22 & 23 March Kms travelled - 0
Not a particularly interesting day in terms of travel, but I have been pondering when I should officially start to record the journey, and have settled on the time I left our Barcelona home. But I shall only record mileage relating to the time Idris and I spend on the road.
I was seen off by some horrendous thunder and torrential rain which, while much needed following a particularly dry winter, only left me wondering whether this was some kind of omen. I think not, but it did reflect my mood a little as I headed out the door. A somewhat frightful taxi journey to the airport followed a sad and extended goodbye with Mrs Pat, as we both stocked up on 4 months' worth of hugs and kisses.
I´ve seen comments about the number of times that Charlie and Ewan noted how much they missed their wives and families before and during their Long Way Round and Long Way Down adventures. I don´t recall ever being negative on that point, and I think you can only really understand such feelings when faced with the very real prospect of an extended time apart. The lovely little note left by my wife tucked inside my passport was only discovered by the check-in clerk at Barcelona´s terminal 1. It brought a little tear to my eye, and a compassionate smile from the efficient Alitalia lady. Thanks lovie!
The short flight to Rome was uneventful as we landed with a clear sky and 23 degrees. I decided to walk a few miles around the airport, while I counted down the 8 hours I had as a layover before boarding the overnight flight to Buenos Aires.
14 hours of plane travel left me a little frazzled, but the warm welcome at Dakar Motos (along with the perfect weather) has compensated greatly. Sandra and Javier have been great, and I´ve arrived to the news that Idris (Pat's Yamaha Tenere) will be hitting town on Wednesday. A day later than planned, but time to tune in to the Argentinean accent, and chat to the like minded bike riders who drift in and out of this local moto-hub with the ease of long time friends. There is also a stunning XT600 in the workshop, which Javier is thinking of charging entry to see given the amount of interest it is getting. So plenty of time to chill, and to spend over an extended weekend to visit the key city attractions.
Thought for the day
Time at Rome airport to reflect on things ahead had me thinking about the often asked question of whether I was travelling alone. Thus far I have been quick to answer yes on this point, but now I am not so sure. Mrs Pat, although not physically with me, will clearly also be battling through every mile of the ride. She will be with me in sprit and in my heart, but she will also be contributing to the journey as she manages life at home without the opportunity to spread the load. I honour her for giving me this space to follow my dreams, and I honour her commitment to us as demonstrated through this sacrifice. We have been together for 18 years, and have previously spent time apart due to work and family commitments, so we are both alive to how much work that can entail. Even not having someone close to hand to talk through, or vent, on the day´s frustrations can mean an added load.
Thank you my love, and I dedicate this first trip entry to you.
These blog entries are being reposted from Pat's website [link] in an effort to draw more attention to his fundraising efforts with UNICEF. You can help Pat reach his goal here [link] as he continues to ride throughout the Americas. Follow along daily for updates.