The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Thursday, April 14, 2016

In the Sahara, a few miles from Algeria

Greeting from the hot and dry Sahara desert. After all that time coming down through the cold rains of France and Belgium, a little heat and aridity feels pretty good.

It was three days ago that I left my Riad in the heart of the Medina at Meknes. I pitched in to hire a porter to carry my gear to the motorcycle.

After a long day in the saddle, I started to see the Middle Atlas Mountains, all covered with snow.

I was in the fringes of the Sahara Desert, and I started seeing wattle-walled towns along the way. They were each at an oasis.

One of them, Merzouga, is where I am now. It is right at the end of the road; only a few miles from Algeria. The great sand dunes of the Erg Chebbi tower over the town.


I and two German men, one a judge and the other an electrical engineer, hired a guide to take us by camel caravan up into the dunes where we will sleep at a Bedouin camp. The two Germans live near Bremen, only a few miles from my daughter and son-in-law.

Here is Christian riding in front of me.

Once we reached the dunes, the shadows were very photogenic.

Here we are again: three wise guys on their camels (The Wise Men were not in the neighborhood).

Camels are slow going. Long ago it must have taken the caravans ages to cross the desert.

Once we reached our camp I was more than ready to get off. Camels are not as comfortable as motorcycles.

This is my camel. Isn't he cute?  Shhh. Don't answer that too loudly or he might hear you and not take me back tomorrow. The camel is the critter on the left in case you can't tell..

Our guide hobbled the camels so that they wouldn't go wandering off during the night.

There it is, our home for the night. It doesn't look like much, but it was comfortable inside.

Once the sun started going down the shadows made the dunes very interesting.

There were a few clumps of grass growing there. Where they get their water is a mystery to me. This one was lit by the setting sun while all around it was deep shadow.

I also took the grass picture in black and white. I can't decide when one I like better.

Here goes the sun

Once the sun was down and the show was over, it was time for some tajines for supper. Seated around the table was a guy from Japan, two Germans on the left (they never said their names) and the two Germans from Bremen that I rode up with.

The moon was too bright to see stars well, so I went to bed and got up at 4 a.m. I was surprised to find the other guys out looking at the stars also. My camera was not very good at taking star pictures, but I will add this shot anyway. We almost never get to see stars like this in America because of all the lights we use.

At 7 a.m. it was time to head back. I hope the camels don't get lost (Ha--I bet our guide knows the way). Here is our shadows again. Just for fun, I tried to make this picture look a little Egyptian.

Back home again. Bye camel. I hate to tell you, but I won't miss you much.

I am in a nice riad for the night. I decided to stay here for today while a Berber woman washes and dries my clothes for me. Tomorrow I will head north and west, up through some gorges through the Atlas Mountains.