Lord. "He just left 2 minutes ago ... You're out of luck." I'll wait.

An hour or so later, I appear in front of the open door but closed métal gate of the annex where the priest lives, just next to the church. I can glimpse the interior of this entrance hall richly adorned with a painting of the Virgin Mary and old European furniture made of precious wood. It gives off a sweet smell of cooking, I imagine a dish with sauce simmering on the stove ...

I am presentable, myself and my clothes are clean since yesterday, I am shaved and I have not yet forgotten my French.

He finally arrived: - "Hello father!" While a man of about 65 years, paunchy approaches the grid that separates us. -"Yes?". I explain my trip across the country, rollerblading, "... with this cart here", showing Mysty. He does not bother to watch. I explain my need of tranquility and rest for only a few hours in the shade of the trees of the course, he validates, nonchalant, my modest request. He will not bother to open the gate or ask any questions.

I immediately chase this little feeling of unwelcome disappointment, having for a moment thought to share a little time with another countryman in exile. Having even just a second dream drip at this mysterious dish that smelled so good ..Seriously Johann? Did not you want 100 box and a Mars too ?!

So I come back slowly to earth, enlightened by this response, at least dry but satisfactory, to my very first concern : A few hours of peace at home.

 

Seeing me preparing my spare for resting, the police officers, visibly lost, came closer to find out more. I let them know about the priest's agreement and explain with my Arab rudiments that I'll only stay here a few hours to eat and let go of the sun.

One of them goes to look for the priest who, this time, does us the honor to come out. -"I do not know him. He does not stay. ", he days to them, nervious. I am very surprised by the fact that he does not speak Arabic at all, the pronunciation of this melodious "chukran" confirms it to me. Then he speaks to me: - "I have traveled a lot, the minimum is still to learn about the customs of the country when we go abroad! You can not stay here! ". Knowing that I was unexpectedly welcomed in two Moroccan families who did not know me, and this, a few days before. I am completely stunned ... In shock of what is happening to me.

 

Oh yes... He knows very well what he is doing.

 

I retort, "But father, I was so happy to find the house of the Lord so far from home... I would stay here only a few hours, the time that the sun allows me to leave. You have authority in this parish and you know it, why do not you tell them? " He announces then "Finish to eat and go!". He then moves away when I evoke the sense of welcome I have received since my arrival in the country and that I question him on the merits of what he is doing in the eyes of all that he represents and his supposed Christian responsibility. - "Keep your moral lessons!" He launches me, then disappears.

One of the two guards, who obviously understands most of the situation looks at me, a bit sorry, while the other is (literally) having is shoes waxed. I shrug, giving him a smile back and handing him a date. We come to discuss, he likes the idea of ​​this travel, I learn to say the word "date".

After talking about family and work, he makes me understand that I can stay, just have to be discreet ... Too late for me, I feel hurt, sad, even more deeply than in my own ego. I do not have the heart to share the same space as this man who obviously lives a troubled period to the point of rejecting his own at the same time as his responsibilities.

 

The day passed, the event got digested. At the end, I really came to think that the one who really needed help in this story was this sad little father, there, in Mohamedia.

 


Fear

Toi même


C'est certainement la cause numéro 1 et non admise de la non réalisation des rêves de voyage pour les occidentaux, avant même l'excuse de l'argent. La peur de l'autre, cette maladie pourrie. Ce virus donné par des gens à d'autres gens...

 

 

En voulant bien faire, peut être. En voulant partager l'expérience, possiblement. En voulant se faire mousser d'avoir vu, certainement. Quoi qu'en soit la raison, on me déverse des fosses septiques entières de peur sur la tête depuis des mois, notamment par rapport au Maroc quand je fait référence à ma règle concernant le logement : budget 0.

 

 

Je crois revivre les efforts de découragement que je reçois pendant de ma traversée d'Amérique centrale en stop en approchant d'Honduras. Ou encore les "conseils" relatifs à  mes vagabondages dans le désert en Égypte. Je sais au fond que j'ai de loin la préparation pour apprécier un nouveau pays sans avoir la peur de l'autre, mais c'est inévitable, quand on me parle, j'écoute.

 

 

J'aime croire que la légitimité de mon intention de voyage et le libre arbitre des hommes et femmes que je croiserais feront bon ménage. Et c'est bien ce qui se passe, dès mon arrivée de l'autre côté du détroit. Le voyage n'en est pas moi difficile mais il est, une fois encore, déconcertant de constater à quel point on s'est laissé polluer par les peurs des autres...

