Romancing the Stone in Africa

Romancing the stone in Africa: Paul and others riding motorcycles in Morocco dessert,

In February, I received a call from one of my sponsors. Bridgestone informed me they were having a press launch for the latest adventure tire designed for bikes like my Super Tenere, and wanted to know if I could join them. Because I was one of the biggest personal consumers of this type of tire and they considered me to be a social media influencer, they wanted my opinion and thoughts on the redesigned Battlax A41.

The launch was taking place the same weekend as Daytona Bike Week, and I was also supposed to be at a patient conference in Boston. Hanging out with Yamaha and maybe getting my new bike presented to me was a big deal I didn’t want to miss, and attending the patient speaker conference in Boston was important because it was the only time I get to hang out with other MS advocates who also share their stories at patient events, just like I do. I wanted to be at all three events, and eventually came up with a plan. I would spend a couple days in Daytona, ride back to Boston to attend the first two days of the conference and then head right to the airport to make the Bridgestone press launch.

It took a while for it to sink in that the event was taking place in Ouarzazate, Morocco. I remember hearing something about Madrid, but not until I accepted the offer and started looking at a map did it hit me that I would be riding motorcycles in Africa!

If you have been following along my journey, you know I always ride my motorcycle to all of my events, no matter the distance from my house. My story of finding something in life that you love to do and to make it more important than your disease is very real for me, and long distance travel by motorcycle is my passion. I am almost a third of the way to my million mile goal. So, not only do I never use airplanes for transportation, I have never left this continent!

This trip to Morocco was a big deal for me. The company was flying out two dozen of the top motorcycle journalists from the US and Canada for a couple of days to test out the new tires. One day etching the Sahara desert and one day through the rural towns and paved beauty of Ouarzazate. I was going to be rubbing helmets with magazine writers I had been following for years. It was a chance to tell my story and grow some interest in my journey. My only worries for this trip were getting confused in the airports because I was unfamiliar with how they work, and not being able to keep up with the journalists during the rides.

My wife doesn’t ask for much. As I travel all over the country she continues to go to work, clean the house and do all the yard work; all while keeping an eye on my live tracker. Just about the only thing she asks me when I find myself at a famous location or national park, is to pick her up a rock from the area. Not a diamond, an actual stone. She has dozens of these stones from all over the United States and Canada. She remembers where each stone came from and the trip it represented. Of course, Elin wanted me to fetch her a rock from Africa! ...
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by Longhaulpaul

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