Getting flights to arrive in Cairo three days before the event and leaving one day after took a bit of effort but we finally got it sorted. We want to spend a few days in Cairo being tourists and getting over any jet lag before we begin our scooter adventure. At the end, we'll board a plane for Paris and spend another four days in the city being tourists. No scooters or motorbikes in Paris, we'll be foot travelers.
Once we got our Egypt and Paris adventures sorted out, we then needed to pay attention to the CEC rules, regulations and requirements. We double checked and our passports were in good order. However, we needed to get an International Driver License with the Motorcycle box checked off. That was easy peasy, just a quick trip to the local AAA office and a few dollars and boom, we walked away with International Driver Licenses. Fortunately, no additional inoculations are required for our visit to Egypt. We did get our flu shots! Our Egyptian visa can be obtained at the Cairo airport for $25 each (bring American dollars for that!). I also ordered some Egyptian bank notes so we have some local currency on hand.
One of the requirements for the CEC is a full face black helmet. The helmets had to be black and no flip ups allowed so we weren't going to be taking our current helmets. Apparently, they want all of the riders to look the same and they will be putting on some sort of CEC sticker on each helmet. We were offered the opportunity to rent helmets for $60. Ick, I wasn't thrilled with the idea of wearing a helmet someone else had been wearing, yuck. As luck would have it, I received an email ad from Competition Accessories and lo and behold, they had some sweet LS2 Full Face helmets on sale, black only. The helmets also had the drop down sunshade (bonus) and pump up cheek pads (double bonus) for a great price. I promptly ordered one for me and one for Eric. See our new helmet & specs here. Okay, that requirement was quickly taken off the list of stuff to do.
We discussed what we would need for riding gear. First, we are only allowed a small carry-on size bag they will transport in the chase van and a backpack that will fit on the scooter. Hmmmm....that pretty much eliminated my Klim gear and Sidi boots. I really didn't want to spend 20+ hours on a plane in riding gear or have to lug it all over the place. I settled on jeans. Yes, regular old blue jeans. I did polish and waterproof an old pair of
A pair of gloves and liners along with a fleece and windbreaker round out the riding attire. CEC will provide us with Tee Shirts and a Polo Shirt. We must wear the Tee Shirt as the top layer of our gear to be visible as a CEC team member.
With my riding gear sorted out I now need to figure what else to take along. Remember, space is severely limited. Egypt should be pleasantly warm and maybe even hot on the Red Sea. Paris, however, will probably be cold and rainy. Such a dilemma. I think I'd better pack a mini-umbrella for Paris and bug wipes for Egypt, lol.
The CEC organizers set up a Facebook page for this year's participants and I've been having fun following and posting on that page. There are approximately 70 participants, mostly on scooters and a few on motorcycles. The riders are from all corners of the globe with a number of CEC veterans. We will be organized into smaller groups for actual travel days. We also signed up for a number of tours including the Pyramids of Giza, Hot Air Balloon over the Nile, Luxor Temples, and a few others. We'll also be spending a night or two on the Red Sea which will be a first for me!
I'm a little concerned about comfort on the scooter. I've never ridden a scooter! And, my little BMW F650GS is completely customized and set up just for my comfort. I know I'm going to miss that custom seat. Hahaha, I wonder how long before I start bitching about my sore butt? Bet it happens pretty quick :-)
Also, in anticipation of this awesome adventure, I acquired a GoPro Hero camera thanks to the generosity of a fellow Iron Butt rider. It came with a multitude of accessories and I purchased a selfie stick. I hope to make good use of the GoPro on this trip. I'll let you be the judge when I post videos :-)
Gack!!! Did you read above where I said we signed up for a Hot Air Balloon rider over the Nile? What was I thinking???? I'm petrified of heights. I can barely climb our two step stool to reach pantry items and I signed up for a balloon ride? Oh boy, this is an adventure all by itself! I might have to get Eric to hold the GoPro because I'll probably be shaking too hard to take any decent pictures.
Originally, our CEC route was to take us in a big circle, starting in Alexandria in the north, to Cairo, south along the Red Sea then East to Luxor and across the West Desert to end in Cairo. However, due to an unfortunate incident recently with some Mexican tourists who were in a place they were not supposed to be, our planned route has changed. I'm okay with that. I'm glad the CEC organizers are being cautious and have our safety as a prime regard. Our revised route still starts in Alexandria, then Cairo and south along the Red Sea and back north along the Red Sea with side trips along the way. We will still be able to visit the most famous attractions and artifacts of Egypt.
Some of the participants are organizing a Halloween celebration. I warned them...(I must remember to take along my Zombie make-up - where's that list of stuff to pack for Egypt?)
From all the chat on the Facebook page, I'm pretty certain we're going to have a grand time with some very fun peeps!
Ten days. Oh my, I know it's going to fly by and before you know it, we'll be headed to Las Vegas where we'll catch our flight (our very long, long, long flight) to Cairo. I'll try to be a somewhat decent blogger and keep you posted on our adventure. Sure, it depends on internet access and how exhausted I might be at the end of the day. Or, I might get so caught up in being social (who me?) that time slips by and I forget to post :-) I'll take my SPOT tracker along and post a link for that so you can follow along.
Regardless, I sure hope you'll follow along for the 2015 Cross Egypt Challenge!
Oh, by the way, I've already planned at least TWO more adventures for next year. Think about coming along on a motorbike adventure with me and Eric. What fun! We'll be doing the Alps, yes those majestic mountain passes of Germany, Italy and Switzerland sometime in mid-June. And...another Alaska Adventure probably late August, early September. We would love to have you join us. Details and more teases coming soon!