 

 

Je suis très rapidement à l'aise et plus détendu, à croire que cette attitude d'ici m'est contagieuse. D'ailleurs, la différence de qualité d'accueil et de sympathie des marocains à mon égard par rapport aux espagnols est difficilement de comparable. Beaucoup de bonjour spontanés, d'encouragement, d'invitations même. Là où en Espagne il faut essuyer les regards méprisants plein air d'incompréhension et de peur la plupart du temps.

 

 

Si l'on écoute trop les conseils avisés de ceux qui n'arrivent pas à gérer leurs propres peurs, alors on s'imagine débarquer dans un pays où à chaque coin de rue vous attend une espèce de malade avec une lame pour vous déposséder de tout et peu être bien de votre vie au passage. Certe, comme partout, le risque zéro n'existe pas et des mésaventures peuvent aussi m'arriver. Qui n'a jamais pris aucun risque ? Qui n'a jamais eu de problème ? Et puis si on y pense, la rubrique des faits divers de nos sages compagnes hexagonales n'a certainement pas à être gênée, la France possède un excellent potentiel de créativité en terme d'insécurité.

 

 

Alors si je peux vous donner un conseil, pour le camping sauvage, ça sera celui de la première personne qui me donnera un avis décontracté vis à vis de cette pratique en Afrique du nord. Un monsieur d'une cinquantaine d'années en fauteuil roulant, il arpentait le pays de long en large depuis des années au volant de son camion. Son conseil est simple, il était fait déjà mes règles, comme pour beaucoup : "cherche ton bel endroit d'aujourd'hui avec enthousiasme, il t'est toujours accessible si tu y reste ouvert. Souri aux rencontres que la route te présente. Fais ceci, tu le trouvera ton endroit du jour, tu pourra t'y reposer en paix."

 

Et il a tellement raison, et je suis bien placé pour le savoir, quand je fais pas d'effort je passe de mauvais moments, comme toi ! Ça fait partit de notre éternel apprentissage.

 

So just maybe a practical advice, for the nights, always be out of town if you are camping.


Can't do it?

Je hâte d'atteindre le bout de l'Europe, a nouveau, au bord de la falaise, toi et l'horizon...

 

Sauter ou ne pas sauter? "Tu poses trop d'questions."

 

Le bras de mer qui sépare l'Europe et l'Afrique s'appelle bien le détroit de Gibraltar. Toutefois, contrairement à ce que j'ai longtemps pensé, la ville qui se trouve sur le détroit, côté espagnol, c'est en fait Tarifa et non Gibraltar, un peu plus au nord sur la côte. Tarifa c'est joli, une vielle ville bien conservée et une ambiance kitesurf/surf culture assez laid back, en apparence.

 

I force a little the last two days to arrive in the city in which ended the Spanish Trip, two years ago.

 

C'est donc un peu sur les rotules mais enjoué que je retrouve Carole et son homme à Facinas pour un café. Ils m'avaient recueilli exténué après avoir essuyé un tempête. Je fini rapidement les quelques kilomètres qui me sépare de la pointe et m'écroule dans la Coloc de Claudia.

 

C'est alors que s'entame un curieux processus de création d'excuses fantômes. Certain pourrait y voir une ville démoniaque qui me retiendrait dans ses griffes pour m'empêcher de franchir le pas.

Comme il y deux ans, les événement surviennent les un après les autres... Entre la maladie et l'amour, chaque jour a son excuse, d'une légitimité indiscutable, pour pouvoir repousser, encore et encore, la date du grand Jour.

 

- C'est qu'il a peur le petit ! "Jsuis pu un Ptit!"

 

Oui, c'est la peur qui décide alors et met en place une puissante magie. Je suis même surpris de ne pas m'être planté à roller pendant mon séjour en ville. Cette peur c'est l'ado au fond de moi qui la cri, celui qui s'est construit sur les bases de se qu'il a entendu, celui qui s'est bâti un avis d'après les peurs des autres.

Bien que l'homme d'expérience que ce garçon ait pu devenir fasse de son mieux pour rassurer l'enfant incertain en lui racontant combien il est prêt : La peur, agissant comme un gangrène de l'esprit, est difficile à ignorer.

 

Alors l'enfant prie, il fait des caprice parce qu'il est incertain, contrarié de n'avoir personne qui lui tienne la main pour traversé la grand route.

 

"Tu es grand maintenant, tu verras tout est plus facile"

 

J'arrive tout de même à me déclencher une rage de dent comme je n'en avait pas eu depuis des années. Le dernier épisode de cette intensité remonte à la période où j'hésite à m'élancer sur la panaméricaine avec ma premier charrette Monkoa...

 

Je reste donc une bonne semaine à l'abri du vent, une semaine où j'attends le moment, patiemment...

Bastaaa! Sometimes you have to do a little violence to youself, I take my oneway ticket for the ferry to Tangier and I'm getting in.

 

"Tu vois, c'était pas si terrible finalement".


Gypsy: poison of love

Prête à tout


J'avais déjà pas mal continué ma route vers le sud après Cordoba quand je m'arrête dans la ville de Arcos de la frontera.

 

Une très bonne surprise sur la route que celle-ci! Alors que j'arpente le cœur de la ville après avoir récupéré le précieux colis Powerslide qui m'attendais dans un point relais, on me parle de la "plage" . Intrigant quand on sait la distance qui me sépare de la côte. Il s'agit du grand lac en bordure de ville, et qu'elle aubaine; sable/herbes, aménagements sportifs, douche, toilettes... Un véritable petit club de vacance public!

 

Vu l'endroit et vu l'état de mon pied droit je décide de rester une journée entière pour récupérer.

Je me rapproche bien vite de la petite communauté gitane qui est déjà là à mon arrivée. C'est très plaisant de ne pas avoir l'impression de devoir se justifier pour gagner la sympathie de quelqu'un, comme c'est malheureusement souvent le cas dans ma situation en Espagne. Un espace de courtoisie se créé et on passe par une bonne partie de la journée ensembles, on ris beaucoup autour d'interminables cafés.

 

Celui-ci, ça fait déjà longtemps qu'il ne bois plus de café et il est bien décidé à pousser ses blagues jusqu'à épuisement de l'audience. "Épouse ma sœur! Je te l'offre!", c'est vrai qu'on s'était particulièrement bien entendus et je lui ai visiblement tapé dans l'œil, mais j'ai un autre programme pour les prochains jours. "Ne pars pas demain! Restes avec nous!"...

 

Je vais me couché, demain j'ai une grosse journée qui m'attend. C'était vraiment bon d'avoir pu partagé comme ça.

 

Alors que je suis sur le point de m'endormir, je me fait porter un sandwichs par le frère qui n'est vraiment plus très stable sur ses appuis. Il me dit que c'est un cadeau de sa sœur. Un sandwich à la viande, ça tombe bien j'avais tout juste assez mangé !

 

A 4h45 le réveil est délicat... Mon ventre me fait très mal, c'est le foie. Tout est gonflé dans mon intérieur. Difficile de se lever, je considère un instant l'option de rester un peu plus, histoire de savoir de quoi il en retourne.

 

Alors je repense au sandwich. Je ne peux pas m'empêcher de penser qu'ils avaient vraiment très envie que je reste encore un peu. Il faudra se faire un peu violence alors parce que je n'ai plus envie de rester. Je prend la route vers 5h30 et je ne m'arrête pas, je roule pendant des heures pour faire sortir se mal de moi, je le transpirerais, je le pleurerais! A la mi-journée la douleur à fini par disparaître et je peux à nouveau me plier en deux.

 

Après réflexion, je ne crois pas que cette intoxication ait été intentionnelle. Je revois la grande boîte de polystyrène qui servait de frigo en plein cagnard pendant l'après-midi, la viande que l'on m'a donné n'avait pas été recuite quand on me l'a donné. J'imagine que la prochaine fois je serais plus costaud.

 

Ce jour là j'aurais parcouru 80km, l'une de mes plus belle distance en compagnie de la fidèle Mysty. Comme quoi, l'inconfort à du bon parfois.

 

I'll reach Tarifa soon.

 

 


Spain - Un nouveau depart

Intro


The departure and a first part of the crossing of Spain rollerblading. From Madrid to Cordoba.

 

As a reminder, this is a 5000km rollerskating trip between Madrid and Dakar. Video equipment, tools, clothes, food, water ... Everything is transported in a bamboo trailer and refueled during the crossing which will take several months.

 

The housing budget is voluntarily nonexistent, the vast majority of the time I spend my nights under the stars. Couchsurfing and Warmshower are however authorized tools and are additional help to meet and thus discover differently the different regions crossed. (And if in addition I can take a shower, it's the best!)

Back on track


After the changes made to the trust "rollerblade travel trailer" Misty is now Mysty. Well, she still does not go through the doors, but now she's closing, is wearing new wrists and mumbling a semblance of aerodynamics.

 

Bastards

Technical control passed easy (because inexistant), we will take the bus together as two lovers towards Madrid the night of 20th to the 21th of August. Noted the scare at the time of loading in the bus, it was almost necessary to get angry with the drivers to let me load the trailer. It must be said that this kind of luggage is not the most common ... In any case they will not make pocket money this time.

 

Vamanos!

On arrival in Madrid I have the honor to be welcomed by the consul of France. Our interview before the big departure is more of the meeting of two passionate travelers than anything official, a very good memory.

At the time of departure, of course the first technical problems arise, it will take me a few hours to fix everything and finally be able to leave, but what does it matter; time has not had the same value since I was once again in Iberian land. I have been waiting for this moment for months, and even if the idea seems paradoxical: I know that I will finally be able to rest.

 

Grandpa and his smartphone

As for the exit of any big city, that of Madrid is a little "challenging". Not too accustomed to the use of GPS, using both the modern technology and the map does not make a good mix. But again, it is not very important, this first part of the trip is precisely there for this kind of improvement.

 

For Now

Always in the search for a certain balance between daily distance and physical condition, the first days are going really well. The impression of much less suffer is very clear, it's been two years now that I had not really hit the road and it's a very good surprise.

In my opinion, this overall improvement in the level of well-being is linked to several factors:

  1. Improvement of the cart and skating equipment that Powerslide is providing.
  2. The improvement of the comfort of the nights thanks to more adapted camping material.
  3. A route easier than that of the east coast of Spain at the mercy of wind and unstable altitude.
  4. And then I also stopped smoking ... So it's almost cheating now actually!

The others and me


The family you do not choose

A real stroke of luck, the evening when I landed in Ciudad Real I am told that a rollerskating competition will take place the next day in the city. This is the opportunity in my opinion to meet Spanish skaters and talk about the project!

I have the opportunity to get acquainted with very enthusiastic enthusiasts who sometimes offer me points of fall at home. It will be for next time, it is way too far from my path but the intention is enough to warm my heart.

Every skater's attention being obviously into the race, Mysty does not attract more interest than that, but she holds the attention of the small local TV crew that is there to cover the event:

"Ostia, pero que es eso ?!"

Yes, even if Gaia is no longer part of the crew, the team as a whole is not the most common, I concisely. So, yes, I put myself in the shoes of people. And yes, I must admit that if I did not know myself, I too would find this weird ... Strange ... Suspect ... and also ask : "What do you sell sir?"

Anyway, it is not easy to make real friends when traveling in this way, that's for sure. There is real support and trust only in the people who have experiences themselves in the field, the others are most often dominated by fear. It's a shame, especially for me.

 

The family of hearts

Je fais une fois du couchsurfing pendant la traversée de l'Espagne, je suis acceuilli chez Manu à Fuencaliente, juste après Cordoba. C'est tout d'abord un vrai plaisir de rencontrer quelqu'un d'aussi amical, le deuxième truc extraordinaire c'est la douche, pour sûr ! Et je dirais qu'en troisième c'est la famille de Manu.

The members who compose this family spend most of their free time together. This is the case during this weekend that I spend in their company. All grouped in the shelter of the leaden sun of Andalusia, the afternoons go smoothly, punctuated by the sweet waves of delicious dishes (olives, almonds, sausages, honey, melon ...) harvested and prepared with family, for the family.

Although each lineage has its own story, which makes it a unique entity, this family model is still common in Andalusia, and I find it very beautiful.

 

The confort zone

With Mysty as in a big backpack, the golden rule in these early times of being back on the roqd is that the thing you're looking for is automatically at the bottom ...
This kind of password is also of course 1000% to put in the box "rehabilitation". It's important to set up a storage routine again, nothing special here. Apart from this and some light bulbs, again, it is with great surprise that I draw the map relatively easily compared to the memory of the sufferings that I had in my past travels. aventures précedentes.

So I feel good in the designation that had been given to this first part of Spain: a big warm up.


The end of the beginning 2

Intro


The beginning of something often marks the end of another, just as the end of a thing leaves room for a new beginning.

 

Not always easy to get ready for a "Great Journey". The setting up of an adventure is, so to speak, an adventure in its own. It must be full of pitfalls and unforeseen events as much as great and magical discoveries.

 

However, in these obligatory difficulties and poems, there reigns a sovereign order, almost a fatality, joyful and serene. The certainty of being exactly where you need to be and being there exactly at the right time. This is certainly the best reward.

Rollerblade collection for Senegal


Yes, a big challenge. Given the deadlines ...

It was without counting on the strong and sincere implication of many anonymous of the world of skating and elsewhere:

In a few months the volume of donated material has grown exponentially to reach an estimation of 300 pairs of rollers, in addition to the wheels and protections collected.

A volume that allows us to imagine a next action!

For this year we send 138 paires with their protective pack (elbow, knee, wrist, helmet), wheels, bearings, frame and spare boots. It is the quantity established sufficient for:

 

1 - The heart of the action: To learn rollerblading to the children of 4 humanitarian structures in Dakar with the association Accro Roller.

2- Bring equipment to some of the most isolated rollerblading clubs in Senegal.

3- Support the federation with spare parts.

 

The goal of  the crowdfunding was reached few days ago! 4000€ gathered by beautiful souls for the good cause even before the end of the countdown. It is a great relief for all the actors of this project. These means allow us to concretize this action which was only at the stage of beautiful idea few month ago. It's very rewarding, thank you very much.

 

At the moment more than 3.2 cubic meters and 500 kilos of material are already in hibernation mode until early 2019. When the time comes, while the trip will come to an end (1 month before approximately), the cartons will be shipped to coincide with the arrival in Dakar.

The Big Trip


Although the dream of an experience that seemed like it was born a long time ago; the concrete idea of the travel project is not very old either.

 

Cool stress

The closer the start, the more pressure is felt. The time is shortened and gives the feeling of being in a room whose surface gradually decreases, leaving less and less possibility of action ...

 

However, this unpleasant sensation should not be a fatality, so the option of looking out the window is natural, and the feeling of confinement is gone.

 

Like a feather

Like any adventure in good standing, the passage through the equipment box is topical. Here, no exhaustive list of things that have slowly accumulated on the blades of this floor, it would be too long. These things are all of course unavoidable, necessary, of utmost importance, what do I say: vital ...

 

In short, the idea of traveling light has been, again, and definitely abandoned.

 

My private jet

The study of the new travel cart is still in progress and is in very good hands (cycobore.fr). A very promising prototype came to life already.

Nevertheless it is not for this year that she will take the road. Deadlines are too short and it would be a shame to go too fast on this kind of realization. She will most certainly be ready for the next trip.

 

The idea is to go find Misty where she has been sleeping for over a year! Stored ready for the coast, the salt will have already made its way on the few metal pieces that protrude from the imposing bamboo crate. In addition to a complete overhaul of the braking system and the sail, three notable improvements will have to be made before the new start:

 

1- Rework aerodynamics.

2- Add a cover / solar panel support.

3- Install a rocket engine from the NASA to go faster !


Bamboo trailer

Overview


Baptised Misty, c'est le second modèle de charrette de voyage à roller longue distance elle a fait ses preuves sur plus de 1500km l'ors du Spanish Trip. C'est certainement un nouveau modèle qui sera utilisé dans the next adventure.

 

BambouBamboo : This extraordinary material promises both a supple, lightweight and solid structure.

 

FreinsBrakes : The cart is equipped with one break by wheel for more comfort and maneuverability.

 

VoileSail : The sail is 2 meters long, it was added on the road during the last adventure.

 

Laydown  "On the belly" The handlebars and the front brake make it possible to drive the cart for short runs without having to put on the rollerblades.

 

WaterproofWaterproof : A waxed canvas fits on the structure and makes it completely waterproof.

 

PharesLights : For safety, two LED lights are in the back and a bigger one in the front.

A new way of traveling

The structure


Everything is bamboo except wheels and forks. The bamboo tubes are linked together by strong junctions made of flax fiber and epoxy resin. A brilliant effect is obtained after sanding and a good cap of varnish.

 

A very special thank you to the excellent welder and friend, Thierry Dumont. His help is still very precious to me today. A big thank you also to the Talented Inbo' for sharing their know-how and supporting the project.

Brakes


A great advantage for downhill passes or even generally to retain all the weight of the equipment.

This gadget is of major importance in the comfort and safety of the trip. 

In practice it is necessary to skillfully dose the pressure on each handle so as not to deviate too much the trajectory of the cart in the straight lines. In curves, the dual-control brake turns out to be a real asset to balance the trailer.

Flexible, light and strong at the same time

The sail


It was not planned in the original plans.

 

It is on the road, confronted with the squalls of the coast that it was imagined. It was hacked with an old sail offered by the nautical club Benidorm, recovered métal tubes and old bicycle inner tubes. It has proved very useful in certain situations. However, there are a number of parameters that must be respected in order for it to operate at its full potential and without risk.

"On the belly"


How important it is to learn from one's mistakes ...

 

In the Chiriqui Mountains of Panama, during the first adventureI had a bad fall ... What a lack of preparation!

The front of the cart is now equipped with a brake and handlebars. In very hilly areas, the climbs are too steep to skate, you have to push while walking. So I have to remove my skates. For the descent, all I have to do is lie down on the cart and enjoy the scenery.

For very long distances, skating

Waterproof


When traveling and camping outdoors, it is important to keep all equipment dry.

The trunk is as waterproof as strong.

Lights


Sometimes, for climatic reasons or because of poor timing management, it is necessary to travel at night.

 

 

As lights, three LED bulbs on a single circuit. They are connected to each other, then to a small rechargeable battery. The latter is located under the cart, in a large tube of aspirin that keeps it dry.


Mini guide

Summary


This "mini guide" exposes ONE way of traveling, the following points are shared for information only and are not necessarily the ideal method for everyone or for all terrains. For the decor: it's summer in Spain.

In addition, this list is not really exhaustive, but overall you will need to prepare as for a bike trip. Resources on the subject are abundant.

 

DistancesDistances : The point on what we can expect in terms of mileage and some travel constraints.

 

FoodFood and water : Some say we are what we eat, so I'm a big cheese.

 

WaterproofTypical day : The schedules with the corresponding activities of a day of travel.

 

CampementThe camp : Because the quality of the night will determine the quality of the day, the camp is an important point.

 

Hygiène  Hygiene : Respect ourselves, respect others: let's wash.

Distances


This choice of mode of travel remains slower than a bicycle trip. To make matters worse, after weighing at a Spanish scrap dealer, the total weight of the cart could reach 70 kilos.

The distances traveled per day were very variable. This could range from 20 to 70km depending on several determining factors, in this order of importance:

  1. The wind : The day can turn completely depending on its direction and power.
  2. Height difference : Obviously. Some days you push up, others you ride downhill.
  3. The state of the road only comes third, a damaged road rolls but it makes you tired much faster.
  4. Rain makes the progression more difficult, for the bearings it is even better not to skate but to walk.

Food and water


The jerrycan of 8 liters of water lasted a little over a day while food reserves could last between 3 and 4 days. Ideally it's best to adapt your diet to where you are for economic and convenience reasons.

On the road I prefer to eat cold, less preparation. In Spain it was cereal bars with chocolate and banana in the morning. In the afternoon and evening : bread, cheese, fuet (Spanish sausage), zucchini and olives. However a small alcohol stove to make tea from time to time is not a luxury.

It is always good to have some candies for down moments.

And the best is to drink a small gourd a day with electrolytes.

A typical day


6h30 - 7h

Gaia is a bird, she always wakes up a little before the sun rises and does not fail to jump on me. Breakfast and storage.

 

7h30 - 8h

We hit the road until the sun is too high to continue.

 

11h - 12h max

It's lunch time and nap in the shade.

 

16h - 16h30

We leave.

 

19h

Either refueling or terrace and logbook.

 

20h

it's time to leave urban areas and find a place for the night.

Set up the camp, have dinner, sing some songs with Gaia and it's already dark.

Camp


It's really very important to take the time to find your place to spend your nights, if you sleep badly or in a dirty place it will really influence your morale. You will recognize this place when you see it.

 

To sleep, no tent but an umbrella cloth (2x3m) not to roll in the dust, but also in case of rain. An inflatable short mat with a wonderful pillow for the feet, backpack for the head, two magic blankets and voila. Gaia had her nest high on the cart.

 

When we were far enough away from the roads and houses and the wind allowed it, we lit a small bonfire.

Hygiene


It is necessary to know how to take advantage of the opportunities that the road offers, the ideal is still the rivers or the lakes (when they are clean).

Otherwise a well equipped coastline with showers on the beaches. You can wash yourself and do your laundry (by prelinging it in the sea).

Or, nice people who have in their garden willingly lend their hoses.

The last option is to wash with the jerrycan water ... the minimum vital is the inside of the thighs, the salt of perspiration causes nasty burns with friction.